Have you ever dreamed of cycling through tulip fields, hiking through dense forests, and camping under starry night skies – all in one country? The Netherlands, a nature lover’s paradise, offers all this and more with its stunning national parks.
Whether you want to cycle, hike, or sit back and enjoy Mother Nature, the Netherlands’ national parks offer an open invitation to adventure. Lace-up your shoes, hop on your bike, and join us as we discover these natural and cultural treasures. An unforgettable experience awaits in the land of tulips and windmills.
So, let us kickstart your nature exploration with an enticing collection of the Netherlands’ most beautiful national parks. We’ve carefully curated this list to bring you closer to the wonders of the natural world and provide you with peaceful and stunning locations to revel in peace and beauty.
1. De Biesbosch National Park
The Biesbosch National Park is one of the Netherlands’ best-kept secrets. This massive wetland park in the country’s southern part is home to winding waterways, lush greenery, and abundant wildlife. Covering over 20,000 hectares, the Biesbosch is one of the largest national parks in the Netherlands. It’s a paradise for outdoor recreation, whether you want to go boating, biking, hiking, or bird watching. Over 500 kilometers of hiking and biking trails crisscross the park, and you can rent kayaks, canoes, and small boats to explore the park’s waterways.
The Biesbosch’s wetlands and grasslands provide habitat for many bird species, including endangered birds like the black-tailed godwit and bluethroat. It’s an important stopover site for migrating birds so that you can spot everything from ducks and geese to herons and spoonbills. You may even spot an otter or beaver in the wild if you’re lucky. The Biesbosch National Park is a perfect escape from the city with its natural surroundings and abundant activities. Pack a picnic, rent a bike, and spend a day getting lost in this Dutch wilderness. The scenic waterways, chirping birds, and quiet trails will make you forget how close you are to civilization. Discovering Biesbosch’s natural wonders is an experience you will remember.
2. Veluwezoom National Park:
The Veluwezoom National Park is the perfect escape from the bustle of city life. Just an hour east of Amsterdam, this sprawling parkland is home to dense forests, rolling dunes, and heathlands. Once you arrive, start with a hike or bike ride on one of the many scenic trails. There are routes for all skill levels, whether you want a stroll through pine woods or a challenging mountain bike course over rugged terrain. Watch for wildlife like deer, foxes, and rare birds along the way.
After working up an appetite, stop for a picnic in a picturesque clearing or dine at one of the park’s restaurants featuring locally-sourced ingredients. For the ultimate relaxing experience, book a stay at one of the park’s secluded campgrounds or lodges. Wake up to the sounds of nature and scenic views you’ll never forget. When you need a break from the great outdoors, visit one of the nearby villages like Otterlo, Hoenderloo, or Hoge Veluwe. Pop into shops selling handcrafted goods, tour museums dedicated to local history and culture, or enjoy a drink at an outdoor cafe.
The Veluwezoom National Park offers a perfect escape into nature, just a short trip from major cities. Lose yourself in dense woodlands, sprawling heathlands, and rolling dunes. Experience the ultimate relaxation by camping under starry skies or in a secluded lodge. Whether hiking, biking, dining al fresco, or just enjoying the scenic surroundings, this parkland paradise lets you recharge in nature.
3. Lauwersmeer National Park:
Lauwersmeer National Park is a prime spot for birdwatching in the Netherlands. Over 300 species of birds have been spotted in this park, including rare birds like the black-tailed godwit, avocet, and bearded tit. The park’s diverse landscape—with woodlands, grasslands, lakes, and marshes—provides ideal habitat for many birds. The artificial Lauwersmeer Lake, in particular, attracts vast numbers of migrating birds. Some of the best areas for birdwatching are:
- On the Lauwersmeer dike road, you can spot shorebirds, gulls, terns, ducks, and geese.
- The Mieden and Munnekezijl are shallow lakes that draw grebes, herons, spoonbills, and birds of prey.
- The Mieden dike is famous for bearded tits, bluethroats, and Savi’s warblers in the reed beds.
The park has several birdwatching hides and towers that provide panoramic views over the landscape. The best time for birdwatching is spring, when many birds are nesting, and fall during migration. Some tips for spotting more birds:
- Bring binoculars and a field guide to help identify the different species.
- Wear camouflage clothing and move slowly to avoid startling the birds.
- Go early in the morning when birds are most active in feeding and singing.
- Check recent bird sightings on the park’s website or at the visitor center to discover where rare birds have been spotted.
Whether you’re an avid birder or enjoy nature, Lauwersmeer National Park offers a peaceful escape into a birdwatcher’s paradise. Spending a day exploring the park’s wetlands and woodlands with binoculars, you’ll undoubtedly discover some feathered surprises. The melodic chorus of birdsong is nature’s soundtrack to a perfect day.
4. Weerribben-Wieden National Park:
The Weerribben-Wieden National Park is one of the Netherlands’ most serene natural areas. This park is home to secluded wetlands, winding canals, and peat bogs as far as the eye can see.
- Explore the area by boat or bike. Rent a kayak, canoe, or rowboat to paddle along the park’s scenic waterways at your own pace. Cycling is also popular, with miles of trails traversing dikes, forests, and open fields.
- Spot rare birds like the standard crane, western marsh harrier, and bluethroat. Over 270 bird species inhabit the park, especially waterfowl and wading birds. Pack binoculars for the best viewing.
- Learn about peat harvesting. For centuries, peat from the bogs was cut and dried as fuel. Visit the Peat Museum to understand how peat formed the landscape and supported local livelihoods.
- Stay overnight at an authentic farmhouse. Several old farmhouses in the park have been converted into cozy cottages, B&Bs, and campsites. Wake up to a rooster’s crow and enjoy homemade Dutch breakfast treats.
The Weerribben-Wieden Park’s natural scenery and tranquillity make it a perfect escape from the bustle. As you explore the wetlands by boat or bike, spot rare birds in their native habitat, and discover how pear-shaped this land is, you’ll find an oasis of calm in the Netherlands.
5. National Park utrechtse hevelrug:
Nestled in the province of Utrecht, Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug is a natural paradise just waiting to be explored. This national park is home to ancient forests, rolling dunes, and heather fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. As you wander the many hiking and biking trails, you’ll struggle upon hidden ponds and catch glimpses of red deer darting between the trees. The fresh air and peaceful surroundings make it easy to forget the outside world. If you’re looking to escape the bustle of city life, this is the perfect place.
One of the park’s crown jewels is its centuries-old beech forest, with some trees dating back to the 1700s. As you walk under the leafy green canopy, sunlight filters through and dances across the forest floor. In autumn, the landscape is set ablaze with vibrant reds and golds. It’s a sight you have to see to believe.
After working up an appetite on the trails, stop by one of the park’s restaurants for a well-deserved meal with ingredients sourced straight from the region. Or, bring your picnic and find a scenic spot to unwind. As night falls, gaze up at the starry sky free of light pollution. Whether you’re looking for a stroll or a multi-day cycling adventure, Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug has an option. It’s natural beauty, and outdoor activities make this park a must-visit destination. Lose yourself in the peaceful surroundings and discover the wonders of this ancient land.
6. Texel National Park:
Texel National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. This island refuge in the Wadden Sea is home to adorable seals, birds, and other wildlife. If you want a furry encounter, head to Texel’s southern beaches, especially De Slufter and De Cocksdorp.
- De Slufter is a scenic tidal inlet where you can spot harbor seals sunbathing on sandbars or swimming in the sea. The best time to see these playful pinnipeds is during low tide when the sandbars emerge. You may even catch seals giving birth to pups in June and July!
- De Cocksdorp is another popular seal hangout on Texel’s western coast. Walk along the beach path to the old lighthouse for panoramic sea views and your best chance of spotting seals offshore.
Bring binoculars to get an up-close view of these charming sea dogs in their natural habitat. If you’re patient, you may be rewarded with a curious seal swimming right up to you! Seeing a wild seal in the flesh is a magical experience you’ll never forget.
Birdwatching is also world-class on Texel. Over 300 bird species flock here, including rare beauties like the Eurasian spoonbill and little tern. The national park has several birds hides and nature trails where avid birders can spot feathered friends in secluded wetlands and dunes. Whether you’re more interested in seals and birds or simply enjoying scenic beaches, Texel National Park is an eco-paradise you want to take advantage of. Bring your sense of adventure and get ready for an unforgettable escape in nature. The wildlife encounters and natural beauty will leave you in awe of this Wadden Sea wonderland.
7. Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland:
The Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland is a perfect escape from the bustle of Amsterdam. Just a 30-minute drive west of the city, you’ll find massive dunes, secluded beaches, and picturesque Dutch countryside. This diverse landscape roosts the coastline where the North Sea meets the mainland. As you enter the park, the rolling dunes are a sight. These undulating hills of fine, pale sand stand up to 65 feet high, creating a serene, almost otherworldly scene. Climb to the top of the dunes for panoramic views of the sea and inland polders. The dunes are home to rare plants like the sand crocus and sand lizard.
Between the dunes are sheltered beaches where you can sunbathe, swim, or beach comb for shells. The beaches at Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee are popular spots, with beach clubs renting lounge chairs and umbrellas in summer. But head to the smaller beaches at Overveen or Wijk aan Zee for more solitude. From the dunes, you’ll find expansive grasslands, marshes, and woodlands inland. This area, known as the Kennemerduinen, offers scenic cycling and walking trails. Look for wildlife like foxes, deer, and over 200 species of birds, including rare birds of prey. Stop for lunch at one of the traditional brown cafes in the picturesque villages of Bloemendaal, Overveen, or Aerdenhout.
Every trip to the park is complete with visiting PWN Waterleidingduinen. This massive dune area provides drinking water for much of the Netherlands. Access is restricted to guided tours only to protect the integrity of the dunes. The tours show how the dunes filter and purify rainwater into fresh drinking water for over 1 million people. It’s a unique process that has been ongoing for over 100 years. Whether you come for the sea, sand, or inland scenery, Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland offers a perfect natural escape in the Netherlands. Lose yourself in the dunes, relax on the beach, or cycle through history. This diverse landscape has something for everyone. Discover why this park is considered one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful natural areas.
8. Nationaal Park Loonse en Drunense Duinen
The Nationaal Park Loonse en Drunense Duinen is one of the best places in the Netherlands to spot wildlife in its natural habitat. While you venture through the park’s sandy dunes and expansive heathlands, be vigilant for the presence of rabbits, foxes, and elusive avian species such as the nightjar. The park is home to one of the largest rabbit populations in the country. You’ll see the furry creatures everywhere, especially early morning and dusk. Rabbits tend to gather in open areas of the park, so head to spots like the Kootwijkerzand or the Loonse and Drunense Duinen for your best chance of spotting a group of rabbits.
- Look for movement in the brush and listen for rustling sounds. Rabbits can be hard to spot when sitting still, as their fur provides camouflage in the sandy environment.
- Bring binoculars to get a close-up view without disturbing the animals.
- Early spring is a mating season for rabbits, so you may see adorable baby bunnies emerging from burrows if you visit in March or April!
In addition to rabbits, the park is home to red foxes, pine martens, and several species of bats. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including rare nightjars, woodlarks, and short-eared owls. The park’s mix of habitats—from open dunes to dense woodlands—provides food and shelter for many animals. Whether you come to spot wildlife, get some outdoor exercise, or enjoy a day in nature, Nationaal Park Loonse en Drunense Duinen has something for everyone. Take the chance to experience this scenic natural escape in the heart of the Netherlands.
Vist the best national parks in utrecht, to enjoy the greenery and beautiful nature in the Netherlands.
9. Nationalpark De Alde Feanen:
The Nationalpark De Alde Feanen is a birdwatcher’s dream destination. This nature reserve, located in the province of Friesland in the northern Netherlands, is home to over 200 species of birds, including rare and endangered species. If you’re an avid birder or enjoy observing nature, this park should be at the top of your list when visiting the Netherlands. As you explore the park’s wetlands, meadows, and forests that make up its nearly 4,500 hectares, be on the lookout for birds like:
- White-tailed eagles are one of the most giant birds of prey in Europe, with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters.
- Black terns are small migratory birds with blackheads and gray bodies that nest in the park’s wetlands.
- Bearded reedlings are robin-sized birds with black and white plumage commonly clinging to reeds.
- Bluethroats are small passerine birds with bright blue throats and rust-colored tails. The park is home to about 10% of the Netherlands’ bluethroat population.
The best way to spot these feathered inhabitants is to explore the park’s three bird watching trails. The Geese Trail takes you to observation huts along the wetlands, while the Heron Trail leads you through meadows and forests. The nearly 10-kilometer Crane Trail provides the best opportunities for the keenest birders to spot rare and secretive birds in the park’s more secluded areas.
In addition to the trails, the park visitor center in Bakkeveen offers birdwatching tours, lectures, and exhibits on the local avian life. The center also has information on the best spots and times of day to see specific birds. With the help of park rangers and resources, you’ll spot eagles, terns, and bluethroats quickly.
Even if you’re not a birding enthusiast, the natural scenery alone makes De Alde Feanen worth a visit. But for those seeking feathered creatures in their native habitat, this park provides an unparalleled opportunity in the Netherlands to observe birds in the wild. Add this peaceful paradise to your itinerary and discover why De Alde Feanen is considered one of the best birdwatching destinations in Europe.
10. Dwingelderveld National Park
Pack your bags and prepare for an adventure in one of the Netherlands’ most stunning national parks, Dwingelderveld. This park in the province of Drenthe is home to scenic heather fields, pine forests and dunes. As you enter the park, the rolling heather moors stretch out before you, a sea of purple in late summer. The heather is home to rare birds like the black grouse, hen harrier, and short-eared owl. You might spot an adder slithering through the heather or hear the drumming of a woodpecker echoing through the forest.
The park has over 60 miles of hiking trails to explore. For a stroll, head to the 3-mile-long Dwingelderveld Loop. Or challenge yourself with the 22-mile-long Drenthe Pad trail. There are routes for cyclists, too, including the 20-mile Dwingelderveld bike route. After hiking or cycling, relax at one of the park’s campgrounds. Pitch your tent at the Lheebroek campsite, surrounded by pine trees. Or rent a cozy cabin at the Dwingelderveld holiday park. As night falls, gaze up at the starry sky free of light pollution.
A trip to Dwingelderveld National Park offers a chance to reconnect with nature. Trade the city’s bustle for the forest’s rustling, birds chirping, and the tranquility of the heather fields—a perfect escape for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Discover the beauty and solitude of this little patch of wilderness in the Netherlands. The memories you make here will stay with you long after you return home.
11. Keukenhof Tulip Park
The Keukenhof Tulip Park is one of the most spectacular places in the Netherlands, and possibly the world, to see tulips in bloom. Over 7 million tulips blossom every spring at Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.”
From late March to mid-May, the 79-acre park is open for visitors to wander through the themed gardens and pavilions, with tulips of every imaginable color and variety. The flowers are artfully arranged in groupings and patterns for a dramatic visual effect. Some of the most popular displays are the historic castle garden, the English landscape garden, and the Japanese country garden. In addition to tulips, Keukenhof also features daffodils, hyacinths, orchids, roses, irises, lilies, and many other flowers. The park has themed weeks and events to showcase different types of blooms throughout the season. It’s a floral wonderland and a photographer’s paradise.
Keukenhof has more to offer than just the flowers. There are unique art installations, windmills, a hedge maze, and a playground for children. Boat tours provide a scenic view of the park from the water. The Beatrix Pavilion features flower shows, gardening exhibits, and activities for kids and adults. Several on-site restaurants offer traditional Dutch fare, snacks, and drinks. You can easily spend an entire day exploring all Keukenhof has to offer. Many visitors return multiple times during the season to experience the changing scenery.
Practical Tips for Your Visit
Keukenhof is open daily from mid-March to mid-May, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. I highly recommend going early, as the park can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
- Buy your tickets in advance on the Keukenhof website to save time waiting in ticket queues.
- The park is wheelchair and stroller accessible, with many paved paths.
- There are shuttle buses available from Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport directly to Keukenhof. Alternatively, you can drive and park on-site for a fee.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes, as you’ll be doing much of it! And remember your camera to capture all the beauty.
A visit to Keukenhof Tulip Park should be on every flower lover and traveler’s bucket list. The vibrant blooms and colorful landscapes are a sight you’ll never forget—no wonder over a million people visit yearly to experience this floral paradise.
12. Maasduinen National Park
Maasduinen National Park is a rugged paradise for nature lovers in the southern part of the Netherlands. Spanning over 3,800 hectares, this park is home to dense forests, rolling dunes, and scenic heathlands that showcase the diverse beauty of the Dutch countryside. One of the best ways to explore the park is through its extensive hiking and biking trail network. The Koningspad trail takes you deep into the park’s heart, winding through pine forests and passing by hidden ponds. For a challenge, tackle the 32 km Maasduinen Trek, which traverses scenic heathlands, climbs the highest dune in the Netherlands at 48 meters high, and offers panoramic views of the Meuse River valley.
Animal lovers will delight in spotting red deer, foxes, and rare birds like the nightjar and woodlark soaring over the heathlands. The park is also home to many species of amphibians, including the common frog, common toad, and common newt. With over 500 species of plants, this ecological hotspot showcases a colorful array of orchids, heather, and wild thyme.
Camping under a blanket of stars, canoeing down a winding stream, learning about nature at the visitor’s center – there are many ways to forge cherished memories at this special place. Whether you come for an afternoon or immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings for days, Maasduinen National Park offers an escape into a world teeming with life, wonder, and natural beauty. Lace up your hiking boots and discover this rugged paradise in the Netherlands. The scenic rewards are well worth the wander.
13. Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park
If you’re looking for an escape into nature in the Netherlands, look at the Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park. This gorgeous park spans over 35,000 hectares of rolling hills, dense forests, and heathlands in the central part of the country. As soon as you enter the park, you’ll feel transported into a sea of green. Majestic oak and beech trees tower over hiking and biking trails, providing shade on sunny days. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like red deer, wild boars, and rare birds fluttering through the canopy. The park is incredibly stunning in autumn when the leaves change into vibrant shades of red and gold.
One of the highlights is the Posbank, the highest point in the eastern Netherlands at just over 100 meters high. Climb the observation tower at the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day, you can see Germany! If you want to experience the park more leisurely, rent an electric bike to cruise along the network of bike paths. Stop for a picnic in one of the scenic areas and soak in the serenity. As night falls, find a secluded spot to stargaze and listen to the sounds of nature.
Camping in the middle of this natural paradise is the ultimate way to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. Pitch your tent at one of 5 campgrounds in beautiful surroundings. You’ll wake up to birds chirping, rabbits hopping by your tent, and mist lingering between the trees. Pure bliss! From its rolling hills to dense forests, the Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park is a perfect escape for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Lace up your hiking boots, hop on your bike, or cozy up in your tent – adventure awaits in this Dutch delight!
So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of some of the most stunning national parks the Netherlands offers. Whether you’re looking to escape the bustle of Amsterdam for a day or embark on a multi-day hiking adventure, the Netherlands’ natural landscapes have something for everyone.
From the shifting dunes of the Veluwe to the peaceful canals of Weerribben-Wieden, a visit to any of these parks will leave you in awe of the country’s quiet beauty. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to experience the Netherlands like never before. The call of the wild is waiting – all you have to do is answer.