The Netherlands is best known for its brightly-coloured tulip fields, windmill-lined rivers, and narrow canalside streets. The Netherlands is the name of the entire country and Kingdom, although most people refer to the nation as Holland. This is because the two main provinces of North and South Holland were once the biggest economic players, so they became synonymous with the Netherlands itself.
The Netherlands has its share of memorable scenery, proven by its 20 National Parks. From the marshes and woodlands of Weerribben-Wieden and Zuid-Kennemerland to the sweeping coastlines of Schiermonnikoog and Oosterschelde, there are plenty of hiking and cycling opportunities nationwide.
The most popular type of campervan is the Intermediate or Budget-friendly Class, as these offer basic amenities and plenty of space while still being very affordable. The Luxury Class Motorhome is better suited to larger groups who can share costs or those wanting a more luxurious holiday. For the higher price tag, you will get more home comforts and space to stretch out. Anyone travelling alone or as a pair who wants to get lost in nature could try a sturdy 4WD Camper.
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The Netherlands is highlighted by its sweeping views that reach as far as the eye can see. The charming backdrop of colourful windmills and tulip fields dotted around the canals and deltas make it a delightful choice for a campervan road trip.
The biggest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, a historic capital filled with museums and galleries; The Hague, home to the Royal Family and the International Criminal Court, the nearby Rotterdam, with a romantic old town; and Eindhoven, which encapsulates a dynamic blend of both traditional and contemporary styles. Maastricht, in the south of the Netherlands, is an old University town with a pedestrianised cobblestone centre. There are even a collection of well-preserved medieval towns with stark Gothic architecture, such as Zutphen, Utrecht, and Zwolle.
Here’s why the Netherlands is a perfect destination for a campervan holiday:
Campsites Cost Less Than Hotels: An average nightly stay in a Dutch hotel would cost you £95, whereas a campsite is priced on average at £21 per night.
You Need To Travel Between Destinations: It’s far easier to see the historic towns and National Parks when driving around the Netherlands. Instead of renting a car, hire a campervan for greater flexibility.
Scenic Coastal Routes: The Netherlands has a long, beautiful shoreline with multiple bridges stretching out over rushing deltas, making it a popular choice for passionate road-trippers.
The Flat Landscape Makes For Easy Driving: The Netherlands is a famously flat country, meaning even first-time campervan renters can easily drive heavy vehicles along the rural roads.
Amsterdam is a romantic city crisscrossed with canals where boats glide silently between tall, narrow houses. The city is famed for its Red Light District, a stretch of streets and canals in the centre that features historic dance houses. Amsterdam is also home to Electric Ladyland, the wacky Museum of Fluorescent Art. If you’re staying in Amsterdam overnight, tour the famous Heineken Factory; just remember not to drink and drive.
Edam, the birthplace of the famous Dutch cheese, lies only half an hour north of Amsterdam. Kaasliefhebbers, or cheese lovers, will have plenty to do between the medieval Cheese Market, the Edam Museum, and the tours and tastings at the Volendam Cheese Factory. Apart from dairy, Edam has romantic canals coupled with small traditional houses, a Gothic church, and a fort surrounded by a moat.
For the perfect family-friendly Dutch holiday, head to the magical theme park of Efteling. Built to bring your storybooks to life, Efteling is made up of five big zones, including Marerijk _(Fairy Realm), _Ruigrijk, (Adventure Realm), and Fantasierijk (Fantasy Realm). Each realm holds rides and attractions, like the Fairytale Forest and the Python rollercoaster, which are guaranteed to keep your kids entertained all day. Entry prices range from £34 to £42 per person.
The picturesque town of Giethoorn in the Weerribben-Wieden National Park is formed of thatched cottages and fairytale gardens, fairly typical for a rural Dutch village, except this one barely has any roads. Instead, the primary mode of transport consists of boats and gondolas that glide through the canals that run between each cottage. Those without boats can use the tiny pathways and delicate bridges that slope over the calm rivers.
The Hague is packed with historic sights, including the Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights, a medieval court, and the Peace Palace, home to the International Court of Justice. Iconic museums in The Hague are the car-collecting Louwman Museum, the Escher in the Palace, and the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery. There are also unexpected attractions like the Madurodam, a model village with scaled-down replicas of some of the nation’s most famous cities and landmarks, and the 360° indoor illusion Panorama Mesdag, which makes you believe you’re on an idyllic sandy beach.
The Oude Haven, or Old Port, in Rotterdam, is a tiny section of the now expansive harbour that is considered to be the oldest port in the seafaring nation. Enormous wooden sailboats line the hundreds of years old docks, while tiny bars and restaurants welcome weary visitors in for a refreshing meal. Near the romantic waterfront, you can find Markthal, a large urbanistic structure with a thriving indoor marketplace in the centre.
What flower is more synonymous with the graceful beauty of Holland than the Tulip? While fields of tulips grow in the countryside as far as the eye can see, visitors can gather to celebrate the blossoming of the flowers in the Keukenhof Gardens. Located halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague, this botanical garden is only open from late March to mid-May, when the flowers bloom. Tickets to the gardens cost around £17 per adult, and the price is worth it to witness 800 different tulip species set out in delicate rows.
Standing guard over Valkenburg is the ruin of an 11th-century castle, the country’s only hilltop fort. The castle’s outer walls are heavily damaged, but a network of underground tunnels has survived to tell its story. Artwork and carvings adorning the stone walls hint at historic sieges and sabotage, while the Velvet Cave’s secret chapel tells the tale of religious persecution. If you’re in Valkenburg between mid-November and late December, visit the massive underground Christmas Market hosted in the Municipal Cave.
This traditional Dutch neighbourhood features vibrant windmills that perch on the edge of a peaceful canal. Located directly to the north of Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans is a thriving slice of 18th-century Holland, where wooden houses are filled with artisans making clogs or grinding wheat to bake bread. Once you’ve purchased your authentic Dutch wares, hop on a boat and go on a gentle ride through the tulips fields.
This coastal drive runs through the heart of the Oosterschelde National Park, around the islands of Zeeland. On top of the impressive seaside views, the route also passes through the Delta Works project. This series of 13 dams, lochs, barriers, and bridges, comprises a massive effort by the Dutch to protect their land against rising sea levels. Built to prevent disasters like the North Sea Flood of 1953, these immense structures are a masterpiece of modern engineering and are a delight to drive across.
A considerable number of campsites in the Netherlands close between November and March, and those that remain open fill up fast. Hence, it’s easiest to reserve your spots in advance. Here are the 10 best campsites for campervans in the Netherlands:
near Utrecht: Spend a night you’ll never forget on the grounds of a 19th-century Fort. Even better, the Fort is now home to the German&Lauret Brewery, so you won’t have to go far to find a great beer. Electric hookup pitches go for £28, including a small fee for onsite bathrooms and showers.
in Groningen: Stay in a spacious pitch with water and electric hookups at this northern campsite for £24.60 a night. Camping Groningen has paved and grassy plots and a heated Sanitary Facility with showers, dishwashing stations, and laundry services. Kids can enjoy two outdoor play areas and an animal pasture.
near Tilburg: The perfect base to reach both the town of Tilburg and Efteling Park, this Camping Farm welcomes visitors to stay in electric pitches in a meadow near a horse pasture for just £17.50 a night. Amenities include showers, washing machines, and a kitchen.
near Eindhoven: This rustic campsite has water and electric hookup pitches for £13 a day, including access to sanitary facilities and a service station. It’s in an ideal location for countryside hikes or bike rides and it’s only a 20-minute drive from Eindhoven.
in Maastricht: This convenient campsite near the historic University city provides pitches starting at £16 plus small fees for water and electricity usage. The Papillon has communal bathrooms and showers and a shuttle bus that runs to the centre of Maastricht.
on Texel: This farm-turned-campsite promises a memorable stay as cows, goats, and chickens keep you company during your visit. Guests can enjoy a rural pitch with electric hookups from £33, alongside the option to participate in barnyard activities. Sanitation facilities include showers and laundry facilities.
in Rotterdam: Hit all the Rotterdam hotspots from this convenient campsite that offers electric pitches starting at £35 per day. The Stadscamping has a small cafeteria open during the busy seasons and a front desk where you can buy snacks and washing machine tokens.
in Molkwerum: A popular spot for a seaside stay, this campsite has everything you need for an adventure, with bicycle, canoe, and e-scooter rentals. Water and electric pitches start as low as £20 per day, with access to showers, dishwashers, and laundry services, and an onsite restaurant and snack bar will keep you well fed.
in Amsterdam: Sleep in the capital at a full hookup pitch from £36 a night. Situated across the river from the heart of Amsterdam, the campsite is a short walk from the free ferry to the centre. Showers, washing machines, and a kitchen are available, alongside an onsite restaurant and store.
near The Hague: Perfect for exploring the city and the seaside, Camping Vlietland offers waterfront pitches with electricity for as low as £27.50 per night. Among the camp’s facilities, there is a laundry room, a dishwashing station, a playground, and a ping pong table.
You can use your standard Type B driving licence for a campervan weighing up to 3.5 tonnes with a maximum of 9 seats. If you rent a motorhome weighing between 3.5 and 7 tonnes, still with 9 seats, you’ll need a C1 Licence.
You must be at least 21 years old to rent a campervan in the Netherlands, although insurance costs go down for those over 25 and have over one year of driving experience.
Note: policies vary from supplier to supplier. Always check the T&Cs for your rental.