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Noord-Holland - The Delights of North Holland Travel

From James Martin,
Your Guide to Europe Travel.
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Holland travel in compact Noord-Holland offers some great tourism opportunities

When you think of a Holland vacation, you're liable to think of wooden shoes, dikes, windmills, and brooding polder landscapes. Those things are all available in Noord-Holland, but there's more: there's art by the old masters, as well as a Dutch Museum for contemporary realistic art (and a unique one for stoves), there's also a living museum--a town devoted to Dutch life in the 17th and 18th centuries. And there's famous cheese and cheese markets, of course.

Holland Travel Map - Noord-Holland
noord holland map
Map of Noord-Holland © James Martin, licensed to About.

Top Attractions of Noord-Holland

  • Amsterdam - Don't miss this vibrant city. If you like city life, you can make this your travel hub for a north Holland vacation.
  • Zaanse Schans - a living museum, folks live and work as they did in the 17th and 18th centuries. Zaanse Schans is Only 4 stations (20 minutes) by train from Amsterdam Central Station in the direction of Alkmaar.
  • Alkmaar and the Cheese Market - Every Friday you can see the ritualized marketing of cheese by traditionally costumed cheese bearers. You'll also find the world's only Stove Museum.
  • Aalsmeer flower auction - every day some 19 million flowers are auctioned at the Aalsmeer flower auction. Plus, you can visit the world heritage site Fort bij Aalsmeer, a fort built as one of 42 forts making up the defense line of Amsterdam against the Germans (completed in 1895). Not a single shot was fired from them.
  • Zandvoort - gamble at the casino or watch a race at the famous track in this seaside resort town.. Don't pass up amateur racing--lots of action and many formula one drivers have started this way.
  • Haarlem - lots to see, including the Archeologisch Museum (archaeology museum) and the Spaarnestad Fotoarchief photography archives.
  • Hoorn - Rail historians unite! Take a ride on the steam tram and visit the museum. On Saturday evenings you can dine on the train on the Candelight Express. About halfway between Hoorn and Zaanstad is the Beemster Polder, once an inland see reclaimed between 1607 and 1612. The land turned out to be quite fertile, and merchants built mansions and country estates on the polder. It's one of Hollands' World Heritage sites.
  • Leiden - Here's where the Pilgrims settled before they came to America. See the Pilgrim Archives or other museums.
  • Dune Riding - Rent a bicycle and head out for a long dune ride (130 km of dunes) off the western coast from Zandvoort to (if you've got the legs) Dan Helder and even to the island of Texel to the north. Bikes can be hired in almost any village in north Holland.
  • Keukenhof Gardens - Near Lisse, 70 acres of flowers, the largest Dutch Flower Garden. Find out more about Seeing Tulips in Holland.
  • Enkhuizen was a very important North Holland port on the Zuiderzee during the Dutch East India Company period starting in the 16th century. The old center is quite well preserved. You can visit the old fortifications and walls that protected the city and visit the Zuiderzee Museum.

Where to Stay

Outside of Amsterdam, North Holland is mainly rural. It's a great place to rent a vacation home or apartment, which are especially plentiful along the North Sea Coast. See North Holland Vacation Rentals from HomeAway (book direct).

Other Resources for Noord Holland

Stop in at one of the Holland Tourism Offices or a Noord-Holland office (Callantsoog, Den Helder, Julianadorp, Petten, Schagen, Den Oever, Dirshorn or Nieuwe Niedorp) to pick up the informative "Noord-Holland Thematic Map".

Beyond Noord-Holland

Just north of Den Helder is Texel Island. A short ferry ride from Den Helder gets you there. You can go on to visit the rest of the Wadden Islands and Friesland.

Travel Resources for Noord-Holland

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