Though Gouda is world renowned for the delectable cheese of the same name, this Dutch city isn’t just for food fans. After postcard perfect holiday snaps? This city has beauty in abundance. With majestic gothic architecture, cobbled streets and picturesque courtyards acting as the idyllic backdrop for your holiday. If you’re lucky enough to visit between June and September, the Gouda Cheese Market on Thursday mornings is a historical phenomenon which sees local farmers gather in front of the Goudse Waag (weighing house) and Stadhuis (city hall) to sell their produce – an event that’s occurred for hundreds of years. Aside from gastronomical wonders (sweet stroopwafels also hail from here), the city has plenty of parks and wildlife reserves that are perfect for a moment of tranquillity – including Goudse Hout, on the outskirts of the city, and Van Bergen IJzendoornpark in the city centre.

Maastricht is a cultural melting pot of lots of different influences – something that comes from being one of Holland’s oldest cities. As you wander across beautiful cobbled streets and along its picturesque canal, you’ll see historical relics that nods to its rich past – from the Roman ruins of the Derlon Museum Cellar to the almighty Basilica tower. The city is divided into different districts, each adding its own unique twist to the city. Head to the charming Wyck for cosy cafes and historical architecture, or the up-and-coming Sphinxkwartier (Sphinx quarter) for an alternative hang-out which is a favourite among young creatives. The city centre itself is a hive of activity, with two shopping centres, a thriving market scene and the iconic Saint Servatius Bridge – said to be the oldest in the country.

Just 20km west of bustling Amsterdam lies the city of Haarlem, a hidden gem of old Dutch charm that’s a favourite with the locals. The city that leant its name to its vibrant Manhattan sister has a whole history of stories that has shaped each cobbled street, with tales of beer brewing, tulip trading and great fires producing the city’s striking architecture. As well as providing quintessential Dutch experiences such as browsing markets in the Grote Markt or taking in the views from the Molen de Adriaan windmill, Haarlem is also home to many unique ones. Visit the oldest museum in the Netherlands, attend a beer tasting in former church-turned-microbrewery De Jopenkerk, or wander through the boutique shopping district – affectionately nicknamed De Gouden Straatjes (The Golden Streets), Haarlem has regularly been voted the best shopping destination in the Netherlands.

The beautifully diverse Groningen is a unique fusion of stories dating back thousands of years and a thriving modern cultural scene. The city, one of the largest in the north of the Netherlands, continues to transform every day - thanks in part to its large student population. Over the last few hundred years, Groningen has grown from one of the most important trading centres of the medieval period to a must-see destination for innovative venues, art and music. Explore the collections of the iconic Groninger museum, climb the Martinitoren tower which stood tall through the flattening of the city in World War II, or take a cycle through the colourful streets of the car-free city centre.

Take a proper break in the relaxing city of Breda, where each street takes you to another picture-perfect scene. Walking past serene lakes, colourful buildings and fairy-tale castles, you’ll never believe the historic tales of invasion, revolt and Charles II’s exile that have come to shape the city. As well as the intricate man-made structures which have stood for many hundreds of years, including the tower of the Grote Kerk that can be seen almost anywhere in Breda, the area also boasts incredible natural beauty. Head just a few kilometres south of the city and you’ll find Mastbos, one of the oldest pine forests in the country, which is just perfect for easy hikes with the whole family.

Tilburg is the sixth largest city in the Netherlands and well worth the 80-minute drive from Rotterdam Europoort. This lovely Dutch destination is a former nucleus for textile production, its rapid growth quickly made it one of the most historically significant locations in Europe. That rich industrial heritage has given way to urban renewal, and it's now an innovative and spirited university town with a substantial student population. Known for its open air art exhibitions and music festival programme, this culture-filled gem is the perfect pick for a long weekend.

Set on a verdant, green island surrounded by five rivers, Dordrecht's beautiful surrounding scenery make it the perfect place for walks and cycle rides. With its quaint leaning houses and windmill right at its heart, this city is a wonderful slice of Dutch culture.

Known as the 'Royal City by the Sea', The Hague is full of pleasing contradictions. On one hand, it's a corporate metropolis that hosts both the Dutch parliament and its monarchy. On the other, it also boasts deer-filled parks and densely wooded forests, as well as a beautiful 11-kilometre stretch of sand on the North Sea coast, lined with bars and restaurants.

The beautiful island of Texel is found off the mainland coast of north Holland, and boasts panoramas of white sand and peaceful forests as far as the eye can see. If you can drag yourself away from the beach, there are hiking and cycling trails, horse riding lessons and boating to be enjoyed too.

Den Bosch's official name might be 's-Hertogenbosch, but locals tend to use the abbreviated form, which simply translates to 'The Forest.' Using the city as a base, adventurers are perfectly positioned to explore the nearby wonder of the Dunes of Loon and Drunen National Park, which make up the largest shifting sand drift region in western Europe.

The gleaming modern architecture of the Netherlands' second city is reason enough alone to visit, but it's the proliferation of cool bars, chic eating spots and fascinating museums that puts Europe's busiest port on the map.

As one of the Netherlands' oldest cities, Utrecht naturally dazzles visitors with its medieval buildings and the impressive Dom Tower at its core. If you're a history buff, make sure to head the Kasteel De Haar, the largest castle in the country.

Home to the iconic Delft Blue pottery, and birthplace of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' artist Johannes Vermeer, this canal-lined city is a hidden gem of the Netherlands. Members of the House of Orange are buried in the tall Nieuwe Kerk, while the dramatically leaning Oude Kerk tower has to be seen to be believed.

Known by the Dutch as the City of Light, Eindhoven is renowned as one of the design and technology capitals of the Netherlands. With markets, museums and magnificent architecture as well as a lively nightlife scene, Eindhoven has it all.

Forget what you know about Amsterdam. The famously liberal city transforms into a festive wonderland over the holiday period, revealing its traditional Dutch charm. Visit Amsterdam at Christmas and feast your eyes on fairy-lit canals, ice-skate around iconic buildings and mosey around some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. The Pure Winter Market is a festive affair full of unique gifts for friends and family, or top up on stocking fillers in the toasty Bijenkorf Shopping Centre

If you ever wanted to experience a true taste of Dutch culture, a visit to Dordrecht is an absolute must. This leafy green city in The Netherlands is surrounded by five rivers, making it perfect for moonlit winter walks. Dordrecht at Christmas is wonderfully picturesque, with chocolate-box windmills and beauty at every turn. Be sure to soak up the festive cheer with a walk past the harbour, where every year, traditional Dutch boats are decked out in twinkling lights. An annual three-day festival, the Dordrecht Christmas market holds over 200 stalls, making it the largest in Holland.

Built around a horseshoe-shaped network of picturesque canals, the charming capital of the Netherlands makes for one of the most iconic getaways in Europe. Historic leaning buildings, virbant nightlife and incredible local restaurants await.

Gouda, Netherlands

Maastricht, Netherlands

Haarlem, Netherlands

Groningen, Netherlands

Breda, Netherlands

Tilburg, Netherlands

Dordrecht, Netherlands

The Hague, Netherlands

Texel, Netherlands

's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Utrecht, Netherlands

Delft, Netherlands

Eindhoven, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dordrecht, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands