Dutch Delights: A Culinary Rail Journey Through the Netherlands

Dive into Dutch history, culture and cuisine on this exciting journey. Windmills, tasty cheeses and a rich art history make this small country unique.

Admire the iconic gabled houses of Amsterdam, turn back the clock at a reconstructed village in Zaanse Schans and visit one of Holland’s best fresh food markets.


Dutch Delights: A Culinary Rail Journey through the Netherlands is your passport to a land where history, art, and beauty intertwine. From the windmills of Kinderdijk to the tulips of Keukenhof, this captivating guidebook transports you to the heart of this remarkable country.

Amsterdam may be a global financial center, but its lifeblood remains its waterways — the city boasts no fewer than 165 canals that neatly divide it into navigable districts and give it a small town ambience. Get to know its characterful neighborhoods, such as Jordaan, the trendiest spot to the west of the city center, or discover Amsterdam’s historic district of Oud-Zuid, with its tree-lined 17th-century streets and canal-side houses. Then, head to the nearby neighborhood of Zaanse Schans, where some of the country’s first industrial windmills were built and now house a working museum.

You’ll also learn more about Holland’s rich cultural heritage with a visit to the Rijksmuseum, which is home to more than a million works of art, including Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ and the room where Anne Frank spent two years hiding. You can also tour the Gassan Diamonds factory to see rough gems cut and polished before they become dazzling diamonds, or take time out at the historic Delft Blue porcelain museum.

Then, discover another iconic Dutch attraction: a fresh market. Dozens of stalls laden with cheese, meats, fish, and other produce line the canal-lined streets of towns like Leiden. Alternatively, you can head to the nearby university town of Utrecht, where you can learn about the city’s illustrious history in one of its grand old guildhalls and sample some of its best modern European cuisine at restaurants such as In den Doofpot.

In the evening, join fellow travelers aboard a dinner train as it gently cruises along Leiden’s canals. Enjoy a five-course meal accompanied by beer and wine while taking in the cityscape as you dine inside heated carriages with comfortable seating, or outdoors when the weather permits. Before returning to the hotel, make sure you stop at the nearby De Roode Leeuw (The Red Lion) windmill, which supplies local bakeries with fresh flour.


Rotterdam may be a little underrated by tourists, but the city is brimming with culture. The locals are proud of their city, and their commitment to it shows in the spirited creativity in public spaces. You’ll find plenty of great restaurants and bars to get your fill of the national drink, bitterballen (a kind of savory ball), as well as inventive culinary creations from other cultures.

Start with a quick train ride to Rotterdam Centraal and check into the glimmering Marriott, ideally situated across from the station. From here, explore the city’s creative culinary creativity on your own or with a guided tour that incorporates biking and water taxis.

For a quick introduction to Rotterdam’s food scene, head to Markthal, Holland’s first indoor market hall that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious. Its giant glass windows seal either end of a football-pitch-sized space, and a psychedelic mural covers the ceiling—sometimes called “the world’s largest artwork.” From here, enjoy the international smorgasbord that beckons from over 100 food stands and restaurants.

Then, take a short walk to the harbor district, where you’ll see the city’s signature boxy architecture in the form of the Schielandshuis, the House of the City; and the dazzling Erasmus Bridge that spans the Maas River. This area is also home to the Markthal, where you’ll taste local cheeses and sweet stroopwafels, a combination of thin wafers joined by caramel syrup.

Continuing on, you’ll discover the city’s Dutch heritage in its long canals and stately museums, including the renowned Kunsthal museum. Then, you’ll hop back on the train and travel to the heart of the city’s historic district for more quaint sights, such as Sint Janskerk, with its 72 stained-glass windows, and the Market Square, which has been home to the famous Gouda cheese market since 1298.

In the evening, enjoy a night out at one of the many trendy bars and clubs, including Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, which draws art lovers with throwback furniture and eclectic cultural activities. Or try #Wunderbar, a lounge that’s as swanky as its name suggests, with a menu of rare beers and a crowd that mixes up hipsters and creative types.

The Hague

In contrast to Amsterdam’s edgy vibe, The Hague is known as “The Stately City.” It is also one of the Netherlands’ best cities for food. Its government complex is picturesque, and museums like the Mauritshuis are among the country’s finest. Its streets are wider and have a more continental feel than those in other Dutch towns. It has a large area of green space, 11 km of beach and appealing shopping streets and is a hub for cultural and recreational activities.

It is also home to international courts and numerous EU institutions, as well as a host of embassies. This gives the city a distinct, international character that differs from the more edgy and liberal Amsterdam.

You can get around easily with a citywide system of trams and buses run by HTM, plus trains and busses that connect to Rotterdam and other surrounding towns. The train from Amsterdam to The Hague typically takes about fifty three minutes, and the route is straightforward. Be sure to take the Intercity, not the Sprinter, as it’s much quicker and will skip through some smaller towns along the way. Make sure you check the timetables in case of track changes and disruptions, as these happen occasionally.

There are a number of excellent restaurants in The Hague. For lunch, head to FOAM for a vegetarian, healthy option. It uses organic ingredients and is open to all ages. It’s super affordable and a great place to try something new!

If you want to taste traditional Dutch foods, visit a local fresh market. These are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and are a real treat. The stalls are lined with a wide array of delicious treats.

Alternatively, head to the historic Jordaan district and canal belt areas as part of a small group guided tour. You can graze on Dutch delights as your guide explains the country’s cuisine and heritage. During your tour, sample the many quality specialties at shops, cafes and restaurants. You’ll be able to try everything from sweet appeltaart to hearty smoked sausages and sip a glass of jenever at a cozy canalside bar.


The Dutch may be known for their windmills, tulips, rich art history and bikes—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their remarkable country. Delve deeper into Dutch culture and cuisine on a scenic day trip from Amsterdam that showcases all the country has to offer.

Hop off the train in historic Hoorn, a charming seaport town lined with gable brick row houses that were built during Holland’s 17th century Golden Age. Stroll Rode Steen, the picturesque main square, and admire the imposing Hoofdtoren defensive tower. Wander the city’s historic waterfront, still studded with wharf cellars, and browse a variety of stylish shops and restaurants.

Just a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam, Utrecht is an inviting canal city with a wealth of historic architecture and a lively cultural scene. Visit the iconic Dom Tower, and if you dare, climb up its 465 steps for breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Take in the sights of the city’s medieval center, stroll along the cobbled streets and enjoy a relaxing lunch on one of Utrecht’s cozy cafes or restaurants.

With a third of the nation below sea level, it’s no surprise that Dutch culture is deeply tied to water. Embark on a day trip from Amsterdam that showcases the country’s many ways of interacting with the water, whether sailing your own boat in a lakeside resort town or learning how to make traditional wooden clogs.

With its blend of art, history and regal allure, The Hague is a captivating destination that’s fit for a queen (or king). Explore the Binnenhof Palace, home to the Dutch parliament, and admire the enchanting architecture of the Royal Palace. And if that isn’t enough, treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment at the upscale Park Hotel.

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