Holland’s Traditional Sights

Over the past few years, we spent a considerable amount of time in the Netherlands, allowing us to visit a large number of cities, towns, and sites. Yet, until this year, we didn’t get to visit three of the countries’ most popular sights: the gardens of Keukenhof, the fishing village of Volendam, and the canals of Giethoorn.


The Keukenhof, located near the city of Lisse, is one of the largest seasonal flower gardens in the world. Every year, from mid-March to mid-May, seven million flowers bloom in the gardens, attracting millions of visitors. Although we visited on the last weekend before closing, the majority of the flowers were still standing strong.

The fee to enter Keukenhof is 16 euros, plus an additional five if you arrive by car. Alternatively, you can take the train or bus from the airport or Amsterdam city center. We had the luxury of being dropped off by car, allowing us to make the most of our day.

• Keukenhof (1).

The gardens are sectioned off into smaller gardens, each having their own theme. We visited the tulip gardens, walked around some of the exhibition rooms, and got lost in a giant grass maze.

• Keukenhof (2).

Apart from the gardens itself, the Keukenhof has a few exhibition centers, flower shows, children’s playground, and a few restaurants. And, in traditional Dutch fashion, a windmill overlooking the flat surroundings is present too.

• Mill at Keukenhof.


Visiting Volendam is yet another thing to do. This fishing village welcomes hundreds of tourists each day, either arriving by boat or bus from Amsterdam. As with Keukenhof, we arrived by car, and parked a short walk outside of the car free city center.

The main street along the harbor is lined with restaurants serving primarily fresh fish (herring), and tourists shops selling cheese, wooden shoes, and offer the option to take a picture in traditional Volendam clothing.

• Haven street of Volendam.

To this day, the Volendam harbor is still full of fishing boats, who go out every day to catch fresh fish in the lake. The harbor is also the departure point of the ferry to Marken; a small town nearby, smaller but very similar to Volendam.

• Fishing boats in the harbor.


The town of Giethoorn is often overlooked when visiting the Netherlands. This very small village is located 90 minutes outside of Amsterdam, and given the proximity of, for example, Keukenhof and Volendam, Giethoorn gets less attention then it deserves.

The proper description of Giethoorn would be the “Venice of the North.” All transport within the village is done by water, using one of its many canals. Over the years, pedestrian paths were added, but the charm of Giethoorn always remained.

• Canals of Giethoorn (1).

You can rent your own boat and navigate the canals, passing underneath many of the 180 bridges. You will be one of many, though, and not all tourists know their way around a boat. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the larger tour boats for a more comfortable journey. Along the water, you can find many coffee shops, restaurants, and icecream bars.

• Canals of Giethoorn (2).

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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