The Dutch vouch for their extensive rail network and so do we. Known as a tourist’s paradise, Amsterdam is on the wish list of every Interrail pass holder. Besides, be sure to squeeze in the tulip gardens (Keukenhof) and the windmills of Zaanse Schans in your itinerary. While you're in the Netherlands, take a boat ride through the 17th-century canals and experience its vibrant nightlife.
Travelling by train in Netherlands
Netherlands quick facts
Population: 16.8 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Dialing code: +31
Trains in Netherlands
Get more information about the Netherlands' rail network, different train types and reservation requirements.
More about trains in the Netherlands
Places to visit
Amsterdam: Europe’s most liberal city
Amsterdam is one of the most welcoming and easy-going cities you’ll find in Europe. The most enjoyable thing to do is wander around the canal-laden centre and stop off for a coffee in one of the tiny cafés. The famous Anne Frank House is located in the Jordaan and is a must-see for anyone, who wants a deeper understanding of what it must have felt like to be in hiding during World War II. Another highlight is cruising along Amsterdam’s canals by boat and getting unparalleled views of the city.
The Anne Frank House is a 15-minute walk from the main train station. You can find boat tours outside Amsterdam’s main train station.
Do like the Dutch: go by bike
Believe it or not, off the north coast are a number of surprisingly beautiful islands – the Wadden Islands. Terschelling is one of the most visited of the bunch. Camping is popular on the island as is getting around by bike. Enjoy the fresh sea air and the calming sound of the waves. Back on mainland, head down to Hoge Veluwe National Park and take your time exploring this precious woodland on one of the free white bikes offered as you enter. There’s a wide variety of plants and animals that can be found there.
Take the train to Harlingen Haven train station and from there it is a short walk to the ferry terminal for boats to Terschelling. To get to Hoge Veluwe National Park take the train to Arnhem, where you can pick up a bus to the park.
Dutch city gems
Head south to Maastricht – one of the Netherland’s most beautiful cities, decorated with cobbled streets and peppered with pavement cafés. The culture has French and Belgian influences due to the city’s proximity to the these two countries, which makes for a city altogether different to the rest of the Netherlands. Another lovely Dutch city is Utrecht, just 30 minutes from Amsterdam – it makes for a good day trip.
Maastricht can be reached directly by train from many Dutch cities. Utrecht’s city centre is a 10-minute walk from the main train station.
Amsterdam is a European leader when it comes to partying hard, with a wide selection of commercial and not so commercial events going on every week. Start the night off in the Leidseplein which is teeming with bars, then head to Paradiso – a popular haunt, with live bands and various dance music on weekend nights. Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest port has a vibrant and underground night scene, which is now rivalling that of the capital.
The Leidseplein and Paradiso are a 15-minute walk from the main train station.
Tulips and windmills
Visit a flourishing Dutch tulip bulb field during the spring or if you take a train from Haarlem to Leiden you will get free and satisfying views from the train window. If, however quantity (and quality) is important to you, go to Keukenhof – the world’s largest flower gardens, with around six million flowers on show! Flowers done, next windmills. There are windmills all across the Netherlands, but one in easy reach is Molen van Sloten (Windmill of Sloten) on the outskirts of Amsterdam, where you can make a tour of this 19th-century polder draining mill.
Keukenhof can be reached by bus and it’s possible to buy a combined entrance + transport ticket from Schiphol Airport, Leiden and the Hague. The best way to reach the Windmill of Sloten is a short taxi ride.
New Year’s Dive
Since 1960 the Dutch have been celebrating New Year by diving into the cold waters of the North Sea. Every 1st of January, 10,000 brave swimmers head to the beach in Scheveningen, ready to start the New Year afresh (or refreshed). A hot chocolate or a typical Dutch pea soup is the reward, to help you overcome the effect of the icy waters. Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
Take the train to The Hague Central Station and bus 22 to arrive at Prins Willemstraat.
Although it’s celebrated in other parts of the Netherlands, Maastricht is the place to be for Carnaval. Some argue that the celebration in Maastricht rivals even the Carnaval days in Venice. Festivities last 4 or 5 days, and include the customary costumes, music, and plenty of booze.
Maastricht can be reached by train. Festivities take place all over the city and are within walking distance of the main train station.
The highlight of every Dutch person’s calendar is this yearly street festival in celebration of the Dutch Kings birthday. Orange-clad locals and visitors line the streets for a whole day of street partying. The party begins the night before, during Koningsnacht (Kings Night) – though you are warned to take it easy on this night otherwise the following day (which is in fact the highlight) will be a struggle!
Festivities take place all over the city. The best way to experience Kings Day is by heading to the centre of the city.
North Sea Jazz Festival
The world’s largest jazz festival also includes world music, blues, funk, rock, R&B and more. For 3 days, the very best local, national and international acts perform on 12 indoor and outdoor stages in an enormous concert venue in Rotterdam.
North Sea jazz festival takes place at Ahoy which can be reached by tram and metro from Rotterdam central station.
The most popular festival of the year, held over 3 days with camping, a great selection on international acts appear, plus there’s a selection of theatre, film and art events.
Take a train to Lelystad or 't Harde. From there you can get a free bus to the festival location.
Interrail passes for Netherlands
Most popular passes with Netherlands
Interrail Global Pass from € 170
The Interrail Global Pass is the flexible and budget-friendly way to get around up to 30 countries in Europe. Travel by train from one cool destination to the next. One day you're on a pub crawl through Amsterdam and the next you're white-water rafting in Interlaken, Switzerland.View Interrail Global Pass
Interrail Benelux Pass from € 74
The Interrail Benelux Pass is the best way to explore Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Visit cities like Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Rotterdam and Bruges by train.View Interrail Benelux Pass
All Interrail passes with Netherlands
Here's a list of all Interrail passes for your travels through this country: