Neighbouring Belgium and Germany, The Netherlands is a country where vintage meets contemporary and its rich heritage resounds in its antique architecture, inspiring museums and alluring culture. Populated by nearly 17 million people, The Netherlands is home to a burgeoning arts scene, picturesque landscapes and vibrant entertainment. Popular attractions include Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Keukenhof gardens outside Lisse.
Wander through charming streets laced with history and culture because cheap flights to the Netherlands are now available! The country’s hub airport is Schiphol Airport (AMS), a 30-minute drive or 5-minute train commute from Amsterdam’s city centre. Schiphol Airport serves a multitude of airlines, including British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Swissair. Direct flights to Amsterdam depart from Johannesburg and Cape Town via KLM. Flight duration from Johannesburg is approximately 11 hours, 10 minutes.
Popular flights to The Netherlands
* Please note that the prices are subject to availability and block out dates do apply over peak season.
Why visit The Netherlands
With so many museums and architectural landmarks to see, you’ll never be short of things to see. From the Renaissance structures of Amsterdam to the typical Dutch canal houses peppered throughout the countryside, The Netherlands is brimming with history.
Scenic Landscapes and Gardens
Boasting the most beautiful scenery and landscapes, the nature reserves and national parks are where you can enjoy some peace and quiet. From coastal dunes to windmill-dotted tulip fields, each city has something unique to offer.
Absorb the unique, laidback atmosphere of the Dutch way of life. Cycle along the meandering canals, stopping off at the quaint coffeeshops and eateries along the way. The effervescent summer festivals are second-to-none.
Essential details you need to know before your trip
1 ZAR = 0.07 €
Dutch / English
Schipol Airport (AMS)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
GMT + 02:00
Type C / E / F
Best time to visit The Netherlands
Holland’s peak season falls between the balmy months of April and October. The hottest months are July and August when the beaches and sidewalk cafés bustle with locals and tourists. For a more relaxed atmosphere with cheaper hotel rates and restaurants, go in the off-season months of February, March and November. Spring is quite a spectacle (March-May) when the tulip fields are in full, colourful bloom. If you find yourself in the Netherlands during mid-April, over 400 museums around the country offer free or discounted entry fees in celebration of the country’s cultural heritage – be sure to enquire!
Winter can be a little unpredictable so ensure you always carry a raincoat and umbrella for those unforeseen showers. The northern regions, like Friesland, experience severe cold with lakes and canals often freezing over. During December, the cities bristle with festive Christmas markets and can become a little crowded.
The country buzzes with all sorts of weird and wonderful festivals, especially during summer. Some not-to-be-missed celebrations include King’s Day in April, The Hague Festival in May, Holland Festival in June and the Rotterdam Summer Carnival in July.
Weather & Climate in The Netherlands (Amsterdam)
Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month
With its pretty canals, Renaissance architecture, sprawling tulip fields and rustic villages, the Netherlands is every cultured traveller’s dream destination. Boasting a very liberal culture, the Netherlands (often referred to as Holland) is a fascinating country and you’ll be made to feel most welcome in whichever city you’re in. Blend in with the locals and explore the cities’ attractions by bicycle.
Amsterdam is the bustling capital city, with its colourful flower markets, stunning architecture and cosy coffeeshops. Renowned for its red-light district and cannabis cafés, Amsterdam offers up a bit of risqué culture with its laidback atmosphere. Stroll through the markets and enjoy a cruise along the pretty canals, taking in the surrounding historical buildings. Summer days bristle with open-air concerts, while the city’s nightlife and arts scene paint the town red. Must-see attractions include Rijksmuseum, Vondelpark and the Anne Frank Museum.
A stone’s throw from the capital lies the university town of Leiden, interlaced with old buildings and canals. Visit the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens for a blooming marvellous display of Holland’s national flower – tulips. The Hague (or Den Haag) is home to a multitude of museums and restaurants, and the International Criminal Court.
The modern city of Rotterdam hosts interesting artworks and cultural attractions, including Museum Park.
The less-popular towns and villages in the eastern Netherlands are home to quaint, medieval buildings, burgeoning with history and tales of long ago.
The history-steeped cities and hamlets in the northern region attracts tourists to their cobblestone streets, elegant windmills, silky beaches and dune-swept islands. Its woodland walking trails, art festivals and vibrant bars are wonderful summer attractions.
Aside from its historical attractions and picturesque countryside, Holland will excite you with its wonderful shopping and delicious cuisine. The bitterballen and stroopwafels are out of this world!
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South African passport holders require a Schengen Visa to visit the Netherlands. As with all Schengen visas, the rule is that you must apply for the visa at the Embassy/Consulate of the Schengen/EU country you’re going to spend the most time in on your trip. If you are spending an equal amount of time in 2 EU countries, apply at the Embassy/Consulate of the country you enter first. Biometrics have been implemented for Schengen visas, therefore all applicants need to apply in person.
Passports may not be older than 10 years, must have 2 blank pages and be valid for at least 3 months beyond your date of departure from the Schengen state.
The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in Europe; however, common sense should always be practised in big cities. Be vigilant with personal belongings and leave additional money and valuables in your hotel. Hiring a bicycle is a great way to navigate the city streets, but be sure to double lock your bike as bicycle theft is common. When walking along the sidewalks, beware of cyclists and traffic.
Healthcare facilities are world-class and pharmacies (apotheek) sell over-the-counter-medication. A comprehensive travel-insurance policy to cover theft and medical expenses is always recommended.