I have been to many sensationally beautiful places in my life. I have been to the Himalayas and the Taj Mahal, the Adirondacks in New York, I have seen the Sistine Chapel and the Mona Lisa, the jungles of St Lucia and the highlands of Scotland.
So when I say that the Hoge Veluwe National Park, in Gelderland in the Netherlands, is one of the most incredible places I have ever been, please trust me that it’s good!
The park is not huge, only 55 square kilometers, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in variety. There are forests and plains, dunes and heath, glorious isolation and endless sky. Some parts of the park feel like you’re being embraced by the thick scent of tree sap and autumn leaves; other parts feel like you’ve never seen this much golden grass, rustling in an cool breeze.
It’s also the attitude of park which makes it such a great place. It costs to get in – around 10€ – but the bicycle is free. Of course it’s free – we’re in the Netherlands! You can cycle around, switching from concrete paths to sandy tracks, feeling so safe and happy and in control. Ok, I admit, it’s not a great bike, and you may be better off bringing your own, but it’s the thought that counts?
Also, there is a museum in the middle of the park: the Kröller-Müller Museum. It has the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and sketches in the entire world… but that’s a story for another day. I also just checked out the website, and there’s so much stuff to do that I missed out on! You can go fishing or horse riding, on a tour of the park with a warden, or even camp there. The food in the cafe is also delicious – I distinctly remember that they sold milk as one of the drinks in the main course meal deal (i.e. this is why I love you, Nederland!)
Overall, it’s such a great place. It’s the only place on my Netherlands tour that I’d love to go back to – and I hope my photos show you why. I always tell my friends to go and they never do. They just spend 5 days in coffee shops in Amsterdam and then complain that they don’t have any money left. There are coffee shops in Arnhem too! And the scenery is so much better…
Until next time x