Netherlands: All Inclusive

Bustling liberal cities, Windmills, flowers, fish, cafés, cheese - and tall people


Backpacking in Netherlands

A backpacking holiday in the Netherlands is a great adventure and an inexpensive way of exploring the the Dutch countryside and the country's hidden treasures. The Netherlands are also a great starting point for a backpacking holiday across Europe, with easy access from the UK and borders with Germany and Belgium. Having said that, there is plenty to see and do in the Netherlands, whether you want to visit the islands and beaches of the north, or you prefer the nightlife of Amsterdam, or the sleepy towns of the central Netherlands.

As the Dutch public transport system is so good, you can pack everything in to one short holiday! Although there are Youth Hostels in the Netherlands, as well as low cost guest houses and hotels that are in the price range for backpackers, you need to be aware that they are relatively few and far-between in some towns and even cities. Ironically, this is because of the highly efficient transport system. Most Dutch towns and cities are within easy reach of Amsterdam, so many holiday makers stay there and travel other places for the day. Hence, it may be a good idea to book your accommodation in advance if you can, especially in the summer season. A dormitory bed in an youth hostel is likely to cost you £20 upwards per night and a private room £36 in Amsterdam and slightly less in other towns and cities.


Beach in Netherlands

Since the west side of the Netherlands entirely borders the sea and has a coastline of 282 miles (451 kilometres), the Netherlands provides many opportunities for taking a beach holiday. The only drawback is that the weather, like in the UK, can sometimes be cold and wet in summer in the Netherlands. Even in Amsterdam itself, there are 3 beaches spread out over the city, but these are all synthetic.

If you would like to visit a natural beach however, there are plenty of beaches to visit, such as Bloemendaal, Zandvoort and Scheveningen for you to check out, all within two hours' travelling from Amsterdam. The beaches in the north, along the Wadden Islands, are also a wonderful place for a beach holiday in the Netherlands. Texel Island is very popular with tourists, but many of the other Wadden Islands offer more secluded beaches. You can enjoy many other activities on the islands too, including hiking, swimming, canoeing, windsurfing, catamaran sailing and even parachute jumping.


Camping in Netherlands

There is no shortage of superbly equipped campsites in the Netherlands. The Dutch are avid campers themselves, so you will find campsites throughout the country, each equipped with shops, toilets, showers and other first-class facilities. Camping grounds in the Netherlands are rated on a 1 to 5 star system for their sanitary facilities and other amenities. The Dutch tourist and motoring association, the ANWB publishes an annual guide to camping sites in the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Belgium. This provides full details of star ratings, prices etc. You should expect to pay between £9 and £20 per night at a campsite in the Netherlands, based on two people sharing a tent. You should be aware that many of these campsites are not within easy reach of the centres of towns and cities by public transport, or on foot. In addition to the “official” campsites, you may find that you can camp on certain farms. However, there is a law in the Netherlands that limits the numbers of tents pitched on a farm at any one time.

Corporate Weekend

Corporate Weekend in Netherlands

Want to improve staff morale or teamwork? A corporate weekend in the Netherlands provides a perfect recipe for a fun filled, camaraderie and teambuilding setting. The close proximity and easy transport links between the Netherlands and the UK make a corporate weekend a realistic option.

There is no shortage of outdoor activities available in the Netherlands and you could start your corporate weekend with adrenaline rushing activities like water skiing, sky diving, sailing or lighter activities such as walking, golf and fishing. For those who aren’t keen on sporting activities, there are also many historical sites and special places of interest to visit. For a more innovative teambuilding weekend, why not try working with local communities and engaging in social enterprises for the disadvantaged? Several Dutch tour companies now offer this as an option, based in Amsterdam.

Corporate weekends in the Netherlands offer the space and activities that will meet any budget and you will easily find tour operators with expertise for creating an effective teambuilding experience. The Netherlands are a great destination for a corporate weekend of sun, sea, sand and perhaps social engagement too!


Cruises in Netherlands

Whether you are thinking of ocean going liners, or a leisurely trip along the many Dutch canals and rivers, the Netherlands will provide wonderful opportunities for a cruise holiday.
Amsterdam is one of Europe's most popular sea-going cruise destinations. Since the very earliest days, seafaring has been at the heart of the city's economy, and water is in evidence everywhere. No fewer than 165 canals criss-cross this fascinating and historic city, many of them lined with distinctive and attractive architecture. Cruise ships dock at the elegant Passenger Terminal in Amsterdam, close to the Centraal Station and right in the heart of the city.

Amsterdam is a city of infinite contrast for the visitor, with a wide variety of things to see, ranging from superb museums and galleries. If river and canal cruising is your thing, then the Netherlands offers peaceful cruising from tulip time through to autumn. Boating on the Dutch waterways is one of the best ways to discover the real Netherlands. You will see serene sailing boats, traditional Dutch windmills, waterside cycle routes, neatly kept marinas and nature parks.

Moorings are free, and usually close to the many canal-side bars and cafes offering good food and traditional Dutch hospitality in a country where boating is a way of life. To the north, the south-west of the Frisian region glistens with hundreds of lakes. Cruising is very relaxed, with the locks left open throughout the summer months, and the occasional lift bridge a good place to meet fellow travellers. The Netherlands are an excellent place for a cruising holiday.

Culture and Arts

Culture and Arts in Netherlands

Think of the Netherlands and art and you will doubtless think of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Van Gogh. You will have plenty of opportunities to see these Dutch masters on a cultural holiday in the Netherlands, as there are many Dutch museums dedicated just to them. You will find many of their 17th century paintings are displayed in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, but there are also many places throughout the Netherlands where Dutch art can be seen.

However, do not think that great Dutch art is confined to the 17th century, it actually encompasses everything from graffiti to works by the masters; both inside the museums and galleries and out on the streets. It is vibrant and still very much alive, as are all of the arts in the Netherlands. Amsterdam, for example, is a city of less than one million residents but has over 50 theatres and cinemas, two ballet troupes, a symphony orchestra, and numerous museums. The Leidesplein is the theatre district of Amsterdam. Many of the numerous cinemas are themed in that each shows a certain type of film - art house, film noir, or English language. Most films are screened in their original language, with the sub-titles in Dutch.

Many Dutch theatres carry the best and latest in operas, symphonies, dances, and various other concerts. Other Dutch towns and cities too are rich repositories for the arts. Rotterdam has its own orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and is also the home of the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts. The Hague has spawned many cultural figures and continues to host a wide variety of galleries, museums and performing arts - from Golden Earring to the Residentie Orkest,and Jan Vermeer to Mondriaan. If you want a cultural holiday, then you will not be disappointed in the Netherlands!

Cycling Activity Holiday

Cycling Activity Holiday in Netherlands

The Netherlands has more than 6,250 miles (10,000 kilometres) of dedicated cycle paths and virtually all major roads have cycle lanes running in parallel with the carriageways and pavements. With some 16 million bicycles in the Netherlands – more than the population – the Netherlands is an excellent country for cycling. Although the flat terrain makes cycling relatively effortless in most places, some of the strong and biting winds on the coast can be quite challenging for all but the strongest cyclists. Cycling is a perfect way to explore the Netherlands and you can buy many tourist maps that plot wonderful and scenic journeys, of all lengths, by bicycle throughout the Dutch countryside.

A cycling holiday in the Netherlands is a wonderful and easy way of exploring the country yourself. Cycling is very much part of the Dutch way of life and you will find that the transport infrastructure has been designed to accommodate cyclists. Bike lanes on major roads have their own road signs and traffic lights and you will be expected to observe them, although prosecutions for cycling offences are rare. You need to pay attention when using roundabouts in the Netherlands, because traffic approaching the roundabout has priority.

There is an abundance of cycles for rental in the Netherlands and rent bikes from private hire shops, or cycle hire shops in railway stations (called Rijwiel), from as little as £3.60 to £6.30 per day, and £22.50 to £32 per week. The Netherlands is an excellent country for a cycling holiday.

Disabled Needs

Disabled Needs in Netherlands

There are few worries for disabled people going on holiday to the Netherlands. All of the country's public buildings have been adapted for people with mobility difficulties, with ramps, lifts and toilets for people with disabilities. Public transport in the Netherlands is excellent, with railway stations and most trains having wheelchair access. The Dutch Railways timetable is also available in Braille and there is an information line specifically for travellers with disabilities.

People with a disability also receive a discount on Dutch public transport. The vast majority of Dutch hotels and guest houses are in older buildings, with their steep stairs. Hence, this can be problematic for travellers with limited mobility in the Netherlands. Some of the more expensive hotels do have lifts, but even on the ground floors there are often steps.

Family Holiday

Family Holiday in Netherlands

The Netherlands is a great family holiday destination. From miles of safe, clean golden beaches to beautiful country walks, there are many attractions and activities that would appeal to all ages in the Netherlands. As a small country, it is easy to travel to different activities and you are never far from a wide range of amenities in the Netherlands. This means that there will be plenty of variety, within easy reach, to occupy most children's interests, from cycling to boating, from sailing to wildlife sanctuaries.

There are many holiday parks that cater for children and many Dutch museums have plenty of activities to keep your young ones entertained and informed. The whole family will be enthralled by the Netherlands - a unique place with a unique landscape; miles of dunes and unspoilt beaches, canals and waterways, flat fields stretching into the distance punctuated only by the occasional windmill.

The towns are full of character and history and the people (all of whom seem to speak exceptional English) are very welcoming. The sheer variety of the Netherlands, packed into a relatively small space, will make a holiday the family will not forget.

Gay and Lesbian

Gay and Lesbian in Netherlands

You will not be short of things to do on a gay or lesbian holiday in the Netherlands. Amsterdam has been called the gay and lesbian capital of Europe and you will find anything and everything to interest you there. Amsterdam Pride is the Netherlands' and one of Europe's most popular and well-attended gay pride festivals, which takes place annually in early August.

The festival includes a full programme of street parties at different venues during the week, sporting events, an open-air film festival on the Nieumarkt and numerous theatrical and cultural events. Amsterdam is a great destination for gay and lesbian travellers at other times of the year too, with its lively bars and clubs, newspapers, a very easy to find gay scene and a wide range of accommodation that is not just gay and lesbian friendly, but which is gay and lesbian owned too. You will find Rotterdam similarly accommodating, but many other parts of the Netherlands are not always so obliging for gay and lesbian tourists.

The gay scene is generally not so out in the open and some bars and clubs, if they exist at all, may open behind blanked out windows. The Netherlands is still a great location for the gay and lesbian traveller.

Hen Destination

Hen Destination in Netherlands

Think of a hen party in the Netherlands and you think of Amsterdam. There is an abundance of nightlife for a hen celebration in the Netherlands and it is so easy to fly there for a short break from the UK. Not only that, but Amsterdam has such a vast array of different things to offer. Many tour companies provide all-in packages for hen parties, which will include a variety of activities for the whole party during a day. For example, you and your friends may want to spend the day on a guided tour of Amsterdam's red light district, visiting cocktail bars and visiting a pole dancing club to learn the secrets of the art from professionals, or going behind the scenes in one of the famous “shop windows” in the red light district.

You can even be made up to look the part and have your photograph taken as a souvenir for your future husband! (A guided tour like this, lasting 5 hours,would cost you about £85 each). If that's not to your taste, then you and your friends can learn conjuring tricks, or how to paint clogs.

In fact, in Amsterdam, anything goes! Of course there are the many cultural and artistic attractions that Amsterdam has to offer too, as well as bars, venues for live music and night clubs for all night dancing, which are all within easy reach in the city. You will find no shortage of accommodation in Amsterdam, with plenty of hotels, apartments and guest houses to suit most budgets. You may also want to go shopping of course, and Amsterdam has plenty of shops to cater for even the most fervent shopaholics!

Stag Destination

Stag Destination in Netherlands

Amsterdam could have been made for stag parties. There is no better city for strolling along a canal while sampling the best finely brewed beer. In Amsterdam, red light means go all the way and the coffee shops don't sell much coffee, strangely enough. The Dutch have famously cultivated an international reputation based on tolerance and they certainly know how to put together a great party.

From tranquil canal tours to rowdy strip shows, you will find it all in the square mile (1.6 square kilometres) around Centraal Station. The famed red light district is well worth seeing, so if you go there, don't miss the Oude Kerk, a church in somewhat contrasting surroundings. If you want an adrenalin-filled time, why spend your last night of freedom in a casino? There are many tour companies that offer all-in stag packages to Amsterdam, which can include transfers to and from the airport, (usually basic) bed and breakfast, trips to the Heineken brewery, visits to lap-dancing clubs and nightclubs. Prices start at about £115 for a two-day tour.


Honeymoon in Netherlands

If you have your honeymoon in Netherlands you will not be short of romantic places to visit. In fact, the Netherlands' beautiful landscapes attract newly-wed couples from all around the world, who enjoy the romance and variety of the countryside.

The Netherlands is popular too because it has excellent transport links to many places worldwide and the country is within easy reach of the UK. If you are thinking of taking your honeymoon in Netherlands, you will have an exciting time, with lots of varied activities available for both of you to do. You might like to go on leisurely canal cruise, of which there are many available throughout the Netherlands. Taking a canal or river cruise through the countryside is an excellent way of viewing the bulb fields, the windmills, the sleepy villages and other rural attractions.

In a city such as Amsterdam, it's the best way to go sightseeing in a short time and it will provide you with a vision of the romantic side of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of the thronging streets. You will see 17th-century grand houses, tree-lined neighbourhoods, houseboats, and superb architecture ranging from modern to medieval times. Sunset and night cruises present particularly enchanting sights. As a new couple you can get away from the crowds and experience Amsterdam's canals in private by renting a canal boat of your own. The Netherlands is a great location for honeymooners.


Naturism in Netherlands

Naturism is popular and widely tolerated in the Netherlands, which has a tradition of liberalism and permissiveness. There are over 50 official public naturist locations, which is quite a lot for such a small country. Naturist locations in the Netherlands are generally beaches, but there are several around the many inland areas of water. However, perhaps surprisingly, the Netherlands is not one of the world's major naturist holiday destinations. Even so, the Dutch have one of the highest proportions of naturists in the world and so there are many naturist venues and facilities that you can visit. The Netherlands is a good location for a naturist holiday.

Party Holiday - Singles Life

Party Holiday - Singles Life in Netherlands

The Netherlands has plenty to offer those seeking a party holiday and for single people. Perhaps the best place to visit in the Netherlands for a singles holiday is Amsterdam. Here you will find everything you need to make your holiday a real party, from tranquil canal tours to lively street scenes, most of which can be found in the square mile (1.6 square kilometres) around Centraal Station. Of course there are other attractions that Amsterdam has to offer too, such as venues for live music and night clubs for all night dancing. The Netherlands is a great location for partying and the singles life.

Couples Holiday

Couples Holiday in Netherlands

If you are thinking of having weekend break or a short holiday for you and your partner, the Netherlands is an ideal holiday destination for couples. In fact, the Netherlands' beautiful landscapes attract couples from all around the world, who enjoy the romance and variety of the countryside. The Netherlands is popular too because it has excellent transport links to many places worldwide and the country is within easy reach of the UK. You might like to go on leisurely canal cruise, of which there are many available throughout the Netherlands.

A river or canal cruise through the countryside is an excellent way of viewing the bulb fields, the windmills, the sleepy villages and other rural attractions. In a city such as Amsterdam, it's the best way to go sightseeing in a short time and it will provide you with a vision of the romantic side of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of the thronging streets. You will see 17th-century grand houses, tree-lined neighbourhoods, houseboats, and superb architecture ranging from modern to medieval times. Sunset and night cruises present particularly enchanting sights.

As a couple, you can get away from the crowds and experience Amsterdam's canals in private by renting a canal boat of your own. The Netherlands is a great location for a couples holiday.

Golf Activity Holiday

Golf Activity Holiday in Netherlands

The Netherlands has a reasonable selection of golf courses, although it must be said that it is not a major sport in the country. Nevertheless, like elsewhere in Europe, golf in the Netherlands is becoming increasingly popular. Having said this, the opportunities for a holiday in the Netherlands that is exclusively based on golf are quite limited. Many of the best Dutch golf courses are the work of Harry Shapland Colt, one of the most celebrated golf course designers of any era. His visit to the Netherlands produced the extraordinary courses at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club, Kennemer and Utrecht. He also designed Hilversum, the 11-time Dutch Open host that has recently been revised by Kyle Phillips.

Sailing Activity Holiday

Sailing Activity Holiday in Netherlands

There are a host of opportunities available for a sailing holiday in the Netherlands. You will find that most sailing takes place on the IJsselmeer, the Wadden Sea and the Frisian Islands, because these are all places with plenty of sand dunes, channels and historic beautiful ports. There is no shortage of yachts available for hire in the Netherlands. IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel), is a very shallow lake located in the centre of the Netherlands, but it's also within easy reach of North Holland, Flevoland, and Friesland. The Wadden Sea is also a great place for a yachting holiday. It has a coastal wetland that extends from Den Helder to Germany's river estuaries-around 6,875 square miles (11,000 square kilometres).

There are several islands there that are uninhabited and that are bird sanctuaries and are well worth a visit . The Dutch salt marshes, at Bosplaat, Schorren, and Noord-Friesland Buitendijks, are well worth a visit too. Summer is the best time for sailing around the Frisian Islands, partly because some of the more remote islands are easier to get to than in winter. If you want to go sailing on some of the more far-flung islands, then it is best to drive, as public transport is scarce in these areas. The Netherlands is a great destination for a sailing holiday.

Shopping Holiday

Shopping Holiday in Netherlands

Shopping can be one of the more enjoyable things to do in the Netherlands. There are numerous opportunities for great shopping in the Netherlands, but with the fall in value of the pound against the Euro, you are unlikely to find the Dutch shopping experience all that cheap these days. Amsterdam in particular has a greater choice and range of shops than many other Dutch cities, with the possible exception of Rotterdam. Amsterdam is particularly good for unusual and novelty goods of the type that you may not see in England, or even in other parts of the Netherlands.

One of the most famous and popular places for shopping in Amsterdam is the Albert Cuypstraat Market. Not only is the market a great location for sightseeing, but you are likely to find bargains on a wide range of products. Cuypstraat Market sells all sorts of items, from vegetables and fruit to locally caught fish to electronic goods such as cameras and mp3 players.

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Netherlands

Diving in the Netherlands is mostly done in rivers, lakes, the many oceans surrounding this tiny country, and even in the canals. You'll find water in all of its forms everywhere in the Netherlands, as it is situated below sea level and it rains a lot. If you are looking for spectacular and pleasant diving waters, then the Netherlands is not your destination. The water is pretty cold and the visibility is never the greatest all year-round, but there is lots to see provided you go in for a close-up look. The Dutch people love diving and they will find a reason to dive in any kind of water, no matter how murky. Some of the most popular dive sites are in Zeeland, a province in the Southwest, the Vinkeveense Plassen a cluster of lakes in the middle of the country and the Wadden Sea, where there is also a sea lion rescue centre.

Hiking Activity Holiday

Hiking Activity Holiday in Netherlands

The Netherlands might not be the first country one would think of as a trekking, hiking, or walking destination, but its flatness, the large number of historical cities and the countryside can make the Netherlands suitable for hiking holidays. However, if like many people who enjoy walking holidays, you are after spectacular mountain scenery then this is certainly not the location for you!

Well-being and Spa

Well-being and Spa in Netherlands

Although not widely publicised for its Well Being and Spa holidays, the Netherlands has quite a lot to offer you if you want to detoxify and get in touch with your inner-self. Most of the spas in the Netherlands can be found within hotels and offer luxurious accommodation with quality food and efficient service. Many spas situated in the top hotels in Amsterdam provide 24 hour spa breaks.

A stay at one of these prestigious establishments can set you back as much as £530. However, prices for a 24 hour spa break in the Hague, or at a country house hotel in Frisia, can cost less than £140. A Spa holiday or Well Being holiday in the Netherlands will include relaxing spa treatments such as massage, facial, hot tubs, saunas, hydrotherapy and ayurvedic treatments, with the inclusion of food and accommodation. A Well Being and Spa holiday in the Netherlands could be the well deserved holiday break for you.

Touring - Driving holiday in Netherlands

There are numerous ferry links from the UK to the Netherlands, so you will find taking your car there relatively easy. The other option would be to hire a car in the Netherlands, which will cost upwards of £36 per day. With about 80,000 miles (126,000 kilometres) of road in the Netherlands the opportunities for road travel are considerable.

However, you will find that many of the Dutch motorways around the larger cities prone to congestion, especially at peak times. The minor roads in the Netherlands are much quieter and will offer you a pleasant way of viewing the countryside and rural towns. Over the last 10 years or so, many Dutch councils have tried to limit the number of car journeys by placing traffic restrictions in towns, so this is likely to hamper the ease with which you can tour around. You will probably find it difficult to find a tour operator that provides all-in driving holiday packages to the Netherlands, in the way that you would to the USA, for example. However, it is relatively easy to put together your own driving holiday.

Winter Sun

Winter Sun in Netherlands

If you want to relax and bask in winter sunshine, then the Netherlands is probably not the best location for you. The Netherlands has a similar climate to most parts of the UK, with comparable rainfall and relatively little sunshine throughout the year. If anything, winters are a little colder than the UK, but the Gulf Stream does moderate the winter temperatures a little. However, there is nearly always a sea breeze and, in the north in particular, this can be quite biting as it sweeps across the low lands from the Baltic Sea. The coldest months are between December and February when temperatures linger around freezing on most days, even in the cities. The Netherlands is not an ideal location for a winter sun holiday.