Must-see Cities Near Amsterdam
Lush green fields, the stingy coldness of the air, and stunning canals—the Netherlands is a reputable country for a reason. In spite of the flatness and size of the country, walking on the cobbled streets will surely tickle your senses. This pocket-sized country is packed with nature and history. While the rest of the tourists simply aim to visit Amsterdam, there are other cities in the country that deserve the same amount of courtesy and adoration.
If you happen to be in the Netherlands and want to avoid the busy streets of the capital, here are three cities that you shouldn’t miss out on!
At the very top of the list is a quaint city approximately fifteen minutes by train from Amsterdam—Haarlem. Found in North Holland, this historically rich city has been consistently famed as “Mini Amsterdam” due to its resemblance to the capital. The remarkable canals flow through the city, making it a picturesque view wherever one goes. As soon as you exit the train station, small shops full of snacks and souvenirs are lined up.
Once you’ve passed through the dainty streets and picked up some Dutch fries and mayo, you will find yourself allured by the architecture found in Grote Markt. The center of Haarlem, this city square is where the cathedral named Groke Kerk is located. Surrounding Grote Kerk, there are numerous coffee shops and restaurants where one can bask in the sunshine when it’s out. Local markets fill the corners of the square, making it a worthwhile walk.
Found in poster cards and advertisements for Haarlem, the Molen de Adriaan is a windmill located 2 kilometers away from Grote Markt. Built in the 18th century, the wooden windmill is an astonishing site when viewed from across the water. A guided tour is possible if you’re planning to climb up it!
Once you’re exhausted from exploring the city, there’s an old church that has been reconstructed into a brewery called De Jopenkerk. Nothing better than washing away all the tiredness with beer!
Moving a little bit further away, Leiden is home to the oldest university in the country, Leiden University. You can reach Leiden Centraal from Amsterdam within less than 30 minutes, making it just a bit of a stretch compared to Haarlem. Located in South Holland, this city is known for its hip population and striking Dutch architecture.
One can visit a windmill museum called the De Valk Windmill Museum. Found at the very center of the city, this will give visitors a clearer vision of why these towering pieces of art have been considered as a critical part of Dutch culture throughout the years. Aside from the knowledge you’d gain from the museum, there’s also nothing more exhilarating than getting to go inside another windmill, right?
If you’re up for a slight uphill walk, the Burcht van Leiden can also be visited. This military keep turned park is a great place to unwind. Once you’ve reached the very top of this fort, you can stroll around it and witness the stunning views from the top. Some of Leiden’s historical buildings can be located from the top of the fort, so keep your eyes open!
Perhaps the farthest competitor on the list, The Hague is located roughly 45 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. This city found on the western coast of the Netherlands is home to a vibrant expat community. Most notably known as the location of the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, this city is certainly not to miss when in the Netherlands! Just hop off the Den Haag station and you can begin walking through this lively part of the country.
There are innumerable things to do in The Hague. One of the most wondrous experiences one can partake in while in the city would be to visit its famous museum, The Mauritshuis. The Mauritshuis was initially built in 1633 for a governor named John Maurice; the building’s classical architecture has surely been maintained gracefully throughout the centuries. For a fee, visitors will be able to spectate on the 17th-century Dutch paintings—most notable of these would be the famous Girl With The Pearl Earring of Vermeer. There are various guides available in the museum as well if you’re keenly interested.
Once you’re finished with The Mauritshuis, don’t forget to visit the Binnenhof. Walking around the complex will take you through grand Gothic buildings that signify the growth of The Hague throughout the centuries. Most notable of these would be the Ridderzaal, a non-religious building that stands at the very center of the Binnenhof. This complex is currently home to the meeting places of the Dutch Parliament and other government buildings, representing the political purpose of The Hague.
There surely is more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. If you happen to be in this small but lovely Northwestern European country anytime soon, don’t forget to check the trains and routes! You might find yourself in one of these cities in one ride.
Amsterdam Travel and Tour Packages