What to do in Overijssel in the Netherlands - lovethenetherlands.com

What to do in Overijssel in the Netherlands

The picturesque province Overijssel located in the heart of the Netherlands. With its lush landscapes, charming villages and vibrant cities Overijssel offers a delightful blend of history, culture and natural beauty. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff or a fan of theme parks, this region has something to offer for everyone. In this blog post we’ll guide you through some of the must-visit places in Overijssel.

Cities and villages in Overijssel

The cities and villages in Overijssel are worth a visit for their unique charm, rich history, and warm hospitality. These urban and rural destinations offer a delightful blend of cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmospheres. Explore the well-preserved historic centers, stroll along picturesque canals, and admire the distinctive architecture that tells the stories of the past. Immerse yourself in the local culture, visit museums and art galleries, indulge in traditional cuisine, and experience the warm welcome of the friendly locals. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, historical exploration, or simply a relaxed getaway, the cities and villages in Overijssel offer a delightful blend of experiences that will leave you with lasting memories.


The Venice of the North: Kick-start your journey in Overijssel by visiting the enchanting village of Giethoorn. Known as the Venice of the North, Giethoorn boasts a network of canals, charming thatched-roof cottages, and picturesque bridges. Take a boat tour or rent a whisper boat to explore the village and soak in its tranquil atmosphere. Don’t miss the Museum Giethoorn ’t Olde Maat Uus, which showcases the village’s history and traditional lifestyle.


A Historical Delight: Make your way to Zwolle, the capital city of Overijssel, and immerse yourself in its rich history and vibrant culture. Explore the historic center with its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque canals, and impressive city gates. Visit the Museum de Fundatie, housed in a former palace, to admire its art collection, including works by renowned Dutch masters. For a tranquil escape, head to the beautiful Sassenpoort gardens.


A Riverside Gem: Continue your journey to the charming city of Deventer, situated along the banks of the River IJssel. Stroll through its cobblestone streets, visit the impressive Brink square, and admire the stunning architecture, including the iconic Waag building. Deventer is also famous for its vibrant book market, held every August, attracting book lovers from far and wide.


Located close to the German border, Oldenzaal is a charming city with a rich history and a lively atmosphere. Explore the historic city center, with its well-preserved buildings, quaint streets, and lively market square. Visit the iconic St. Plechelmus Basilica, a stunning medieval church that dominates the skyline. Oldenzaal is surrounded by beautiful nature, including the De Lutte nature reserve, where you can enjoy scenic walks and cycling trails amidst forests and heathlands.


As the largest city in Overijssel, Enschede offers a vibrant urban experience with a rich cultural scene. Explore the city’s diverse architecture, ranging from historic buildings to modern designs. Visit the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, which houses a vast collection of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Don’t miss the lively market square, where you can browse local produce, crafts and clothing. Enschede is also known for its annual cultural events, such as the Grolsch Summer Sounds and the Twente Ballooning festival.


Almelo is a city with a fascinating industrial history, which is reflected in its unique architecture and urban landscape. Visit the striking Almelo Castle, a medieval moated castle that now serves as a museum and event venue. Explore the city’s canals and charming neighborhoods, and make sure to visit the Wevershuisje, a preserved weaver’s cottage showcasing traditional crafts. Almelo also boasts beautiful parks and green spaces, such as the Gravenallee and the Schelfhorst Park, perfect for leisurely walks or picnics.


Situated on the banks of the River IJssel, Kampen is a Hanseatic city with a rich history and a well-preserved medieval center. Explore the atmospheric streets lined with historic buildings, including the impressive city gates and the iconic Bovenkerk (Great Church). Visit the Stedelijk Museum Kampen, housed in a former town hall, to learn about the city’s cultural heritage. Take a boat tour along the river or rent a bicycle to explore the beautiful surroundings, such as the nearby Kampereiland, a fertile agricultural area known for its picturesque landscapes and traditional farmsteads.


Located in the eastern part of Overijssel, Ootmarsum is a charming village known for its beautiful old buildings, art galleries, and a lively artistic scene. Explore the cobbled streets lined with galleries showcasing local artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and pottery. Don’t miss a visit to the Openluchtmuseum Ootmarsum, an open-air museum that showcases the region’s traditional rural life.


Nestled in the Twente region, Delden is a village renowned for the magnificent Twickel Castle. This imposing castle, surrounded by expansive gardens and woodlands, is the ancestral home of the noble van Wassenaer family. Take a guided tour of the castle to admire its impressive architecture and learn about its rich history. The castle’s estate offers beautiful walking and cycling trails, perfect for exploring the surrounding natural beauty.


Steenwijk offers a delightful mix of history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.Take a leisurely stroll through Steenwijk’s historic center and be captivated by its cobbled streets, traditional Dutch architecture, and quaint canals. The town’s main square, known as Markt, is the vibrant heart of Steenwijk, surrounded by historic buildings and lined with cafes and terraces. Enjoy a coffee or a meal while soaking in the atmosphere and watching the world go by.


Situated near the borders of Overijssel and Friesland, Blokzijl is a picturesque village with a well-preserved historic center. Stroll along the charming canals and admire the traditional houses with their distinctive facades. Enjoy a meal at one of the waterside restaurants, where you can savor delicious local cuisine while taking in the serene atmosphere. Blokzijl is also a gateway to the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, offering opportunities for boat trips and nature walks.


Located on the shores of the IJsselmeer, Vollenhove is a historic village with a rich maritime past. Explore the picturesque harbor, lined with old warehouses and traditional sailing ships, and learn about the village’s seafaring heritage. Visit the majestic St. Nicholas Church, an impressive Gothic building that dominates the skyline. Vollenhove is also known for its annual flower parade, where elaborately decorated floats adorned with vibrant blooms parade through the streets.

Nature Reserves and National Parks in Overijssel

The nature reserves and national parks in Overijssel offer a captivating escape into the beauty of the natural world, making them well worth a visit. These protected areas boast diverse landscapes, from enchanting forests and serene wetlands to rolling hills and picturesque heathlands. They provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, breathe in the fresh air, and witness the region’s unique flora and fauna up close. Whether you’re exploring scenic hiking trails, embarking on a boat tour through tranquil waterways, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic surrounded by nature’s serenity, the nature reserves and national parks in Overijssel offer a rejuvenating experience that connects you with the wonders of the outdoors.

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Nature’s Paradise! Venture outside the cities and explore the breathtaking beauty of Hoge Veluwe National Park, which stretches into parts of Overijssel. This vast park offers diverse landscapes, including heathlands, sand dunes, and lush forests. Rent a bike and cycle through the park’s network of paths, visit the Kröller-Müller Museum with its extensive art collection, and keep an eye out for the park’s wildlife, including red deer and wild boar.

Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park

This expansive nature reserve stretches across parts of Overijssel and Gelderland, offering a diverse landscape of heathlands, rolling hills, and dense forests. Explore the network of hiking and cycling trails that wind through the park, providing breathtaking panoramic views. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer, foxes, and various bird species. The Sallandse Heuvelrug also features an information center, where you can learn about the park’s flora, fauna and conservation efforts.

Weerribben-Wieden National Park

Located in the northwest of Overijssel, Weerribben-Wieden National Park with his vast wetland area is a haven for nature lovers. Discover a labyrinth of canals, lakes, and marshes, surrounded by lush vegetation and reed beds. Explore the park’s waterways by renting a boat or joining a guided tour, where you can spot rare bird species, including the iconic kingfisher. Take a leisurely walk along the many hiking trails, or enjoy a peaceful bike ride through the picturesque countryside.

Lemelerberg & Archemerberg

These two interconnected nature reserves offer stunning landscapes of heathlands, sand dunes, and forests. Hike to the top of Lemelerberg or Archemerberg for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the marked trails that wind through the heathlands, and keep an eye out for grazing sheep and herds of Scottish Highland cattle. The area is also home to ancient burial mounds, adding an intriguing historical touch to your outdoor adventures.

Theme parks and playgrounds in Overijssel

The theme parks and playgrounds in Overijssel offer an array of thrilling and family-friendly experiences, making them well worth a visit. These attractions provide a perfect blend of fun, entertainment, and adventure for visitors of all ages. From adrenaline-pumping rides and water slides to imaginative play areas and interactive exhibits, the theme parks and playgrounds in Overijssel create lasting memories and enjoyable moments for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a day of excitement, relaxation, or quality time with loved ones, these attractions in Overijssel promise an unforgettable experience that will leave you with smiles and laughter.

Hellendoorn Adventure Park

Fun for All Ages: For a day of thrilling adventures and family fun, head to Hellendoorn Adventure Park. This is one of the most popular Dutch theme parks and offers a wide range of rides, roller coasters, and water attractions, ensuring an action-packed experience for visitors of all ages. From the Tornado roller coaster to the wild water slide, there’s something to get everyone’s adrenaline pumping.

Attractiepark Slagharen

Attractiepark Slagharen has a wide array of rides and attractions, ranging from exhilarating roller coasters to gentle family-friendly rides. With over 30 attractions to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Thrill-seekers can brave the twists and turns of the Gold Rush, an adrenaline-pumping roller coaster that accelerates from 0 to 90 kilometers per hour in just three seconds. Aside from the rides, Attractiepark Slagharen offers a variety of entertainment shows, live performances and themed events throughout the year.

Overijssel, with its blend of captivating villages, historic cities, and natural wonders, is a hidden gem in the Netherlands waiting to be explored. Whether you’re seeking tranquility in a canal-filled village, immersing yourself in history and culture, or indulging in thrilling theme park adventures, Overijssel offers a diverse range of experiences. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Overijssel, and create lasting memories in this charming Dutch province.

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