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Introducing Rotterdam & South Holland

Think Holland and you're thinking of the region southwest of Amsterdam where tulips, cheese, Vermeer, tulips and plucky Dutch people standing up to the sea avoid cliché simply by their omnipresence.

South Holland's major cities are the biggest attractions. Mighty Rotterdam is blessed with an edgy urban vibe, surprising cultural scene and striking architecture. Leiden has its university culture and old town (and proximity to the bulb fields). Den Haag has museums, a stately air, luxe shopping and kitsch beach, while charming, beautiful Delft is a medieval time capsule. Smaller places are also worth your time: Gouda is a perfect old canal town, while Dordrecht has its own surprises amid canals and charm.

Further south, Zeeland (Sea Land) is the dyke-protected province that people often associate with the Netherlands when they're not thinking of tulips and windmills. Cycling in this flat, mostly sub-sea-level region is unparalleled.