Gouda is a typical Dutch city with lots of old buildings and pretty canals, and is a popular destination for a day trip, thanks to its great rail- and highway connections. The city is famous for its cheese, its stroopwafels (syrup waffles), candles and its clay pipes. Attractions in Gouda include the beautiful 15th century town hall and the amazing glass windows in St. Janskerk. The compact city center is entirely ringed by canals and is a mere five minutes’ walk from the station.
Once a mere 13th century fishing village, Rotterdam is the Netherlands most modern city today. Very bike friendly like Amsterdam, Rotterdam boasts several districts for visitors to explore. The popular Delfshaven district is where the pilgrims launched sail from in 1620, and the summertime festivals and carnivals there attract visitors from nearby European countries every year. Erasmus Bridge is highly unique and imposing, but highly regarded as a work of art, as it soars over Europe’s largest harbor. By far, the most popular visitor stop is at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where artworks on display span from the Middle Ages to modern times, including masterpieces by Dali, Van Gogh, Bosch, and Rembrandt.
This culturally diverse university city is small but boasts two colleges, making it the main place to visit in the northern part of the Netherlands, especially concerning the arts, business, and education. Museum lovers never tire in Groningen, as the Groninger Museum is one of the most innovative and modern in all of Holland, and there is additionally a graphical museum, comics museum, maritime museum, and a university museum. Music and theater abound in Groningen, and many street cafes feature live entertainment. Because of its high student population, nightlife hotspots are a huge attraction, with The Grote Markt, the Peperstraat, and the Vismarkt being the most popular.
The center of the tulip bulb-growing district, Haarlem is unofficially dubbed Bloemenstad, which means ‘flower city’ and is naturally the home of the Annual Bloemencorso Parade. This quiet bedroom community lies along the shoreline of the Spaarne River and boasts numerous intact medieval structures around town. Visitors enjoy shopping and perusing the stunning architecture and museums along the Grote Markt city center. Popular museums in Haarlem include the oldest museum in the country, the Teylers Museum, which specializes in natural history, art, and science exhibits. Art aficionados find themselves drawn to the Franz Hals Museum where many Dutch masters’ works rest.
The rich Middle Age history of Utrecht is very apparent in the city’s architecture, with its most unique feature being the inner canal wharf system that was created to stave off parts of the Rhine River from invading the city center. Utrecht’s claim to fame may be the fact that it boasts the largest college in the Netherlands, the University of Utrecht. Another notable visitor attraction in Utrecht includes the awe-striking Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin, a 200-year structural feat that began in 1254. Architecture and museum enthusiasts should not miss the Dom Tower, the Rietveld Schroder House, and the Museum Speelklok, which boasts a vast collection of striking clocks, music boxes, and self-playing musical instruments.