Are you planning a solo trip to The Netherlands? If yes, then we have got you covered. From understanding Dutch seasons and their impacts on travel to crafting the perfect itinerary.
We will also delve into safety considerations for solo travelers in The Netherlands and satisfy your taste buds by listing must-try Dutch dishes.
Last updated on: 02-01-2024
How safe is The Netherlands for solo travelers?
The Netherlands is considered a safe destination for solo travelers. The country is known for its low crime rate, friendly people, and efficient public transport system.
The Netherlands holds an impressive the 16th spot on the Global Peace Index. The GPI is a creation of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and stands as the foremost global measure of worldwide tranquility.
And according to the Safe Cities Index 2021 by the Economist, Amsterdam was ranked as the 2nd safest city in the world in terms of personal security.
Violent crime is very low, and most streets are well-lit at night. However, as with any destination, it’s important to be cautious of your belongings, especially in crowded areas and to have a plan to get home safely if you’re out enjoying the nightlife.
What is the best time to visit The Netherlands?
April to September are considered the best months for visiting The Netherlands. However, the country is not known for it’s stable climate or tropical warm summers. Each season has it’s own charm and characteristics:
- Spring (April to June) is a popular time to visit, with blooming flowers and mild temperatures.the vibrant tulip fields come to life, creating picturesque landscapes that are perfect for photography enthusiasts.
- Summer (June to August) brings warm weather and vibrant festivals, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring Amsterdam’s famous canals.
- Fall (September to November) showcases beautiful autumn colors and fewer crowds.
- Winter (December to February) offers a magical atmosphere, especially during the holiday season.
What are the most important holidays and festivals in The Netherlands?
The Netherlands is known for its vibrant festivals and celebrations. Some of the most important holidays and festivals in the country include:
1. King’s Day (Koningsdag): This is one of the largest and most renowned festivals in the Netherlands, celebrated on the 27th of April to commemorate the king’s birthday. The day is marked by street parades, dance parties, live music, and vibrant orange-colored festivities.
2. Christmas (Kerstmis): Christmas is a time of togetherness in the Netherlands, celebrated over two days with gift-giving, family gatherings, and traditional feasts. It is a widely observed holiday in the country.
3. Sinterklaas: This is a traditional festivity celebrated on the evening before Sinterklaas’ birthday on December 5th, especially in families with young children. It involves the custom of gift-giving, surprises, and poems.
4. Amsterdam Light Festival: This is a major winter festival held from November to January in Amsterdam, featuring stunning light displays, art installations, and boat tours along the city’s canals.
These are just a few examples of the diverse and lively festivals and holidays that take place throughout the year in the Netherlands, showcasing the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the country.
How to meet fellow solo travelers in The Netherlands
When traveling solo in the Netherlands, socializing and connecting with fellow solo travelers can enhance your experience. One great way to meet travel buddies is by joining organized events or group activities through a travel buddy app like Likeplan.
Amsterdam, the vibrant capital city, offers several popular meeting spots such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, where you can appreciate Dutch art and engage in conversations with other visitors.
The city’s central station and its surrounding cafes provide a lively atmosphere for socializing. Amsterdam’s bustling nightlife, with its diverse range of bars and clubs, is another avenue to mingle and have a memorable solo travel experience.
Is The Netherlands expensive for solo travelers?
The Netherlands can be relatively expensive for solo travelers, especially in major cities like Amsterdam. The average cost for a solo traveler for a week in the Netherlands ranges from $1,118 to $2,448, which translates to about $160 to $350 per day.
According to Numbeo, the Netherlands holds the 25th spot on the Cost of Living Index by Country.
Accommodation, food, and activities can contribute to the overall expenses. For example, the cost of a 2-night and 3-day trip to the Netherlands for a budget traveler is estimated to be approximately $342 to $690.
It’s noted that restaurants in Amsterdam can be very expensive, and hotel prices are higher than in most larger cities.
To cut down on costs, it’s recommended to consider buying food at a market and enjoying a picnic beside a canal, and to make hotel reservations well in advance as prices generally go up as the date approaches.
Suggested 7-day itinerary for The Netherlands
Day 1 – Arrival and exploring Amsterdam’s canals
Arriving in Amsterdam is an exciting beginning to your solo trip in the Netherlands. As you step off the plane or train at Amsterdam Centraal, you’ll immediately feel the vibrant and welcoming vibe of the city.
The first thing on your itinerary should be exploring the iconic canals that Amsterdam is famous for.
Take a leisurely stroll or hop on a canal boat tour to marvel at the picturesque waterways lined with charming buildings and unique houseboats.
Don’t forget to visit the Anne Frank House, where you can learn about the inspiring story of Anne Frank and her family during World War II.
Day 2 – Visiting the Rijksmuseum and more
On your second day in the Netherlands, make sure to visit the iconic Rijksmuseum. This world-renowned museum in Amsterdam is home to an extensive collection of Dutch art and history, including masterpieces by famous artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Take your time exploring the museum’s vast galleries and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the country.
Afterward, you can venture out and discover more of Amsterdam’s attractions, such as a leisurely stroll along the picturesque canals or a visit to the vibrant Red Light District.
Day 3 – Day trip to the Dutch countryside
On day three of your solo travel in the Netherlands, take a day trip to the Dutch countryside to experience the beauty and charm of rural Holland.
Start your day by catching a train from Amsterdam Central Station to one of the scenic towns outside the city.
Consider visiting Zaanse Schans, known for its picturesque windmills, or explore the historic city of Haarlem with its beautiful architecture. Enjoy a leisurely walk or rent a bike to explore the idyllic countryside dotted with tulip fields and charming villages.
Day 4 – Exploring Rotterdam: modernity meets tradition
On the fourth day of your solo trip in the Netherlands, immerse yourself in the vibrant city of Rotterdam, where modernity meets tradition.
Start your day by exploring the innovative architecture that defines the city’s skyline, such as the iconic Erasmus Bridge and the futuristic Cube Houses.
Dive into Rotterdam’s rich history by visiting the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which houses an impressive collection of Dutch masters. Don’t miss a stroll along the scenic canals and a visit to the famous Market Hall.
Day 5 – Utrecht: a hidden gem
On the fifth day of your solo trip to the Netherlands, make sure to visit Utrecht, a hidden gem that offers a unique and authentic Dutch experience.
Explore the beautiful canals and charming streets of this historic city, which is often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Take a stroll along the Oudegracht and discover the vibrant cafe culture and picturesque terraces. Don’t miss out on visiting the iconic Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, offering panoramic views of the city.
Day 6 – Leisurely day in The Hague
On Day 6 of your solo travel adventure in the Netherlands, take it easy and enjoy a leisurely day in The Hague. Start your day by visiting the famous Mauritshuis museum, where you can marvel at masterpieces by Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt.
Afterward, take a stroll along the beautiful beaches of Scheveningen and soak up the coastal vibe.
Don’t miss a visit to the Binnenhof, the political heart of the country, and explore the charming streets of the city center. End your day with a relaxing cup of coffee at a local cafe or unwind with a picnic in one of the city’s parks.
Day 7 – Final day in Amsterdam: shopping and farewell
On your final day in Amsterdam, take the opportunity to indulge in some shopping and bid farewell to this vibrant city. Amsterdam is renowned for its diverse shopping scene, offering everything from high-end fashion to eclectic boutiques.
Explore the trendy neighborhoods like De Pijp and Nine Streets, where you’ll find unique stores and local designers.
Don’t miss the chance to pick up traditional Dutch souvenirs like stroopwafels and Dutch cheese to take home with you. As you shop, soak in the lively atmosphere and the picturesque canals that make Amsterdam truly unforgettable.
What are the best ways to get around in The Netherlands?
The Netherlands offers various efficient and convenient modes of transportation for getting around the country. Here are some of the best ways to travel within the Netherlands:
- Train: The train system in the Netherlands is extensive, modern, and known to be one of the best in Europe. It is the preferred mode of travel for both short and long distances, connecting major cities and smaller towns. The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) operates the majority of the train services, offering fast, frequent, and punctual trains at reasonable prices.
- Bicycle: The Netherlands is famous for its cycling culture, and it’s an excellent way to explore the country. With a flat landscape, well-maintained cycling paths, and clear signage, cycling is safe, easy, and enjoyable. Many cities offer bike rental services, and cycling allows for a unique and immersive travel experience.
- Public Transport: In addition to trains, the Netherlands has an efficient and affordable public transport system that includes buses, trams, and ferries. This network provides extensive coverage, making it easy to access various destinations within the country.
- Car: While the Netherlands is a small country with well-developed public transportation, renting a car can be a convenient option, especially for exploring rural areas and smaller villages. The road network is well-maintained, and driving is safe and straightforward.
- Walking: Many cities and towns in the Netherlands are pedestrian-friendly, with well-marked walking paths and a compact layout, making walking a pleasant and practical way to explore urban areas.
These transportation options provide solo travelers with flexibility and accessibility to explore the diverse attractions and regions of the Netherlands.
5 Must-try Dutch dishes
When it comes to solo travel in the Netherlands, experiencing the local cuisine is a must. Even though the country is not famous for it’s delicious cuisine, there are some dishes and snacks worth trying:
- Stroopwafels: These are thin waffle cookies with a layer of caramel syrup. They are a popular sweet treat and can be found fresh at bakeries and food trucks across the country.
- Bitterballen: These are deep-fried, crispy meat-based snacks, often served with mustard. They are a popular bar snack and a must-try for visitors.
- Kroketten (Croquettes): These are deep-fried, breadcrumb-coated rolls filled with a thick, creamy ragout. They come in various flavors, including beef, veal, or chicken, and are often served with bread or fries.
- Pannenkoeken (Dutch Pancakes): These are larger and thinner than American pancakes and can be sweet or savory. They are often enjoyed with a variety of toppings, such as syrup, fruit, or bacon.
- Haring (Herring): Raw herring is a popular snack in the Netherlands, often served with onions and pickles. It is a must-try for seafood lovers and is often enjoyed from herring stands in the street.
These dishes showcase the diverse and delicious cuisine of the Netherlands, from sweet treats to savory snacks and hearty meals.
Pepijn is the founder of Likeplan. He mainly writes about solo traveling. With over 10 completed solo trips, he writes from his own experience with the mission to encourage other people to go out and explore by themselves.