© Marco Wintjens

Itinerary: A taste of Holland

This itinerary provides inspiration for taking in the many sides of Holland. Travel from Maastricht in the country’s southern tip to a North Sea beach, and see historic architecture as well as modern design. Pick up your Holland Travel Ticket from any NS (Dutch Railways) train station first thing in the morning. The ticket is valid from 9 o’clock and can be used on trains, trams, buses and ferries all over the country. In exchange for not sleeping in, you get to see a big chunk of Holland in one day. Plus, the first stop includes a lovely cup of coffee in a glorious setting.

  • Travel from the southern city of Maastricht to the North Sea coast.
  • Stop off in Gouda in pursuit of the famous cheese and discover a city basking in history.
  • Hop on and off all public transport across Holland for a whole day with the Holland Travel Ticket.

Centuries-old architecture, books and coffee

Start your day bright and early in Maastricht, on the country’s southern tip. If you’re feeling more early than bright, the first stop should wake you up: Maastricht’s 11th-century Dominican Church has been repurposed to house a café and what has been named one of the world’s most beautiful bookshops. It opens at 9am (except for Monday and Sundays), so have a coffee and a browse – you might find a great novel to read on the train. The 15-minute walk to the NS (Dutch Railways) station includes crossing the beautiful Sint-Servaasbrug. This stone bridge was built in the 13th century and is one of Maastricht’s most iconic landmarks. Hop on the train to Roermond. But don’t get too comfortable: the journey only takes 30 minutes.

Churches and shopping in Roermond

You can choose between the sacred and the profane in the lovely town of Roermond. On the one hand, the historic old town houses a number of historic churches: the magnificent Gothic St. Christopher Cathedral on the market square, the 13th-century Roermond Minster and the 15th-century Minderbroeders Church. On the other hand, there’s a designer outlet, which is the biggest of its kind in the Benelux, home to 150 brand shops and tasty lunch spots. You decide – just don’t miss your next train. Eindhoven is another 30 minutes away.

Contemporary art and cutting-edge design in Eindhoven

From the old to the new: Eindhoven boasts striking modern architecture and cutting-edge design. The Van Abbemuseum houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, from Picasso, Kandinsky and Rodin to the Guerrilla Girls, all in a remarkable building. And the Design House is a renowned platform for art, design and technology. Once you’ve had your fill of the modern world, make your way to the historic town of Gouda for a dose of traditional Dutch. On the train, find a cosy window seat and settle in with your book: the journey takes one hour and 15 minutes.

Dutch delicacies in Gouda

It’s time for some Dutch traditions, and those are alive and kicking in Gouda. Obviously, this includes the famous local cheese. The cheese market, where you can witness cheese traders’ customs, takes place on Thursdays through summer, but you can sample and buy Gouda cheese all over town anytime. Gouda also has one of the most beautiful historic city centres in Holland, full of monumental buildings (don’t miss the Sint Janskerk and the town hall), hidden courtyards, gorgeous canals and cute little shops. Stroopwafels, the delicious Dutch snack, were invented here, too. Stop off at Van den Berg to try a freshly-made one and take more for the train: The Hague is only 18 minutes away.

Dinner by the sea in The Hague

From Central Station in The Hague, take bus no. 22, which will take you to the seaside (Scheveningen, to be exact) in 20 minutes. It’s an interesting route, too, passing by the stunning Binnenhof, seat of the Dutch government. Get off at the famous Kurhaus hotel. (Don’t worry: being a seaside resort, Scheveningen has plenty of accommodation options, even if your budget doesn’t stretch to that hotel’s five-star glory.) End your day with a stroll along the beach and the pier. Then, tuck into some fresh fish for dinner at Catch by Simonis in the harbour. You’ve earned it!

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