A list of the 12 fairytale villages of the Netherlands that you definitely should not miss during your trip to this beautiful country.
While Amsterdam is, of course, the highlight of any trip to The Netherlands (and definitely a must-see), the country itself has SO much more to offer.
Just a few minutes away from the main cities you will find gorgeous Dutch villages where you can experience the real, authentic, Dutch way of living and learn a little bit about their history.
Having lived here for the past 10 years and feeling like I’ve (almost) seen the whole Netherlands (I still need to get myself up North to Groningen), I thought it’d be helpful to make this list for you of the best 12 Dutch villages you should not miss during your travels.
Even if you won’t have time to visit them all, I hope this post serves as inspiration for a future visit, so make sure to save it for later ;). I’ve also listed them in my recommended order, meaning that if you only have time for 1-2 villages, those top 2 would be my advice.
As the weather can really impact your whole experience, I would highly recommend planning your visit during late spring, summer, or early fall. It rains A LOT here in winter. 🙂
12 Beautiful Villages in The Netherlands You Should Not Miss
1. Giethoorn- the village with no roads of The Netherlands
Giethoorn is by far the most unique and picturesque out of all the Dutch villages and I’m pretty sure you might have already seen it all over your IG or Pinterest feeds.
This is the famous village with canals in The Netherlands, where there are no roads and you can only travel by boat. It is truly spectacular and definitely worth a visit.
You can reach it in about 1,5 hour drive from Amsterdam. You can find everything about it HERE.
2. Volendam – one of the best-known fishing villages of The Netherlands
Volendam is The Netherlands’ best-known fishermen’s village with old, colorful Dutch houses and great views of the sea.
Being located super close to Amsterdam (less than 30 minutes drive), it is often the perfect destination for a day trip from the city and a popular tourist destination.
There are lots of cool things to do here, from visiting the Volendam museum to having your picture taken in old, traditional Dutch clothes, to visiting the Cheese Factory.
And if you’re into fish, definitely try the Dutch traditional specialty – the herring.
Number 3 on our list of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands is Marken. This is also an old fishing village, located on a peninsula, pretty close to Volendam.
The beautiful old, green wooden houses make it a picturesque attraction for tourists from all over the world, yet it is far less visited than Volendam. So if you’re looking for a more quiet, yet authentic Dutch experience, then Marken is the one to go to.
4. Zaanse Schans – the perfect windmills experience in The Netherlands
If windmills are more of what you’re looking for, make sure to visit Zaanse Schans. This village offers a wonderful combination of traditional Dutch houses and beautiful, historic windmills (which btw you can visit inside). Did you know you can actually live inside a windmill?
You can reach Zaanse Schans in a 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station or by car, making it a perfect destination for a day trip from the city.
Kinderdijk is another one of these fairytale-like villages of the Netherlands where you can cycle between beautiful 18th-century windmills. You can also peek inside them and see exactly how they work.
Kinderdijk is located pretty close to Rotterdam, so you can combine it with a visit to the city as well in case you have the time. It’s about one hour drive from Amsterdam.
6. Vreeland – one of the most romantic villages of The Netherlands
This gorgeous little village is a secret gem, discovered by us during our first dates and travels together through The Netherlands.
While smaller and definitely not touristy, this village is SO charming and definitely worth a visit.
One of my favorite Dutch villages is Muiden, yet I feel I never visit it enough. Located just a few minutes away from Amsterdam, this cute, little village is perfect for a Sunday afternoon walk along its canals or simply a coffee in the sun.
If you have more time to spare, its main attraction is the Muiden Castle (Muiderslot), one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in The Netherlands.
8. Broek in Waterland – one of the cutest villages in The Netherlands
If you are looking for typical Dutch architecture and a quiet, peaceful village, away from the tourist crowds, then head over to Broek in Waterlands.
This picturesque little place is one of the most beautiful villages I’ve visited in The Netherlands. It left me with the feeling of wanting to come back for more. (It’s true, it was winter when we visited, so I am definitely planning to go back and see it again in spring. It’s completely different when all the flowers are in blossom).
9. Lisse – the flower paradise of Holland
Speaking of flowers, we cannot have a post of magnificent Dutch villages without including Lisse. Every year in spring, this cute little town turns into a flower paradise to the delight of millions of tourists from all around the world.
Here is also where you will find the famous Keukenhof – the flower park of The Netherlands. It is truly a must-see experience! If you don’t have the time or budget, a drive around the area will still be super impressive.
To be sure you see the flower fields, I suggest planning your trip around the end of April to the beginning of May.
Vinkeveen is this gorgeous, posh area by the lake, with beautiful houses and gardens. It is said that many Dutch celebrities live in this area, and you can easily understand why. The views are stunning, especially at sunset.
It’s very close to Amsterdam, you can easily reach Vinkeveen Plassen (Vinkeveen Lakes) during a 15-20 drive from the city.
A visit to the Loosdrecht Plassen (Loosdrecht Lakes) is a great way to experience how Dutch people spend their free time. You will love walking or cycling along the lakes, or even better, sailing on them. In winter you can often skate on the lake too.
The Dutch village which gave the name to the famous NY neighborhood (Brooklyn), Breukelen definitely deserves a visit during your stay in The Netherlands.
Situated close to the lakes of the Loosdrechtse Plassen, this town will delight you with its historic buildings, canals, and beautiful cafes.
So there we have it, my top 12 most beautiful villages of The Netherlands to add to your travel bucket list. I hope it was useful and inspired your future travels!
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