Welcome to The Netherlands! With Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Groningen located on close driving distance, The Netherlands is the perfect country for planning your next road trip. This road trip guide for The Netherlands will help you plan your new adventure in the land of the windmills, wooden shoes, beautiful architecture, Rembrandt and Van Gogh and last but not least, the beautiful channels of Amsterdam. Visit the famous Keukenhof flower gardens or take a spin nearby the Dutch coastline of the Wadden Sea. Enjoy the delicious cheeses, fresh bread and ,of course, the Dutch traditional fast foods like the “Frikandel” or “Kroket”.
Did you know that you can actually drive from the north to the south of the country in less then 5 hours? And that the road quality is one of the best in the world? With my “A Complete Road Trip Guide for The Netherlands” I will help you plan the best road trip in The Netherlands.
Hotels, hostels and Airbnb
Hostels and hotels can be found through out the country, but mostly nearby the capitals of each city. The smaller villages normally do not receive many tourists. Hotel prices are on average € 85, – (100 USD), but in Amsterdam the cost are € 115, – (138 USD) per night. Hostels are on between € 15, – and € 25, – (18-30 USD). Keep in mind that hostel and hotels are most expensive in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam.
Couchsurfing is very popular in the province capitals. You will not have any trouble finding a sofa to sleep on. Airbnb rentals are between € 25, – and € 75, – (30-90 USD) depending on your location.
Free or private car parking is available at almost any location with exception of the city centers.
Campsites are widely available in The Netherlands. Prices per night are between € 15, – and € 25, – (18-30 USD), but it is recommended to only be used during the spring/summer period when using a tent, due to the low temperatures at night.
Camping in the wild is not allowed in The Netherlands. There are a few spots where it is legal to camp in the wild. These are the so called pole camps and you can find a map here
The cost of food is normal in The Netherlands. When eating fast food the prices start at € 4, – to € 6, (5-7 USD) per meal. Eating out in in a normal restaurant is between € 10, – to € 18, (12-21 USD) per meal. Low-cost German supermarket chains Aldi & Lidl are widely available through out the country, Buying groceries at these chains normal results in € 30, – (36 USD) for a weeks worth of groceries based on 2 persons.
Road tolls & Vignette (Road taxes)
In The Netherlands there is no road tax for cars that are not registered in the country. Therefore, if you come on holiday with your car or rent a car in the Netherlands you will not encounter a road toll nor need a Vignette.
For the latest gasoline prices in The Netherlands: Click here
How to save money?
The traffic rules a strictly monitored by the Dutch police. They have radar controls on almost every major highway, do regular alcoholic breath tests and drive undercover to catch traffic violators. Any speed fine over 50 Km/h, will result in you losing your drivers license on the spot, whilst the DA will determine the amount of the fine. And I can guarantee you it will be an expensive one!
Rent a diesel car
Diesel is much cheaper the gasoline in the Netherlands. If you plan to rent a car upon arrival, try to secure a car with a diesel engine. It can save up to 10 euro per tank!
Travel in the off-season
Peak months are June, July and August. During this time it will be very busy in the capital cities, but also on the campsites. Having a caravan or camper is a big part of the Dutch culture, therefore you will save some money if you travel outside of these months. If you do plan to make a road trip during this time, make sure you made all your reservations in advance.
Join a free tour
By joining the walking tour of Free Walking Tours Amsterdam, you’ll be guaranteed an intimate and personal guided experience from a local perspective. Over a few hours, you’ll see some of the most noteworthy historical landmarks such as the Royal Palace, the Rembrandt house, the Waag, and the Old Church. While walking along the unique, narrow streets and stunning canals, you will be surrounded by the city’s odd and eye-pleasing architecture that will give a lot of great photo opportunities. The tour focuses on the city’s origin and historical progress including the ‘Golden Age’ period, the history of the VOC, and the unusual coffee shops and the Red Light District.
They offer tours in Utrecht, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam and The Hague
Fly to Eindhoven & Rotterdam airport
Eindhoven and Rotterdam both have airports. Although, most people only know the international airport Schiphol Amsterdam, low-budget airliners like Ryanair, Easy Jet and Wizz Air mostly use these two small airports.
Parking regulations in the Netherlands
Next to black and white or yellow curbs it is not allowed to park. Violations are heavily fined and can reach up to € 90, – , or (in a worst case scenario) result in a wheel clamp. If this happens, call the number, which is located on the ticket. After this a person will come to remove it after you paid the fine.
Paid parking in the Netherlands
In almost all every city or town district, parking is not free. The central pay and display machine at the side of the road or at the end of the parking lot allows you to purchase your tickets. A proper display in the front window and in clear view is required. At the ticket machines on the street your parking rate can be paid in cash and in some occasions with a credit/debit card. Sometimes you will not receive a ticket and you will need to enter your number plate after you pay. No worries, as the officer will scan your number plate and see that you have made your payment.
In the blue zones you can use your international blue parking disc. This allows you to park for free in the designated area for an X amount of hours. Purchase the international blue parking disc at any local supermarket or gas station.
Things to see and do in The Netherlands
Drive on the “Afsluitdijk”
When it comes to water management, the Dutch know what they are talking about. Driving over the Afsluitdijk during your road trip is a great way to explore the beautiful nature that The Netherlands has to offer. Constructed between 1927 and 1933, the Afsluitdijk is separating the fresh-water lake IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea and connecting the provinces North-Holland with Friesland. The 32-kilometer-long structure is a populair route for cyclist, bikers and drivers and offers several lookout points. The perfect place to take a break, enjoy the stunning view and have a cup of coffee.
The Netherlands are known for their excellent public transportation (National railroad website: NS) and for just a few Euro’s you can travel by train or tram to Amsterdam Central Station. From the central station, all famous landmarks are on walking distance including The Dam, Kalverstraat, Rembrandtplein (square), Leidseplein (square) and much more. If you are planning to come in the city with a car, consider parking at a ParkBee car park. With their app you can park for a much lower cost at several parking locations in The Netherlands. For Amsterdam they charge on average € 2,50 – per hour.
The Keukenhof flower gardens Lisse have over 800 varieties of tulips and has each year more then 7 million bulbs in bloom. This amazing sight is a very populair tourist destination and will give you a unique and unforgettable experience! In the 32 hectares you can find flower shows, artworks, events and inspiration gardens and much more. Depending on the season, the park will be open each year starting from mid-March to the first week of May. For more information please check the website: The Keukenhof
Drive on the “Utrechtse Heuvelrug”
De Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Hill Ridge) is a ridge of curvy roads and sand hills that stretch from the northwest to the southeast over the province of Utrecht. Total length is about 50 km. and the roads are very popular with road trippers and bikers, due to curves and stunning scenery. After a long drive, it is time to relax at one of the many restaurants and cafés, which serve their famous appel pie and coffee. Beautiful nature is a big part of The Utrechtse Heuvelrug, therefore it is a great idea to drive and walk through the forest area to take it all in.
Spending a day on Scheveningen beach
When you think of the Netherlands, a sunny beach holiday might not be the first thing that crossed your mind. But did you know that the popular beach town of Scheveningen is just a 15-minute drive from The Hague? With the recently renovated “Scheveningen Pier” you can now enjoy the beach everyday out of the year. Have a drink or something to at some of the new trendy restaurants and bars. For the daredevils, there is a giant Ferris wheel that gives you an amazing view over the city and sea! Scheveningen also hosts the annually firework demonstration show in April, which is a stunning display of the newest and most spectacular fireworks.
Wildlands Zoo in Emmen
Located in Emmen, Wildlands Adventure Zoo is known for being the largest zoo of The Netherlands. It opened in March 2016, replacing the old Emmen Zoo. The adventure park has four main themed areas: Jungola, Serenga, Nortica and Animazia. The zoo offers an amazing butterfly garden, polar bears, elephants, giraffes and much more. Zookeepers give presentations to teach you more about the animals. For more information please visit the website: Wildlands Adventure Zoo
14-day road trip routes
Below you will find four example road trips (14 and 7 days) that you can make in The Netherlands. Together with “A Complete Road Trip Guide For The Netherlands” you will be ready and prepared for your next adventure.
Distance: 608 Km. – 377 Miles
Distance: 683 Km. – 423 Miles
7-day road trip routes
Distance: 495 Km. – 307 Miles
Distance: 307 Km. – 190 Miles