If you're planning a European short break that allows you to explore interesting locations at your own pace, head to Holland on a boating break. There's plenty of culture, history and art to soak up here, and if you travel by boat you'll be able to enjoy a leisurely getaway doing exactly what you want, when you want.
Holland is ideal for exploring on the water as the country has a network of waterways that lead you to some of its most charming and fascinating settlements and landmarks. As you wind your way along the rivers and canals, you'll pass fields of tulips and traditional windmills, while on land you can take in fine art and medieval castles.
If you want to see the best of Holland during your vacation, moor up at the historical city of Utrecht, which is one of the largest settlements in the Netherlands. The location is home to beautiful antique buildings and landmarks, so climb ashore and head to one such example - Dom Tower.
Dating back to the 14th century, the structure is perhaps the best vantage point in the city, measuring 112 m high. If you can manage the 465 steps to the top, you'll be treated to stunning vistas over the surrounding area and - on a clear day - maybe even see the steeples of churches as far afield as Amsterdam.
Make your way to the Centraal Museum Utrecht next, which you'll find housed in an old monastery. This is the Netherlands' oldest museum, having been founded in 1838, and here you can admire displays of art, design, fashion and historical artefacts.
Not too far away is Castle De Haar, a medieval fortress with ramparts and towers. Pay a visit and you'll be charmed by the building's fairytale-like appearance, while the interior is equally beautiful, decorated with sumptuous furnishings.
The next stop on your family holiday in Europe could well be Amsterdam, and you'll certainly be kept busy here. The city is quintessentially Dutch but cosmopolitan at the same time, so moor up and set about exploring the richly-cultural hotspot.
One of the settlement's most well-known attractions is the Rijksmuseum, and you can take a look at paintings by famous names such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Frans Hals here. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Van Gogh Museum to see the world's largest collection of the artist's works.
Another popular attraction is Anne Frank House, where the young girl hid from the Nazis and kept her famous diary. You can make your way through the rooms of this historical house and find out more about the girl, her family and the events that took place in the area through the exhibitions on display.
The next place worth visiting during your boating holiday in Holland is Dam Square, where you can view the lovely Koninklijk Paleis. The structure was built in the 1600s and is used by the Netherland's royal family. When the monarchs aren't in residence, however, the building is open to the public for tours, during which you can admire the original furniture and wonderful paintings the property is furnished with.
Journey on to Muiden next, where you'll find Holland's most famous medieval fortress, Muiderslot. Dating back to 1370, the fortress replaced the first such structure to be built here, which was destroyed in 1296. Surrounded by a moat, the castle also boasts vast grounds and a lavish interior.
Its beauty is only one of its claims to fame, however, the second being that from 1609 to 1674, the castle's chief resident was renowned writer and poet P C Hooft, who was part of a group of prominent people from the arts and science scenes known collectively as the Muiderkring.
There are plenty of things to do on waterways in Holland, especially if you call in at Sneek - the water sports centre of the Netherlands. There are many canals and marinas here, ideal for trying out pastimes like yachting and sailing.
The location hosts a special event called Sneekweek - which is one of Europe's biggest inland sailing events - and this year the occasion will run in August, so if you're travelling to Holland during the month it's worth visiting Sneek to catch a glimpse of this popular event.