The Netherlands is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, and for good reason. Although its area is not very large, visiting this country is so enjoyable and combines a lot of history, nature and diverse attractions suitable for everyone, at any age, that an offer to travel here simply can’t be refused. It’s very possible that you’ve already had a taste of the Netherlands being that Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in the world, but how about stepping out of the big city to get to know the real Netherlands, its beautiful and welcoming residents and its breathtaking landscapes, better?
The next family-friendly trip will take you to the southern and extensive part of the country, between Southern Holland and North Arbat and Limburg districts, for an amazing trip you won’t forget for a long time.
Our journey in the south of the Netherlands will start in Rotterdam - the second largest city in the country after Amsterdam, which has the largest port in Europe as a whole! This is undoubtedly one of the most important cities in the Netherlands, and will also serve as a base for you to embark on some very pleasant day trips to nearby towns and villages. There is no shortage of attractions in Rotterdam, which is located in the South Holland region, and the city is a magnet for travelers from all over the world, where countless points of interest can be found.
Among other things, the city is known for its modern and advanced design, which resulted from extensive rehabilitation processes that were carried out after it was almost completely destroyed during World War II. So when you are here, do not miss a visit to the wonders of its new architecture, such as the marvelous cube house designed by architect Fiat Blam, the indoor market that was inaugurated in 2004 and quickly became one of the iconic sites of the city, the impressive Erasmus Bridge connecting the two banks of the Maas river, The Boymans van Beuningen Museum - one of the most important art institutions in the Netherlands, and the city's oldest zoo.
From the great, modern and central Rotterdam, you can leave on your second day in the area to two nearby cities, a little smaller, but one that will remind you of the more traditional Netherlands, which you probably know from well known pictures of the country. First, head for Delft, which is located about a half an hour's drive from Rotterdam and has direct contact with the Dutch dynasty, since the royal family is traditionally buried in the new church in the center of the city. It is highly recommended to visit this impressive building as well as the other focal points of Delft, which is designed in medieval style and full of impressive and fascinating buildings.
At the end of your visit to Delft, head east towards the city of Gouda, which is known as the source of popular and loved Gouda cheese. Here, of course, you can trace the origins of the traditional and tasty Dutch cheese, first of all in the De Goudse Waag, the cheese, and crafts museum, where you can learn about the process of producing the food and also taste its best. If you are in the Netherlands between April and August, be sure to arrive at Gouda on a Thursday, so you can also visit the big cheese market, where you can see how to shop traditionally and even buy yourself a delicious cheese wheel.
On your third day in the flat country, leave Rotterdam and South Holland, and continue east and south to the North Brabant district, the second largest in the country. To start your visit to the area, stop at the entrance, a small, pleasant and pastoral village especially suitable for a short and enjoyable day trip. You can wander here between the picturesque little streets of the place and get to know this beautiful town, which has existed since the 12th century.
After spending a few good hours in the charming setting, continue on to the great city of Den Bosch, the capital of North Brabant, where we recommend you spend your fourth day. If you arrive at the city in the afternoon or evening, take a short stroll through the bustling historic center where you can enjoy a good atmosphere as well as plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and charming boutique shops, centered around Minderbroedersplein and the narrow but lively Korte Putstraat, near there.
If you can taste the magic of Den Bosch, whose full name is 's-Hertogenbosch (admit that Den Bosch is better), then you must have already realized that you have reached a vibrant city full of attractions of every kind for everyone- for those art, architecture and history lovers among us and those who want to go out into nature and see green in their eyes.
For art and history lovers, there are quite a few places to visit around Den Bosch: from the art center of Hieronymus Bosch - an interactive museum dedicated to the famous 15th century Dutch painter who lived almost his whole life in the city and to the Stadnik Museum of Modern Art. Those interested in architecture and history are invited to view here a large number of buildings of historic value: the City Hall, St. John's Cathedral, the De Morien Building (the first brick house in the Netherlands) and more. For the naturalists, a variety of parks and national gardens surrounding Den Bosch await you, such as Park De Biesbosch, Moerputten and many more.
On your fifth day in the Netherlands, continue your journey of the delightful North Brabant district and head for Breda, one of the region's major cities, with a fascinating history that will serve both as an interest in itself and as a base for day trips to a number of nearby sites the following day.
Once you arrive in Breda, you can take a tour of the city and see the Grote Kerk Church, one of the city's most important historical monuments, built in the 13th century and designed in a traditional Gothic style with a huge bell tower of 97 meters. As well as the Breda Castle, which has been in its place for hundreds of years and serves as another focal point worth visiting. Art lovers among you will enjoy a visit to the Museum of the Image dedicated to visual culture, while animal lovers - and not necessarily the traditional ones - will find what they want at the Reptile House De Aarde, home to a wide variety of creatures such as turtles, crocodiles, snakes, and geckos.
Breda's surroundings are not without attractions that can enchant everyone, and your sixth day here is recommended to dedicate to one or more of them - because they can certainly offer you experiences that cannot be actualized every day. Whether you're here with the kids or are just amusement park enthusiasts who can’t wait to go on all the roller coasters – you have to get to Efteling - the famous amusement park of the Netherlands, just a 25-minute drive from Breda. It is one of the leading amusement parks in Europe and includes a variety of rides for all ages including 6 roller coasters.
Alternatively, if you desire a more relaxed experience that includes a connection to nature, head to Mastbos forest, a beautiful nature reserve located 3 kilometers south of Breda. Here you can walk peacefully among the pine trees planted hundreds of years ago in this vast 4 square kilometer park.
It is time to continue your journey in the south of the Netherlands, and on the seventh day, as you approach the end, turn to the great and interesting city of Eindhoven. On the way to it, don’t forget to stop in the picturesque little town of Baarle-Nassau, which has gained its uniqueness by being situated just on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium - and is actually divided between the two countries! This somewhat strange division, it should be said, creates an especially interesting situation in which you can be in both countries simultaneously, with the Belgians controlling 2,690 square feet of the town's total area.
At the end of your visit to Baarle-Nassau, you’ll continue to Eindhoven, another of the major cities of North Brabant, also known for the Philips Technology Corporation, and PSW Eindhoven, the city's football team which is considered one of the most well-known groups in the Netherlands. Beyond the two museums devoted to these symbols, which are so closely associated with the city, you can find a vibrant and lively atmosphere here, which is somewhat reminiscent of the capital Amsterdam, including many attractions, beautiful buildings and green parks that you can visit if you wish.
On the eighth and final day of your fascinating and enjoyable journey in the southern part of the Netherlands, leave the North Brabant district, where you’ve just spent the last several days, and advance towards your last destination - Maastricht, the capital of Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands. Maastricht - one of the oldest cities in the whole Netherlands, sits close to the Netherlands-Belgium-Germany border triangle, and therefore enjoys a magical international atmosphere as well as a fascinating history, which can’t be found just anywhere.
There is plenty to do in Maastricht, a magical and beautiful city by all accounts, and from a short stroll through the bustling city center, you’ll already be impressed by the many beautiful buildings of the place. Of course, you should know the man who is now identified with Maastricht more than many other things – is the famous conductor and violinist André Rieu, a native of the city, who every year conducts a spectacular show which attracts thousands of people. If you are there at this time, don’t miss this event!