Where to Stay

A good part of the country suffers from the 'Amsterdam effect': because transport is so efficient and the city is so popular, many visitors stay in the capital even if they're travelling further afield. Conversely, some savvy folk use easy-to-access charmers such as Haarlem or Delft as their base, visiting the capital as a day – or night – trip (trains on key lines run all night).

In the provinces, key student cities like Utrecht, Maastricht, Groningen and Leeuwarden cook up a fabulously creative mixed bag of thoroughly modern, lifestyle hotels and hostels, and make perfect bases for day trips in their respective regions. For the complete getaway from urban life, head for the Netherlands' archipelago.