Where to stay in Netherlands
The Netherlands has a wide range of accommodation, from luxury hotels in the big cities to modern motels along motorways and holiday villages in the countryside.
Grading: There is the Hotelstars Union grading system from 1 to 5 stars.
Bed and breakfast
The Netherlands has a unique and extensive network of B&Bs for two-wheeled travellers, run by the organization Vrienden op de Fiets (www.vriendenopdefiets.nl). Arrangements are widely varied, from luxurious homes to city apartments to refurbished camper vans in the yard. For the annual membership fee of €8 (plus €10 for non-Europeans), you get a directory of homes, located wherever there's a bike path (in other words, everywhere) and a membership card, which you must present on arrival. Members stay for €19 per night per person, which includes a Dutch breakfast.
There are over 9,000 registered campsites in Holland, and they fill up fast in summertime. Some offer advanced booking via their websites; others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. It is often better value to stay more than one night. Lists are available from the Netherlands Board of Tourism and the ANWB (www.anwbcamping.nl). Alternatively, try one of the 140 'natural campsites' located within Holland's nature reserves. For a list of these plus an entry pass, get Het Groene Boekje (The Green Guide), available via www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl.
Apartments:For travellers who prefer the comfort and convenience of their own flat with cooking facilities, apartment rentals make a good, surprisingly affordable option. Airbnb.com and homelidays.co.uk are among the most consistently reliable providers. Amsterdam CityMundo (amsterdam.citymundo.com) has apartments for rent in the capital, some in choice locations.
Youth Hostels: There are a number of hostels in various settings, from cities to seacoast to countryside, housed in castles, historic homes and modern buildings. People with a Hostelling International card receive a discount of €2.50 for an overnight stay including breakfast. Information is obtainable from Stayokay (the Dutch Youth Hostel Association, www.stayokay.com/nl). Sleeping facilities can be cramped with up to six bunks in spartan rooms, but each hostel is equipped with a bar and lounge areas where you can meet other travelers.
Houseboats: Visitors planning a stay in Amsterdam might consider sleeping on a houseboat. Moored along the banks of the city's numerous canals, they make a fun, romantic alternative. Most offer B&B type accommodation, with terraces, internet access and sometimes a dinghy for guests who want to ply the canals on their own. There are also a few retrofitted freighters that are more like floating hotels. The website www.iamsterdam.com provides links to a number of houseboat renters.