Visiting Holland? Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht in Holland (Holland is the west of The Netherlands) are beautiful cities. Utrecht and Haarlem are lovely and only a thirty minute train ride away from Amsterdam. The best thing is: all these places in Holland are not very big and you can see them in a day on foot.
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. Even in summer, the weather can change overnight from hot to chilly. Winters in Amsterdam are always very cold because of the wind. Layers and a wind jacket is the best answers to the Dutch weather.
2. Tipping in Holland
Happy with the service? Tipping is custom in Holland. Although the staff in Holland always gets paid a decent salary, (never commission), a tip of around 10% is much appreciated.
3. The public transport chip card
The key to travelling in Holland is the OV-chip card. With this card you can use all public transport in Holland without ever buying a ticket. Just remember to chip in and chip out. You can charge the OV-card at tobacco shops and in supermarkets.
4. Avoid taxis, use the train
Taxis in Holland are very expensive. Trains are your friend in Holland. Distances are short and the trains in The Netherlands are comfortable. The train always has a station in the center of the city. Avoid rush hour (travel after 9 am and not between 5 -7 pm).
5. Rent a bike, but be careful in Amsterdam
Biking is the common way to get around in Holland. You can hire a bicycle at almost all train stations. Cycling in Amsterdam is also possible, but only when you are a good cyclist. Know the rules for cycling in Amsterdam.
6. Try Dutch snacks
Traditional home-cooked Dutch food is not commonly served in restaurants. The cuisine in The Netherlands tends to be internationally oriented.
In cafés, look for signs that say appelgebak (apple pie), stamppot (mashed vegetables and potatoes), gehaktbal (meatball) and erwtensoep (pea soup).
More tips on how to find out where to eat in Amsterdam.
7. Bring coins when you are a woman
Public bathrooms in Holland all 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. Find a discount pass that suits your needs
A city pass that gives you entrance to museums and attractions in Holland can make you trip to Holland a lot easier.
10. Do you speak English?
Most people speak English in Holland, but it’s considered polite to ask if they do.