1. Visit Amsterdam: You already know the usual list of things to do here but it’s a great city for just exploring on foot. The day we were there was foggy and cloudy and we still loved it. Check out all the house boats lining the canals and take the obligatory walk through the city’s “red light district.” Also, make sure you check out the Ann Frank House/Museum, it’s a truly moving experience to walk through the family’s story inside the actual home where it all happened. Word of advice: buy tickets online to avoid the queue which can take more than an hour sometimes. 2. Visit Haarlem: We spent a week here and loved it but you don’t need that much time to check out everything this little city has to offer. To begin with it’s ridiculously cute. Everywhere you look it’s canals and flowers and beautiful architecture. Spend some time in Grote Markt, pick one of the delicious restaurants with outdoor seating, and take it all in. There are also some great boutiques here if you want to spend the afternoon shopping. Plus, it’s only 20 minutes from Amsterdam by train.
3. Ride a bike: Even if you haven’t ridden a bike in years. Do it in Holland. Biking is not a hobby here, it’s a way of life. Men, women and children do it, babies do it in baskets on the front, dogs do it in baskets on the back, groceries do it on the handlebars. There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands. People here tell us they have 4 or 5 bikes for all different types of riding. Nearly every street is lined with bikes and riders, and parking lots are filled with bikes, not cars. It can be intimidating to join the masses of bikers and cars out in the streets, but do it. I promise you will not be disappointed. It’s too much fun!
4. Visit Zandvoort beach: Not only is this beach beautiful, it has a very laid-back feel with plenty of great restaurants to get delicious food right on the water. We got Gouverneur beers and ate a long slow meal in the sun before walking along the water. Head into the cute little town to get ice cream, you’ll be surprised by its numerous offerings. Word of advice: when you buy tickets to “Zandvoort,” make sure you enunciate clearly, we accidentally got tickets to “Santpoort” the first time around!
5. Check out the nightlife: When you think of Holland, great nightlife probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but maybe it should be. Even in Haarlem we found a number of awesome bars and clubs playing great music with fun people. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down here. Go out, make friends, and let the hours melt away into the early morning. These are the nights you’ll remember forever.
Have you been to Holland? What would you add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!