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A Guide to the 11 Best Cities to Visit Near Amsterdam

City to visit near Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that needs no introduction, but did you know that there are many other amazing cities to visit nearby, which are lesser known but offer their own unique charm and allure. These hidden gems are often overlooked by travelers, but they are definitely worth seeking out. One of the advantages of visiting the Netherlands is that it is a small country and that therefore, there are many cities in close range. You can easily explore them by train, bus, car, or even bike. Our guide to the top 11 cities to visit near Amsterdam will take you on a journey through the best of Dutch architecture, art and culture.

1. Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city in the province of South Holland, that boasts Europe’s largest port and a rich maritime heritage. Rotterdam is situated about 30 km (19 miles) from the North Sea, and is connected to it by a canal called the New Waterway. The city lies on both banks of the New Meuse (Nieuwe Maas) River, which is a northern branch of the Rhine River.

Some of the most iconic landmarks of Rotterdam include the Erasmus Bridge, the Cube Houses, the Euromast, and the Markthal,. Rotterdam is also a cultural hotspot, with many museums and attractions that showcase the city’s history and culture, Some of the fun activities to visit here are:

  • Visit the Cube Houses: These unique houses are a must-see attraction in Rotterdam. Designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, they are a cluster of yellow cube-shaped houses that are tilted at an angle and placed on hexagonal pylons.
  • Explore the Markthal: This is a unique indoor market hall that offers a variety of food and drink options. It’s also home to a beautiful mural that covers the entire ceiling ¹.
  • Take a water taxi: This is a fun and unique way to explore Rotterdam’s harbor and see the city from a different perspective.
  • Visit the Euromast: This tower offers a stunning view of Rotterdam from its observation deck. You can also enjoy a meal at the restaurant located at the top of the tower.
  • Explore the Kunsthal: This museum offers a unique collection of art and artifacts, including contemporary art, photography, and design.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to Rotterdam from Amsterdam, such as train, bus, rideshare, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is by train, which is fast, comfortable, and affordable. The train takes about 40 minutes and costs between €11 and €27. The bus is cheaper but slower, taking about 1 hour and 50 minutes and costing between €5 and €13.


2. Zaandam

Zaandam is a short journey from Amsterdam by train or car, and it offers a glimpse into the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the Zaan region. Zaandam is famous for its windmills, wooden houses, and historical figures such as Tsar Peter of Russia and Claude Monet. Here are five activities you can do in Zaandam:

  • Visit the Zaanse Schans: It is an open-air museum that showcases the traditional crafts and lifestyles of the 18th and 19th centuries. You can see working windmills, a cheese farm, a wooden shoe workshop, and a bakery. You can also explore the historical buildings, such as the Czar Peter House, where the Russian tsar stayed in 1697, and the Zaans Museum, which displays the history and culture of the Zaan region.
  • Enjoy the colorful and modern architecture of the city center, especially the Inntel Hotel, which resembles a stack of traditional houses.
  • Explore the art and culture of Zaandam, which inspired many artists, such as the impressionist painter Claude Monet, who lived in Zaandam for half a year in 1871 and made 25 paintings of the area. You can see some of his works at the Monet Art Center, which also hosts exhibitions and workshops. 
  • Experience the nature and wildlife of Zaandam, which is surrounded by green fields, forests, and waterways. You can take a bike ride or a boat tour along the river Zaan, which connects Zaandam with other towns and villages. 
  • Taste the local cuisine and specialties of Zaandam, which reflect the diverse and rich history of the region. You can try the Zaanse mustard, a spicy condiment that is made with local ingredients and has been produced since the 17th century.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to Zaandam from Amsterdam, such as train, bus, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Zaandam is by train, which is quick, convenient, and inexpensive. The train takes about 13 minutes and costs between €6 and €15. The bus is slightly cheaper but longer, taking about 22 minutes and costing between €2 and €4.


3. Utrecht

Utrecht is just a short train ride away from Amsterdam. It is known for its vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage. The city is home to many historic buildings, including the iconic Dom Tower, which offers breathtaking views of the city from the top. Utrecht is also famous for its beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Wilhelminapark and the Botanic Gardens, which are perfect for a relaxing stroll or a picnic with friends and family. The city has a lively atmosphere, with many cafes, bars, and restaurants serving delicious food and drinks. Utrecht is a great destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Dutch culture and hospitality. Here are five places to visit in Utrecht:

  • Dom Tower: Climb the 465 steps to the top of the tallest church tower in the Netherlands and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
  • Museum Catharijneconvent: Explore the rich history of Christianity in the Netherlands through the museum’s extensive collection of art and artifacts.
  • Canal Tour: Take a relaxing boat tour of Utrecht’s picturesque canals and learn about the city’s history and culture.
  • De Haar Castle: Visit the largest castle in the Netherlands and marvel at its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.
  • Utrecht Botanic Gardens: Discover a wide variety of plants and flowers from around the world in this beautiful garden located in the heart of the city.

How To GEt THere:

The best way to travel from Amsterdam to Utrecht is by train, which is fast, easy, and reasonably priced. The train takes about 26 minutes and costs between €8 and €21. 


4. The Hague

The Hague, also known as Den Haag, is a city located on the western coast of the Netherlands. It is a city that is elegant and sophisticated, with a rich history and political significance. The Dutch government is based here, and the royal family resides here, making it an important city in shaping the country’s past and present. The Binnenhof complex is a must-visit attraction, with its medieval buildings and beautiful courtyard providing a glimpse into the city’s rich history. The Hague is also renowned for its cultural scene, with numerous museums showcasing world-class art collections. Some of the places to visit in the Hague:

  • Visit the Binnenhof: This 13th century palace complex is the seat of the Dutch government and is surrounded by open plazas, including the Het Plein and the Grote Markt.
  • Explore the Lange Voorhout: This large tree-lined square is bordered by grand 18th century townhouses and is a great place to take a stroll. On Thursdays and Sundays, there is an antique and book market, and in the summer, the square hosts a free outdoor sculpture exhibition.
  • Check out the Escher Museum: This museum is located in one of the royal palaces and is dedicated to the work of graphic artist M.C. Escher. It offers a unique opportunity to see his art and learn about his techniques.
  • Visit the Peace Palace: This beautiful building is home to the International Court of Justice and is surrounded by a lovely garden. It’s a great place to learn about international law and the history of the Hague.
  • Take a stroll along the Scheveningen Beach: This is a beautiful beach located in The Hague and is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun. There are also many restaurants and cafes nearby.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to The Hague from Amsterdam, such as train, bus, rideshare, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to The Hague is by train, which is fast, comfortable, and affordable. The train takes about 52 minutes and costs between €10 and €26. The bus is cheaper but slower, taking about 1 hour and 15 minutes and costing between €8 and €11.


5. Amstelveen

Amstelveen is only 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by metro. Amstelveen is renowned for being one of the oldest and most prosperous cities in the Netherlands, as well as for its cultural and artistic heritage. Amstelveen has a lot to offer for visitors, such as visiting the Cobra Museum of Modern Art, exploring the historic villages of Bovenkerk and Nes aan de Amstel, shopping at the Stadshart shopping mall, enjoying the Jazz in the City festival, or relaxing at the Amsterdamse Bos park and the lake. Amstelveen is also the home of KLM, the national airline of the Netherlands, and KPMG, one of the biggest accounting firms in the world . Some of the activities to do there are:

  • Visit the Clara Maria Cheese & Clog Farm: This farm offers a unique experience of tasting Gouda cheese and seeing baby cows.
  • Explore the Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve: This farm is a great place to feed goats and chickens, and has a nice play area for kids.
  • Check out Museum JAN: This museum is located in Amstelveen and offers free entry to see contemporary art and design ¹.
  • Take a wine tour at Wijngaard de Amsteltuin: This vineyard offers a delightful escape from the busyness of Amsterdam and has a beautiful garden.
  • Visit Wester-Amstel: This castle is located in a beautiful park and offers a peaceful escape from the city.

How To GEt THere:

The best way to travel from Amsterdam to Amstelveen is by tram, which is quick, convenient, and cheap. The tram takes about 13 minutes and costs between €1 and €2. The bus is slightly more expensive but longer, taking about 32 minutes and costing between €4 and €6.


6. Leiden

Leiden is a charming city in South Holland, and is famous for its canals, which offer scenic views and boat tours. You can also visit the historic sights and monuments that reflect the city’s role in the Dutch Golden Age, such as the 17th-century town hall, the Pieterskerk church, and the Burcht castle. Leiden is also a hub of learning and innovation, as the home of the oldest university in the country and several world-class museums. You can admire the ancient treasures and artworks at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, the National Museum of Antiquities, or discover the wonders of science and medicine at the Boerhaave Museum. Some of the activities to there are:

  • Visit the Burcht van Leiden: This medieval fortification offers a unique view of the stunning Hooglandse Kerk and of Leiden in general. It’s also seen as a national symbol signaling the Dutch defeat of the Spanish in 1574.
  • Explore the Pieterskwartier: This district is known for its beautiful architecture and charming streets. It’s a great place to explore and take in the sights.
  • Visit the Hortus Botanicus: The oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Leiden. Beautiful, romantic, and packed with interesting plants, Hortus Botanicus is a favorite for locals and tourists alike
  • Take a boat tour on Leiden’s canals: This is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Explore the Bibliotheca Thysiana: This library is a great place to let your history geek loose and admire the beautiful architecture.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to Leiden from Amsterdam, such as train, bus, rideshare, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Leiden is by train, which is fast, easy, and reasonably priced. The train takes about 35 minutes and costs between €9 and €23. The bus is more expensive and slower, taking about 1 hour and 18 minutes and costing between €12 and €23.


7. Delft

Delft is the perfect destination for you. You can explore the picturesque canals, the historic churches, the elegant mansions, and the cozy courtyards that make up the city center. You can also visit the museums and attractions that showcase the rich history and culture of Delft, such as the Museum Prinsenhof Delft, where you can learn about the life and death of William of Orange, the father of the Dutch nation; the Vermeer Centrum Delft, and the Royal Delft, where you can see how the famous Delftware is made and even paint your own piece. Delft also offers plenty of opportunities for fun and relaxation. Few are given below:

  • Visit the Royal Delft factory and museum: This is a must-visit attraction in Delft, where you can observe the making of unique Delft blue pottery, explore the museum to learn about the history of Dutch pottery, and shop for souvenirs.
  • Explore the Oude Kerk: This leaning church is a key part of Delft’s skyline and has an impressive history dating back to 1240.
  • Visit the Prinsenhof Museum: This museum is located in a former monastery and offers a unique collection of art and artifacts, including the bullet holes from the assassination of William of Orange.
  • Take a boat tour on Delft’s canals: This is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Visit the Vermeer Centrum Delft: This museum is dedicated to the life and work of Johannes Vermeer, the famous Dutch painter. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about his art and techniques.

How To GEt THere:

The best way to travel from Amsterdam to Delft is by train, which is fast, comfortable, and affordable. The train takes about 1 hour and costs between €11 and €28. The bus is cheaper but slower, taking about 1 hour and 5 minutes and costing between €8 and €11.


8. Gouda

Gouda is a charming city located in the South Holland province of the Netherlands, just a short train ride away from Amsterdam. It is known for its world-famous cheese. The city has a rich cultural heritage, with many beautiful churches, museums, and galleries that showcase the best of Dutch art and architecture. Gouda is also home to many quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of local life. Here are five activities to do in Gouda:

  • Gouda Cheese Market: Visit the iconic cheese market and watch as the cheese is weighed, tasted, and traded in the traditional Dutch way.
  • Stadhuis Gouda (City Hall): Admire the stunning Gothic architecture of this historic building, which dates back to the 15th century.
  • Sint-Janskerk: Marvel at the beautiful stained glass windows of this Gothic church, which is one of the largest in the Netherlands.
  • Kamphuisen Bakery: Indulge in a delicious stroopwafel, a traditional Dutch cookie made with caramel syrup, at this famous bakery.
  • Goudse Waag: Learn about the history of cheese-making in Gouda at this fascinating museum, which is housed in a former cheese-weighing station.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to Gouda from Amsterdam, such as train, bus, rideshare, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Gouda is by train, which is fast, easy, and reasonably priced. The train takes about 51 minutes and costs between €10 and €24. The bus is cheaper but slower, taking about 1 hour and 50 minutes and costing between €5 and €8.


9. Almere

Almere is a modern city in the province of Flevoland, only 30 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. Almere is famous for being one of the newest and fastest-growing cities in the Netherlands, as well as for its innovative architecture and urban design.  As one of the newest cities in the Netherlands, Almere offers a refreshing change of pace from the historic streets of Amsterdam. Almere offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors, such as enjoying the cultural events and festivals, or relaxing at the beach or the spa. Some of the activities to enjoy here are: 

  • Exploring the natural beauty of Oostvaardersplassen, a large nature reserve with diverse wildlife and landscapes.
  • Visiting ZOO Almere Jungle, a zoo and botanical garden that houses exotic animals and plants.
  • Enjoying the thrill of VR Almere, a virtual reality arcade with multiplayer, solo and PvP games.
  • Diving into the underwater world of ABC Dive, a scuba and snorkeling center that offers courses and trips for all levels.
  • Shopping and dining at City Mall Almere, a shopping mall with over 400 stores and restaurants.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to Almere from Amsterdam, such as train, bus, rideshare, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Almere is by train, which is quick, convenient, and inexpensive. The train takes about 19 minutes and costs between €7 and €19. The bus is slightly more expensive but longer, taking about 48 minutes and costing between €4 and €6.


10. Hoofddrop

Hoofddorp is a dynamic city in the province of North Holland, only 20 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. Hoofddorp is famous for being part of the Haarlemmermeer polder, which was created by draining a large lake in the 19th century.. Hoofddorp is also close to Schiphol airport, making it a convenient destination for travelers. Hoofddorp has a rich history and culture, as well as a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. Some of the activities to enjoy here are:

  • Visit the Haarlemmermeerse Bos, a beautiful park with a lake, a beach, and a playground. You can enjoy a picnic, a bike ride, or a walk in nature
  • Explore the Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer, where you can learn about the history and culture of the region. You can see exhibits about the drainage of the lake, the aviation industry, and the local people.
  • Experience the thrill of Escape World Hoofddorp, where you can choose from different escape rooms with various themes and levels of difficulty. You can work together with your friends or family to solve puzzles and escape within an hour.
  • Take a day trip to Zandvoort, a popular beach resort that is only 15 minutes away by train. You can relax on the sandy beach, swim in the sea, or enjoy the cafes and shops along the boulevard.
  • Join the Mysteryland festival, a massive electronic music event that takes place every August in the nearby town of Vijfhuizen. You can dance to the beats of world-famous DJs, watch spectacular shows, and meet people from all over the world.

How To GEt THere:

The best way to travel from Amsterdam to Hoofddorp is by train, which is quick, easy, and inexpensive. The train takes about 23 minutes and costs between €7 and €17. The night bus is slightly cheaper but longer, taking about 52 minutes and costing between €4 and €6.

11. Edam

Edam is a picturesque town located in the North Holland province of the Netherlands, just a short train ride away from Amsterdam. It is known for its historic buildings, beautiful canals, and of course, its world-famous cheese. The town has a rich cultural heritage, with many beautiful churches, museums, and galleries that showcase the best of Dutch art and architecture. Edam is also home to many quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of local life. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply want to relax and enjoy the scenery, Edam has something for everyone. Here are five places to visit in Edam:

  • Cheese Market: Visit the iconic cheese market and watch as the cheese is weighed, tasted, and traded in the traditional Dutch way.
  • Stadhuis Edam (Town Hall): Admire the stunning Renaissance architecture of this historic building, which dates back to the 18th century.
  • Grote Kerk: Marvel at the beautiful stained glass windows of this Gothic church, which is one of the largest in the Netherlands.
  • Het Edams Museum: Discover the rich history of Edam through the museum’s extensive collection of art and artifacts.
  • De Speeltoren: Visit this iconic tower, which was built in the 16th century and is now home to a museum dedicated to the history of Edam.

How To GEt THere:

You have several options to get to Edam from Amsterdam, such as bus, taxi, or car. However, the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Edam is by bus, which is cheap, easy, and scenic. The bus takes about 40 minutes and costs between €3 and €5. The taxi is faster but more expensive, taking about 25 minutes and costing between €55 and €70.


Conclusions

While Amsterdam may be the main attraction for many travelers visiting the Netherlands, the surrounding cities have their own captivating allure. From Rotterdam to the historic charm of Delft, each city near Amsterdam offers a unique experience that is waiting to be discovered. Also Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media to stay updated on more exciting travel destinations and tips.

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