Weekend Trip to Rotterdam Rotterdam Centraal Station
Rotterdam Centraal Station

When travelers think of Holland, they automatically think of Amsterdam. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Amsterdam. I traveled there often when I lived in Belgium, and I love the late night parties, canal walks, and the awesome café scene. However, there is so much more to see and do in Holland beyond this great city. Experience the hipster vibes of Rotterdam, the foodie haven that is Gouda, and the laid-back vibes of one of the most northern Dutch cities, Groningen. Here’s my guide on getting around in Holland and beyond if you’re making the Kingdom of Oranje your base country for your Eurotrip.

Getting Around in Holland, Rotterdam Centraal Station
Getting Around in Holland: Rotterdam Centraal Station

Flying to Holland

As an American, you don’t need a visa to go to Holland if you plan to stay for 90 days or less. You can find more entry requirements for the Netherlands here. Most large carriers like KLM, United, Delta, and American Airlines have plenty of direct routes from the major American hubs, and they arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol, the country’s main airport. If you’re traveling to other European destinations from The Netherlands, look at flying into smaller airports like Groningen, Rotterdam, and Eindhoven, where you can get great deals from low-fare carriers like WizzAir, RyanAir, Transavia, Nordica, and others.

Dining Traveler Tip: all of these airports are easy to get to via train or bus.

Getting Around in Holland, Cheese in Groningen
Getting Around in Holland: Take a train to Groningen

Taking the Train Through Holland


Trains offer the easiest and most affordable way of getting around in Holland. The Dutch train system is incredibly efficient and it gets you to your destination quickly. This is especially true in the Randstad, the area that covers the most populated Dutch cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. Trains are also a great way to get to neighboring countries like Belgium, France, and Germany. You can get from Amsterdam Schiphol to Brussels in less than two hours and to Paris in less than four.

Dining Traveler Tip: GoEuro has a great train guide that incorporates all of the rail systems associated with the destination. The website also offers a price and schedule comparison with other services, such as buses and planes.

Getting Around in Holland, Giethoorn
Getting Around in Holland: Take a drive to Giethoorn, known as Venice of the North

 

Driving in Holland

Getting around in Holland can be quite tricky. The driving itself isn’t an issue, but parking can be incredibly expensive in big cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam, where it can cost as much as 10 euros an hour. However, having a car can give you the flexibility to discover off-the-beaten path destinations that are oh-so charming. For instance, you can buy fresh Dutch cheese straight from the farmer near Gouda, discover the charming town of Giethoorn, or eat fresh seafood off the coast of Zeeland.

Dining Traveler Tip: If you’re looking to discover the country by car, look into staying in smaller towns that have local hotels with free parking.

Getting Around in Holland, Traveling to Delft
Getting Around in Holland: Exploring Delft

 

Biking and Taking Local Transit in Holland

When traveling within the city, there are plenty of ways to get around by city bus, tram, underground, and bike, the Dutch-preferred mode of transportation. If you get confused, there’s always someone at the station willing to help you out. Don’t despair, since most Dutch people speak English.

If you really want to go native, rent a bike and truly discover the cities like a local. There are many delightful little alleys in cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague that you can easily find by bike. It’s normal to feel a bit intimidated at first, so read a local guide to cycling to get your bearings.

Getting around in Holland and beyond is easy, affordable, and fun. Traveling across the country is safe, and people are friendly and helpful. I recently traveled across the country for two weeks at seven months pregnant and felt very safe. Have you traveled across Holland? What are your tips?

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by GoEuro. As always, opinions are my own

  • Dennis

    Great post! I’ve visited Holland before and this inspires me to go back!

  • I really need to get back to Holland! I would absolutely love to visit Giethoorn – what charming place!

    District of Chic

    • Giethoorn has to be one of the cutest places I’ve seen in Northern Europe! Hope you make it back soon!

  • Shelia

    I visited Holland as part of a road trip from Barcelona to Belgium, with a detour to Amsterdam. By the time we got there we were so tired and maxed out that I feel like I need to go back to really enjoy everything. This has definitely inspired me to do that. And that Giethoorn! That looks like something I do not want to pass up! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Such cute pictures. Love the train station but then you had to go and put up a cheese image and then the gorgeous canal. Gosh durn diddly, now I want to visit Holland!

    • Just say the word, Charles! You know Martin and I would love to be your guides!

  • Kenny T.K. Chow

    Nice information about getting around Holland and personally, I like to use the bike to explore a Europe City – because I can make multiple stops with worrying about parking and traffic. 🙂 @knycxjourneying.com

    • Yes! Bike is a great way to get around in Holland. Everybody-young and old travels by bike!

  • I have not been to Holland and now I want to go to Holland! Isn’t it interesting, no matter where you travel, the smaller towns often have the best finds. You gotta love free parking at ANY hotel. You have great tips on how to get around, looks fairly simple.

  • Thanks for this super-detailed post! Getting around is always one of the trickiest parts of travel, for me at least, and generally is much more expensive than I anticipated. I wish we had European-style rail systems here in the states. Sure beats driving!

    • Thanks! And agreed in regards to the train. I’m always disappointed when I get on an Amtrak!