The Netherlands is a place that harmonises tradition with a sense of modernity and combines both with a relaxed and welcoming daily rhythm. Windmills and tulips there might be, but cutting edge architecture, world famous artistic creations, a vibrant nightlife and a spirited community all coexist and offer the visitor a unique travel experience!
What To Do
Dutch architecture and art have definitely made their name on the world stage, and the legacies of the likes of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer can be seen in many prestigious museums worldwide. Responsible for many ‘avant garde’ designs and engineering feats that have made the country what it is, Holland is a country full of possibility.
Despite the modern cities and ground-braking structures that have shaped them, Holland is also home to a remarkable landscape. Tulip fields and windmills may be a stereotype, but for a good reason. To find out more, head to the Tulip Museum for a quick overview of the flower’s interesting history. After a visit to the museum you can take a trip to the Keukenhof Flower Gardens, or enjoy a post lunch stroll along the Southern Canal Ring’s Bloemenmarkt .
Delve into Holland’s history at the Zuiderzeemuseum where you can see the reconstruction of more than 130 houses and craft workshops. Split into two sections, the museum is wonderful insight into the history of Holland, and you can easily spend half a day there. Other historical sites include the Royal Palace, which was opened as a town hall. Incredible marble features and the inlaid floor are the highlights, but pick up an audio guide for a comprehensive understanding of the building.
You can’t escape the café culture in Holland, or indeed the cycling – both integral parts of local life. Hire a bike and join everyone else criss-crossing the towns and countryside on the flat and wonderfully scenic roads, before relaxing in a cosy café with a coffee, alcoholic drink or a snack.
Not a main player on the stage of world cuisine, Holland does have some interesting and tasty dishes it can call its own. ‘Haring’ is Dutch New Herring and a must for fish lovers. Served with raw onions and gherkins, you can enjoy this food at delis and street stalls. The ‘kroket’ is a type of croquette, deep-fried and filled with ragout. Taste this and you can’t deny that the Dutch make some great snacks.
‘Erwtensoep’ is a delicious split pea and pork soup, typical of Dutch dishes, as is Stamppot, which is a stew made with vegetables and potatoes and served with rookworst, the famous Dutch sausage.
Stroopwafel, the waffle type cookie and Oliebollen, the delectable donut-like treat, are famous Dutch sweets.
Holland is definitely at its most pleasant between April and October, but for lovers of warmer weather, July and August are the times to visit. September can be subjected to a late summer flourish and winters can also enjoy sunny days. Experiencing a mild maritime climate with no extremes, summer temperatures average 19°C, while in winter it gets down to around 2°C, when there can be rain too.
Fog and mist can be an issue in Holland, although usually only in the winter months.
How To Get There
Amsterdam Schiphol is Holland’s main airport, with Eindhoven coming a close second. Rotterdam and The Hague Airport are two other airports often used by European tourists. From the UK, British Airways, Vueling and easyJet offer reasonable fares from London Luton, Gatwick and Stansted. On arrival, a transfer with Shuttle Direct is your best option for onward travel. Providing low cost transport services to and from all major airports, Shuttle Direct offer a reliable and fixed price service.
Direct Ferries provide a wide selection of routes from the UK to Holland. You can travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam, Hull to Rotterdam and Harwick to the Hook of Holland. Shuttle Direct can be on hand to collect you from any of these arrival ports.
Travelling overland by train is straightforward, with services running from London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet and Ashford International stations to Brussels. From here, connections to cities and towns in Holland are regular. Brussels to Amsterdam on the Thalys train takes under 2 hours. Shuttle Direct offer pick-ups from all major train stations in Holland too.
Travelling to The Netherlands? Don’t Miss…
De Efteling is one of the oldest theme parks in the world. With more than 30 attractions, this fantasy themed park makes for a fun day out.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is home to a large collection of artwork and historical artefacts. Highlighting Dutch culture through the ages, the museum hosts works by Frans Hals and Vermeer, among others.
Zaanse Schans, famous for its eight historic windmills all built in the 16th century, is also the location of thirty five interesting historical houses. The history of Zaan is exhibited in the open-air museum.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct offers low cost transfers to and from airports, cruise ports and train stations all across Holland, and throughout Europe and North Africa. Pre-book an airport transfer via our secure online booking system, and all your onward travel arrangements can be in place before you leave home.