The Netherlands, often associated with tulips and windmills, is also a haven for adventure. From kitesurfing on the windy coasts to an intricate network of cycling paths, the best Netherlands adventure activities are as good as anywhere. Whether you’re an adrenalin junky or just looking for a weekend thrill, the top extreme sports in Holland are an experience like no other.
The Netherlands, is often incorrectly called Holland. Holland is actually two of the Dutch Provence’s (South and North Holland) within the Amsterdam, Hague and Rotterdam area of the country. While the Netherlands is flat, you’ll find diverse landscapes from vast sandy beaches to dense forests, which provide enough Dutch adventure sports to keep anyone happy.
So beyond the range of adventures, which include many of these top 100 types of extreme sport, there are plenty of reasons to visit The Netherlands.
The Netherlands is well-connected with major cities worldwide. Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is one of the busiest in Europe. You can even take the train from London to Amsterdam using the SNCF Connect. Plus the country’s efficient rail and road networks make it easy to travel within.
Dutch cuisine is hearty, wholesome and varied. Don’t miss out on the famous Dutch cheese, herring, bitterballen and stroopwafels. The Dutch have embraced cuisine from around the world so whether you want Indian or Indonesian you’ll find something tasty. The country is also known for its beer, with Heineken being one of the most recognized brands globally.
Amsterdam, the capital, is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, with a plethora of clubs, bars, and live-music venues. Cities like Rotterdam and Utrecht also offer a very lively scene. You’ll typically find a fun and friendly atmosphere on a night out in the Netherlands.
The Dutch are known for their liberal views, rich artistic heritage, and historic landmarks. Museums like the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum are a testament to the country’s contribution to art and it’s place in European history. There is even Micropia a museum dedicated to those plants and animals we cannot see with the naked eye.
The Netherlands, with its long coastline and strong winds, is a kitesurfer’s paradise. Whether you’re soaring over the waves in Scheveningen or mastering your jumps in Zeeland, the Dutch coast offers some of the best kite spots in Europe. The flat waters of the Ijsselmeer are perfect for beginners, while the North Sea challenges even the pros.
Cycling is not just a sport in the Netherlands; it’s a way of life. With over 35,000 km of dedicated bike paths, it’s often called the “Cycling Capital of the World.” From scenic countryside routes to challenging coastal trails, there’s a path for every cyclist. Explore the iconic tulip fields in spring or take a historic tour of Amsterdam’s canals for a more leisurely ride!
While the Netherlands might be known for its flat landscapes, don’t be fooled! There are challenging mountain biking trails to explore. From the sandy dunes of Noordwijk to the dense forests of Utrechtse Heuvelrug, off roaders will find plenty of fun!
Exploring the intricate waterways is one of the best Netherlands Adventure Activities. Glide through the calm waters of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park or paddle along the historic canals of Utrecht. With countless lakes, rivers and canals to paddle, canoeing or kayaking offers a unique perspective into Holland’s landscape, history and development.
For those who crave an adrenaline rush, skydiving is one of the top extreme sports in Holland. Imagine jumping out of a plane and free-falling over the picturesque Dutch countryside, with views of windmills, tulip fields, and shimmering lakes. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced jumper, skydiving centers like Texel and Teuge offer some of the best skydiving in Europe.
For those looking for short leisurely walks, the Netherlands is dotted with countless trails. The dunes of Zandvoort, the forests of Veluwe and the wetlands of Weerribben-Wieden National Park are just a few of the many places you can enjoy a peaceful walk. City walks, like a canal tour in Amsterdam or the historic trail in Utrecht, offer a blend of urban charm and history.
For those keen on longer hikes, the Netherlands offers half and full day trails. The Veluwezoom National Park, with its dense forests and panoramic views, is a favorite. The shifting sands of the Dunes of Loon and Drunen National Park provide a unique hiking experience, reminiscent of a desert amidst greenery. Utrecht Hill Ridge offers a blend of pine forests and ancient burial mounds. While the serene meadows of the Waterland Route present a picturesque view of traditional Dutch countryside.
The Netherlands might be flat, but it offers some of the most scenic trekking in Europe. The Pieterpad, stretching over 490 kilometers from the northern town of Pieterburen to the southern tip in Maastricht, is the country’s most famous long-distance hiking trail. It takes trekkers through forests, heathlands and picturesque villages, offering one of the best Netherlands adventure activities.
Another notable trek is the Marskramerpad, which follows ancient trading routes from the German border to the North Sea. Staying in cozy B&Bs, experiencing the changing landscapes and soaking in the rich history makes Netherlands trekking holidays fun without hugely taxing terrain.
When flyboarding you soar above the water, propelled by powerful water jets. The lakes of Vinkeveen and Loosdrecht are popular spots where beginners can learn under the guidance of experienced instructors. You can hover above the water and even perform flips, making it a must-try among the top Netherlands extreme sports.
While the Netherlands is predominantly flat, it has some good terrain for off-roading adventures. The dunes of Zandvoort and the forests of Veluwe are prime spots for 4×4 enthusiasts. Join off-roading clubs that organize events in areas like Brabant and Limburg, where muddy trails challenge your driving skills. Whether you’re in a rugged jeep, quad bike or on a dirt bike, off-roading in the Netherlands is a lot of fun.
Experience the thrill of zip-lining in Rotterdam, where you can zoom down from the iconic Euromast tower. With a length of more than 100 meters and a height of 60, it’s one of the most exhilarating zip lines in the country. Feel the wind rush past as you get a panoramic view of the city’s skyline. One of the best adventure activities in Holland that almost anyone can try.
Given it’s flat terrain The Netherlands relies on indoor climbing facilities. Centers like Neoliet in Eindhoven and Klimmuur in Haarlem boast walls that challenge both beginners and seasoned climbers. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Excalibur tower in Groningen, one of the world’s tallest freestanding climbing walls, is a must-visit.
Bouldering (low climbing without ropes) is popular in the Netherlands. Facilities like Monk Bouldergym in Amsterdam and Cube Bouldergym in Enschede offer a range of problems for climbers of all levels. With thick crash pads below and intricate routes on the walls, bouldering in Holland is both safe and challenging.
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, bungee jumping from the Scheveningen Pier in The Hague is a top extreme sport in the Netherlands. As you take the leap of faith, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the North Sea. With a height of 60 meters, it’s one of the best bungee jumps in Europe.
The Dutch love ice-skating particularly on frozen canals! The Elfstedentocht, a legendary 200-kilometer ice-skating tour passing through eleven Frisian cities, is a testament to the country’s love for the sport. While waiting for natural ice is a Dutch tradition, you can also stake indoors at De Uithof in The Hague or Jaap Eden Ijsbaan in Amsterdam.
The windy conditions of the Ijsselmeer and the North Sea coast make the Netherlands a hotspot for windsurfing. Beginners can take lessons at centers like Surfcentrum Brouwersdam in Zeeland, while experienced windsurfers can ride the waves at spots like Workum, Texel or Horst. With numerous lakes and a long coastline windsurfing in the Netherlands is an integral part of the Dutch water sports scene, and one of the top adventure activities in Holland.
With its rich maritime history and countless waterways, sailing is deeply ingrained in Dutch culture. The Frisian Lakes, especially Sneekermeer and Slotermeer, are popular sailing destinations. Events like the Sneekweek, the largest sailing event on European inland waters, attract enthusiasts from all over the world.
With cable parks like Down Under in Utrecht and Waterski Zeeland in Kamperland wakeboarding and water skiing is a lot of fun in The Netherlands. These parks jumps, boxes and rails for advanced riders, while beginners can learn the basics in a safe environment. The flat waters and state-of-the-art facilities mean Holland has some of the best wakeboard spots in Europe.
While the North Sea might not boast the giant waves of ocean facing destinations, it offers consistent swells perfect for surfing and bodyboarding. Spots like Scheveningen in The Hague, Zandervoot near Amsterdam and Domburg in Zeeland are favorites among the surf community. With surf schools offering lessons and the beach culture thriving, surfing and bodyboarding are some of the top extreme sports in Holland.
Stand Up Paddleboarding is a tranquil way to explore the Dutch waterways. You can join guided SUP tours through the canals of Amsterdam or the serene waters of Giethoorn. SUP schools like SUP & Meer in Utrecht provide lessons ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. SUP is one of the best Netherlands adventure activities to combine sport, culture and relaxation.
While the Netherlands lacks mountains, it boasts impressive indoor ski centers. With 35,000 square meters (8.6 acres) of skiable terrain, SnowWorld in Landgraaf, is the largest indoor ski area in the world. Whether you’re learning, carving turns or practicing tricks in the snow park, snowboarding and skiing in Holland offer winter sports year round.
The Netherlands offers horse riding on sandy beaches, lush forests and through lovely countryside. Equestrian centers like Manege de Ruif in Amsterdam provide riding lessons and guided trail rides. Galloping along the beaches of Zeeland or trotting through the heathlands of Veluwe, horseriding connects riders with the natural beauty of Holland.
While the Netherlands doesn’t have natural caves, there is an artificial caving experience available. Adventure Valley in Limburg offer caving expeditions where participants can navigate through tunnels and chambers, experiencing the thrill of spelunking in a controlled environment. One of the top manmade extreme sports in Holland.
Experience the thrill of paragliding over the Dutch landscapes. Sites like Dune Thermique in Zoutelande offer tandem flights, giving participants a bird’s-eye view of the coastlines and countryside. With experienced pilots guiding the way, paragliding is a safe and exhilarating Dutch adventure.
The waters of the Netherlands are a treasure trove for scuba divers. Dive sites like Grevelingen and the Oosterschelde National Park offer a glimpse of marine life, from seahorses to seals. Dive centers such as Dive Post in Valkenburg provide training and guided dives, ensuring a safe underwater adventure in Dutch waters.
Skate parks like Olympiaplein in Amsterdam and Westblaak in Rotterdam are hubs for skateboarders to practice their tricks and connect with the skateboarding community. With international events and a thriving local scene, skateboarding is an integral part of Dutch urban culture and one of the top extreme sports in Holland.
BMX has a fervent following in the Netherlands. The country boasts several top-notch BMX tracks, with the Papendal track in Arnhem being one of the most renowned, often hosting international championships. Whether you’re into BMX racing on dirt tracks or freestyling in urban skate parks, the Netherlands offers facilities in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
In the heart of Europe lies a country that is small in size but is big on adventure. The Netherlands has an innovative action sports culture, offering activities for every thrill-seeker. Whether you’re soaring in the sky, diving underwater, racing on land or riding waves, Holland ensures an unforgettable experience.
So, pack your gear, and embark on a journey through the best Netherlands adventure activities. Holland awaits, and it will not disappoint!
We hope you found this guide to the best Netherlands adventure activities inspiring. If so check out our Netherlands adventure travel page for more ideas of extreme sports in Holland that you might wish to try.