Gouda – the self-proclaimed cheese capital of the world – is an easy hop from Amsterdam or just east of both Rotterdam and The Hague. It’s a mellow town of canals, gables and courtyards famous for its iconic, orange-wax-wrapped rounds of cheese; back in the 15th century it was a wealthy brewing center and still retains its town center full of fine Gothic buildings. Here’s how to spend the day in Gouda, which is best explored on foot or by bike.
With the development of the harbor along the IJ waterfront, Amsterdam has become a popular stop on cruises along Europe’s northern coastline and is the focus of fascinating shore excursions to The Netherlands.
Rotterdam is a Dutch city like no other, with a gritty, urban landscape that changes almost daily as high rises go up and innovative new builds appear on the horizon. It’s the most contemporary city in The Netherlands, with only a few pockets of traditional old Holland still remaining; see both sides of the city with a walking tour of Rotterdam.
The sophisticated administrative capital of The Netherlands has plenty of intriguing sights, from spectacular medieval architecture in the Hall of the Knights (Ridderzaal) and the superb Dutch Old Masters in the Mauritshuis to the Neo-Renaissance magnificence of the Peace Palace. Once these are exhausted there are many fabulous day trips from The Hague to keep visitors happy.