When most people think of traveling the Netherlands, they think of Amsterdam, with its semi-sleazy Red Light District, charming canals, historic windmills, and laid-back “coffee” shops where you can smoke pot. But there is much more to the country than its largest city.
Since the 1300’s the port of Rotterdam has developed and served as a major port of the Dutch East India Company. During WWII Rotterdam saw extensive bombing and its centre was almost completely destroyed, however after this the city was slowly rebuilt and once again stands as a modern port.
Aside from its fascinating port, Rotterdam also features some fantastic architecture like the modern cube buildings and the Euromast Tower, but also has a wonderful variety of museums, eateries and activities to enjoy.
Although almost half of it was once under water, the Netherlands is one of the most urbanized – and densely populated – nations on earth, with a huge range of places to visit packed into a relatively small area. A remarkable country – no more than the size of the US state of Maryland – it’s a largely man-made affair, around half of which lies at or below sea level. Its fertile, pancake-flat landscape is gridded with drainage ditches and canals, beneath huge open skies, while the country’s towns and villages are often pristine and unchanged places of gabled townhouses, pretty canals and church spires.
Similar to many other cities that sit over water such as Venice, Amsterdam has a vibrant canal system.
The pretty waterways are one of the best loved attractions in Amsterdam and you can explore the idyllic routes by taking a boat tour or a water taxi that lets you hop around a range of locations.
Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in Europe. It has loads of history, amazing canals, 1000+ beautiful little bridges, really tall Dutch people, and a few other highlights. However, it's not a cheap destination. But since most travelers only spend a few days here, it shouldn't tax your budget too terribly.