The Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Lucky for the outdoorsy folks out there, the country has plenty of beautiful countrysides just waiting to be explored. Don’t expect the towering peaks of the Swiss Alps or the thick, seemingly endless forests of Germany, but the Dutch countryside has a charm that is sure to please visitors looking to take a break from city tours. Head out into nature for some fresh air — here’s a look at some of the best options for hiking in The Netherlands.
Oisterwijkse Bossen en Vennen, Oisterwijk
A wooded area in the small southern town of Oisterwijk, Oisterwikse Bossen en Vennen is a favorite among both tourists and locals. You can hop on a bike and cruise the area’s paths or stay on foot and make your way through the woods. Many of the trails circle around a large pond area that’s absolutely beautiful at sunset and sunrise. There are benches along the water too where you can hop off your bike, grab a seat and kick back.
Landgoed Clingendael, The Hague
One of the country’s most beautiful parks, Landgoed Clingendael is more of a place for slow strolls than rigorous hikes, but it is fresh air and nature all the same. Follow paths through the heavily shaded woods, smell the flowers (literally, there are impressive displays throughout the park) and shake off the city buzz that’s been following you around so far vacation.
Veluwezoom National Park, Rheden
When the heather is in bloom, Veluwezoom is nothing short of magical. The rolling hills turn almost entirely purple and the park looks like something out of a fairy tale. There are excellent medium-distance hikes through the park to stretch your legs. Be on the lookout for wild boar on the trail as well.
Hoge Veluwe National Park, Arnhem
Located just outside the city of Arnhem, Hoge Veluwe has a strange, yet beautiful combination of woodlands and sand dunes that make for excellent hiking scenery. Foxes, badgers, deer and wild boar are all frequently sighted by park visitors. Bring your camera, especially when the heather is in bloom or in the fall when the trees change their colors.
De Weerribben-Wieden National Park, Overijssel
In classic Dutch style, De Weerribben-Wieden National Park takes you through open fields broken up only by old windmills. A hike through the park is level and relaxing and your camera will have plenty to shoot, especially if you can get the windmills in the right lighting. If you’re looking for a different type of exercise (maybe you’ve knocked out a few hikes already) you can always hop in a kayak and navigate the park’s canal system. Nothing will get you far from the city noise like a quiet kayak exploration through the woods.
So don’t think it’s all bustling cities. Hiking in The Netherlands can bring a whole other dimension to your vacation.