The Netherlands is famous for many things, from tulips to Stroopwafels to windmills. However, I bet you haven’t heard of these 3 incredible hidden gems in the Netherlands. If you have missed tulip season, I have a whole new purple flower field for you to explore in the Netherlands. If you are a photographer especially, this is a photographers dream. Then for those interested in history and drone photography, I will bring you to the only pyramid in the whole of Europe, right in the middle of a huge forest. This is one of the most unique places I have been to in the Netherlands and certainly one of the best hidden gems in the Netherlands. Then last but not least, the inland beach. This is one of the most beautiful places, with perfect a perfect beach surrounded by lush greenery, it is the perfect place to spend the day.
Read on to see how to get to these hidden gems and when is the best time to go here. Remember that the heather is only in bloom during two months of the year. So if you head to the Netherlands in July/August then you could cross all three off your list of things to see in the Netherlands. If you still want to see the tulips, then there are a few nice tulip fields near Amsterdam! There are also lots of tulip tours you can do in the Netherlands.
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See the Fields of Heather
Everyone knows that the Netherlands is famous for tulips fields. However, if you miss these in April then later on in the year I would recommend going to see the heather. The tulips are all over Instagram now, so this is a much more unique place to go and get some photos. There are lots of heather fields in the Netherlands, but I’ll be telling you where the best place is. I’ll also be telling you what time of day is the best time to go and see the incredible purple fields of heather. Unfortunately, I missed the lavender fields of Provence by the time I went, so I wanted to see some flower fields. The heather really is an impressive colour and a much more rare sight on Instagram. If you want a hidden gem, then the heather fields are just this.
Where is the best place to see heather?
I would highly recommend heading to Posbank. This is in the province of Gelderland in the East of the Netherlands. The Veluwezoom national park is home to around 5,000 acres of land. Here you will find not only heather but also forests and plenty of paths to walk along. Once you arrive at the visitor centre and park, you will see the heather immediately before you, as far as the eye can see. You can walk right through it along the many paths. Some people stop right by the car park as it is already beautiful, but make sure to venture in further to see even more beautiful places.
What else to do at Veluwezoom National Park?
Walking and cycling trails
There are many different walks you can do, but also cycling paths. One couple we met had done an 8km hike here, and another a 16km bike ride through the national park. So if you’re a keen hiker, then this is the perfect place to go.
See the animals
There are lots of wild animals that you might encounter here amongst the heather. They graze on the grass and we saw so many of them in the morning. The cows were really unique, with huge horns and long hair. We also saw lots of horses, but they didn’t come up as close as the cows. The area where the cows were had a warning sign about the cow’s unpredictable behaviour. However, Boyan the daredevil even fed them grass for a photo and they seemed very calm. But I wouldn’t recommend it just in case. There was also one beautiful white horse, that I wish I had a photo of against the heather!
When is the best time to see the heather?
The heather is in bloom from mid August until mid September. We were in Posbank at the very end of August. It was the 26th of August to be precise! And the best time of day is as early as possible. We got here just after 6am and the sun was just starting to rise. Even with a bit of haze, it makes it even more magical to see.
What makes Posbank so special are the rolling hills and different textures. In comparison to other heather fields that are mainly flat, all the hills here make it a photographers dream. In the morning the light was absolutely perfect. Combined with the huge orange sun coming up over the heather, the conditions for photography were perfect. Aside from that, in the mornings there are also fewer people. It can get busy here during the day, and at 6am there are just a few other photographers around, and of course the horses and cows.
How to get here?
Posbank is located about 2 hours away from Amsterdam, so I would recommend staying a bit nearer if you want to see the heather at sunrise. The town of Arnhem is very close by and Utrecht is a bit further away, but still closer than Amsterdam.
Where to stay in Arnhem?
Where else can you see heather in the Netherlands?
Closer to Amsterdam
These heather fields are easy to reach from either Amsterdam or Utrecht, by train or by car. You can find the heather here in the nature reserve called Hoorneboegse Heide. There are about 190 hectares here, which is a similar size to the nature reserve in Posbank.
Read more: The best hostel in Amsterdam
The Second of the Hidden Gems in the Netherlands
The Dutch Pyramid
This is actually called the Pyramid of Austerlitz. It is a 36 metre high mound of earth essentially! The pyramid was built way back in 1804 by Napoleon on the highest point of Utrecht. It was modelled on the Egyptian pyramids! The stone obelisk on top was added almost 100 years later. The pyramid was later restored between 2001-2004. It has been open to the public since 2008. It is still in great condition now and incredible to see, right in the middle of the forest. The views from the top are incredible!
What to do here?
There are five trails here that you can hike. They range from 45 minutes to almost 4 hours for those eager hikers. There are also three trails that you can bike along. These are 33, 34 and 42 km long.
Coming with children?
There is so much to do here with children, besides climbing up the pyramid of course. There is a whole playground with bumper cars and merry go rounds and other attractions.
When is it open?
It is open from April the 7th to October 27th. The pyramid is open to visit between 11am and 16:30. This is as long as there is a volunteer available.
The 3rd of the Hidden Gems of the Netherlands: The inland beach at Henschotermeer
This is definitely my new favourite discovery in the Netherlands. This inland lake, surrounded by beach and lush greenery is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day sunbathing, playing beach volleyball or walking and swimming. There is also a little island in the middle of the lake, which is connected by a small bridge.
What to do here?
Walking and cycling
The path surrounding the lake is almost 2.5 km long and perfect for walkers. You can either walk along the beach for an extra workout, or stay in the shade of the trees along the path. It is also a popular place for cyclists.
Go for a Swim
The water here is fairly shallow, until the deepest point at just over 2 metres. The shallow edges of the water make this the perfect place to bring children. The water is also checked regularly for cleanliness.
Can you spot me in the shot above??
How much is the entrance?
A day pass here is 3 Euro and it is well worth it. I would also recommend getting a day pass for parking, as you will have to pay separately for this. There is free parking for bicycles and mopeds.
Where is it?
Henschotermeer is located in the east of the Netherlands in the state of Woudenberg. It is about an hour away from Amsterdam, so if you are staying there then this may be the perfect day trip. A lovely place to escape the city and spend a day relaxing.
Where to eat and drink nearby?
The Old Beach House
This lovely place is open from 11am to 8pm. The do great pancakes, burgers and nachos.
I Melt for You
This food truck serves traditional Italian ice cream. They also have milkshakes, smoothies and even gluten free pancakes. They strive to be eco, and also serve low calorie ice cream.
Staying for a while in the Netherlands? Click here for a great place to stay for the week.
I hope you enjoyed my post about the best hidden gems in the Netherlands!
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