Windmills, tulips, Amsterdam, cheese and canals. That‘s what comes first to mind when you hear about the Netherlands. Every year thousands of people visit Amsterdam and love it for its vibrant atmosphere. However, this tiny country has a lot more to offer. And dont get me wrong – I love Amsterdam and its canals! But today, I will take you on a journey through some not so mainstream, but unique experiences.
Sleep in a castle
Neighboring Germany is famous wolrd-wide for its fairy tale palaces, but did you know the Netherlands has about 300 castles? Some of them are currently in private hands, many didn‘t stand the test of time, but luckily quite a few are open to the public. Several castles have been turned into hotels with restaurants, and event venues. Fancy the idea of a sleepover at a medieval castle? Then check out Chateau St. Gerlach, Duin & Kruidberg or Doorwerth castle. I found about these by accident while I was looking at castles for a day trip. I visited De Haar castle, which is the biggest one in the country. Just as a side note, De Haar hosts an annual Elf Fantasy Fair, where one could dress up as any creature they want!
Sleep on a boat
Maybe this one does not sound so unusual, but it sure did to me! Two years ago I was looking for cheap accommodation in Amsterdam and while I was scrolling on Booking, this popped up. If you are familiar with the housing situation in A‘dam, you know people have turned their boats into floating houses. Well, some offer this experience to tourists as well! I ended up going for a traditional hotel, just because of the circumstances of my trip, but I really think you should give this canal hotel idea a try!
You may also like: A Guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Skate your way through the canals
How magical and dreamy does this sound?! Well, if I have to be honest, one must really be lucky to actually experience this. Sometimes in winter, when the temperatures go down, the canals in Amsterdam – or other places – freeze. It is still on my bucket list to go canal skating in the town of Giethoorn. And if you still have not heard of Giethoorn, well… Just put it on your list, regardless of the season! Of course, frozen canals are not an everyday thing, but if you are planning on a visit in the cold months, keep this idea in mind!
Cycle through tulip fields
Ah, tulips. Can we talk about the Netherlands and not think of tulips? Well, probably yes, but not today. Inarguably, the blossoming tulip fields in springtime are a spectacular sight. So what better – and more Dutch – way to experience them than cycling? The most famous route is the Keukenhof one. It winds through some of Holland‘s most beautiful tulip fields and ends at the Keukenhof tulip garden. This is one of the country‘s most famous sites, so it is worth visiting! However, if you are not a fan of the frenzy that Keukenhof might be, then I have something else for you. Other parts of the country, like the province of Zeeland, also have tulip fields, which are not so popular among tourists. You can organize a day trip on you own to any of the following places: Hulst (province of Zeeland), The Flower strip (the area between Haarlem and Leiden), the provinces of Nord-Holland and Flevoland.
You may also like: Visiting Lucerne, Switzerland
Visit and dine at a beer brewery
Apart from tulips, the Netherlands are famous for their beer. Everybody knows Heineken, of course, but there are tens – if not hundreds – of other small breweries that make their own craft beer. One such company is the Slot Oostende. What used to be a castle, now houses the small brewery, a restaurant and a hotel. You can book a historical tour, a tour around the brewery with beer testing or just grab a bite at the restaurant. It is situated in Goes, in the province of Zeeland, and my visit there was a part from the introduction week at college. On the brewery tour one gets to see where thousands of beer are prepared weekly and learn about the different tastes they prepare. There‘s a whole lot of them, trust me!
I hope this post gave you fun ideas about some off the beaten path ways to experience the ‘Low lands‘. Let me know what you think and share your cool activities in the comments!
Pin this for later!