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Hospitable Holland

The Canals

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandSimilar too many other cities that sit over water such as Venice, Amsterdam has a vibrant canal system.

The pretty waterways are one of the best loved attractions in Amsterdam and you can explore the idyllic routes. This is done by taking a boat tour or a water taxi that lets you hop around the locations.

If not a water lover, then you can still enjoy the canal sights with a leisurely stroll along the banks.

Zaanse Schans

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandAnyone out there who wish they could time travel back into Dutch history? Those who wish they could visit the Netherlands of the 17th and 18th centuries have come to the right place.

Zaanse Schans is located around 15 kilometres to the north of Amsterdam and is styled as an open-air museum. Here you can take a stroll around a traditional Dutch village and find out how ancient craftsmen would have worked.

Just some of the sights include a shipyard, grocery store, pewter factory and a range of dainty green wooden houses.

Keukenhof Gardens

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandKeukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe. Here you will find a riot of colour with blooms of every hue as far as the eye can see.

Tulips are the signature flowers of this country and the Garden of Europe. Located just outside of Lisse is the largest public garden anywhere in the world.

Covering 70 acres of land, you will find gorgeous flower exhibitions. In addition to a wide variety of flora there are daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses.

Grote Kerk

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandGrote Kerk is found in The Hague and is a large church that is built from red brick in Gothic style.

The original building here would have been built in the 13th century. It was razed to the ground in 1539 and rebuilt in the present structure.

The church has an illustrious history as the spot where many members of the Dutch royal family where baptised.

Things to look out for at the church include the dominating bell tower which is the highest in Holland. This bell tower contains 51 bells, also to be found are the ornate wooden pulpit and the huge pipe organ.

The Rijksmuseum

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandThe Rijksmuseum is the Dutch National Museum located in Amsterdam and is filled with amazing collections which date from 1809.

The building houses over 7 million items and has more than 5,000 paintings that sprawl over 250 rooms.

There’s a library here with 35,000 books. Walking around you can see some of the most impressive paintings in the world created by the ‘Old Masters’.

Much of the museum focuses on traditional Dutch artefacts like ancient handicrafts and sculptures from the medieval period.

Make sure you leave ample time to see everything as you can easily spend a full day here exploring every nook and cranny.

Anne Frank Museum

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandThe Anne Frank Museum is one of the most famous attractions in Amsterdam and makes for an extremely moving visit.

The building is the former home of Anne Frank who hid from the Nazis here during the Second World War.

Anne Frank died two months before the war ended but her diary that she wrote in the home was found. Her diary went on to become one of the most important books in the world.

The home has been restored although the hiding place in which the family lived is much as it would have been.

Absolutely not to be missed if you are in Amsterdam and offers a poignant personal view on this well-known story.

Marken Village

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandThe little village of Marken is known for being one of the prettiest spots in the Netherlands. This is due to its strategic location on the Ijsselmeer Lake.

Crowds of visitor’s flock to the town every year to take in this picture-postcard village.

In the summer months festivals are held here. The residents dress in period garb and you can see traditional crafts like clog making taking place.

Efteling Amusement Park

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandEfteling is the biggest amusement park in the Netherlands and is located at Kaatsheuvel.

The park’s divided up into zones that are known as realms and each one focuses on ancient myth’s or legends.

Efteling has the claim to fame for being one of the oldest theme’s parks in the world. Having first opened its doors in 1952 and has been entertaining visitors ever since with fast rides and lush gardens.

Highlights include the George and the Dragon as well as The Flying Dutchman and The Python.

For younger ones there’s Raveleijn. Nightly performances that tell the story of 5 siblings who battle and defeat an evil monster in a magical world.

Madurodam Model Village

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandIf you want to see the whole of the Netherlands but don’t have time, then travel to Madurodam in The Hague.

Here you will find a mini version of the Netherlands on a 1:25 scale. See all the county’s top destinations including cute windmills, main landmarks, and decorative features like bridges.

This model city even includes its own harbour as well as a railway system and an airport.

Van Gogh Museum

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandThe Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an ode to one of the greatest artists ever to have lived.

In addition to that, the Van Gogh Museum is regularly voted one of the best art museums in the world. Art-lovers shouldn’t really leave this off their itinerary when in the city.

1.5 million visitors make visit each year and the museum have the largest collection of Van Gogh pieces in the world.

Two hundred paintings, five hundred drawings, and seven hundred letters that give you a unique insight into the life of the artist.

Heineken

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandThe Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is the place to come to if you enjoy your beer.

The experience takes place in an old Heineken brewery.

This starts from the kind of water used all the way through to the bottling process. You will also see classic examples of the iconic Heineken logo and see how it has changed over the years.

As if that wasn’t enough, sample this famous brew and end the trip with a tasting session.

Edam

Hospitable Holland - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To HollandEdam cheese is famous the world over for its red hued rind and signature round shape.

Many people won’t realise however that Edam is actually not just the name of the cheese but also the place it comes from. The town dates back to the 12th century and has an array of cheese related sites to enjoy.

Edam cheese looks a little different here, as it is actually sold with a yellow rind rather than a red one.

Some of the signature attractions for cheese lovers here include a large cheese market and a famous cheese-weighing hall.

 

 

 

Spectacular Spain

Eating Tapas – Nationwide

Spanish Tapas - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainGo from bar to bar trying tapas as you go, while you might as well get a pint with every small meal.

Eventually you will work out your favourite bars and favourite dishes.

Some of the most well-known dishes include, tortillas, patatas, bravas and a large amount of chorizo-based meals.

Alhambra – Granada

Dawn Charles V Palace Alhambra - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainThis giant fortress will take an entire day to walk around, make sure you do, it’s a highlight on any European guide.

The first Nasrid king, El Ahmar, chose this building as it overlooked the entire city of Granada.

It offers you a great view for some quick snaps, the price for entry is between 13 and 9 Euros. Alhambra is only ever fully open between March and October.

So, make sure you time your visit perfectly, as you would be disappointed through the winter.

Ski on the Sierra Nevada Mountains – Malaga

Sierra Nevada Mountains - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainIf you are staying in Malaga, the Sierra Nevada Ski Resorts you have to visit.

Not only are they famous worldwide but one of the finest you will find in Europe.

Once you have skied and reached the bottom you can head to the beach for a tan, all in a day.

Nou Camp Stadium – Barcelona

Nou Camp Stadium - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainYou do not have to be a football fan to appreciate the size and structure of Barcelona’s football stadium.

If you are a football fan, purchase some tickets and bear witness to possibly one of the greatest footballers, Messi.

If you do, try and learn some of the chants before you head to the game.

La Tomatina – Valencia

La Tomatina - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainI expect this to be on everyone’s list, as possibly the greatest festival in the world.

The party starts with a massive feast on Paella. The following morning thousands of people take to the streets tomato’s in hand, ready to throw to their hearts content.

This is potentially one of the biggest food fights in the world. Make sure you squeeze the tomato before throwing so that it bursts upon impact, preventing them from feeling any pain.

As soon as the bottle rocket sounds, it’s clean up time and everyone heads on to a bar or to wash themselves.

Rastro Market – Madrid

Rastro de Madrid - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainMadrid’s flea market attracts a huge audience and looks the same as you imagine it would 50 years before.

Find yourself a bargain and if you end up getting bored, the streets are coated in bars for a quick one.

I would keep an eye on your possessions however as this flea market does tend to attract some unwanted pickpockets.

Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainThis is by far one of the most interesting museums you will visit.

Frank Gehry’s masterpiece highlights some of the most bizarre art you will find, mainly from the 20th century.

The shape of the building itself is something of a wonder, with more curves than David Beckham’s free kicks.

Benicassim Festival – Barcelona

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainSpain’s biggest music festival is growing in reputation every year as people leave the muddy festivals for a party on the beach in Barcelona.

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, as it is known in Spanish, lasts for four days on a beach, music pumping, drinking mayhem.

This year the likes of Liam Gallagher, The Killers, Pet Shop Boys and The Vaccines headlined.

Party Time – Ibiza

Party Time - Spectacular Spain, Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To SpainThere is no bigger party than the ones in Ibiza, from April till October.

The welcome parties and ending parties are legendary as they welcome in the re-opening of the clubs for the summer.

Be prepared to spend a lot more than you would like to however, as entry to clubs is normally expensive