Get inspired with this list of weekend getaway ideas in the Netherlands. Whether you are looking for something cultural, historic, adventurous or romantic – the Dutch have it all! Check out a seaside resort, a national park or a very old town for an alternative weekend break. Since living in the Netherlands we are always in the look out for some unique weekend getaway ideas from our home location.
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Weekend Getaway Ideas List
Here is a cool list of fun, cultural and unique Dutch locations you should consider for a weekend away!
A weekend away in Leeuwarden isn’t complete without climbing 183 steps of the Oldehove church tower or a boat tour through this province capital of Friesland. Did you know this city has over 800 national heritage sites to explore? One of those is the Blokhuispoort, which is public library, restaurant and hostel converted from a prison. For lunch you can also head to the Waag, a weigh house where dairy produce used to be traded at that dates back to 1596. If its chilly and icy enough, you may be able to experience the famous ice skating event that starts and ends in the city, called Elfstedentocht.
Here you can even try and learn some Frisian, an official 2nd language of the Netherlands spoken by up to 500,000 locals!
Rotterdam is one of the top cities I recommend (not just because I live there) but because it has so much to offer. A location once bombed during WW2, the city has rebuilt itself as a modern architectural hotspot. There are loads of hotspots for couples and families to enjoy a weekend away here. Find yourself exploring the Museum Kunsthal, dining on the SS Rotterdam cruise ship and sightseeing with 360°c views at the Euromast. Looking for romance? Book a night at the gorgeous Hotel New York!
More posts about Rotterdam:
Well we cant have a weekend getaway list without the capital of the country. Amsterdam is enchanting to visit all year round. With popular districts for relaxing to a lively shopping areas, the city has everything you need for a fun weekend away. You should consider visiting the famous Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, but make sure to book in advance to save money and secure a time slot for your weekend.
If you are visiting during Spring time, make time to visit one of these best locations for tulips!
TIP: If you visiting the Netherlands for the first time, check out this Lonely Planet Netherlands guide that is great for all up to date information and recommendations for the country! Else they have a brand new Lonely Planet Amsterdam guide book for the capital, as well as a pocket-sized Lonely Planet Pocket Rotterdam for Rotterdam, which I also own and can highly recommend.
4. The Wadden Islands
Did you know you can visit one of the five Dutch islands in the North? The Wadden islands have captivating dunes, beaches and nature areas for bird watching and walking. Else rent a bike and explore one of the countless cycling routes you can choose from. Each of the five locations have fun activities for all ages, such as diving into the history, hiking the natural landscape and trying the local produce. Perfect for our weekend getaway ideas list!
We plan to visit one of them this year – can’t wait!
If you don’t enjoy the flatness of the Netherlands, you need a weekend in Maastricht. Close to the Belgium and German boarder, this city is from medieval-era and the capital of the province of Limburg. For the day time take a walking route around the city fortifications and historic city center. For the night join the locals with the vibrant cultural scene full of restaurants and places for nights out.
6. Katwijk aan Zee
Our weekend getaway ideas list would not be complete without a weekend at the beach, with this idyllic seaside resort on the North Sea. Located in South Holland, this blissful beachy place is perfect for soaking in some of the sun. The history of Katwijk goes back to the 9th century and has a small population of under 14,000. Here you will find mostly locals as most tourists head to Scheveningen and Hoek van Holland as their first beach choices.
You can see our longer post about Katwijk aan Zee here!
Walking around the city you can experience the cosy cafes, cute canals and home to many cultural events. Utrecht is also a great place for shopping with a large market, international stores, local boutiques and a super modern shopping mall. It’s the perfect place for couples, families and solo travellers on our weekend getaway ideas list! Since the 8th century, Utrecht is also the Dutch religious centre of the Netherlands.
Plan some time to climb the Dom Tower, stroll the old Oudegracht canal and explore one of the many museums. Top on the list recommended is the Centraal Museum, where you can see the permanent exhibition of Dick Bruna who is famous for creating Miffy!
This historical city is the 4th largest in South Holland. Find yourself strolling through the medieval city centre and grabbing a delicious bite to eat at a local bakery. The historical city center has three beautiful churches and multiple canals, where you can enjoy a boat tour. The city of Dordrecht has many seasonal events too such as Dort In Stoom, the biggest steam event in Europe. Dordrecht is also perfect for a day trip from Rotterdam in combination with seeing the famous UNESCO World Heritage site Kinderdijk.
And lets not forget that the city hosts the largest Christmas market in the Netherlands – check out our Christmas market post here!
Head to the North of the Netherlands with a city trip to Groningen. Amsterdam is not the only place for a fun dancing weekend, with Groningen offering some great night out locations too. This top student city has interesting parks, culture and history, such as the market area being destroyed during WW2. Make sure you check out Groningen Museum, the most modern and innovative museum in the Netherlands.
10. A National Park
Take a weekend away and leave your work and technology behind you. Locations such as the Hoge Veluwe, Utrechtse Heuvelrug or Dwingeloo are perfect to visit no matter what the season is. All national parks have a visitor center and a place to rent bicycles for when you dont want to hike. Most also have a typical pancake house in the area for after all the hiking and exploring – else go romantic and take a picnic!
You can take a look at our full guide of all the 21 National Parks in the Netherlands here!
11. The Hague
Here you can find all historical parliament buildings as the seat of Government is located here, making it a very international city. The Hague, which is actually the capital of the province of South Holland, is also close to where the King of the Netherlands lives. The Hague is close to Scheveningen, a popular touristic beach resort with a pretty long pier. Don’t forget to check out Madurodam, showcasing beautiful miniature scenarios and landscapes of the Netherlands.
This pretty wooden house town is on the water with a harbour full of old fishing boats. You can step back in time here and truly experience the Netherlands in this old fishing village. There are even some locals that wear the traditional Dutch clothing – and you can get pictures wearing the typical Dutch clothing too! As for the rest, there are a few museums and some delicious places for a bite to eat.
These weekend getaway ideas are perfect for a break in the Netherlands. My favourite weekend getaway locations are to the national parks, as I am living in the busy city of Rotterdam.
With the Netherlands having a good public transport system (trains/trams etc) you can also easily make these weekend getaway ideas as day trips too!
- Don’t always visit the capital of Amsterdam without seeing a different side of the Netherlands.
- Consider a weekend away to a National park and enjoy the nature without technology!
- Don’t be afraid to explore a location less known based on the language, as most locals in my experience can speak some English!
- If you’ve never been to the Netherlands before, check this book to prepare and learn some tips!
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Are you now inspired for one of these weekend getaway ideas? Or have you been to a location we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments!