Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful and attractive cities in the world and luck has nothing to do with it. Its historical atmosphere combined with the mentality of a modern metropolis creates a unique, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. That said, the areas around Amsterdam are a treasure chest waiting to be opened. How can you make the most of your next DFDS break to Holland? Come with us and learn the best tips to fully enjoy your next Dutch experience.
If this inspires you to book, take a look at our offers including transportation of your car so you can explore Holland to your heart’s content.
Why explore its surroundings?
A visit to Amsterdam isn’t complete without a visit to its surroundings. It doesn’t matter if you are driving, sitting in a train or riding a bike, Holland is so well connected and it has so much to discover, that you won’t stop exploring it. Not far from its historic canals, its gabled houses or its old master paintings from the Golden Age, you can discover the real Holland. Do you want to join us?
Stop 1: Tulips In Bloom
There are few astonishing flower regions in Holland and all of them are just a step from Amsterdam, but today we are going to talk about the one and only Flower Bulb region that covers the landscape between Leiden and Haarlem. This region, connecting the Randstad cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht), is where you have to go if you want to see the world renowned Dutch flowers with your own eyes.
This is the area where tulip farmers grow their flowers, yielding beautiful vistas every spring and summer. When the tulips bloom, you will think you are part of a blockbuster movie, a Dutch movie. Explore the region by bicycle or stroll through The Keukenhof, the second biggest floral park in the world and make the most out of your holidays in Holland!
In case you are looking for something unique, come to Holland during the Flower parade on the 22nd and 23rd of April. For this annual event, you will want to save the date. Tens of motorized flower floats follow a route from Noordwijk to Haarlem, showcasing the most amazing flower crafts. You, definitely, don’t want to miss it.
Stop 2: Windmills, Canals And Clogs
Go to Zaandam. This little village north of Amsterdam is the perfect destination for a 24 or 48 hour excursion. This city is well known for its world-famous 250-year-old windmill park nearby, a magic village that represents the Holland of a bygone era.
Zaanse Schans is a must-see in your next trip to Holland. Travel back in time to the Dutch Golden Age and get inside one of these giant windmills, or see how the best cheese is created, or admire the traditional clog crafting in which you will learn in depth about the rich history and culture of the Dutch.
However, don’t underestimate this village, because of its size, it has remarkable places to sleep and some cool places to eat and drink. Book your dinner beside the canals and enjoy your evening with inspiring views of windmills or perhaps some drinks in a boat crossing among them. Choose your desired dates and book in advance, because, this is the best windmill park you can ever visit.
Stop 3: Metropolitan Cities
Amsterdam is the entrance to a number of smaller but very authentic cities nearby. Have you ever heard of Haarlem or Alkmaar? Come with us to see how to make the most of your next trip to Holland.
Haarlem, is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. The centre of the city is full of historic buildings and beautiful old squares near the beach on the banks of the Spaarne river. Don’t miss a stroll through the narrow streets and get inside one of its renowned museums, like Frans Hals, or one of its countless cafés and restaurants.
Alkmaar is well known for its quaint and ancient tradition of cheese trading. Back in the 14th century, the cheese was weighed in the main square of the city. Nowadays, this tradition has been kept for visitors to watch. From April until September, every Friday morning, you can see the cheese porters moving around 66,000 pounds of the ‘yellow gold’ each day. A very interesting performance to watch!
Stop 4: Authentic Villages
Only 30 minutes away from Amsterdam you can find yourself in one of the most picturesque landscapes of the country. A small road surrounded by green fields, bike paths and windmills drive you to 3 of the most quintessential Dutch villages in Holland; Edam, Volendam and Marken.
These three towns are close to the IJsselmeer lake and deserve a 1 day excursion to discover their charming atmosphere and authentic atmosphere.
Bike or stroll around the streets and squares, visit some of the traditional shops and get a boat to cross through the old sea transformed into a lake (after the building of the famous closing dike in the north of Holland); one of the most impressive human constructions in the world.
Where To Eat In Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of the cities that demonstrates that Holland is among the culinary cream of the crop. It boasts three restaurants with two Michelin stars; Ciel Bleu, &samhoud places and Bord’eu and countless one-star restaurants, making it a wonderful destination for lovers of the culinary arts!
Would you like to have a typically Dutch meal or would you prefer international cuisine? Everything is possible. Whether you prefer a classical restaurant by the water, a lovely brasserie or a terrace with a view of the monumental buildings... Amsterdam has it all!
Go, for example, to Restaurant Greetje, a typically Dutch restaurant that uses produce grown on Dutch soil. Or Le Restaurant, which is almost ‘hidden’ in an ordinary street in the Pijp district. Or explore the menu of Wilde Zwijnen, which features dishes inspired by Dutch cuisine. Let culinary Amsterdam surprise you!
What To Do In Amsterdam
A visit to Amsterdam isn’t complete without enjoying the canals. They are a symbol of Amsterdam and of great cultural and historical value. For instance, The Singel is a canal in Amsterdam which is famous for its Flower Market. Stroll through the Begijnhof (an inner court that dates from around 1300 with typical Amsterdam-style houses) and the several well-known squares in Amsterdam, with each of them having its own typical characteristics.
Visit on of the world renowned museums Madame Tussauds, discover the secrets of diamond cutting at Royal Coster Diamonds and Gassan Diamonds and learn more about Heineken beer at the Heineken Experience. And don’t forget to marvel at the city parks and urban gardens like the Vondelpark and Hortus Botanicus. You’d better book an extra day in Amsterdam if you want to see all of its attractions!
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