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The Netherlands is a small country, yet a diverse one filled with culture, history, picturesque villages and flatlands. It is divided into four regions, each of which have their own character and charm, and all are easy to traverse by self-drive. The motorway network here is extensive and will allow you to explore areas not connected by rail, like the picturesque countryside and the Zeeland islands.
Touring around the Netherlands on one's own is very popular as well as rewarding, with motorhome being the most comfortable way to do this. There are thousands of campsites scattered around the country, with each and every area having a comfortable place for holidaymakers to park and rest.
Like most of Europe, the Netherlands are best visited between May and September, as this is when it experiences the best weather. Sometimes April and October are also favourable, though this varies from year to year. July and August are considered the peak tourist season and when rates are at their highest, while April and May are the best time of the year to see the beautiful tulips.
The Western Netherlands is one of the most popular places to visit and where most of its major sights can be found. The Eastern Netherlands is a popular vacation spot among the Dutch thanks to its historic cities and forests, while the Southern Netherlands is home to beach resorts, theme parks and hills. All can be explored by hired motorhome, which is highly recommended.
Commonly referred to as Randstad, the Western Netherlands is one of the most visited regions in the country. It is home to the Big Four (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht), harbours, rural villages, lakes and rivers as well as the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, a nature park that features magnificent sand dunes. One can easily spend weeks touring around this area, stopping at Keukenhof to see the stunning flower fields, Kinderdijk for its famous windmills and Gouda to eat the famous Dutch cheese.
The Netherlands largest national park, Huge Value National Park sits in the Eastern Netherlands region. The park is home to a diverse range of landscapes, including sand dunes, forests and heathlands. It also houses the Kroller-Muller Museum and the underground museum of Museonder. Just north of the park is the city of Apeldoorn, which is known for its spacious green areas, the Apenheul ape zoo and the 17th century Het Loo Palace.
When in the Southern Netherlands you must go to visit the Delta Works, an area of dams, locks, dikes, sluices and storm surge barriers that protects the coast from disastrous floods. It is also worthwhile visiting the picturesque village of Veere, with its cobbled streets, boat filled harbours and lovely old buildings. One of the best places to explore in this region is South Limburg, an area of rolling landscapes, prehistoric farms and cathedrals. It is here where you will find the beautiful city of Maastricht and the historical city of Kerkrade
Roads are in excellent condition, which should be no surprise, as the Netherlands has one of the world's most compact highway networks. Still, congestion is great, especially during peak hours, though this can be avoided by driving in the middle of the day. The Dutch drive on the right-hand side and priority is always given to cyclists. Driving speed is regularly checked and the maximum blood alcohol level is 0.05 per cent.