Luxury Travel to Holland: The Enchanting Land of Windmills

Holland is an integral part of the maritime region in Western Netherlands. However, the name has been habitually used to refer to the whole country and is accepted to mean synonymous to each other. But referring to Holland itself, it is comprised of four of the largest cities in Netherlands. These cities are Amsterdam, Rottendam, The Hague, and Utrecht.

Holland is luxury travel destination for many individuals. It is a worthy inclusion in anyone’s travel itinerary because of its scenic landscape fortifies by its epic bodies of water, coastal dunes, historic windmills, and fragrant tulips.

For travelers who have already reached Holland, the sight of tulips in their natural habitat is a breath-taking view that is worth reminiscing. All over the region, it is impossible not to see these floral wonders gracing the lands. For this reason, Netherlands remain a stronghold to beat in terms of tulip export. So the next time you give your flame a bouquet of tulips, it might have come from Holland.

The exploration of Holland would never be complete without getting near the famous windmills – for which it has been best known of. To date, there are about 1200 surviving windmills all over the region. These brilliant products of early settlers continue to attract visitors. For many, these things are excellent offspring of science and architecture.

The region also boasts of its own luxury restaurants. The voracious appetite of travelers will be kept into its satisfying levels when native cuisines set feast for the eyes while soothing the nose with the flavorful and savory aroma. The unique menu of the restaurants and diners in the region may be noticeable of the utilization of cheese. Stop wondering at all because the region is one of the best producers of high-quality cheese evident with the great texture, taste, and forms.

Fashion has its own place in Holland. Modern-day fashion rules designer boutiques and retail outlets. For travelers who want to take on authentic Hollander fashion, the purchase and wearing of the klederdracht, or traditional dress is an additional experience. For women, wooden-made clogs are conventional footwear. These are mostly used in essence of tap shoes although there are also industrial uses such as in farms and factories.

Put your travel to Holland to its maximum. Experience what other luxury travelers have been through. Aside from the scenic views of the region, there are also other notable places that have etched their places in Dutch history.

A wealth of historic landmarks is located within the perimeters of Holland. For foreigners and other visitors, casting shadows on its world-class museums is equivalent to an enriching journey to its history. Most of these museums are open for free visits.

The region itself is a site to enjoy. The old structures are remindful of the medieval society while modern infrastructures give it the right flavor of modernism and technology.

Budget Travel to Amsterdam, The Netherlands

There are many historic and beautiful cities in Holland, such as Haarlem, Leiden and Delft – and that’s just part of The Netherlands.

Great Dutch artists have spanned the centuries and you can see the masterpieces of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and their contemporaries at the great museums of Amsterdam and The Hague.

Amsterdam’s phenomenal and diverse nightlife is world-famous and it’s not unique. The wonderful Dutch brown cafes, where you can pass hours in the mellow companionship of friends new and old, can be found in every town.

You’ll discover that cliches such as tulips and windmills have their joys too. Every spring ribbons of flowers swath the fields in colour near Leiden, for as far as the eye can see.

The locals live on bicycles and you can too. Almost every train station has a shop to rent a bike and soon you’re off on the infinite number of bike paths blazing your own trail wherever your mood takes you.

Finally there’s the Dutch themselves. Warm, friendly and funny, you’ll have a hard time alone in a cafe as someone will soon strike up a conversation, and usually in English. Revel in Amsterdam, don’t miss exquisite Maastricht or pulsing Rotterdam and choose selection of small towns to add contrast. It’s a very big small country.

Amsterdam

If Amsterdam were a staid place it would still be one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cities, right up there with Venice and Paris. But add in the qualities that make it Amsterdam: the funky and mellow bars, brown cafes full of characters, pervasive irreverence, whiffs of pot and an open-air marketplace for sleaze and sex and you have a literally intoxicating mix.

Amsterdam’s always been a liberal place, ever since the Golden Age, when it led European art and trade. Centuries later, in the 1960s, it again led the pack – this time in the principles of tolerance, with broadminded views on drugs and same-sex relationships taking centre stage.

Wander the 17th-century streets, tour the iconic canals, stop off to enjoy a masterpiece, discover a funky shop and choose from food around the world. Walk or ride a bike around the concentric rings of the centre then explore the historic lanes of the Jordaan district or the Plantage and bask in the many worlds-within-worlds where nothing ever seems the same twice.

Cheap youth hostels in Amsterdam are the way to stay if your backpacking through the Netherlands. Here’s a list of the top 5 youth hostels in Amsterdam:

Cocomama 93%

What could be more exciting and unique than to stay in a place that was Amsterdam’s most famous brothel back in the day? Cocomama is housed in a monumental building, complete with high ceilings, chandeliers and lots of daylight. The rooms are decorated with different Dutch themes to give you a real Holland experience. You will find comfortable beds, lockers, power outlets and a shower in your room, but we really want you to come and hang out with us and other travellers in the common areas.

Flying Pig Downtown 90%

Looking for some fun nights of chatting with fellow travellers on lounge pillows, playing pool, dancing in a bar, or relaxing in a ‘happy room’? Downtown is the ideal spot! If you’re in the ‘want-to-mingle-tonight-and-just-want-to-watch-television-mood’ there are DVD movies playing plus 24 hour free internet access. The bar, which has the cheapest beer in town, is open until 4AM every night!

St Christopher’s at The Winston 87%

The Winston is a cool art hotel/hostel with Belushi’s bar, beer garden and large indoor smoking area with pool table! Rooms and hallways are designed by independent local and international artists, or sponsored by famous brands. Choose from private rooms or dorm accommodation, all with an ensuite bathroom, breakfast, linen, towels and taxes.

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark 83%

Stay in the green heart of Amsterdam! Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark; your best bed in low budget accommodation! This modern Hostelling International hostel is situated right in the middle of the famous Vondelpark, within walking distance of the Van Gogh- and the Rijksmuseum and at crawling distance from the Leidseplein with its famous nightlife.

Top Tips for Visiting the Netherlands During Tulip Season

There’s nothing quite like a colourful sea of blooming tulips. Not many people can claim to have seen the phenomenon. If they have, it’s most likely to have been in the Netherlands, the world’s unofficial tulip capital. For a wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating spring weekend holiday, take a trip to tulip country, also home to picturesque cities, great beer, cheese and clog-shaped souvenirs.

Tulip-Related Activities

No visit to the Netherlands between late March and late May is complete without a trip to Keukenhof Gardens where the natural world really comes to life showcasing more spectacular colours than you’d come across anywhere else. The massive park is dedicated to tulips. Each year flowers are planted in various formations and colour hues to celebrate a set theme. In 2012, Poland – Heart of Europe, is the focus of the two-month long tulip extravaganza. Expect to hear classical music on the repertoire from Chopin and alike as the organisers believe flowers and music are a match made in heaven.

Events at Keukenhof in 2012 will include Chopin Weekend on the 24th and 25th March, a Dutch costume festival on 30th March and 1st April and an Easter Hat Parade on 9th April as well as many others. No wonder CNN network’s named Keukenhof one of the year’s top destinations worldwide!

Buses to the attraction leave regularly from Schiphol Station and central Amsterdam.

Nearby you’ll also find vast tulip bulb farmers’ fields that can be explored on foot or by bike. The fields are fully operational and much wilder than Keukenhof’s groomed flower beds. Guided tours are available for those wishing to find out a bit more about how tulips became to be one of the Netherlands’ most renowned national symbols, how new varieties are developed and what it takes to grow a healthy batch of tulips.

Other Activities

A must for visitors to the Netherlands is a canal boat tour in Amsterdam, Leiden or other cities with developed canal systems. The tours are guided and provide great insights into how local lives and livelihoods have changed over the years with the development of industry. Views from the boats are unrivalled.

Gourmet travellers will enjoy trips to some of the country’s finest cheese farms and markets. Some of the most popular tourist attractions are the Henri Willig cheese farms and Clara Maria Cheese Farm and Clog Factory. Both offer visitors the chance to sample traditional cheeses.

Beer brewery tours are another good way to spend time in the Netherlands. In central Amsterdam venture to Brouwerij t’Ij, or go south and pay a visit to Brouwerij De Molen in Bodegraven, South Holland.

Make the best of your time in the Netherlands by combining a trip to see the flowers and other rural attractions with a city break. The country’s small and boasts and excellent transport system with frequent trains connecting all major cities from Amsterdam to Groningen, to Maastricht.

If you’re flying to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, it’s just a short train ride away from the capital’s central train station. To give you time to explore as many sights as possible without having to plan any inner city transfers, book yourself into a hotel Amsterdam right next to the train station like the Double Tree by Hilton.

Adventure Holidays in The Netherlands

ADVENTURE SPORTS IN NETHERLANDS

Netherlands is the country which has more bicycles than residents; the country has more than 10000 miles of biking routes. This is the Netherlands the ideal country to be explored by bike. Here one can find hundreds of routes varying from beaches and dunes to hills and lush green forests. Almost all the cities and towns here are accessible by water. Water sports here also attract people in large number. The most enthusiastic people here cater for sailing and wind surfing.

Tulip Tour

Introduction

Price Details

On this adventure holiday to Holland you will get the experience of springtime in the city. Holland with expeditions to the exemplary Dutch sights. We travel by barge to Spaarndam and to the famous village of Hans Brinker leaving Amsterdam. From here we can make a short cycle trip to Haarlem. This is the Flower Park Keukenhof; here you receive a warm welcome by thousands of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils which are available in various colours, shapes and scents. Cycling through the blossoming fields we reach Leiden which is the birthplace of Rembrandt the world’s famous painter. We ride our bikes continuously and reach traditional Dutch windmill and also a local cheese farm. Here we can learn the process of preparing cheese and make delicious cheese. On the last day we can visit Aalsmeer where the world’s biggest Flower Auction takes place.

Towns of the Golden Age

Introduction

Price Details

Here we can take a Cruise along the waterways of Netherland and visit the seven historical towns from the Dutch Golden Age. Here we get to know more about their historical past, industry, commerce and water based transportation system. It is said that during the historical period the Dutch Masters painted their most renowned works. Here we can cycle through some of most pleasing sights of Holland. When you move from the countryside you can get an inside view to the modern-day remnants of industries which was steeped in Dutch history. Here you can also visit the recognized ceramic artists & potters of chinaware, cheese makers and gin distillers while we know more about diverse cultures and historical past that have give birth to the contemporary life in the Netherlands.

Best spots for water sports

The well known windsurfing spots in Netherland include the De grevelingen and the south-west lakes of Veerse meer.

Best spots for hiking & trekking

South Limburg which is the southernmost point of the Netherlands is a home to Holland’s hiking trails. This hilly country is best place for any adventure sport.

Using Transportation in the Netherlands

Netherlands has got an excellent network of public transportation where you can travel by train, buses, ferry service, car, taxis and even bicycles. You can travel by the trains, buses and the trams with the help of the OV chipkaart. This is a public transportation travel card, which is available for a specific price. This card can be read by special card readers and when the passenger starts a travel, he has to wave this card in front of the card reader in the bus, train, or whatever public transport he is traveling in. And, before getting down also he has to check out with this card. The fare for the distance traveled is automatically deducted from the card.

If people wish to travel by car, there are different car rentals that are available throughout the country. Similarly, taxis can also be found at railway stations and hotels. Taxis can be called in by phone. There are also Train Taxis available which you can share with other passengers at reduced price. However, these may not be available at all times as they run only for limited periods.

You can also travel by bicycle around the Netherlands. You can go around anywhere with a bike except the highways. However, you must remember to ride on the bike lanes only and use all the traffic signals as though you were driving a car. All main train stations give out bicycles on hire and these have to be returned to the same station from where they were hired. You may have to pay a refundable deposit for your bicycle. You can also take it with you in the trains provided you buy a separate ticket for your bicycle.

Windmills of the Netherlands and the Magic of Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk is the one of the picturesque part of The Netherlands. The Netherlands – also known as Holland – is probably best known throughout the rest of the world for its windmills. Kinderdijk is UNESCO-listed world heritage. It has 19 windmills built around 1740 and you can visit one of them.

However, these structures are much more than quaint, architectural eye-catchers. Processing wind into energy, windmills have been used for centuries for everything from milling grain to pumping water.

With most of the Netherlands lying below sea level, it is no wonder the country employs so many windmills. Working alongside such other innovative structures as dikes, sluices and canals, windmills help to ensure that land reclaimed from the sea doesn’t return to its watery grave.

Though most of the older windmills have been torn down, many have been preserved and made into homes, shops, and tourist attractions.

One such attraction is Kinderdijk. Also referred to as a “Mill Landscape,” the village of Kinderdijk is located just outside of Rotterdam and is home to 19 windmills built between 1738 and 1761.
Coming from Dutch folklore, Kinderdijk literally means Children’s Dike. According to the tale, a cradle was swept away in a flood. The child inside was saved by a cat who guided the cradle to the slope of a nearby dike.

Kinderdijk was salvaged from the water around the 10th century through a system of small rivers built to drain water into larger rivers. Eventually dikes and sluices were added to aid the drainage efforts. Around 1400, windmills began to appear.

Now open to visitors, Kinderdijk was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997, and is among one of the more popular tourist destinations in the Netherlands.

Admission is free and, for an extra €5 per device, you can opt for the audio tour. A working windmill is open to the public at €3 per person or €2.25 with a Museumkaart. Boat tours are available for €3 per person. The site has bicycles for hire as well as bicycle lanes and footpaths allowing you to explore the landscape.

Kinderdijk is not accessible via public transportation. Parking costs €5 and includes a site map. There is a café and shop with public toilets on location.

The park is open daily from 9:30-5:30 from March 1st to October 31st. For more information, visit the official website.

Discover the magic of Kinderdijk and unearth some of the Netherlands’ richest history.

A Brief Guide To Utrecht – Netherlands

Utrecht
Found in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht is at the crossroad of art, knowledge, commerce and services. As the fourth largest city in Netherlands, Utrecht is visited by many travelers because of its buildings and structures that depict the Middle Ages. After Amsterdam, Utrecht is the next destination visited by Eurail pass holders, not just because it is an important transportation hub, but every year, several cultural activities are happening within the city.

History of Utrecht
The first written history of Utrecht is traced back to 47 AD when the Romans built a fortification along the Rhine River to protect itself from Germania. During the 7th century, a missionary who became the first bishop of Utrecht built a church, which made it the religious center within the areas of the river Rhine. In 1122, Utrecht became a chartered city and became an important region in the North of Holland. In 1579, Utrecht became the site for the signing of an agreement between the provinces of Netherlands when they rebelled against Philip II of Spain. Under William of Orange and John of Nassau, Netherlands was united. Since then, Utrecht prospered into the city that it is today.

Thing To Do In Utrecht
Utrecht is a place with so many museums. There is the Railway Museum, which displays different trains and rail tracks. It is not just for the adult. Young ones will also have a great time since the experience is interactive and educational. The St. Catherine’s Convent is a history museum. The Central Museum, located half a mile from the center of the city, is both an art and history museum. The Aboriginal Art Museum, just a walking distance from the city’s center, is a must-see place. It displays aboriginal paintings with an audio-visual presentation about the Aborigines. The Kasteel Museum Sypesteyn is located seven miles from the city at Nieuw Loosdrecht.

It is a castle turned into an art gallery museum. There is also Marienhof Culinary Museum for culinary arts enthusiasts. Lastly, the National Museum has a wide range of displays – from Musical Clock to Street Organ. Visitors can play with musical instruments and a guided tour gives information on the history of several musical instruments. Domkerk and Domtoren is another place to go in Utrecht. Just within the city center, this cathedral, with a tower that can be reached with over 400 steps, is a must-visit place in Utrecht. And for those who wanted to explore UNESCO’s Heritage Sites, Utrecht has one with the Rietveld Schroder House. According to UNESCO, this house, which follows the architectural principles of De Stijl, is an important icon of the history of Western architecture.

Sightseeing in the Netherlands

There are lots of wonderful places to see when visiting the Netherlands. With so many different tourist attractions and sightseeing experiences from which to choose, you will never be at a loss for things to do while vacationing in the Netherlands.

Sail the canals and waters of Amsterdam. Rent a boat to take in the picturesque sights, opt for a cruise tour, or ride a bicycle on the land surrounding water.

Book a sightseeing tour to visit the Dutch countryside outside of Amsterdam. This will give you an opportunity to see Dutch farms, fishing villages, wooden houses and even windmills. Consider taking a tour of a cheese farm to see firsthand the way cheese is made in the Netherlands.
Take in the sights of the unique architecture in the city of Rotterdam. The city surrounds the largest harbor in the world providing additional sightseeing opportunities.
Explore the Netherlands by bicycle or boat. Take the time to appreciate nature’s beauty, lovely architectures, and what the country has to offer in art and culture.
Book an evening canal cruise, traveling up and down Amsterdam’s major canals. Seeing the city by night is much different than in the day. Most cruises depart from near the train station.
Setup a candlelight cruise through the canals of Amsterdam, relaxing in your glass enclosed craft. You may stop and get out to stroll through the cities, these are often very romantic.

It’s easy to see why sightseeing is one of the most popular tourist activities in the cities in the Netherlands. There are entertaining experiences available to satisfy anyone’s interests.

The Pain of Eating Out in Belgium and the Netherlands

The whole area of the southern Netherlands, northern Belgium and Germany’s western state of North Rhine Westphalia are within a stone’s throw of each other, forming an incredible melting pot of language and culture, moulded by a dynamic history of industrial development, warfare and friendship.

If you find yourself in this part of Western Europe, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium have distinct advantages over each other. Belgium has that extraordinary talent for beer production, not to mention chocolate, waffles and fries. The Netherlands has an excellent cycling infrastructure as well as alluring cities including Maastricht and Amsterdam. Western Germany can also boast magnificent cities of its own, like Cologne and Düsseldorf, a well preserved industrial heritage and a highly efficient public transport network.

Suppose you’re in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, cruising the autobahns in search of a nice place to eat. Of course, everybody knows that most food outlets located in and around motorways are horrendous, so extend your search to the quiet rural back roads. Dotted in and around every German village and town (and quite often in between) are Gaststätten, or guest houses. These places offer a room for the night and a nice traditional kitchen. You can find delicious food here – schnitzel, wurst, sauerkraut, frikadellen, flammkuchen, you name it. It tastes magnificent, and washed down with a cold local beer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better quality meal for the price anywhere else.

For Germany is a country with excellent restaurants. It isn’t just those Gaststätten, it’s the same everywhere. Sure, you can go badly wrong, like you can go badly wrong in every country. Still, if you hit Germany’s tourist hotspots, you’re still going to get a good quality meal with excellent service, though perhaps for a higher price. Unfortunately, the same really cannot be said for the culinary scene in the Netherlands and Belgium. If you’re visiting these two countries, make sure you do extensive research about the restaurant scene beforehand. The very best strategies involve questioning the locals, or examining Trip Advisor reviews in excruciating detail.

I lived in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht for a year. It’s an amazing place, right out of a fairytale with cobble streets, stone bridges, imposing cathedrals and medieval laneways. Still, if you asked me to recommend a good restaurant in the city, I couldn’t do it. Maastricht is full of restaurants but the quality is distinctly lacking. A friend of mine passed through several weeks ago and visited a seemingly attractive eatery on the Vrijthof, the main square. He went Italian, ordering some spaghetti carbonara. He became suspicious when he noticed it was made with mushroom sauce. What? Everybody knows this dish is made with a creamy bacon sauce, prepared from eggs… how in the name of God did mushroom sauce get in there? Nobody really knows… but that’s eating out in the Netherlands. Apparently, it was the worst meal he has ever had in his entire life. I asked another friend about her dining experiences on a trip to Amsterdam last year. Her answer? Expensive and woeful.

Really thinking about it deeply, I can actually recommend one good restaurant in Maastricht – an Argentinean steak house located near the train station. That place is exquisite, though pricy. Unfortunately, I do not remember a single Dutch or other international place worth mentioning. Belgium is more or less similar. Passing through Brussels recently, I had a delightful Indian meal, but I found it difficult to find good value meals in Belgian establishments. The very best food I found came from smaller Turkish places – I was keen to avoid the usual overly expensive tourist traps with bad service.

Of course you can find excellent restaurants in Belgium and the Netherlands, but I visit both countries frequently and I have had far more bad experiences than good experiences. Last time round, I was on a double expedition to Ghent and Bruges – two beautiful medieval towns (not unlike Maastricht) located in northern Belgium. The first time around, the meal was average and expensive. Trying to pay for it was another story as the waiter did not seem to care about collecting the bill. We ended up missing our train to Bruges.

The restaurant we chose in Bruges was disastrous, putting it mildly. I decided to order a lasagne, believing the cooks could not possibly get it wrong. Unfortunately, they did, and spectacularly. After forking over €10, that quintessential Italian dish was served without meat, beneath a dried out cheese topping (it was not a vegetarian lasagne by the way). Frankly, it was like eating cardboard – you can find better lasagnes in the freezer departments of Belarusian supermarkets (if you can even call what I was served lasagne). At least I could count myself luckier than one of our travelling party. She paid €16 for a dreadful omelette… a higher price than advertised on the menu. You can make an omelette for €2 at home!

Ask Belgians about these experiences and they’ll always counter with the line: “but that’s Bruges! It’s a tourist city and you have to expect bad food”. I don’t think so. I can find exceptional food in Cologne’s old town or along Düsseldorf’s Rhine promenade. Claiming you can serve anything, no matter what the quality, at ridiculous prices just because your town is overrun with tourists is completely ludicrous.

Netherlands – Tips For a Sailing Vacation

Most boating is found in the IJsselmeer, Wadden Sea and Frisian Islands, places with sand dunes, systems of channels and beautiful ports. There are plenty of yachts available here and you can visit the many historic and beautiful seaport towns.

Netherlands, located in the western part of Europe, is densely populated and filled with several low-lying regions. The country is also renowned for many things, such as tulips, wooden shoes, cheese, and windmills. Landscapes are known to be hilly, with few glaciers and ridges like Drenthe and Hondsrug. There are also several bodies of water that you can find in the country, such as the Rhine River and its tributaries. The cool weather during summer and winter makes sailing in the Netherlands interesting for tourists the whole year round.

IJsselmeer, or Lake IJssel, is a very shallow lake located in the central portion of the Netherlands. It’s also situated near North Holland, Flevoland, and Friesland. The waters measure between 5 and 6 meters. There are plenty of things that you can do here, besides sailing in the Netherlands. You can try to fish in the river of IJssel or in the lake. There are also plenty of birds and marine species that inhabit the region.

You can also spend your vacation on board a yacht charter to the Wadden Sea. It is a coastal wetland that extends from Den Helder to Germany’s river estuaries-around 11,000 square kilometers. There are also several islands that you can find in the sea, but most of them are uninhabited and well protected by the Nature Conservation Law of the country. Nevertheless, there are bird sanctuaries that you can visit. You can also take a look at its salt marshes, such as Bosplaat, Schorren, and Noord-Friesland Buitendijks.

Frisian Islands, meanwhile, is a good destination among those who enjoy sailing in the Netherlands, especially during the summer. During wintertime, on the other hand, they would usually follow hiking trails toward the rugged mountains of Netherlands. There are also a number of ski resorts close to the area. There are a number of ways that you can reach the islands. You can travel by air or take a ferry. A number of the islands cannot provide you with a mode of transportation, so you may want to bring your car with you.

A trip to the Netherlands is worth every penny. If you’re not going to cruise with a yacht in the Netherlands, then you can enjoy watching the birds, hiking the mountain trails, or fishing in the rivers. Whatever it is, you know for sure that it’s going to be interesting and life-enriching.