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11 Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

best day trips from amsterdam

Amsterdam, the charming capital city of the Netherlands, is undoubtedly captivating with its picturesque canals, iconic warehouses, world-famous museums, and rich history. However, there’s much more to explore beyond its city limits. Take a break from the busy streets and explore the picturesque Dutch countryside. Here are the 11 best day trips from Amsterdam that will enhance your Dutch experience.

1. Day Trip To Zaanse Schans

trip to zaanse schans from amsterdam
Zaanse Schans windmills park and fields landscape in Zaandam near Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands, aerial view in sunrise light

Zaanse Schans is a historic neighborhood located in Zaandam, which is famous for its windmills (an iconic symbol of the Netherlands). The Zaans Museum is a must-visit, with engaging exhibits featuring actors in regional costumes, windmills, and even chocolate-making classes. Additionally, you can participate in Dutch handicraft workshops, including wooden clog carving and cast pewter crafting—the latter being a fascinating metalworking technique.

Zaanse Schans, netherlands

Zaanse Schans is conveniently accessible from Amsterdam by a 30-minute train ride or a 20-minute drive. A highly recommended tour includes a half-day trip to Zaanse Schans where you can explore the interior of a windmill, visit a clog museum, and taste Dutch farmer cheese at a cheese farm.

2. Keukenhof Gardens

keukehnof gardens

If you’re visiting Amsterdam between March and May, a trip to Keukenhof Gardens is not to be missed. Known as the “Garden of Europe,” Keukenhof is home to some 7 million flower bulbs, transforming the park into a sea of colors every spring.

Exploring Keukenhof Gardens allows you to enjoy the beautiful Dutch countryside when all the flowers are in full bloom. You’ll see lots of tulips stretching out as far as the eye can see, with traditional windmills adding to the scenic view. Visiting Keukenhof Gardens is a perfect way to experience Dutch life.

keukenhof amsterdam

Keukenhof Gardens can be reached from Amsterdam by a one-hour train ride or a 35-minute drive. A group tour offers an early morning pick-up from Amsterdam to avoid the crowds, and you can either walk or cycle around the garden.

3. Volendm And Marken

trip to volendam from amsterdm
Beautiful windmill in a picturesque landscape near Volendam

Volendam and Marken are located on the shores of Lake Markermeer, and they are great places known for their traditional Dutch charm. People love these towns for their colorful houses and tasty seafood.

In Volendam, you can stroll around the streets, try out seafood at the harbor, and visit the town’s museums. From Volendam Harbor, take a ferry ride to get to the island of Marken. There, you’ll find houses on stilts and experience the island’s peaceful feel.

marken village

Both Volendam and Marken are not too far from Amsterdam. You can reach them in about 40 minutes by public transport or just over 20 minutes by car. If you join a group tour, they offer a boat ride between the two towns, including visits to a wooden shoe factory and a cheese-making demonstration.

4. The Hague And Delft

hague city tour

The Hague is like the political capital of the Netherlands, where you find the Dutch parliament, the International Court of Justice, and lots of embassies. And Delft is famous for its blue and white pottery, showing off some awesome Dutch crafts. If you’re interested in visiting these kinds of places, you should definitely plan a trip to The Hague and Delft. 

In The Hague, you can relax at the beach or explore all the political landmarks in the city. In Delft, there are pottery shops to check out, and you can even join painting pottery workshops or take a tour of the Royal Delft, a really old pottery factory from the 17th century. 

trip to delft from amsterdam

The Hague and Delft are about an hour away from Amsterdam by train or car. A day trip is the way to go—you can get a guided tour of both cities for the best experience.

5. Rotterdam

rotterdam cty

Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands, is famous for its modern buildings, busy port, and vibrant culture. You can admire iconic landmarks like the Erasmus Bridge and the Cube Houses, or explore the Markthal, a large food market housed in a modern building. Additionally, there are awesome museums such as the Kunsthal and the Maritime Museum, where you can learn about Rotterdam’s history and culture.

To truly experience Rotterdam, consider taking a boat tour along the Maas River or renting a bike to explore the city at your own pace. And definitely try some local food, like Indonesian dishes or fresh seafood, at one of the many cool restaurants all over the city.

cube houses rotterdam
Rotterdam, Netherlands – May 24, 2015: Historical “Oude Haven” district with restaurants and view of the Cube Houses of Rotterdam, designed by architect Piet Blom

Rotterdam is approximately 70 kilometers from Amsterdam and can be reached by train, car over an hour. While all modes of transportation are viable options, taking the train is often the most convenient, with frequent services available throughout the day.

6. Utrecht

day trip to utrecht

Utrecht, one of the charming cities in the Netherlands, features picturesque canals, historic architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. One of its highlights is the iconic Dom Tower, which offers stunning views of the city from the top. 

Visitors can explore the streets( lined with cafes, boutiques, and galleries), take a leisurely boat ride along the canals, or visit the Utrecht Centraal Museum, which showcases a diverse collection of art and artifacts. To truly enjoy your trip to Utrecht, consider renting a bike to get around like a local. 

utrecht city beauty

Utrecht is approximately 40 kilometers from Amsterdam, and you can reach it by train, car, or bike. Taking the train is usually the fastest and easiest option. If you’re interested in a guided tour, companies like Tours & Tickets offer good packages.

7. Haarlem

haarlem market amsterdam

Haarlem is often called Amsterdam’s little sister because it’s just as pretty, with its old-fashioned streets, historic buildings, and canals. One of the coolest things about Haarlem is its flower market, where you can see lots of colorful flowers and buy tulip bulbs to take home.

To have the best time in Haarlem, visit the Frans Hals Museum for some really old Dutch paintings, or climb up the Grote Kerk tower for awesome views of the city. Don’t miss out on trying some yummy Dutch snacks like mini pancakes or apple pie at a local bakery.

tour to haarlem netherlands

Haarlem is only about 20 kilometers from Amsterdam, and you can get there by train, car, or bike. Taking the train is usually the easiest way, with lots of trains running all day. If you want a guided tour, you can book one with companies like Amsterdam City Tours; they offer good deals.

8. Leiden

tour to leiden city

Leiden is the birthplace of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and home to one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. Additionally, Leiden is also the location of the Hortus Botanicus, one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens.

For a great start to your day trip, explore the Rapenburg canal. It’s truly delightful, with old mansions lining its sides, and Leiden University nearby. To make the most of your day in Leiden, consider visiting during the Leiden International Film Festival, where they showcase movies from around the world.

leiden city windmills

Leiden is about 40 kilometers from Amsterdam, and you can get there by train, car, or bike. Taking the train is usually the fastest and easiest way, with lots of trains running all day. If you want a guided tour, you can book one with tour companies as they have good deals.

9. Maastricht

a day trip to maastricht

Maastricht, located in the southernmost part of the Netherlands, is a city famous for its beautiful buildings, old cobblestone streets, and lively atmosphere influenced by both Dutch and Belgian cultures. Some of the must-see spots in Maastricht include the Basilica of Saint Servatius and the Helpoort, which is the oldest surviving city gate in the country.

To truly immerse yourself in the vibe of Maastricht, take a walk along the River Maas or hang out in busy squares like Vrijthof. There, you can sit at one of the outdoor cafes and enjoy a coffee or a locally brewed beer. And definitely don’t miss out on trying Maastricht’s delicious food, such as zoervleis (a sweet and sour stew) or vlaai (a traditional fruit pie).

maastricht canals

Considering its distance, Maastricht is probably a two-day trip. Maastricht is approximately 220 kilometers from Amsterdam and can be reached by train, car, or bus. While all modes of transportation are available, taking the train is often the most convenient option, with direct services connecting the two cities. For guided tours, consider booking with companies like Maastricht Underground, which offer insightful experiences exploring the city’s hidden gems and historical sites.

10. Giethoorn

Giethoorn, overjessel netherlands

Giethoorn, often called the “Venice of the North,” is a charming village in the Netherlands where there are no roads. It’s famous for its thatched roof cottages , peaceful canals, and lots of green trees and plants. You can explore the village by hopping on a boat and cruising along the water past little bridges and gardens. The village also boasts several museums, like the Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus, where you can learn about the history and culture of the area.

To really enjoy Giethoorn, think about renting a traditional punt boat or a whisper boat and going around at your own pace. And definitely try some local food at one of the cozy cafes or restaurants, or grab a Dutch pancake at a nearby pancake house.

geithoorn beautiful village

Giethoorn is about 120 kilometers from Amsterdam, and you can get there by train, car, or bus. Taking the train to nearby Steenwijk or Meppel and then catching a bus is usually the easiest way. If you want a guided tour, you can book one with companies like Giethoorn Tours, they have packages that include boat tours and walks around the village.

11. Day Trip To Nijmegen

a day trip to nijmegan

Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, is a lively and historic place known for its beautiful riverfront and vibrant atmosphere. You can explore the city’s old buildings, such as the impressive Valkhof Park and the famous Stevenskerk church. If you’re a fan of arts and music, Nijmegen offers numerous galleries, theaters, and live music venues to discover.

For an enjoyable day in Nijmegen, take a leisurely walk along the Waal River or wander through the bustling streets of the city center. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find shops, cafes, and restaurants.And make sure you try some local food, like Nijmegen’s special sausages or the traditional Dutch snack, bitterballen, at a cozy pub.

Everything there is to know about the Netherlands
View on the Eastern Gate, an old city gate of Delft, the Netherlands. This gate build around 1400 is the only remaining city gate of Delft.

Nijmegen is approximately 120 kilometers from Amsterdam, and you can reach it by train, car, or bus. If you’re interested in a guided tour, consider booking one—they provide fascinating insights into the city’s history and culture.

Conclusions

Amsterdam offers much more than just city sights. These day trips provide a great chance to explore the beautiful Dutch countryside, delve into history and culture, and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Netherlands.

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