A Long Weekend in North Holland


The Dutch Tulip Blossom attracts millions of visitors every year and the reason for it is that it’s just so damn beautiful. Seemingly endless rows of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils of all colors line the streets of North Holland, a province of The Netherlands, as their scent fills the air and all your troubles melt away.

The entire northern west coast serves as the festival venue for this ‘natural’ (I mean.. they don’t plant themselves.. but still) spectacle that I thoroughly believe everyone with the ability to do so should have witnessed in their lives. As it is only a few hours’ drive from Germany, Holland can be explored during a slightly extended weekend. We went from Friday to Sunday and didn’t feel we missed out on anything except a lifetime spent in that cute Airbnb by the sea. It’s the ideal location to rewind and ride your bike along the fields, hike across the dunes or go for strolls on the beach. There are also a number of small towns in the area worth visiting to guarantee that your trip is equal parts nature, architecture and food, which everyone knows to be the holy trinity of traveling.

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There are maps to find the best tulip fields but, honestly, they are everywhere. Nonetheless, here are a couple of places to keep in mind when looking for accommodation and to type into your GPS: Wildrijk and Belkmerweg 65, Sint Maartensvlotbrug; t’Zand and Westerweg 8, Callantsoog.


Alkmaar

The area’s most famous larger town and the “Dutch City of Cheese”, Alkmaar, could be referred to as a mini Amsterdam. With fantastic architecture, canals, independent shops and so much green everywhere, it can certainly compete with the country’s capital minus all the people.

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I have been told it’s considered rude to keep your curtains or blinds drawn in the Netherlands so there are plenty of tastefully decorated houses to peek into and grab some interior design inspiration as you walk along the water or discover little alleys.

At Anne & Max you can enjoy a cup of coffee or fresh food on an actual boat because it’s Holland and that’s just how they do it over there. Whatever else you might be craving can be found here as well, with international restaurants, cafés and pancake places as far as the eye can see. Tip: try some Poffertjes, fluffy mini pancakes served with powdered sugar and an extra dose of delicious.

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Dutch Cheese Museum

The country’s official cheese museum, Kaasmuseum, offers a multi-story exhibition located in the heart of Alkmaar and features interesting facts and historical artifacts surrounding the art and craft of cheese making and how it has changed through time. You even get a gouda sample with your ticket. Admission costs €5 per adult and €2 per child.

It offers a nice view of the historic market square, which still hosts the traditional cheese market, Kaasmarkt, every Friday morning until September 27. It’s quite the specatcle with wheels of cheese being carried around and members of the cheese guild (yup, it’s a thing9) dressing up. Its exact origin date is unknown but the celebration definitely dates back to the early 1600s.

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Keukenhof

I visited Keukenhof, the park with the world’s largest variety of tulips and about 7 million bulbs blooming every year, last spring and you can find the article on it here. Admission costs €17 per adult and it is absolutely breathtaking but it does get quite crowded, particularly during weekends, so you might want to consider taking those insta shots in the public tulip fields surrounding Lisse instead. Be careful not to trample on the flowers and don’t walk into the fields. Farmers also ask that you do not sit in them as you can carry the seeds elsewhere and we don’t want these perfectly color-coded seas of gorgeousness to have any invalids amongst them. The park only opens for 8 weeks a year and will close on May 19, 2019.

Haarlem

Yup, another cozy town on the water. Haarlem, the capital of North Holland, turned out to be quite hip and modern and we stopped by just in time for their annual flower parade where we admired the ‘flower sculptures’ on floats that started their day all the way up in Noordwijk and ate freshly made Stroopwaffles, caramel-filled slices of deliciousness, as we wandered the narrow streets. The city also has lots of art museums, the oldest house in the country (from 1395)

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Where to Stay

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We stayed in the coziest little airbnb, which I can’t recommend enough. It’s a newly renovated farmhouse located in the middle of nowhere, flooded with light from all sides, only 15 minutes by foot from the beach and 10 minutes by bike from the most magnificent tulip fields. We were greeted by a curious horse every morning and had an actual windmill right next door in case you thought it couldn’t get any more Dutch than the flowers, dunes and bike lanes surrounding it. There’s a bike path from which you can see the ocean on one side and colorful fields on the other so it really doesn’t get more magical. Our host even gave us some bikes so we could start right at the cottage and have a car(e)-free day in the sun.

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The area is so quiet and peaceful with nothing but a whole bunch of baby sheep (experts sometimes refer to them lambs) and green fields in every direction you walk. When we enjoyed this picturesque sunset with a glass of wine, there wasn’t a soul to be seen or heard. Absolute serenity.

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P. S. This isn’t an ad, we just really really loved the place. If you wanna stay there yourself and feel completely refreshed after just one weekend, you can find the listing here. The place even has a dishwasher. Just saying.

Getting There

By car, Schoorl is located less than 5 hours from Wiesbaden, 5.5 hours from the KMC and 7 from Stuttgart. There is a train connection to Alkmaar with as little as 2 changes from Kaiserslautern and it’s only a 9-minute bus ride from there to Schoorl. Check the Deutsche Bahn site for more info on train connections.

Author’s profile: Leonie is a poetry-loving literature student with a passion for small towns, road trips, and self-timering photos of her back where she acts like she has no idea a photo is being taken even though she just spent 25 minutes leaning her phone against a patch of grass. When she isn’t hopping from one bargain flight to the next, she is making sure you’re hanging with the locals and staying updated on events in your area.

 

 

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