The Perfect 5 Day Netherlands Itinerary for Nature Lovers

For anyone used to roadtripping in the US, the Netherlands will make for a very relaxing place to explore. Getting from one end of the country to the other on their very nice highways won’t take long at all, and this country has so much to offer the nature-lover. If you’re wondering what the perfect Netherlands itinerary is for us outdoor folks, this is where it’s at. Tulips, beaches, farmland, Van Gogh, deserts and mountains, this is the dream Netherlands roadtrip.

DAY ONE: TULIPS AND THE SEA

I loved spending time in Lisse; it is the perfect small-town Netherlands experience, If you are looking for a refreshing break from crowds, staying here outside of tulip season is extremely nice. On the other hand, if you are in the Netherlands for tulip season, Lisse is the perfect place to be. It is situated right in the middle agricultural fields, some of which are devoted to the Netherlands’ favorite flowers.

netherlands itinerary

Downtown Lisse (c) ABR 2017

After spending the day relaxing among downtown Lisse’s restaurants and shops, or marveling at a colorful sea of flowers, the beach is just a short drive away in Noordwijk. We took a nice stroll through the sand, and when we got tired, we retreated to one of the beach-side restaurants for mussels and wine.

netherlands itinerary

Noordwijk beach-ish area (c) ABR 2017

Small town Lisse and the beach are a great way to spend your first day in the Netherlands, whether or not there are tulips. Having a restful day before a roadtrip really kicks off is always a good thing, especially if you just stepped off a 10+ hr plane ride.

DAY TWO: SOUTHERN NETHERLANDS

On the way down from Lisse to the southern tip of the Netherlands, stop by the Dunes of Loon National Park. I have already talked about this beautiful little arid spot in my post about the Netherlands national parks, but this is a wonderful place to stroll through a bright forest of tall trees, which gives way to a sudden island of sand dunes. It is a quiet little spot that locals and visitors enjoy alike.

netherlands itinerary

Dune of Loon National Park! (c) ABR 2017

The Netherlands isn’t known for its mountains… mostly, because it doesn’t have any. Vaalserberg, the highpoint of the country, is a bit of a surprise then, because while it is more of a hill than a true mountain, it can actually make for a nice uphill climb (or drive if you prefer). There are plenty of trails crisscrossing the Netherlands side of this mountain. They are easily accessible from the road that weaves its way up to the top. Vaalserberg is also where the Netherlands meets both Germany and Belgium. So, even if you aren’t a big fan of hiking or highpoints, this is a neat place to get a glimpse of three different countries at once and frolic in some very verdant forests.

netherlands itinerary

(c) ABR 2017

Finally, finish your day off in Eindhoven. The village has a very nice downtown area with tons of restaurant choices to enjoy. Once the sun goes down, go check out the little Van Gogh trail nearby. This beautiful section of a longer bike trail passes through some beautiful fields. It has grown famous for its glowing Starry Night depiction. Eindhoven a great place to end a busy day and watch the stars, both real and artistic.

netherlands itinerary

Van Gogh trail (c) ABR 2017

DAY THREE: AMSTERDAM (OR ROTTERDAM)

Even for us nature lovers, I would be remiss to have a Netherlands itinerary that left out the major cities. Amsterdam is the capital of the country and is (in my opinion) erroneously known for pot smoking and prostitution. I didn’t see any more of either than I would anywhere else, because I stayed out of the red light district. It is totally up to you if you want to confront this stuff.

netherlands itinerary

Amsterdam (c) ABR 2017

The capital is a beautiful city with tons of canals, great food, and lots of different things to do. There are a ton of museums to enjoy, as well as the tulip market and the Ann Frank House (get reservations ahead of time if you want to do this one).

If you aren’t one for crowds, we had Rotterdam suggested to us as an alternative. So you might consider spending the day there if you want to experience the Netherlands urban landscape without the bustle of Amsterdam.

DAY FOUR: THE VILLAGE OF GEITHOORN

I’ve heard of Geithoorn being referred to as the Venice of the Netherlands, and the little town with no roads. There are a few caveats that I’d like to add to this, because I think it is good to go with the right expectations. The idea of a little Venice is a good fit, for one section of the town, and there are definitely roads. You will need one to get there. Pedestrians might even have to dodge a few cars while you walk around. You should also know that this village has become very popular with big, organized tour groups. I would suggest getting there early to avoid some of the crowds.

netherlands itinerary

Giethoorn (c) ABR 2017

Even though I absolutely loved the town (it looks like it belongs in a fairy tale!), the best part about visiting Giethoorn was taking a boat through the nearby wetlands. It was nice to get some isolation and I think being on the water is so relaxing under those conditions. Taking a boat out on the water and through Giethoorn would be a great outing for anyone. When you are done boating around there are some very original shops in the town and delicious food as well.

DAY FIVE: BIKES AND ART IN DE HOGE

I have covered my love for and experience with De Hoge in detail in my National Parks of the Netherlands post. I think anyone who loves nature should make this park a priority. This is the perfect place to go bike riding. There are two amazing museums here as well. It is a full day of activities at De Hoge and a great place to end your Netherlands roadtrip.

netherlands itinerary

netherlands itinerary

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36 Comments

  1. Candy

    We lived in the Netherlands for several years. Enjoyed different places like this. Feet way down the day outdoors.

  2. I just know a bit of the coast line close to Amsterdam and the capital itself. But it was eons ago when I went with my parents. So, I will keep your post in mind when I return in order to get to know different places and another side of the country.

    • waitingforrain28

      I bet you’d really enjoy it, especially if you already have experience with Amsterdam.

  3. I am not a traveller at all. But if I were, the Netherlands is one of the places I’d want to visit. I quite agree that Giethoorn looks like a scene from a fairy tale! It would be lovely to visit there 🙂

    • waitingforrain28

      The Netherlands would be a great place for you to visit. It is very relaxing and the people are extremely nice.

  4. Never been to the Netherlands but have been wanting to go! So it’s great you provided some different options on places to visit here. Tulips season would be a great time to go! And Amsterdam and the Anne Frank house sounds amazing!

    • waitingforrain28

      Tulip season is definitely the time to go, unless you don’t like crowds. But really, I know you will have a wonderful time when you visit.

  5. Elizabeth O

    What a great itinerary, Amsterdam looks incredible and I also love the look of the Doon of Loon National Park!

  6. I have never thought about traveling to the Netherlands. It looks like an amazing destination might need to add to my travel bucket list

    • waitingforrain28

      I had never considered it before until I went, and it was a great experience. I really think that every country has wonderful things to offer.

  7. All those photos look amazing and I cant wait to go there myself as I feel these places should not be missed.

  8. Blair Villanueva

    Is summer the perfect day to visit Netherlands? I haven’t been there are am wishing to travel and experience the Netherland local life, and not just reading those online and from books.
    Which is your favorite place in Amsterdam?

    • waitingforrain28

      i liked being there in September, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. Maybe you should try going during tulip season! If you have to go based on your work schedule, honestly, I think you will enjoy it no matter when you go! I loved Giethoorn the most.

  9. I’d love to see the tulip season and the canals of Amsterdam. I can’t believe I lived in London most of my life and never made it there!

  10. Great post! I am a nature traveller and wished I had this list when I visited Netherlands previously.

    • waitingforrain28

      We nature-lovers got to stick together! Hopefully you had a good time anyway.

  11. This is awesome! I’ve been to Amsterdam but it rained the whole time. I imagine in the sun and warmer weather it would be just beautiful! I loved all the canals. I also have always wanted to visit for the flower festival! Especially in a town that sounds like my name 🙂

    • waitingforrain28

      Lisse does sound like your name! How cute! And yeah, being there while it rained wouldn’t be as fun. Gotta wear a poncho the whole time.

  12. jin

    I would love to hit up everything you’ve mentioned in your list! I’ve been to Amsterdam and Rotterdam on numerous occasions, and parts of Utrecht, even visited Kinderdijk – but i have yet to explore more of this wonderful country!

    • waitingforrain28

      I really wanted to go to Rotterdam when I was there! I heard such good things about it.

  13. Thank you for sharing. You make it easier for us to plan our itinerary. Will definitely bookmark this for our future trip!

  14. I love exploring the natural side of countries and cities. I will certainly check out your article on Da Hoge National Park. Lisse looks very charming as well.

    • waitingforrain28

      Lisse was super cute, but yes, De Hoge was wonderful! Has to be one of the best places to bike there.

  15. I’ve only ever been to Amsterdam, but I would love to get out and explore more. It’s beautiful!

    • waitingforrain28

      I think every part of the Netherlands has so much to offer. All the little towns are so lovely.

  16. I never thought of a road trip outside of the USA. Now that is a must on the bucket list.

    • waitingforrain28

      I hadn’t either! But now it is my favorite thing! The first time I did it was in Ireland.

  17. Jen

    I love the Netherlands! I’ve been to Amsterdam and Maastricht and had an amazing time.

  18. Mateja

    It’s so great to see there’s more to Netherlands than Amsterdam. Would definitely want to do a road trip on my visit 🙂

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