Netherlands is comparatively a small country by its area in the North-Western part of Europe. But, the country won’t fail to disappoint you on a trip you planned with a lot of expectations and pumped your entire savings to get the best out of it. Especially, a trip to Netherlands is incomplete without visiting its beautiful capital city of Amsterdam, which is famous for its artistic heritage, canals, cannabis coffee shops and much more. Once a traveller asked a local about the best day trip from Amsterdam, to which he said, it’s difficult to name one. Such is the amount of options available there at any traveller’s disposal.
Julie Burchill, the renowned British Writer, once said, “Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1250 bridges, but it never seems crowded, nor bent and bitter from fleecing the tourist.” This speaks volumes about what is colloquially referred to as the Venice of the North, city of Diamonds, city of a hundred canals or simply Amsterdam.
This blog will help you in knowing all the possible day trips from Amsterdam with their unique selling propositions for you to take a call as per your interest. After admiring Amsterdam’s serenity and reading this blog, you can figure out the answer to the question asked by that traveller, where I should go outside of Amsterdam?
Yes, Netherlands has so much to offer outside its vivacious capital which can be explored in a day or two. The best part is the connectivity is super amazing making it convenient to plan day trips from Amsterdam. Let’s get to know these destinations which the Dutch natives boast of.
10 Amazing day trips from Amsterdam
- Zaanse Schans- The Vintage Town
- Haarlem- An Introvert’s Paradise
- Hague- International City of Peace & Justice
- Utrecht- Amsterdam’s Religious Center
- Rotterdam- The Bohemian City
- Hoorn- Nature’s Utopia
- Gouda- The Cheesy Town
- Dordrecht- Venice of Netherland
- Giethoorn- A Village Without Roads
- Leiden- The Second Amsterdam
1. Zaanse Schans
This place is known for its windmills; one can see the working of these old windmills from the 18th century which provide energy to this town. If cheese is something that energizes you in the morning, then this is the place for you with its cheese farms. Also, the Zaans Museum will tell you industrial stories from the past of the biscuit and chocolate maker Verkade. How can you leave without a Dutch souvenir? Make sure to take hand carved clogs from the clog workshops here. Even if you have a time constraint, half a day is what you need to experience this historic beauty.
Did you know– Zaanse Schans has more than 600 windmills which provide natural energy for the production of tobacco, oil and paints in the region
- Distance from Amsterdam– 21 km
- Tourist Attractions– Wooden shoe workshop, Windmill De Zoekar, Zaan River, Volendam, Marken, Keukenhof Tour
- Ideal time to visit– April to November is the peak season to visit Zaanse Schans
- How to reach– It is close to Amsterdam. You can take a train from Amsterdam to Zaandijk, and from there it’s a 10-minute walk to Zaanse Schans.
This medieval city is a picturesque maze of narrow streets, churches, science museum, and flower markets. For all the beer lovers out there, Haarlem is renowned for its breweries with craft beers in a former church. If this is not enough, then Grote Market is something that should be in your itinerary. Planning a day trip from Amsterdam to Haarlem is hassle-free as it is just 15-20 minutes away from Amsterdam’s central station via a train. This square market hosts frequent festivals and concerts.
Did you know– The beer brewing business used to be the cash cow for the Haarlem’s economy in the Middle Ages but unfortunately it is nowhere to be seen now
- Distance from Amsterdam– 33 km
- Tourist Attractions– Grote Market, Grote Kerk, Molen de Adriaan, Frans Hals Museum, Teyler’s Museum
- Ideal time to visit– Throughout the year except for June, July and August as it becomes very hot in these months
- How to reach– There are many direct trains from Amsterdam central station to Haarlem which takes 25-30 minutes to reach Haarlem
An easy day trip from Amsterdam to the former capital city of Netherlands known for its culture. It’s because of this that youngsters’ say that this is a boring place with the old mundane architecture it has to offer. But, it is much more than a mere opinion. People visiting Hague said something opposite to what those youngsters said and this is coming from the horse’s own mouth. Visit the famous Peace Palace which has the power to intrigue, anyone. And if this is not all, Binnenhof (Inner Court) which consists of their parliament and other administrative infrastructure wonders.
A day trip from Amsterdam to Hague is worth it for several other reasons also. Want to recreate or experience the iconic scene of Ocean’s Twelve or Coldplay’s Viva la Vida which were shot in Hague? Then do include this place in your checklist.
Mauritshuis Art Museum which houses royal cabinet paintings is something a dilettante should not miss. And, if you want to isolate yourself to a secluded place, then the beach resort of Scheveningen or the beach itself is your company to enjoy a drink.
Did you know– In the Peace Palace in Hague, there is a burning flame that never dies. It is referred to as The Eternal Flame
- Distance from Amsterdam– 64 km
- Tourist Attractions– Mauritshuis, Binnenhof, Peace Palace, Skyview De Pier, Scheveningen Beach
- Ideal time to visit– Throughout the year except for June, July and August as it becomes sweltering in these months
- How to reach– Many direct trains between Amsterdam Central Station and Hague’s station which takes 40 odd minutes. Book in advance to get the best prices. Else, you can also take a taxi from Amsterdam.
One of the must do day trips from Amsterdam and when it takes just 40 minutes to reach there, allow it to impress you with its calm ambience. Yes, you read that right, this city is less crowded with very few tourists. This city can instantly make you fall in love with its small roadside cafes located on the edge of the water. It is a lively student city having the largest and one of the oldest universities of Netherlands which is the Utrecht University. For all the shopaholics out there, Utrecht has many amazing yet pocket-friendly shopping options.
If you are a trekker or not averse to climbing 465 steps, then do get a spectacular view of the city from the top of Domkerk, the tallest Church tower of the country. De Haar Castle is another such hidden gem in Utrecht, and an equally beautiful park surrounds this castle giving you a feel of a picnic.
Did you know– Residents of Utrecht prefer sustainable living standards, and more than 5% population use electric cars, and thousands of people use cycle
- Distance from Amsterdam– 53 km
- Tourist Attractions– Castle De Haar, Dom Tower, National Military Museum, Botanic Gardens, Rietveld Schroder House, St. Martins Cathedral
- Ideal time to visit– Peak season in during the onset of summers. Best time to visit Utrecht is during the early falls when the temperature is just perfect
- How to reach– Many intercity services from Amsterdam’s airport and direct trains from Amsterdam central station to Utrecht which are at frequent intervals
Rotterdam is not to be missed on a day trip from Amsterdam because of its unconventional offerings. It is the New York of Netherlands as cited by many travellers since it was constructed in a modern style which makes it different. The cube houses are something one just cannot ignore; these houses are cube-shaped tilted over by 45 degrees, creative intricacy to be appreciated. Rotterdam’s indoor market hall can give you mouth-watering experience by its delectable delicacies from fresh bread to cheese, from fresh fish to vegetable stalls.
Erasmus Bridge is another such attraction that you couldn’t stop yourself from admiring. This architectural wonder will take you through much more exciting destinations in Rotterdam like historic ships of Delfshaven and skyscrapers of futuristic Kop van Zuid. Rotterdam’s water bus near Erasmus Bridge is also a must try to explore the country’s oldest city Dordrecht and windmills of Kinderdijk.
Did you know– The second largest port in the world after Shanghai is in Rotterdam. Also, the best apple pie in the country is served here
- Distance from Amsterdam– 79 km
- Tourist Attractions– Cube Houses, Euromast, Erasmus Bridge, Markthal, Coolsingel, Delfshaven, Kunsthal, Anne Frank House
- Ideal time to visit– April to October is the best time to visit Rotterdam. Don’t take it as a Gospel Truth, you can visit here in any month, but the summer and spring is the perfect time
- How to reach– 35-40 minutes is what a train takes to reach Rotterdam from Amsterdam Central Station making it the convenient and cost-effective option to travel to Rotterdam
Explore this uncharted territory before it gets overrun by tourists. This is one of the harborside city less known to people but can give even Dutch capital a run for its money. Hoorn is situated near IJsselmeer lake, and it is full of beautiful natural surroundings with dunes and beaches around making the atmosphere so pleasant. Hoorn also has excellent water sports facilities with countless shops, restaurants, and monuments. The shopping centre in Hoorn is something you don’t want to miss out on.
It has original gift shops, antique stores, craft shops and what not. Don’t forget to carry a Dutch souvenir with you apart from the memories to cherish for a lifetime. The dunes and beaches in the vicinity are exemplary to sit and relax in peace away from the bustling city. All these attractions and proximity from many more amazing hot spots make Hoorn a perfect day trip from Amsterdam.
Did you know– Stephan Van Den Berg, the World’s First Olympian Windsurfer was born and brought up in Hoorn
- Distance from Amsterdam– 46 km
- Tourist Attractions– West Frisian Museum, Halve Maen, Juliana Park, Cheese Market, Koepelkerk, Hoofdtoren
- Ideal time to visit– The most appropriate time to visit Hoorn is from June to September. This time of the year has the ideal weather to enjoy the city
- How to reach– The cheapest way is to share a ride from Amsterdam which will take an hour. The fastest way is to take a train which takes 30-35 minutes to reach Hoorn. There is a direct bus as well on this route
Source of one of the world’s famous mild yellow cheese and stroopwafels, so visit the cheese market to grab your portion before moving forward. Gouda has much more outside its cheese market; it has a rich cultural heritage and architectural delights. Gouda’s historic city centres consisting of monumental buildings and age-old canals with terraces offering a vantage point of the city. For fitness enthusiast and cyclist, Gouda has countryside locations which are appropriate for a bicycle ride.
Local Gouda beer is very famous in the breweries, a reason to smile for beer lovers. Sint Janskerk church, the longest church in the country is renowned for its stained glass windows. If you are getting all this to experience in a single day, then you ought to plan a day trip from Amsterdam considering Gouda is just 45 minutes away from the Dutch Capital. It would be much more enticing if you plan a winter day trip from Amsterdam to Gouda as you will get to celebrate the atmospheric festival of light, “Gouda by Candlelight” during Christmas in December.
- Distance from Amsterdam– 71 km
- Tourist Attractions– Sint Janskerk, Plaza Market, City Hall, Gouda Cheese Market, Goudse Hout, Waag, Stadsbibliotheek Gouda, Museum Gouda
- Ideal time to visit– The suitable time is from Mid-May to September.
- How to reach– There are many trains both direct and connecting via Utrecht which takes an hour or so, but it is relaxing. The quickest way is by a taxi, but that is expensive vis-à-vis local transport. There are buses as well plying on this route
Amsterdam has a sobriquet, “Venice of North” and this charming city is known as Venice of Netherland. This island city happens to be the oldest city in the country, but you will not be able to even extrapolate that. This secluded land has been separated from the mainland due to a flood and was accessible by a boat. You can still take a boat ride here even today. This place is warehouses and cosy cafes for a relaxing break. Post which you can discover the city on foot which is the best mode of commute. Take the Rondje Dordt route to walk towards inner city harbours, monuments, historically relevant spots and shopping streets. Dordrecht is primarily known for its shipbuilding, wood and steel industry.
Did you know– Dordrecht was founded way back in 1047, almost 970 years ago. Thus, the oldest city in that zone
- Distance from Amsterdam– 91 km
- Tourist Attractions and Activities– Huis Van Gijn, National Medisch Museum, Distillery Rutte, Rondje Dordt, Kayaking, Waterbus Ride, National Park De Biesbosch
- Ideal time to visit– The suitable time is from May to October as the weather is pleasant in these months. The hottest months are June, July and August
- How to reach– Again, the fastest way is through a taxi from Amsterdam which might cost you less than what the train costs. The convenient option is taking a direct train which runs every hour from Amsterdam to Dordrecht
This fairy tale village is enough in itself to instigate you to book your tickets for Amsterdam even when you were initially planning for some other country. Search for its images on Google, and you couldn’t hold yourself back from eulogizing it. This village has no roads and has canals instead and boats instead of cars making it difficult to commute from Amsterdam, but the bus and train connectivity is decent. It will take you 2-3 hours to reach there with a bit of hassle if you are unlucky.
But once you reach there, I am sure that you will be stunned to see the beauty of this idyllic village. The residents here are mere 2200, and the tourists that visit are 2, 00,000+ in a calendar year. Still any shadow of doubt behind the veracity of those google images? A perfect location for a photographer and also possibly the best picturesque background for your social media upload. You just cannot afford to miss a day trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam.
Did you know– There are farms and houses as old as 200 years which are still an integral part of this territory
- Distance from Amsterdam– 119 km
- Tourist Attractions and Activities– Boat Tour, Ice skating, Smit Giethoorn, Bootverhuur, De Rietstulp Rondvaart, Histomobil, Museum de Oude Aarde
- Ideal time to visit– Throughout the year, preferably in May when Tulips bloom
- How to reach– The quickest way is by a car which takes about 85 minutes. There are direct trains as well from Amsterdam Central Station to Giethoorn at every half an hour
Also See: Most beautiful villages in Switzerland
Leiden offers all the flamboyance of Amsterdam with less than half the number of tourists making it top the wish list of a traveller visiting Netherlands. It is home to some world-class museums, gorgeous restaurants offering mouth-watering delicacies with quite an eclectic cuisine, harbours and coffee shops but is locally recognized as a University Town making it affordable as well due to the student population.
It’s a small but perfect city to remain lost in. From the horse’s own mouth, it’s just utopian to walk around Leiden with no destination in mind. The train connectivity is super smooth between Leiden and Amsterdam giving you another reason to plan an excellent day trip from Amsterdam.
Did you know– Leiden University is one of the oldest universities established in 1575
- Distance from Amsterdam– 46 km
- Tourist Attractions and Activities– St. Peter’s Church, Burcht Van Leiden, Volkenkunde Museum, De Markt, De Burcht, National Museum of Antiquities, Steam Train Valkenburg Lake
- Ideal time to visit– Throughout the year, preferably in May-October time is the ideal time to visit this place
- How to reach– There are no direct buses on this route. You can take ride share which will take 50-55 minutes. There is a direct train as well from Amsterdam Central Station to Leiden
Apart from the above mentioned day trips from Amsterdam, there are many more places as well near Amsterdam in Netherlands. But these are the best among the lot after taking ease of travelling, time taken to explore, significance and history of the place, sightseeing attractions into account. Amsterdam is not seasonal rather an extremely popular year-round travel location, so make sure to plan accordingly and do all the necessary bookings to avoid last minute hassle. I hope this blog helped you in setting aside certain apprehensions you had in choosing the right place for you. Happy Travelling!!