The Netherlands and Belgium, two gems in the heart of Europe, promise an unforgettable summer vacation with their unique blend of culture, history, natural beauty, and culinary delights. From awe-inspiring architecture to world-class art, from quaint medieval towns to vibrant modern cities, these countries offer a rich and varied experience. Here are ten reasons why you should pack your bags and explore the Netherlands and Belgium this summer.
- Vibrant Tulip Blooms: Visiting the Netherlands in the summer allows you to witness the stunning tulip fields in full bloom. Keukenhof, known as the ‘Garden of Europe’, is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, boasting over 7 million flower bulbs that burst into a riot of color every year.
- Dutch Golden Age Canals: Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal ring of Amsterdam on a leisurely boat tour. These 17th-century waterways, lined with quaint houses and vibrant cafes, provide a picturesque backdrop for a summer day.
- Belgian Waffles and Chocolate: Indulge your sweet tooth in Belgium, renowned worldwide for its waffles and chocolates. Visit Brussels’ Grand Place, where chocolate shops and waffle stands offer an irresistible array of sweet treats.
- Architectural Marvels: From the Art Nouveau gems of Brussels to the medieval marvels of Bruges and Ghent, Belgium is an architectural paradise. The Netherlands, on the other hand, offers a blend of historic and modern architecture, from the windmills of Kinderdijk to the innovative designs in Rotterdam.
- World-Class Art: Both countries are havens for art lovers. The Netherlands is the birthplace of legendary painters like Van Gogh and Rembrandt, and museums like the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum showcase their masterpieces. Belgium is home to the famous Royal Museums of Fine Arts, housing works of artists like Rubens and Magritte.
- Stunning Beaches: The Dutch coastline offers beautiful sandy beaches like those at Scheveningen and Zandvoort, perfect for sunbathing, surfing, or enjoying a beachside BBQ. The Belgian coast, with its charming seaside towns like Ostend and Knokke, is equally inviting.
- Festivals and Events: The summer season is ripe with festivals in both countries. Experience the joyous atmosphere at the Ghent Festivities in Belgium or immerse in the vibrant music scene at Pinkpop or North Sea Jazz festival in the Netherlands.
- Diverse Cuisine: Dutch and Belgian cuisines are a treat for food lovers. Try traditional Dutch dishes like Haring or Stroopwafels, and don’t miss out on Belgium’s world-famous fries or a hearty Flemish stew.
- Cycling Culture: The Netherlands, with its extensive network of cycling paths, is a paradise for bikers. Biking around Amsterdam or through the serene Dutch countryside is a quintessential Dutch experience. In Belgium, follow the cycling trails around Limburg to explore its stunning landscapes.
- Historic Battlefields: History buffs should visit Flanders Fields in Belgium, a poignant reminder of the First World War. Similarly, the Dutch province of Gelderland, with its Airborne Museum and national park, offers insights into the Second World War.
A summer tour in the Netherlands and Belgium delivers a potent mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, gastronomic delights, and historical depth. The allure of these two countries lies not only in their popular attractions but also in their less-explored corners and the charm of everyday life. There’s always something new and exciting to discover, making them ideal destinations for an unforgettable summer getaway.