Whether you are looking for a family vacation or a romantic getaway for just two, The Netherlands is a destination that offers plenty of activities, attractions and adventure. Guests in this laid-back country can relax in one of the cafes, enjoy a canal tour and take in the sights, soak up the warm sun on the pristine beaches, or experience the charm and character of some of the small villages.
There are also plenty of museums and galleries that proudly display the country's history and culture, and guests should be sure admire the architecture of the hundreds of castles that dot the landscape throughout The Netherlands. Outdoors enthusiasts and adventure seekers will find plenty of hiking, biking, fishing and water sports to stay active for days.
Stone tombs called dolmens, and "bog bodies" naturally mummified in the peat bogs, create enduring connections to the ancient peoples who once inhabited this region. Modern-day visitors enjoy cycling on the well-established trails, and Drenthe hosts annual biking events.
The history of Flevoland is quite unique, as the entire region recently lay submerged in IJsselmeer Lake. Reclaimed from the waters in World War II, the area is now a fertile agricultural region. Once an island, Schokland now stands as a symbol of the ongoing struggle against the water.
In the island region of Friesland, sailing is a passion. Each August the town of Sneek hosts Sneekweek, a celebratory week of festivities such as boat shows, fireworks and sailing competitions. Fortifications at the Kazematten Museum offer a more sober look at Dutch WWII history.
Boasting large forested areas and natural park reserves, Gelderland is both the largest and least populated province of The Netherlands. Hoge Veluwe National Park is home to wildlife such as deer and wild boar, as well as the Kroller-Muller Museum and outdoor sculpture garden.
Gabled homes from the 16th to 18th centuries still stand in the region's capital. The university dates to the 17th century, and several sites run by the Groningen Museum commemorate the history of the province. The downtown area features a café culture with bistros and nightlife.
The flavorful influence of neighboring Belgium and Germany is tasted in the cuisine of Limburg, where the sausages and beers are particularly notable. Maastricht's stone bridge is said to be the country's oldest, and farther up the river Maas, Roermond bears reminders of faith and war.
North Brabant is a populous and culturally rich Dutch province. Opulent and intricate, St. John's Cathedral in Hertogenbosch showcases the heights of gothic architecture, while flowering gardens soften the more austere Renaissance facade of Breda's Bouvigne Castle.
The nation's capital Amsterdam is loved for its beauty, respected for its fine art, and infamous for its Red Light District. The city's museums boast works by masters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh, while the Anne Frank House provides a sobering, and inspiring, link to the past.
Lake IJssel on the northwestern border of Overijssel province offers fishing and sailing in summer, plus ice skating in winter. In Giethoorn the houses are built on islands, and waterways have replaced roads. Zwolle and Deventer are centuries-old cities of beauty and charm.
Chic neighborhoods in The Hague are home for a number of Dutch Royals, and the city's museums hold treasures such as "Girl with the Pearl Earring" by native Dane, Johannes Vermeer. The port city of Rotterdam offers wharves, beaches and an International Film Festival.
The waters and wetlands of the Wadden Sea teem with wildlife, including porpoises, thousands of seals and millions of migratory birds. A lighthouse, beaches, a national park and a nature preserve are among the attractions on the major islands in the region.
The port town of Flushing on the island of Walcheren has been an important harbor for centuries, and it once served as the main port for the Dutch East India Company. Nearby Middelburg is a charming town encircled by a canal, with cobbled streets and an impressive cathedral.