When looking for a romantic destination, you often think of the classics such as Venice, Paris. And for those of us who dare to dream a bit bigger, the beautiful Maldives. But what if I tell you that you can also experience the best of these places closer to home. A place where you can sail on romantic canals, soak up culture, dine in style and enjoy long walks along beautiful sandy beaches. That is why I’m taking you on a romantic weekend getaway to the area of surprises located in the Netherlands.
** disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but this does not alter the fact that I share my own honest experiences about this service**
Where to spend a romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands?
The area of surprises
On my blog you have already read about our unforgettable city trip in the city of discoveries, Leiden. It is therefore no surprise that the area of surprises is situated around this beautiful city. A region that has so much to offer and is the ideal destination for a romantic weekend getaway with or without the kids.
Staying in an oasis of peace on the domain of Castle Oud Poelgeest
Waking up in a green environment, that’s possible on the domain of castle Oud Poelgeest. This domain is located in the green town of Oegstgeest that’s known for its beautiful walking and bike trails and local shops.
The domain of castle Oud Poelgeest consists of an impressive castle, a coach house and a beautiful, lush garden. The castle dates from the 17th century. Today the historic rooms have been transformed into elegant meeting rooms with still a few authentic elements. But that isn’t everything. The castle also has a castle bar with a beautiful sunny terrace on the water. This is the ideal place for conferences, team buildings, but also festive occasions such as weddings. The hotel rooms are located in the coach house that was added to the domain in the 19th century. But the icing on the cake is definitely the extensive, goregeous castle garden. Nothing better to go out into the garden for a romantic morning stroll after the delicious breakfast buffet.
We didn’t stay in the hotel, but in the regional pop-up house in the middle of the garden with a beautiful view of the castle. In the pop-up house we didn’t only find information about the area of surprises, but also some tasty local specialties such as the delicious biscuits “Oestgeester dakpan” that you can get at the Hugo De Groot bakery in Oegstgeest. Definitely worth a try!
If you want to explore more of Oegstgeest, opt for the Boerhaave cycling or walking route or the Wolkers walking route. And don’t forget to visit the Kempenaar shopping area and the Lange Voort shopping center if you feel like shopping.
Sailing on the romantic canals of Leiden
An activity that can’t be missing on your romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands is a boat trip on the canals of the beautiful city Leiden. Although this wasn’t our first time, we were eager to go on the water. This time we sailed with the boat company de Leidse rederij. Our captain picked us up in a beautiful, authentic boat in the garden of castle Oud Poelgeest, talking about a VIP treatment …
The captain took us along the canals from Oegstgeest to Leiden. In the meantime he told us about the history of the city, with a few fun anecdotes. It was great that, despite our second visit, we learned a lot of new things about Leiden.
From the boat we soaked up the cosy atmospere within the city. At that moment it was sunny and all the terraces were full of happy people. Blissfully we forgot all our worries and enjoyed the stunning views that the historic city center of Leiden has to offer. For me, Leiden is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in The Netherlands.
Beatiful beaches in the area of surprises
Noordwijk is by far one of my favorite seaside cities in the Netherlands. Last time we visited, this destination persuaded us to move to the coast ourselves. So this place will always have a special place in our hearts.
But what makes Noordwijk so special? The beautiful coastline, the extensive sandy beach with adjacent dunes, the hip and trendy beach bars, the more secluded, cozy, historical centre of Noordwijk and so much more. So many different factors that make Noordwijk a top destination for a romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands.
Besides Noordwijk, the area of surprises has some other beautiful beaches, such as the beaches of Katwijk and Wassenaar. The enchanting beach of Katwijk has been a great source of inspiration for many artists since the 17th century and therefore has a rich cultural history. Wassenaar is an authentic Dutch village, surrounded by countryside and castles. That is why Wassenaar is often referred to as the estate by the sea. The pristine beach has even received an important European award for sustainable coastal tourism. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet been able to experience these beaches ourselves, but all the more reason to return soon and discover even more of the area of surprises
Discover the area of surprises in an adventurous way
One of the typical Dutch ways to discover the area of surprises is of course by bike. This way you can fully explore this region at your own pace and discover even the most hidden gems. The best cycling routes can be found on fietsnetwerk.nl. We ourselves intended to cycle from Oegstgeest to Noordwijk, but unfortunately the weather was too bad.
Would you like to make your romantic weekend getaway a little more adventurous? Discover the area of surprises with an electric GPS audio tour via Renzy.nl. Here you can choose from various themed routes, such as the tulip fields tour, the historic castles tour, the windmill tour, … and even a family tour with scavenger hunt for the children. In short, an adventure for young and old.
We opted for the dune and beach tour along the hotspots of Noordwijk and the surrounding area. In this way we also got to know Noordwijk in a different way and we came across many unknown places for us.
It was great that while we were exploring we could listen to interesting facts and fun anecdotes about the region via the audio guide. And the best bonus was that we could easily stop and park somewhere with this car. So whenever we saw a cool spot, we could just park and go explore.
Besides Noordwijk, we also drove a bit along the countryside. Unfortunately there were no tulips to be seen now (August), but we were surprised by beautiful dahlia fields. We stopped a little closer to admire these colorful flowers. When we saw that this was a show garden and that we were allowed to enter the garden on the provided paths, we couldn’t resist taking some pictures.
We really loved the dune and beach tour with Renzy.nl! Both the experience of driving the electric car and the mapped out route with audio guide were amazing. We would certainly recommend this activity on a romantic (or even family) weekend getaway in the Netherlands.
Soaking up culture in the area of surprises
Something that Jan and I really enjoy is visiting a museum. But we do that far too little. That’s why this couldn’t be missing on our romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands. And because we often say in Belgium: “one is none” we immediately visited two.
The first museum on our program was Corpus in Oegstgeest, where we reserved a ‘journey through the human body’. The name speaks for itself. Here you literally travel through the body of the human being. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures during the trip. Because it’s very difficult for me to explain in just a few words how impressive this exhibition is. Walking through the different spaces that represent the inside of a person, you learn how the body functions and what you have to do to keep your body healthy. The entire journey is visually beautifully made with a lot of variety in transefering the information so that you remain fascinated from the first till the last minute. This museum is definitely recommended for young and old. Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance.
The second museum we visted was the Voorlinden museum in Wassenaar. Arrived at the parking lot, we were immediately impressed by the gigantic domain with imposing buildings and enchanting garden. The museum houses several exhibitions of modern art. The great thing about modern art is that it is limitless and that is definitely noticeable in the various exhibitions and rooms. Around every corner there was another surprise.
The weather was very bad at the time, so unfortunately we couldn’t explore the surrounding gardens. It’s said that you can find a food truck here with coffee, tea and homemade delicacies during summer . Too bad we had to miss this. If you would like to explore the entire domain, make sure you take your time. We already did 3 hours to cover the entire museum. It’s also best to book your tickets in advance here.
Romantic dining in the area of surprises
Admit it, you can’t have a romantic trip without a tête à tête. A delicious lunch or dinner for two should certainly not be missing on a romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands.
During our previous visit to Leiden and Noordwijk, we discovered that this region has many tasty and cozy restaurants. So that we would find the perefect locations to have a delicious dinner for two in the area of surprises was not a surprise to us.
Suzies & van Aken – Oegstgeest
Culinary dining in a cozy and warm setting. This sounds perfect for a romantic dinner. At Suzies & van Aken we enjoyed a delicious menu full of gastronomic dishes. You can choose how many courses you want. The 6-course menu is recommended to explore all flavors. It is great that wine suggestions have already been paired with the different dishes. These combinations aren’t always obvious, but taste amazing with the matched dishes. This restaurant is a must for those who enjoy gastronomic dining.
Breakers beach house – Noordwijk beach
Lunch or dinner with an ocean view maybe sounds a bit cliché when we talk about romantic getaways … But still recommended if you are in Noordwijk. On the beach you will find Breakers beach house, a beautiful beach pavilion with Victorian influences, where you can enjoy a delicious meal with “yes” a view of the Noordwijk coastline. I advise you to taste the delicious fish dishes here. In good weather you can also take a seat on the terrace. In short, the perfect place to end a fun day at the beach in Noordwijk.
Hof van Holland – Noordwijk centre
If you are in Noordwijk, you should definitely visit the cozy historical centre. In a beautiful building that dates from the 13th century you will find the restaurant Hof van Holland. The warm, vintage interior with industrial accents creates a cozy atmosphere, just like home. Here you can enjoy classic dishes made with traditional products. Feeling at home in a relaxed atmosphere is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner.
De Landbouw – Wassenaar
In Wassenaar in the middle of a green surrounding you will find restaurant De Landbouw. A traditional farmhouse transformed into a contemporary restaurant with a cozy, rural interior. In the dishes you will also find the combination between old and new, classic dishes with a contemporary twist. The perfect ending to a romantic weekend getaway in the area of surprises in the Netherlands.
After a weekend in a beautiful green environment, sailing on romantic canals, enjoying long beach walks, soaking up culture and indulging in delicious food, we can conclude that the area of surprises is the perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands.
Which destination or activity wouldn’t you want to miss during a romantic weekend getaway in the Netherlands? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.
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