Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

The Netherlands is a fantastic country to visit and is famous for both its windmills and beautiful villages.

Though the busy society of the Netherlands’ capital city, Amsterdam, attracts a lot of tourism, you must visit the country’s villages in order to truly appreciate just how beautiful the Netherlands really is.

You’ll want to explore as much of this wonderful country as you possibly can during your visit, and traveling between different villages for day trips is the perfect way to see everything.

So, here are the 11 most beautiful villages in the Netherlands that you absolutely have to visit.

1. Winsum

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Winsum

If you love to travel for history then you’ll have a great time in Winsum. Not only was it voted the most beautiful village in the Netherlands by ANWB in 2020, but Winsum also offers some interesting Dutch history as well.

It actually used to be two separate villages, called Obergum and Bellingweek, but the construction of two bridges over the Winsumerdiep canal helped form them into one.

And these bridges are just the start of the stunning old architecture that Winsum has to offer.

With two traditional windmills that were built in the 19th century and a tavern that has been in operation since the 16th century, history is entrenched in Winsum and gives tourists plenty to look at.

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Winsum

With only 8000 inhabitants, the village is a peaceful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busier cities in the Netherlands.

You can hire a kayak to explore the canal, visit the old church, and go to the small family farm, Kaasboerderij Kleikracht, so activities are diverse and allow you to take in the entire village.

2. Hollum

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Hollum

If you are eager to throw yourself into as many activities as possible then Hollum is a must-visit village in the Netherlands.

It is located on the island of Ameland and has retained almost all of its 18th-century beauty and architecture while also introducing plenty of modern tourist activities.

To get the best vantage point on the island, climb to the top of the Ameland Lighthouse in Hollum and admire the miles of natural beauty.

If you are interested in seeing further interesting architecture then make sure to check out the 12th-century Reformed Church.

Hollum Reformed Church

And that is not all. You can make the most of the water around Hollum by booking yourself into activities which include surfing, kiting and kayaking.

If you fancy a break from those water activities then turn your interests to the commander houses that housed whaling boat captains, or the specialty museum Abraham Fock, which tells about Ameland’s history with the sea and its horse rescue boat.

More history can be found in Hollum’s other history and military museums, so you will not be bored there for a second.

3. Urk

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Urk

The youngest province in the Netherlands, Flevoland, is where you can find Urk. It is a fishing village that looks perfectly picturesque down by the water’s edge.

In Urk, you can really through yourself in Dutch culture by learning the village’s local language, the Urkers dialect, and informing yourself about Urk’s history of fishing.

The best way to really embrace what the village is all about is by visiting the fish market and sampling some tasty, fresh cuisine from the lakes.

You’ll want to explore the water as well because Urk is a fishing village, and what better way to take it in than to take a ride on a real fishing boat across the lake.

Urk Fishing Boats

You’ll be able to combine sightseeing and history into one day trip, and you can also partake in swimming and kiting at the lake. And though there is a huge focus on fishing, Urk is not short of other things to see.

Also, take a walk through the village to locate its various statues and monuments, as well as the Museum Het Oude Raadhuis, which has plenty to see inside.

Just make sure to avoid visiting on a Sunday because the people of Urk do not work Sundays due to their religious beliefs.

4. Broek in Waterland

Broek in Waterland, Netherlands

Without having to go too far from the capital, you can transport yourself to another world by visiting Broek in Waterland.

Though all the mentioned villages are beautiful, this one truly is a paradise because of how stunning the natural landscape is.

If you are looking for a peaceful place to visit and spend your time surrounded by greenery and stretches of water then you won’t need to travel any further than Broek in Waterland.

Broek in Waterland

You can rent a car or bike to explore the village in all its glory, or you can join a bus tour to take you to all the best places to see.

If you would rather admire the village from the water then definitely go for a boat tour. And the village’s buildings do not spoil the look of the natural landscape at all.

The ancient Dutch streets and houses have a charming feel to them and a 17th-century church sits in the middle of the village.

If you are lucky enough to visit in winter then you may see the inhabitants ice skating on the frozen lake, so Broek in Waterland really will deliver no matter the season.

5. Orvelte

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Orvelte

Located in the province of Drenthe, Orvelte was built way back in the 10th century and remains a beautiful agricultural town in the 21st century.

It is perfectly tranquil, with a population of less than 100, so you will truly be escaping to the past in Orvelte. The traditional culture of the village is alive in every paved road, every thatched house, and every wooden farmhouse.

You can even get about the village in a horse-drawn carriage to explore everything it has to offer.

Horse-Drawn Carriage In Orvelte

There are lots of shops to visit where you can buy trinkets and other mementos, as well as places to buy clothes, plants and pottery.

The village even has its own tiny zoo, the Bizar, if you are visiting for a family day out. Everything about Orvelte feels authentic and historic, and you can take in all the sights throughout the day.

Orvelte Zoo Bizar

6. Giethoorn

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Giethoorn

This village is a unique place to visit because it doesn’t actually have any roads at all. In fact, it is referred to as the Venice of the Netherlands’ because it is instead made up of bridges and canals.

Giethoorn is one of the most peaceful and delightful of all the Dutch villages because the lack of traffic only makes it look and smell better. You’ll have a lovely and active day out in Giethoorn, exploring on foot or by boat.

The bridges connect several small islands to form the village, so you won’t run out of things to do.

You can look in the shops, sample cuisine in the restaurants, and admire the historical beauty of the cobblestone streets and wooden houses.

Giethoorn Canals And Boat

There are also farms to explore, so this is another great village to spend time in as a family. And you can get to the De Weerribben-Wieden National Park close to Giethoorn as well if you are interested in seeing more of the Netherlands’ wildlife and nature.

You likely won’t have visited anywhere like this village before, so it should definitely be on your list to show you a different side of life after the bustling capital city.

7. Hindeloopen

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Hindeloopen

When we travel, we want to explore as many different cultures, languages and sights as possible, and Hindeloopen is one of the best villages in the Netherlands for all three.

It was established way back in the 13th century as an important part of the international shipping trade, which made it into the stunning blended community it is today.

You can see English, Frisian and Danish heritage in the clothing, buildings and languages of this village, so you can embrace a massive culture.

It is another sparsely populated village, housing just 700 people. You’ll be able to take in the beauty of Hindeloopen away from the crowds and admire every bridge, canal and harbor that you pass.

Views Of Hindeloopen

The village’s history is also kept very much alive in its monuments, which include an area called the ‘Liars’ Bench’ because it is where sailors would congregate to tell fabricated travel tales.

You’ll have some great photo opportunities in Hindeloopen, and you can get informed about the village’s impressive history by visiting its museum, harbor and lockkeeper’s house.

8. Marken

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Marken

Though it is a small place, Marken certainly does not lack the beauty and charm of the other villages. It is a fair bit more remote than some of the others because it can be found in North Holland approximately 17 kilometers from Amsterdam.

Don’t let the location put you off though, because there is still plenty to see and do, especially in such a quiet, picturesque village.

You can tour it on foot and admire how pretty the houses look, or get on the water with fishing boats.

Scenery In Marken

Clogs are a part of Dutch culture that you can also embrace in Marken because the village offers a live demonstration of their creation.

If you want to learn more about the village’s history then there is the Marken Museum, and a fully functioning lighthouse makes for some great photographs as well. Visiting Marken is a beautiful retreat.

9. Kinderdijk

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Kinderdijk

You can’t get more beautiful than a former World Heritage Site, so definitely don’t skip out on going to Kinderdijk while you’re in the Netherlands.

Though the village may be famous for its network of nineteen huge windmills, it is the fields of endless grass and flowers that truly set them off.

There are also stretches of water near the windmills, making this village a true example of how beautiful the Netherlands really is.

Going for a walk or bike ride past the network of windmills will allow you to take in natural beauty for as far as the eye can see.

Walking And Bike-Riding Beside Windmills In Kinderdijk

And if you want to learn more about them then there are two museums on two of the windmills, so you will be able to appreciate just how important they are to Dutch culture.

You can easily reach this tranquil paradise from Rotterdam, and it is perfect for those who enjoy learning, a family day out, or a romantic stroll past the scenery.

10. Westerbork

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Westerbork

Behind its beautiful scenery, Westerbork is an incredibly sobering village to visit. It is located near a Nazi transit camp that countless prisoners passed through on their way to concentration camps during the Second World War.

You can educate yourself about this tragic history at the Camp Westerbork Museum, which is located on the same site. It is an important place that you simply must visit in the village.

And after you have learned about the village’s history, you can admire the other preserved tourist attractions, which include a 15th-century church.

A lighter activity to finish your day trip is the Papercutting Museum, which is a very unique place to visit. You can admire lots of intriguing art made of paper-cuttings and take part to make your own, which could even end up being displayed in the museum.

Westerbork Papercutting Museum

This activity is perfect for families and those who enjoy different styles of art, and you’ll take in plenty of scenery walking around the village.

11. Domburg

Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands - Domburg

Domburg is a lovely village to visit, especially with its beautiful beaches down by the sea. It is a fun seaside escape that is the perfect place to visit when the weather is bright.

You can enjoy sunbathing, swimming and water sports to enjoy the landscape to its fullest. A nature reserve called De Manteling sits adjacent to Domburg, so you can explore that too and take in plenty of nature.

Though its history for travelers stretches back as far as the 17th century, Domburg has some great modern additions that make it ideal for tourists.

You can stay in a hotel if you want your visit to span a few days, which would give you the chance to have a beach day and a day to explore the forest and the biology museum, Terra Maris.

Travel Tips

Of course, you must refer to the COVID-19 guidelines of your country to determine if you will be able to visit the Netherlands right now.

The Dutch government has published a checklist online for travel to the Netherlands, so you must read that before booking any flights or accommodation. This list classifies different countries based on how risky they are and how much concern they are perceived with at the moment.

If your country is currently a high-risk and high-concern country then you may need to postpone your trip until the checklist is updated.

Getting To The Netherlands

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

The main international airport in Amsterdam is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, so your flight will most likely land there.

Then, you can get to any of these villages by car, by bus, by boat, or even on foot for those that are very close to the capital.

There is plenty of information available to help you plan your visits to each village and Amsterdam is a great place to start from because you’ll be able to access plenty of public transport and hire facilities to help you get around the Netherlands with ease.


Accommodations In Amsterdam Netherlands

Amsterdam is also a great place to stay while visiting the Netherlands because you will be close to the airport, able to travel to the villages easily, and you can find everything you need in the busy city.

If you are looking for a luxurious place to stay then there is the famous Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam or the Ambassade Hotel.

Some other great options include the Pulitzer Amsterdam, the Hoxton, the Hotel Pontsteiger, the Swissotel Amsterdam, the Monet Garden Hotel, and the Radisson Blu Hotel.


Most Beautiful Villages In The Netherlands

The Netherlands certainly doesn’t have a shortage of beautiful and interesting villages and you’ll find yourself with plenty to do on your visit to each.

Taking trips to several villages is a fantastic way to take in as much Dutch culture, society and history as possible, and you can top it all off with some great nights spent in Amsterdam too.

Though there are even more villages than mentioned in this article, these 11 are some of the most beautiful that any lover of architecture, nature and culture should visit immediately.


By Lala