Beat the tourists: an alternative guide to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is pretty hot stuff right now. Amsterdam in particular. It seems everyone
wants to visit the wonky houses, winding streets and picturesque canals. But there is a
whole lot more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam. After living in the Netherlands – but
not in Amsterdam – for almost a year I have spent my weekends exploring other Dutch
destinations. For those looking to beat the tourists, here are my three top Amsterdam
alternatives.

Biesbosch

In this extensive area of wetlands, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in south
Florida not the Netherlands. Although there are many bike routes and walking trails, the
Biesbosch is best explored on the water itself. Rent a canoe, kayak or boat and experience a
diverse range of birds, animals and plants. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the odd
beaver.

‘s-Hertogenbosch’s underground canals

A world away from the crowded canals of Amsterdam is the intricate maze of underground
waterways in s-Hertogenbosch. The best way to explore this medieval city is by taking one
of the 45-minute boat trips that depart throughout the day. As your skipper navigates the
mysterious, gothic-style canals you will find yourself underneath the cathedral, department
stores and pop up in secret water-alleys only visible to those living in the canal-side houses
on either side. Truly a trip not to be missed.

De Moerputten

If nature trails make you smile then look no further than De Moerputtenbrug with its 300
acres of walking paths and board walks. Here you will find every type of terrain going from
grassy meadows, to swamps to shallow water. The real highlight is the 585-metre-long
railway bridge. There were plans for it to be demolished, but thankfully they decided to
renovate it for pedestrians to enjoy instead. Its unique charm makes it almost as popular
with photographers as it is with walkers.

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