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Ultimate Netherlands Backpacking Travel Guide 2020

Although being but a tiny dot on a world map, the Netherlands has a beautiful cultural heritage and unique pieces of architecture. Picturesque cities and an abundance of art museums display the history of this Western European nation.You will find just about everything, from a music scene, lively festivals, and on the other hand, quiet pieces of nature, making the Netherlands a year round destination. Grab your backpack and start exploring the cobbled streets, canals, and flower fields of this country. Before hitting the road, read our travel guide to better  enjoy your time in the Netherlands.

Netherlands at a Glace

Language

Dutch

Currency

The Euro

Best Money Exchange

ATM

Local Dishes

Hollandse Nieuwe

Drones Allowed

No

Is water safe to drink

Yes

Vaccinations

Check CDC

Power Plug Type

C and F

Car Sharing Options

Enterprise, Uber

Peak Season

July and August

Backpacker Friendly

Yes

Hitch hiker Friendly

Yes

Credit Cards Accepted

Yes

Preffered Payment Method

Cash

Low Season

January - March

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Netherlands

1. Amsterdam

Although unpleasantly packed, the capital draws tourists for a reason; age-old architecture, museums, and charming canals that can be found all over the city.

2.Rotterdam

A multicultural vibe, the Markthal food hall, and modern architecture have sky-rocketed Rotterdam’s popularity recently.

3.Gouda

Besides its prominent cheese produce, this city has a beautiful core with canals, vibrant markets, and a gorgeous city hall.

4. Wadden Island

Sand dunes, cycling trails, and countless marine animals make this cluster of islands in the north a favored getaway.

5. De Hoge Veluwe National-Park

This gorgeous area is home to a wide array of wildlife, forests, dunes, and magical blooming weather in August.

Other Things to See and Do in Netherlands

1. Den Haag

Mainly known as the city where an international court and Dutch government are seated, this coastal city has dazzling state buildings and a long stretch of golden beaches.

2. Volendam

This formerly anonymous village gained fame for preserving its fishing culture, from showcasing wooden boats to traditional clothing.

3. Weerribben – Wieden National Park

This gem of nature is often overlooked, but true peace lies in paddling along the forests and swamps. Giethoorn – famous for its canals and enchanting houses – is only a stone throw away.

4. Kinderdijk

As a witness of the Netherlands’ eternal fight against the water, the water mills of Kinderdijk nowadays are an exceptional example of Dutch culture.

5. South Limburg

The southern tip of Limburg province has many features; the energetic city of Maastricht, caves, and – since it’s the only elevated area in the country – mountain biking.

6. Lisse

In the Spring, the flowers pop up in the fields of this town near Amsterdam. Don’t forget your camera because the vivid scenery is incredible.

7. De Biesbosch

Underrated and unknown isn’t always a bad thing; the happy few that visit this inland river delta will be greeted by kingfishers, beavers, and calm streams. Renting a canoe is therapeutic!

8. Groningen

Groningen is a university city, and the presence of thousands of students probably makes this place the party capital in the Netherlands. Pubs and clubs come alive from Thursday to Sunday.

Typical Costs

WPCS 2.1.4

Transportation

Towns and even the smallest villages are connected with an extensive bus network. You’ll pay around $2.50 for a city ride, and a trip from Rotterdam to Utrecht about $11.00. Flixbus is an excellent company for longer distances.

For connections between larger cities, the train is a better alternative. Rates are steep though; a 40-minute journey from Amsterdam to Rotterdam costs $18.00.

Metros and trams are solely operating in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag. Traveling by rail is the cheapest way to explore these cities, with rates starting at $0.20 cents .

Accommodation

There aren’t as many hostels in Amsterdam as other cities but you will find a few. Amsterdam is a hotspot for social places, with loads of travelers to meet, and dorm beds starting at $20.00.

Rotterdam has a decent assortment of hostels too, but going to other parts of the country often requires booking through Airbnb. Prices range from $40.00 for a private room to over $100.00 for your own apartment. Accommodation will take up most of your budget when visiting.

Food

Having your own kitchen in your hostel or apartment is the key for an economical trip. Groceries are very affordable, at roughly $35.00 per person per week. Street food, such as fried snacks, caramel waffles, and Vietnamese spring rolls, usually go for $1.50.

A large sandwich combined with a drink is about $10.00, while a 3-course meal in a restaurant generally sets you back $40.00.

Activities

The Netherlands has tons of things to do, but a must-try is riding a bicycle. Renting a bike for a day costs $12.00, and gives you freedom. Prices for attractions and museums vary. You can soak up views of Kinderdijk’s water mills for free, but entering the Rijksmuseum to view paintings by Van Gogh and Vermeer has a$22.00 price tag. Strolling around the Hoge Veluwe National Park doesn’t cost a thing, the best kind of view, free!

Suggested Budget

Planning to visit Netherlands in 2020 but no idea how much should you spend there? Use the following table to get an idea on how much money you need to spend daily as per your travel style:

Travel Style Accommodation (per night) Food (3 Meals) Transportation Activities (Per activity) Daily Cost
Backpacker
$20.00
$5.00 - $10.00
$5.00 - $10.00
$10.00
$40.00
Mid - Range
$30.00 - $50.00
$20.00 - $30.00
$20.00
$20.00
$100.00
High - End
$100.00- $250.00
$30.00- $100.00
$30.00
$30.00 - $50.00
$250.00

Budgeting Tips

1. Walk or Bicycle

Most cities are compact enough to explore on foot, and you can discover the countryside with a cheap rental bike. Take buses or trains only to travel long distances.

2. Do Grocery Shopping

The pricing difference between eating out and buying groceries in the supermarket is significant in the Netherlands. Look for a hostel with a kitchen and prepare your own meals.

3. Try Couch-surfing

This online community lists hosts who can receive travelers in their home for free. It’s not only a way to save money but a gateway to a local experience and new friends at the same time.

4. Avoid taking taxis

Hopping in a taxi will really make a hole in your wallet. Instead walk or take the bus.

5. Drink tap water

It’s absolutely safe to drink water from the tap; all the Dutchies do it. Save some money by using your reusable water bottle.

Where To Stay

All around Europe, I used hostels, so that I can make some friends, here are some places that I stayed at and really enjoyed. 

Rotterdam

King Kong Hostel

Amsterdam

Flying Pig Downtown

Other

TBD

How To Get Around

Tram

Cheap, relaxed, and pleasant views; riding a tram is an enjoyable experience in Amsterdam, Den Haag, and Rotterdam. A 30-minute ride costs only $1.75. Hungary’s largest cities have an extensive system of above-ground trams which are really quick. The most famous lines are the four and six lines which run to the city center.

RideSharing

Uber and lyft are avaible via their app!

Trains

Your best friend during journeys across the Netherlands. All major cities and many towns have a train station. ‘Intercity’ trains are quick and stop in bigger cities only, and ‘Sprinters’ stop in lesser-frequented stations.

Bus

Reaching every corner of the country, buses are comfortable and spacious because they’re built to seat the tallest people in the world (fun fact). Buy the ‘OV-chipkaart’, a rechargeable card that’s commonly used for all types of public transportation. 

Metro

Metros are the most budget-friendly way to travel in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. With a network that lies mostly under the ground, it’s not a perfect sightseeing vehicle though. Budapest is the only city in Hungary to have an efficient and extensive metro system which is composed of three color-coded lines M1(Yellow), M2(Red), and M3(Blue), intersecting in the center of town. The metros operate from 4:45 AM-11:45 PM after every 3-5 minutes.

Resources

When To Go

Dutch weather is unpredictable, but from June to September, it’s not going to be cold. July generally is the sunniest month and August is the hottest month. This is usually the best time to visit for most visitors. Bar terraces are alive, and music festivals pop up throughout the country.

If the sight of tulips and blossoms blooming is something that makes you smile, visit this country in the second half of April or the first half of May.

How To Stay Safe and Aware of Scams

1. Pickpockets

Metro stations and metro buses are popular targets among robbers. Bring small amounts of cash, and carry it in a money belt or backpack in front of you.

2. Taxi touts

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – the arrival port for most tourists – is known for touts who approach travelers outside the terminal and try to lure them into their un-metered cabs. They’re officially banned but still hang around the airport. Take the train or look for official taxis to save money and stay safe.

3. Bicycle theft

As this is one of the most common crimes, take good care of your (rental) bike. Ask the company for an extra padlock on top of your regular lock. This is also a reason why you should never buy a cheap bicycle on the street. It might have been taken stolen from it’s rightful owner

4. Unsafe drugs

Many travelers come to Amsterdam for easy access to fantasy worlds and other universes through drugs. Beware of drugs sold on the streets; the quality and substances are unknown, and it might very well be overpriced.

5. Travel insurance

In case something bad happens, it’s good to know that an insurance company has your back.

Packing List

Depending on the length of your stay your list may be a little different but here is a small outline of what items you may want to pack for 1 week.

2 Pairs of Shorts

5 long sleeve

8 pairs of underwear

Medicine

2 Pair of jeans

Flip flops

Toiletries

Locks

Swim Trunks

Comfortable Sneakers or Short boots

Quick dry towel

Laundry Bag

5 shirts

8 pairs of socks

Dedorant

Hand Sanitizer

Power Bank

sarong

Sarong

Sun Glasses

Sun Screen

Raincoat

sarong

Sweater

Power adaptor

Waterproof jacket

umbrella

Foldable umbrella

Mini first-aid kit

Earplugs

Did I Miss Something? Let Me Know In The Comments!

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