Looking for a beautiful place in The Netherlands to relax and get away from the daily hustle? Then you definitely want to consider visiting Drenthe province. Drenthe in the Netherlands is known for its history and unspoilt nature. You can hike in ancient forests, through heathlands, enjoy sunrises, try to spot some animals, visit local villages, spend the night in nature and enjoy great restaurants. In this article, you’ll find my tips for the best things to do in Drenthe in Netherlands. Enjoy!
- What to do in Drenthe Netherlands | Discover 15 tips and things to do
- Sheepfold Ruinen, one of the top things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
- Discover The Hondsrug UNESCO Global Geopark
- Discover the Maldives of The Netherlands – ’t Gasselterveld
- Go on an adventure in the Dutch wilderness, one of the best things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
- De Poolshoogte observation tower in forestry Odoorn
- Visit the National Park Dwingelderveld
- Stroll through de Brinkdorpen, one of the typical things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
- Experience yoga in nature
- Cultural things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
- Restaurants in Drenthe
- Hotels in Drenthe
- Pin and save “What to do in Drenthe” for later
- More about Drenthe
- More about the Netherlands
What to do in Drenthe Netherlands | Discover 15 tips and things to do
Sheepfold Ruinen, one of the top things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
When I think of Drenthe, I think of sheep. In Drenthe you can find a big number of sheepfolds. I felt like a kid, so happy that I could go out with a shepherd. One of the sheepfolds that you can visit in Drenthe is the sheepfold in Ruinen. This cage consists of no less than 300 sheep of the Drents heath sheep breed. They graze the heather daily and keep the bushes short, which is important to keep the heath strong and healthy. There is nothing more fun than watching the 300 sheep leave in the morning or see them arrive in the afternoon. For me, for sure one of the most typical and best things to do in Drenthe. The sheepfold Ruinen is within walking distance of Dwingelderveld visitor center.
Discover The Hondsrug UNESCO Global Geopark
Drenthe is known for its beautiful nature reserves. One of the best things to do in Drenthe, is to visit the Hondsrug, home to a great variety of landscapes, dwelling types and cultural-historic elements. The Hondsrug crosses several municipalities and is the only Unesco Global Geopark in The Netherlands. It is recommended to make an early bird tour with Eko-Tours. Not specifically to go birdwatching, but just to set out early and enjoy the silence of the nature. At half past five in the morning you are expected at the meeting point and you start you tour in an electric off-road vehicle. The sun rising over the trees, the views over the heathland, the first animal sounds: It’s beautiful to see nature waking up
Along the way you stop for walks and explanations, where you learn about the different tree and plant species. And for the history lovers, there is also information about the first inhabitants of the area and the famous dolmens (hunebedden in Dutch). Did you know, for example, that dolmens are the oldest monuments in the Netherlands? I honestly have to confess that it was my first time seeing a dolmen up close, so I had to take a picture (you can see theh result below).
Interested in learning more about things to do in de Hondsrug in Drenthe? Have a look at the Hondsrug website.
Discover the Maldives of The Netherlands – ’t Gasselterveld
The Maldives of The Netherlands – that sounds very promising. And therefore expectations will be high. In Drenthe you’ll find ’t Gasselterveld, a big lake (or pool) that got this nickname, because of the clear blue water. The white sand, surrounded by a deep green forest together with a shining sun, make you almost forget that you do not find yourself on a tropical beach but in the Netherlands.
You can swim, rent a kayak or paddle board or relax on the beach. I had my first paddle board experience here and enjoyed it a lot. It is also possible to walk around the lake within one hour and enjoy lovely views along the way. There are several trails that will keep you busy for the day. Something I’d love to come back for. Visiting the Maldives of the Netherlands is one of the surprising things to do in Drenthe and highly recommended!
Go on an adventure in the Dutch wilderness, one of the best things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
Want to be alone in Dutch nature? This is something absolutely possible in Drenthe. In National Park the Drentsche Aa and around the Dwingelderveld, there are cabiners, sustainable and completely self-sufficient cabinds, which can only be reached by foot. You walk through forests, wide heaths, along shifting sand and little streams. After an adventurous hike through this beautiful nature reserve you will reach your cabin, located at an idealistic spot in nature, in the middle of nowhere, to fully unwind.
The Cabiner is comfortable but reduced to the essentials, without luxury extras such as WiFi and electricity. An experience that brings you closer to the basic elements, even if it’s only for 24 hours. You have to pump up your own groundwater to take a shower and collect wood to make a fire and cook. It is also possible to make a multi-day trip where you spend the night in a different cabin every night.
De Poolshoogte observation tower in forestry Odoorn
De Poolshoogte is a hill with an observation tower. From the top you have a view of the surroundings. Here you realize how green the area actually is. It is also possible to go for a nice walk in the surrounding woods. A recommended trail is the Schapenpark trail of 8 km, which runs through the forestry Odoorn.
Don’t forget to have a drink or lunch at restaurant de Poolshoogte. You don’t want to miss the fresh salads! At the bottom of this article you will find more tips for restaurant tips in Drenthe.
Visit the National Park Dwingelderveld
Another beautiful nature reserve that is worth a visit is the Dwingelderveld. This is the largest continuous wet heath area in Western Europe (4000 hectares) as well as being elected to being the quietest area in The Netherlands. In this National Park you can walk for hours. There are several hiking trails that are clearly marked.
It is also possible to enjoy a unique night-time hike in the Dwingelderveld. One of the few nature reserves in the Netherlands where this is possible. This 5 kilometer trails has been created by Natuurmonumenten in a way that you have a good chance of seeing deers, bats and owls. You will experience that a night walk stimulates your senses in a completely different way, for sure one of the unique things to do in Drenthe.
Stroll through de Brinkdorpen, one of the typical things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
Drenthe is known for its Brinkdorpen, green villages, with thatched farms. In the past, cows and sheep were gathered on the green in the morning and evening. Nowadays the green is often the central point of the village with restaurants, shops and weekly markets. I visited the lovely village of Dwingeloo, which is located next to the Dwingelderveld. You can stroll through the village, feel the atmosphere and visit the Sint-Nicolaas church, which is a national monument. But also villages such as Orvelte, ZuidLaren, Besterbork and Rolde are nice to include in your itinerary. Each green village in Drenthe has its own characteristics, things to do including monumental farms, churches, cheese dairies, markets, mills and dolmens. On the Drenthe website, you will find more information and tips for what to do in the green villages in Drenthe.
Experience yoga in nature
Are you into yoga and do you want to know what to do in Drenthe when it comes to yoga and wellness? Yoga Studio Rust offers workshops and classes in different places around Drenthe, such as at the beach of Paviljoen Nijstad. I took a nice class, from teacher Liesette Rust. Yoga is always a great way to relax, but practising yoga in a beautiful place in nature adds to the experience.
Cultural things to do in Drenthe Netherlands
Looking for some art and culture, after all these activities in nature? These are two tips for what to do in Drenthe, if you are interested in art and theater.
Visit the Shakespeare theater in Diever
In Diever you will find the Shakespeare theater, a unique open-air theater with a stage in the middle of the room. Different Shakespeare plays have been played here for more than 75 years. Traditional pieces such as Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet and Otello are re-created every year, so that you can enjoy the performances again and again. In the winter months there are performances in the indoor Globe Theatre, a mini version of the well-known Globe theater in London, where numerous plays by Shakespeare have been premiered. One of the top things to do in Drenthe if you like theatre, if you ask me!
Get inspired in the Drents Museum
One of the best cultural things to do in Drenthe is to visit the Drents museum, hosting interesting exhibitions on a regular base. I love to get inspired by modern art and I am a big fan of this type of museum. But I recently paid even more attention to this museum, because of the special exhibition about Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo is one of Mexico’s greatest artists. Her unique appearance, infamous relationship with artist Diego Rivera and distinctive art made her world famous. In this exhibition, showcasing paintings, drawings, personal belongings such as corsets and jewelry, you are taken into the story and life of Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. Recommended!
Want to read more about Frida Kahlo and her life. In the next articke you’ll read everything you want to know about Frida Kahlo and a visit to her house in Mexico City, La Casa Azul. The exchibition Viva la Frida! – Life and Art of Frida Kahlo, can be visited in the Drents Museum in Assen until March 27, 2022.
Restaurants in Drenthe
Drenthe offers many things to do and there is nothing better than enjoying a great restaurant after a day full of activities. These are my recommendations and tips for great places to enjoy lunch, dinner and drinks in Drenthe!
Enjoy a drink or lunch at the Bospub
Looking for a tasty lunch or drink after a hike? Make sure to visit de Bospub, located on the edge of the Dwingelderveld, near the village Lhee. A super cozy place, where you can sit inside or outside in the garden. Even in the winter it is nice to sit outside because of the heaters.
Culinary delights at Restaurant Villa Blauwhemel
Looking for a culinary experience in Drenthe? Then make sure to reserve a table at Villa Blauwhemel in Diever. Here it’s all about the Nordic kitchen, where fresh seasonal products, mostly from their own garden play an important role. In a chef’s menu, you will enjoy 3, 4 or 5 courses, with only ingredients that nature has to offer at that time. Think about dishes like cauliflower soup with roasted cashews and homemade curry powder, a watermelon gazpacho, chanterelle soup with truffle cream, gravlax carpaccio marinated with juniper blueberries and rye crumble. There are also numerous meat and fish dishes, with matching wines. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Restaurant de Poolshoogte
Restaurant de Poolshoogte is located in forestry Odoorn, next to the observation tower. What once started as a small tea house grew into a popular place for all kind of visitors. The building is made with wood from the area. You can sit outside on the terrace and enjoy salads, sandwiches and different bites. Concerts take place regularly, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the agenda.
Hotels in Drenthe
Spend the night in a Dom’up in Drenthe
Looking for an original place to stay in Drenthe? At camping de Torentjeshoek, located on the edge of the Dwingelderveld, you will find a number of unique accommodations. There are tree houses, sky lodges, an army truck, a forest boat and a Dom’up. How cool is that! I spent the night in the Dom’up, a dome tent with a comfortable bed, hanging between the trees! At the end of the afternoon you look out over the trees from your terrace and in the morning you wake up next to the chirping birds. A unique experience! The tent does shake a bit and you have to climb a stairs to get to the toilet, located in a cabin downstairs. But you’ll get a special experience in return. Keep in mind that you don’t have your private shower but have to use the one in the common area.
Hotel Wesseling in Dwingeloo is one of the tips for spending the night in the heart of Dwingeloo in Drenthe. It is a perfect base to head out and enjoy the many things to do in Drenthe Netherlands.
Curious about more hotel options in Drenthe? This is an overview with availability and prices.
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More about Drenthe
Looking for more tips and things to do in Drenthe? Have a look at the website drenthe.nl/helemaalniks. There are 6 trips and packages with recommendations for activities and things to do in Drenthe, based on different interests. What about a trip that is all about wilderness, world heritage sights or nature?
More about the Netherlands
Did you enjoy reading my tips for the best things to do in Drenthe and do you want to read more about the Netherlands? Check out all the blogs on the website, including a city guide for Haarlem, an article with things to do on Texel, the famous Dutch wadden island, tips for a daytrip to the flower village of the Netherlands: Aalsmeer and tips forr discovering the castles, gardens and lakes around Amsterdam.