8 best national parks in the Netherlands

Are you planning a holiday in Holland and want to see as much of the country’s nature as possible? Then you’ve come to the right place, because this article is all about the most beautiful national parks in Holland.

Because of their scenic diversity, the wide range of flora and fauna and their family friendliness, the Dutch national parks are among the most exciting sights in Holland. There are a total of 20 national parks in the Netherlands, but today we are only going to focus on the eight best, so that you can get a better overview and make holiday planning easier.

1. National Park Veluwezoom

When looking for the most beautiful national parks in Holland, you quickly come across the Veluwezoom National Park, as this is the oldest national park in the country. This was created in 1930 and includes, among other things, the nature areas Herikhuizerveld and Onzalige Bossen.

The Veluwezoom National Park has an area of ​​50 km² and is perfect for an active holiday in Holland. The wide area is ideal for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. The best view of the park can be found on the 90 meter high Posbank. When the weather is clear, you can see a whopping 20 kilometers from the hill.

The landscape of the national park is characterized by forests, heaths and lakes, which are inhabited by countless animals. These include e.g. red deer, wild boar, roe deer, foxes and stoats. The bird life of the national park also leaves nothing to be desired. Winged residents include rare species such as kingfishers, tree hawks and honey buzzards. So don’t forget your camera, because with a bit of luck you’ll get one of these beautiful animals in front of your lens.

2. Meinweg National Park

Our journey continues in the province of Limburg, near the German border. With an area of ​​18 km², the Meinweg National Park is not the largest of its kind, but it can easily keep up with the others. The landscape consists largely of wide forests, heaths, stream valleys and individual moors.

The national park is home to many wild animals such as foxes, martens, polecats and wild boars. But many bird species also feel at home in the depths of the forests. Keep your eyes open and you might spot a rare nightjar, black woodpecker or little grebe.

Anyone who wants to do a bit of sporting activities on holiday will find the right conditions for it here. Lace up your hiking boots and follow the exciting hiking routes through the national park. Anyone who wants to travel a little faster can complete the routes by bike. The two-country route from Aachen to Nijmegen is particularly popular.

3. Lauwersmeer National Park

In the far north of the Netherlands is the next national park that I would like to recommend to you. We are talking about the small but beautiful Lauwersmeer National Park. Although this measures just 9 km², it cannot be surpassed in terms of diversity.

The flora impresses with rare species such as orchids, wild roses and the marsh sweetheart. Anyone looking for exciting animal sightings will not be disappointed, because majestic Konik horses were settled in the Dutch national park years ago. But the area is an important resting place for migratory birds in particular, which is why you can observe peregrine falcons, kingfishers and white-tailed eagles at close range. Fun fact: Flamingos have even been spotted in the park.

As in almost all Dutch national parks, hiking, cycling and horseback riding are the most common leisure activities. But because of the proximity to the water, you can also go canoeing, surfing, sailing or kitesurfing in the Lauwersmeer National Park. Another feature that makes this national park a great destination is the almost non-existent light pollution. With a little luck, you can even watch the Northern Lights here on rare nights – madness, isn’t it?

4. Dwingelderveld National Park

The next national park in Holland is home to the largest heathland wetland in western Europe and a whopping 50 lakes and ponds. We are talking about the 37 km² Dwingelderveld National Park in the west of the Netherlands. Passionate hikers come here to discover the varied landscape on their own.

For the swampy areas, the hiking trails are equipped with wooden paths, so you can even comfortably cycle through the park. To get to know the national park from its most beautiful side, it is best to come here from August to mid-September, because then the entire heath is covered in a sea of ​​purple flowers.

But animal lovers will also get their money’s worth here, because the variety of species can hardly be surpassed. Otters live in the waters of the national park, while deer, grass snakes and sheep can be found on land. In addition, almost all reptile species found in the Netherlands live in this area.

5. Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park

The Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park has also earned a place on my list of the best national parks in Holland. The reason for this is the large, hilly heath areas in combination with the rather atypical, extensive panoramic views.

Nature lovers can follow the well-signposted hiking or cycling trails and take in the extraordinary landscape of heathland, moors, fields and forests. During a visit you also have the chance to discover exciting animals and plants and to learn more about the area.

The national park also has no shortage of a wide range of bird species. Tree pipits, nightjars and other birds thrive in the park’s forests. Incidentally, it is the only place in the country where the endangered black grouse still lives.

6. De Hoge Veluwe National Park

With an area of ​​around 54 km², De Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the largest national parks in Holland. Lush green forests, wide heath fields, sand drifts as well as moors and lakes characterize the landscape and invite you to exciting activities in the countryside.

The operators of the national park recommend bicycles as a means of transport within the park. You will therefore find parking spaces with white bicycles at various points in the national park, which are freely available to visitors to cycle the approximately 40 kilometers of cycle path.

In addition to the sporting elements, the cultural component is also taken care of, because in the depths of the national park you will find the Kröller-Müller Museum. This houses the largest private collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world. When you visit a museum, you can see them all and be amazed.

In order to get to know the wildlife of the park, the operators of the park offer guided safaris. During a four-hour hike, a forest warden will take you to selected spots in the park and explain everything about the flora and fauna.

7. Weerribben Wieden National Park

The next Dutch national park is not for the hydrophobic among you, because the Weerribben-Wieden National Park is basically a single moorland area. The approximately 10 km² area can be found in the province of Overijissel, in the north-west of the Netherlands.

In fact, this is one of the largest fens in Europe, so the best way to get around is by boat. You can rent a canoe, rowing boat or whisper boat on site and cruise comfortably through the landscape.

Whisper boats are open, low-noise boats that are equipped with an environmentally friendly engine and are very easy to operate. With a little luck you can take a closer look at the native bird species and maybe meet one or the other otter.

A well-known place near the park is called Giethoorn. You may have heard the nickname “Venice Hollands” before. The water village is one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands and, with its kilometers of canals, is reminiscent of the Italian lagoon city.

8. Drents-Friese Wold National Park

Last but not least, I would like to recommend the following national park in Holland. The Drents-Friese Wold National Park has an area of ​​around 6 km², making it one of the largest forest areas in the Netherlands. You will find the park in the province of Friesland, not far from the North Sea.

The landscape consists primarily of heath, shifting sand, ponds, meadows and swamps. It is hardly surprising that such a variety of landscapes is accompanied by a diverse flora and fauna. Above all, there is no shortage of exceptional butterfly species in the national park, which is why it was named the first butterfly reserve in the Netherlands.

This national park is particularly popular with horse riders, because the routes are made for it. If you visit this park, you should definitely plan a detour to the two observation towers. From there you have an incomparable view of the varied natural landscape.

Categories:   General