During our Dutch road trip in 2017, Gary and I became quite fond of this region of the Netherlands.
It has undoubtedly tempted us to want to venture further around the country and discover more of its waterways, friendly locals and regional delicacies.
North and South Holland covers just part of the western region of the Netherlands, and although the name ‘Holland’ is often used to refer to the whole of the country, it is just these two provinces.
On a different trip, Gary and I visited Amsterdam, and I certainly couldn’t leave this colourful capital off of the shortlist.
Haarlem is only 12 miles north of Amsterdam, but the two cities feel worlds apart. The attractive weaving canals and the friendly people are similar, but Haarlem runs at a much slower pace.
Head to the Grote Markt or along the banks of the River Spaarne to find some outstanding architecture.
Our road trip to the Netherlands was in Spring, and that was mainly because we wanted to include a day out to Keukenhof.
You don’t really need to be a flower enthusiast to be able to appreciate the time and effort that is given to this park, it is amazing. Seven million bulbs are planted every year and kept manicured throughout the few months that it’s open.
Now a trip to Holland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Amsterdam and experience the ‘Venice of the North’. Famed for a few things other than its canals, this city is certainly vibrant and friendly.
However, it is so easy to step back a couple of streets or canals and stroll amongst the peaceful cobbled streets.
The UNESCO windmill network at Kinderdijk is a must see & definitely take the boat trip; you get a great perspective of the 19 windmills that grace the banks since 1740.
The area around Kinderdijk-Elshout is mostly below sea level, but the ingenious water management system of combining the windmills, pumping station, storage basins and ditches proved to keep the low-lying peat land dry.
Although Alkmaar is renowned for its cheese market traditions, which are held every Friday morning between April and September.
This is a lovely city to visit all year around, and it has some wonderful architecture, peaceful canals and a cute bronze statue of a Dutch girl.
Home to one of Holland’s famous cheese, Edam is a smaller town than I thought it was going to be.
Strolling around the lanes, you can certainly tell that it has historically been a prosperous town, with its towering Merchant Houses.
More cheese, I hear you cry!! It isn’t just cheese, so many towns in Holland have an incredible network of canals and Gouda is no exception.
Gouda’s Market Square is impressive; its unmissable centrepiece is the extremely imposing Gothic Style City Hall, built between 1448 and 1450.
Hoorn lies on the IJsselmeer, a lake north of Amsterdam. It has a lovely harbour and canals and some curious statues dotted around the town.
The main square is particularly attractive with merchant houses encircling it.
Volendam was a bit busier than I expected, after visiting Edam.
However, it has some very endearing qualities, notably the bustling little harbour, with imposing Dutch barges moored up along the quay and the quaint, colourful wooden buildings that look down upon it.
A beautiful little town, it was initially founded by Monks, hence the name, which translates to ‘Monk’s dam’.
Like other fishing villages in this area, Monnickendam has some lovely canals to stroll around and are so peaceful.
So often with these towns the De Waag (Weigh Houses), have been wonderfully preserved.
Inspired to visit Holland?
We’ve given you ten places we loved. If you’ve a car, Holland is easy to get around, so why not explore.
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