Spend the summer like a Dutchman
Summer is the perfect time to plan a last-minute getaway in the sunshine. The Netherlands make the perfect holiday destination for family or friends looking for something a bit different. So pack up the car and head across to the Hook of Holland with Stena Line and spend your summer like a Dutchman!
Check out our handy-guide for how to spend your balmy summer days just like the Dutch do!
Get out on the water
The canals are a true icon of many Dutch cities. From sleepy canal villages to popular Dutch cities, there are plenty of ways to explore the Netherlands’ most famous waterways. Rent a kayak in Utrecht and paddle past waterside terraces and quaint buildings, or if you’re feeling less active, why not take a boat tour of Amsterdam’s world-famous canal system.
To the north, you can pay a visit to Giethoorn, known as the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’. Drop the car nearby – this tranquil village has no roads – and hop into a boat, and float past thatched cottages that are straight out of a fairy tale.
Hop on your bike
There’s no greater way to travel around the Netherlands than by bike, which is why so many Dutch people do it! Whether you’re a lifelong cyclist keen to pedal across the entire country, or a novice looking for a guided tour, there’s something for everyone.
If you travel with Stena Line this summer, you’re able to bring your bike aboard with you, so you don’t need to worry about renting when you arrive. With over 20 long-distance (known as LF) cycle routes across the country, it’s easy for serious cyclists to construct a multi-day cycle route that suits them.
Outside of multi-day trips, cyclists can follow in the footsteps of the Tour de France 2015 and take to Utrecht, where Stage One of the 2015 Tour took place. Groningen, known as ‘the world’s most bike-friendly city’ is another great stop for eager cyclists. The iconic Unesco World Heritage site, Kinderijk Windmills, is only accessible on foot or by bike, making it the ideal spot for novices. Hoog Veluwe National Park is also home to hundreds of scenic cycle routes that are great for those who want to explore nature on two wheels.
Hit the beach
Spending a few days by the seaside is a classic summer pastime of the Dutch and British alike. Step straight off your Stena Line ferry and onto the beach at Hoek van Holland, or drive slightly further afield to Scheveningen beach. Both beaches have plenty of beach bars and restaurants nearby. If you’re just after a day trip to the beach, consider making a base in Rotterdam and you can visit both. Alternatively, there are plenty of hotels near both beaches if you want to spend longer by the coast.
If you’re paying a trip to the capital, make sure you visit Zandvoort beach. Just 30km out of the city centre, this slice of paradise is full on the weekends of Amsterdammers who want a bit of seaside action.
Picnic in the park
The Netherlands is home to a huge array of inspiring landscapes and there are many national parks that tourists can visit.
Take in the breath-taking Texel National Park, where you can cycle, hike or horse ride through beautiful dunes. Grab a seat at one of the designated barbeque areas and cook up a feast, and don’t forget to look out for the amazing wildlife, including wild horses and birds of prey. Tourists are also encouraged to explore Hogu Veluwe, the largest privately-owned nature reserve in the Netherlands. This dramatic landscape is home to a range of animals including deer, boars and birds.
Be a culture vulture
Trip hit by bad weather? No biggie – the Netherlands are home to a huge range of fascinating museums and other tourist sites that are more than just a shelter from the rain!
Whilst Amsterdam is home to the world-famous Anne Frank Museum and Rijksmuseum, outside the capital there is even more to explore. Mauritshuis in The Hague is one of the leading art galleries in the country, and is home to some of the most renowned artworks in the world, including the Girl with a Pearl Earring. Kasteel De Haar in Utrecht is another rainy-day favourite. The parkland that surrounds the castle makes for a stunning lunch spot on a sunny day, the castle itself is packed with a range of artefacts including textiles and paintings.
No matter which Dutch activities strike your fancy this summer, make sure you book with Stena-Line by July 15 to ensure you get 25% off your ferry fare, and 10% off meals and cabins with offer code SUNSHINE. Offer is valid on travel between 26 June and 31 December 2019.