Whether you spent the last few months in Utrecht discovering its hidden and not so hidden gems or you just got off the plane to start your new adventure, our amazing city has a lot to offer. Like a mysterious girl, she shows you a different face of hers every time you see her, be it a party city, a cultural centre, a university town or a hub for sports fans. However, even this versatile place would struggle to give you a complete overview of the Netherlands, and you might long to discover more of this country. Of course, nearly all students will have visited Amsterdam at some point, so there’s no need to mention the capital, but many other Dutch towns are waiting to be discovered! Here’s a list of our personal favourites in no specific order:
This city is a must-see on your Dutch travel list! Not only does it have a unique atmosphere due to the mix of Belgian, Dutch and German cultures but it’s one of those historical places you should visit. There are plenty of sights to see, including the Basilica of Our Lady and the Basilica of Saint Servatius, both of which are breath-taking pieces of architecture. If you want to see something that’s one of a kind, pay a visit to Boekhandel Dominicanen – a beautiful church which was transformed into a bookstore! There are also various museums, like the Museum aan het Vrijthof, which offer temporary exhibitions in different topics ranging from local artists’ works to arms collections. Plenty to see and to do! Oh, and Maastricht is also great for shopping 😉
The city is famous for its university, the oldest in the Netherlands. However, the town has much more to offer than “just” great education. It caters to culture-lovers with its wide range of museums where you can see everything from fine art to natural history. The city, just like Utrecht, is full of gorgeous parks that are ideal for hanging out with your friends and organising a picnic (once the weather gets a bit better). Until then, keep an eye on the Pieterskerk – the building used to be a church but now it operates as an events centre hosting musicals and other cultural events. Last but not least, don’t forget about Molenmuseum de Valk, a pretty tower mill of typical Dutch style that you can visit since it’s also a fascinating museum!
Not too far from Amsterdam, this city has a medieval character to it. Haarlem is a great daytrip destination for culture enthusiasts since it’s packed with all kinds of museums: from the Frans Hals Museum displaying Dutch masterpieces of art to Het Dolhuys, a national museum for psychiatry. If you’d just rather soak up the city’s vibe, take a long walk around the Grote Markt, the heart of the city where many festivals and markets are organised. As several other Dutch cities, Haarlem is also famous for its canal cruises during which you can experience the city from a completely different point of view. If you’re looking to pamper yourself with culinary experiences, hit De Jopenkerk: a former church that was transformed into a restaurant, a café and even houses a microbrewery where you can taste various kinds of beers!
As one of the biggest cities in the Netherlands, The Hague has a lot to offer to visitors and it’s impossible to discover everything in just one day. Still, it’s worth even to just visit for a day and check out the most important sights like Madurodam (a park filled with scale models of famous Dutch buildings), the Peace Palace (book your tour in advance though!) and the Panorama Mesdag (art museum housing beautiful paintings) just to mention a few. Car lovers, beware and visit the Louwman Museum that presents the world’s oldest private car collection – guaranteed you’ll have a blast. The Hague is also filled with various official and governmental buildings so if you’re studying Economics, International Relations or just have a knack for History and Law, you have to drop by!
Just like other Dutch towns, Eindhoven has a rich cultural and historical background. In the Second World War, air raids destroyed big parts of the city centre. However, Eindhoven reinvented itself and that results in a unique city filled with old churches like Sint-Catharinakerk and Temple des Augustins but also with unique new buildings like the Evoluon (a conference and events centre that also hosts theatre performances) and the van Abbe Museum (a state-of-the-art art museum). If you’re interested in thematic museums, go and see DAF Museum that shows the history and works of the brand, or Philips Museum that is rightly located in the birth city of the company. If you’re a foodie, check out Vershal het Veem that offers fresh products daily that come from enthusiastic specialists that are passionate about food.Eindhoven is also one of the most popular party cities for students!
Hopefully you enjoyed this brief overview of the best day trip destinations in the Netherlands and already feel the wanderlust to visit some of these cities – and many more! What are your favourite spots in the country? Let us know in a comment and tell us why you love it!