Discover North Brabant

Unveiling Hidden Gems of the Netherlands: North Brabant

The Netherlands is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, charming windmills, and picturesque tulip fields. But amidst this nation’s abundant beauty lies a hidden gem that often goes unnoticed: North Brabant!

Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to explore this amazing region, courtesy of VisitBrabant. It was the perfect occasion for me to delve into the heart of North Brabant, discover all of its hidden treasures, and now share them with you.

Where is North Brabant?

North Brabant is situated in the heart of Europe, bordering on Belgium. The capital city is ‘s-Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch), but there are many other major cities in the province including Eindhoven, Tilburg, and Breda.

It is extremely easy to reach Den Bosch by car from our Ijmuiden port (taking just over an hour), or you can hop on a direct train from Amsterdam-Centraal if you are on foot.


As mentioned, Den Bosch is the regions capital, and this is where my journey began. I arrived late at night, but felt instantly welcomed and safe. The beautiful cobbled streets were gorgeously lit and filled with local restaurants and bars. The city is home to peaceful canals, a great shopping centre, and the biggest Dutch Cathedral – St John’s Cathedral.

Did you know: Den Bosch has won ‘Most welcoming city in the Netherlands’ for multiple years in a row!

Gastronomic Delights

A must-do while you are here is to sample the famous sweet pastry called ‘Bossche Bol’ – named after the city itself! The pastry consists of a light and airy choux pastry ball, which is generously filled with whipped cream. Once the cream is piped in, the iconic chocolate coating is added, creating a delicate shell around this luxurious treat. I would drive back to North Brabant just to have another one of these!


Next Stop… Efteling!

Experience magical moments in one of the most beautiful outdoor parks in EuropeEfteling offers a unique concept of fairytale based stories and rides. The park is divided into different themes or regions, but all are connected by a magic and nostalgic charm.

The little ones will enjoy the fairytales and merry-go-rounds, teens will enjoy the rollercoasters and the swinging ship, and there are plenty of rides for the whole family. It’s not only for kids either – grown-ups who need a bit of magic and the occasional thrill in their everyday lives will love it too!

My personal favourite was the ‘Symbolica’. An enchanting palace, where you sway through magical corridors and enter mystical rooms, filled with adventure and secrets.

Accommodation – Enchanting overnight stays

Enjoy Efteling for more than just one day! There is a wide choice of places to stay, such as hotel rooms, holiday homes and group accommodation for up to 24 people. All accommodation is designed according to different concepts to suit your taste and budget.

Did you know: Staying overnight includes unlimited access to the park and free entry for children up to 3 years old.

If you would like to know more about Efteling and DFDS – click here!

Beekse Bergen

Experience the ultimate safari adventure on foot, by bus, boat or even your own car! Spot lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos and more. Not only that, but you can spend your nights in the luxury Safari Resort and wake up to a giraffe greeting you near the bedroom window!


Beekse Bergen now offers three types of accommodation – the Lake Resort, Safari Resort, and the brand new Safari Hotel. All resorts provide access to swimming pools, play areas, and a charming variety of eateries.

I was fortunate enough to stay in the Savannah Rooms at the Safari Hotel in North Brabant. Staying on the ground floor provided me with a direct view of the animals from my bed, and I woke up to the sight of giraffes grazing on their breakfast. The most unforgettable moment for me was sipping my morning coffee in bed, with doors open, watching zebras, giraffes, rhinos, and ostriches strolling by to say hello.

The room itself was beautifully decorated, truly immersing you in the feeling of being in the Savannah. The bathroom featured a large bathtub and a separate shower. There was also a significant tinted window in the bathroom that allowed me to spot animals even while shampooing!

With a digital control panel in my room, I could adjust lighting, change the room temperature, or call reception with just a tap of a finger! Let’s not forget, the rooms were accessed using pin codes, meaning I didn’t have to worry about losing a key card.

Safari Tours

One of the most popular ways to explore the park is by driving your own vehicle through the safari area. As you drive along the designated routes, you will encounter an impressive array of wildlife roaming freely in large, open enclosures. From majestic lions and graceful giraffes to playful elephants and zebras, there is an abundance of animals to admire and observe.

For those who prefer a more guided experience, the park offers exciting safari bus tours. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide interesting information about the animals and their habitats. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about the different species and their conservation efforts while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

If you prefer a closer encounter with the animals, you can choose to take a boat safari. It’s a tranquil and scenic experience that allows you to appreciate the natural beauty of the park.


Apart from the Safari Park, Beekse Bergen also features the Speelland, an amusement park designed for families with children. Here, kids can enjoy a range of fun-filled activities such as playgrounds, water slides, and go-karts. It’s the perfect place for families to relax and have a great time together.

Beekse Bergen Safari Park goes beyond offering entertainment and recreational activities. It is committed to conservation and education, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife preservation. The park actively participates in various breeding programs for endangered species and supports wildlife conservation initiatives around the world.

Beekse Bergen is the definition of a must visit.


Tilburg is a vibrant and charming city, known for its rich cultural heritage, friendly locals, and lively atmosphere. Art and culture play a significant role in Tilburg’s identity, which I could instantly tell when visiting. The city is home to several museums, galleries, and performance venues. The De Pont Museum, housed in a former wool mill, exhibits contemporary art from renowned artists such as Anish Kapoor and Marlene Dumas. The Natuurmuseum Brabant focuses on the natural history of the region and offers interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages.

Dolores Meta Maze

For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip! The Dolores Meta Maze is a surreal art experience, where you explore over 40 bizarre and wonderful rooms, whilst hunting for the exit. Before you enter, you place all bags, phones, watches etc in a locker. This way the experience is not spoilt for others, and it allows you to get lost in the weird and interactive maze.

The Spoorzone

The Spoorzone was once a working place for the Dutch Railways. It has now be transformed into a new district of Tilburg – a newly innovated hangout spot for all. Here, you can find the award winning library, LocHal and the eclectic food market at Central Station. My personal favourite was the Thai Street Food, ‘Happy Siam”.


Spend an afternoon wandering through the picturesque streets of this quaint fortified town. During our stay, we took part in a guided tour, learning about its rich history, dining in a local restaurant and browsing its speciality shops – the local coffee liqueur is a must buy, especially with no limits of liquids on our ferry!

Van Gogh Village

Nuenen was where Van Gogh spent a significant portion of his life, producing numerous artworks that captured the beauty of the village and its surroundings. Today, visitors have the unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh and experience the Van Gogh Village, immersing themselves in the world that shaped the artist’s early years.

As you explore the village, you’ll encounter various landmarks and sites that were pivotal in the artist’s development. This includes his former house, the Van Gogh Church and Salon Nune Ville (the family home of Vincent Van Gogh’s lover, Margot Begemann).

In addition to these iconic sites, the village is scattered with markers and signposts that guide visitors along the Van Gogh Heritage Route. This route leads you through the very spots where Van Gogh set up his easel and created some of his most beloved works. Walking along the designated path, you can compare Van Gogh’s paintings with the real-life scenes before you, offering a unique perspective on the artist’s interpretation of his surroundings.

One of my personal favourites, was standing in the exact spot Van Gogh would have stood to paint ‘Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen’ – one of his earlier paintings, made in 1884.

Van Gogh Village Museum – Vincentre

Visiting this museum was a great way to learn about Van Gogh’s life, and the start of his painting career. The museum depicts the importance of his time in Brabant, shows the creation of his first masterpiece ‘The Potato Eaters’, and has recently opened the interactive Vincent’s Light Lab.

Entrance fees are very reasonable, and comes with an audio tour (available in multiple languages).

And just like that, my trip was coming to an end. A special thank you to Beekse Bergen and VisitBrabant for facilitating such a brilliant trip. I can’t wait to come again!

The images shared in this blog are also a mix of VisitBrabant’s Photography, but also some of my own taken while exploring the region.

If my trip has inspired you to pack up the car and take a road trip to North Brabant, click here to book your sailing to the Netherlands. Maybe I will see you there!


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