Visiting Holland? Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht in the west of The Netherlands (Holland) are all charming cities to visit. Hotels are expensive in Amsterdam. Neighbouring cities Utrecht and Haarlem are lovely and only a 30-minute train ride away from Amsterdam. The best thing is: all these lovely places are small. You can see all the highlights wandering around by foot. Holland is so much fun and you can see most of it in a couple of days using the convenient train system. Here are:
10 tips for visiting Holland
1. Prepare for the quirky weather
Even though the weather forecast says 20 C and sunny, always bring a jacket when you go outside. In Holland, the windchill can make you feel cold really quickly especially when the sun sets. Layers is your answer to the Dutch weather.
Happy with the service? Staff in Holland always get paid a decent salary, but a tip of around 10% is much appreciated.
3. OV chip card
The key to travelling in Holland is the OV-chip card. Public transport in Holland is good. Hop in and out of buses, trains and trams quickly.
Trains are your friend in Holland. The distances are short. Trains are fast and take you right into the heart of the city. Avoid rush hour (travel after 9 am and not between 5 -7 pm)
4. Avoid taxis
Taxis in Holland are very expensive. The public transport system in Holland is good.
5. Bike, but not in Amsterdam
Biking is big in Holland. You can rent bikes at the station and ride into town. Except Amsterdam. Biking in Amsterdam is for advanced cyclists only. The city is small and busy. Cycling can be stressful when you are not used to cycling.
6. Dutch food is not a thing
Traditional home-cooked Dutch food is not commonly served in restaurants. The cuisine in The Netherlands tends to be internationally oriented. And that is for the best, trust me.
The most popular food in Holland is patat (french fries) with mayonaise and kroket with mustard. Check out FEBO.
In cafés, look for signs that say appelgebak (apple pie), stamppot (mashed vegetables and potatoes), gehaktbal (meatball) and erwtensoep (pea soup).
Pancakes are for tourists and children’s birthday parties.
7. Bring coins when you are a woman
Public bathrooms charge money. And bars are not happy when you only come in to use their restroom only. So bring some coins to use the toilet if you are a woman. Men use the urinals in the street.
8. Cruise the canals
An boat ride on the canals is must-do. It’s touristy, indeed, but fun. And there are canals all over Holland! Be original, go for a cruise down the canals of Utrecht, Leiden or Haarlem.
9. Go to the beach
Holland lies along a long stretched coast along the North Sea. The entire area is one large beach!
10. Do you speak English?
Most people speak English in Holland, but it’s considered polite to ask if they do.