15 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Amsterdam is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, and it’s not hard to see why.

With picturesque canals, narrow townhouses and a whole host of cultural gems to enjoy Amsterdam really has something for everyone.

The Netherlands is a welcoming and versatile country but one that is seldom explored, for the jewel that is Amsterdam quickly captures the hearts of all who visit.

Outside of the elaborate, winding canals and away from the inspiring Museum District lies a wealth of countryside, cities and coastlines.

The Netherlands is a well connected country so getting around is no problem.

Leaving you no excuses to not get out and experience this great nation.

Let’s take a look at the best day trips from Amsterdam.

1. Keukenhof

KeukenhofSource: shutterstock

Easily one of the most iconic landscapes in the Netherlands, if not all of Europe, is the grand Keukenhof tulip garden.

Undoubtedly the world’s largest flower garden Keukenhof is home to over 15 km of footpaths and spans over 32 hectares of colourful, blooming parkland.

Naturally, Keukenhof is best visited in the spring months when the flowers have burst from their buds.

Not only a tulip garden there are also rows upon rows of bright yellow daffodils and perfect pink, purple and peachy hyacinths too.

The theme for Keukenhof is ‘Romance in Flowers’ and it’s simply wonderful.

You need not be a budding botanist or avid gardener to enjoy Keukenhof, its beauty is indisputable.

2. Zaanse Schans & Edam

Zaanse SchansSource: shutterstock
Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is a small, historic village home to a series of the Netherland’s most famous windmills.

Featuring in all the major guidebooks and probably the most photographed landscape in the country a morning visit to Zaanse Schans provides you with the opportunity to capture this iconic landscape for yourself.

The windmills are strategically placed along the banks of the River Zaanse and you can learn about the history and importance of these buildings by chatting to locals or hiring a guide.

In the afternoon travel on to Edam, a town world-renowned for its cheese production.

Get sampling all the different varieties and learn how this cheese is made and how its distinct flavour is created.

3. Rotterdam

Rotterdam, the NetherlandsSource: Rudy Balasko / shutterstock

Rotterdam is the Netherland’s second largest city and in many ways mirrors Amsterdam but in so many others is so very different.

No trip to Rotterdam would be complete without visiting the Euromast, a literal and metaphorical highlight.

Zoom straight up to the top of the towering 185m building in a rotating glass elevator.

You’ll have never experienced anything quite like it, that’s for sure.

From the top you can look out over Rotterdam’s picturesque cityscape.

Once your feet are firmly back on the ground take a stroll along the riverside, it is the Maas River than flows through Rotterdam.

Head out to the Old Port and marvel at the yellow cube houses.

There are some wonderful cafes and restaurants in Rotterdam to explore.

4. Marken & Volendam

MarkenSource: shutterstock

Marken and Volendam are two gems of Northern Holland.

Marken is a remote fishing town that is best known for its preserved traditional Dutch culture.

Get ready for clogs galore.

In Marken you can visit a traditional shoe maker and learn this ancient craft, even pick out a pair or two to take home with you.

The winding streets are charming indeed and there are colourful townhouses and scenic stop offs aplenty.

The best way to get from Marken to Volendam is via the Marken Express Boat which offers wonderful views of IJsselmeer Lake.

Volendam is well set up for tourists and one of the best places to stock up on souvenirs.

It is a quaint fishing village that hasn’t lost any of its rustic charm.

5. Bruges

Bruges, BelgiumSource: cge2010 / shutterstock

For some travellers Bruges became a must-visit city when the film ‘In Bruges’ hit the big screens back in 2008. Bruges is a truly wonderful city that provides, much like Rotterdam, a contrast and a compliment to Amsterdam and sees you cross into neighbouring Belgium.

Brug Square is an appropriate starting point and from there you can branch out to observe the Town Hall, the Belfort and other classic, historical Belgian buildings.

In the Church of Our Lady you can observe one of the true artistic masterpieces still preserved today.

Michelangelo’s ‘The Madonna of Bruges’ hangs perfectly famed in this deeply spiritual church.

The Cathedral of San Salvador and the Old Beaterio can also be squeezed into a whistle-stop day trip to Bruges from Amsterdam.

6. Giethoorn

Giethoorn, the NetherlandsSource: Hung Chung Chih / shutterstock

Giethoorn is a classic Netherlands village that is picture perfect in every way.

A real hidden gem a visit to Giethoorn gives you an insight in to the lives of Dutch people.

Another village in the Netherlands that features a complex series of canals Giethoorn is best explored by gondola.

The whole village can be experienced in the space of an hour when cruising.

Once seen from afar spend the afternoon strolling around the pathways of Giethoorn, photograph the perfectly restored farmhouses and take in the aroma of the fresh flowers.

The gardens of Giethoorn are simply divine, it’s clear to see that the locals pride themselves in the landscaping of their humble plots.

7. Bourtange

BourtangeSource: Aerovista Luchtfotografie / shutterstock
Bourtange From Above

Another jewel of North Holland is Bourtange, famed for it’s beautiful fortress.

Once used by the Dutch army the Bourtange fort is built in the shape of a star and lies within the village itself.

Built in 1593 it is one of the oldest buildings in the Netherlands.

Steeped in historical significance the fort was constructed at the request of William the I of Orange and was designed to gain control over the singular road that lead from Germany to Groningen which was under the control of the Spanish.

It is possible to team a trip to Bourtange with a visit to Giethoorn if you are short on time.

8. Delft

DelftSource: shutterstock

Delft is yet another of the Netherland’s canal-crossed cities that is not to be missed.

Lying in the South Holland region Delft is known best as the home of Delftware, handmade white and blue pottery.

A university city, Delft has a young and diverse community that is reflected in the laid back and welcoming feel of the place.

During a day trip to Delft you can visit the Nieuwe Kerk that houses the tomb of William of Orange.

You can visit the Vermeer Centre that features, unsurprisingly, the masterpieces of Vermeer.

Oude Kerk and the Museum Het Prinsenhof should not be missed either.

9. The Hague

The Hague, the NetherlandsSource: Neirfy / shutterstock
The Hague

Located on the North Sea coast of the Netherlands lies the city of The Hague.

The Hague is the International City of Peace and Justice and is home to the UN’s International Court of Justice and the Peace Palace too.

Overflowing with modern and historical cultural significance The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and home to the Dutch royal family too.

Should you wish to get to grips with the history and cultural heritage of the Netherlands as a whole then The Hague is a great starting point.

The Mauritshuis features masterpieces by groundbreaking artists like Andy Warhol, Rembrandt and Vermeer and is a must-visit for any budding art critic.

10. Brussels

Brussels, BelgiumSource: cge2010 / shutterstock

If you’re keen to tick off another European country during your visit to Amsterdam then consider a full day trip to Brussels.

A long day trip but nonetheless worthwhile, Brussels can be reached from Amsterdam by train or by drive.

Not to miss attractions and hotspots include the Atomium, the Royal Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

When in Brussels you’d be a fool not to sample some of the traditional waffles, chocolates and beer.

In all fairness you could skip the historical highlights altogether and indulge in a food tour of the Belgian capital city.

Don’t leave without stocking up on chocolates to take home.

11. Kröller-Müller Museum

Kröller-Müller MuseumSource: Vladimir Wrangel / shutterstock
Kröller-Müller Museum

The Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world’s second largest collection of works by Van Gogh.

An art gallery with a vast sculpture garden the Kröller-Müller Museum deserves a day all of its own.

Located in Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo the Kröller-Müller Museum lies just under 100 km away from Amsterdam city centre.

Thanks to the Netherland’s highly effective road network you can reach the Kröller-Müller Museum in under 90-minutes.

If you’re short on time or want a jam-packed day then coupling the Kröller-Müller Museum with a visit to Giethoorn is more than doable.

12. Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk, the NetherlandsSource: CatalinT / shutterstock

Kinderdijk is home to the UNESCO World Heritage windmill that is so very often the picture postcard image of the Netherlands.

The Kinderdijk windmill complex earned UNESCO status in 1997 and has fast become one of the must-visit destinations in the Netherlands.

Featuring all the rural and rustic charm you’d expect from the Dutch countryside Kinderdijk features dykes, pumping mills and of course the giant windmills themselves.

Thanks to its UNESCO status this vulnerable area will be protected forever more.

Kinderdijk is an example of Dutch ingenuity in all its glory.

It is possible to visit Kinderdijk and The Hague all in one day trip from Amsterdam should you be short on time.

13. Batavia Stad

Batavia StadSource: fokke baarssen / shutterstock
Batavia Stad

Batavia Stad is the leading outlet shopping mall in the Netherlands and lies just outside Amsterdam city centre.

Home to over 250 brands across 150 stores Batavia Stad offers you the opportunity to shop ’til you drop.

There is a shuttle bus that ferries shoppers from the city centre to the outlet mall throughout the day, free of charge.

Named after the great ship, Bratavia, there is a lot to explore.

There are cafes and restaurants aplenty should refreshment be in order throughout the day.

Batavia Stad is an open air outlet so in the drizzly winter months you may want to bring an umbrella with you.

14. Gouda

Gouda, the NetherlandsSource: Celli07 / shutterstock

You are a fan of cheese? Then be sure to tick off not only the town of Edam but Gouda too.

Gouda cheese is perhaps even more widely adored than Edam.

Naturally, no trip to Gouda would be complete without visiting the Gouda Cheese Market that opens in Markt Square every Thursday morning.

The Church of St John is a magical church that is famed for its exquisite stained glass windows.

Dual layered, each window depicts a different scene.

Markt Square is still very much worth a visit even when the Gouda Cheese Market is not on.

The Gouda Stadhuis was constructed back in 1448 and is a prime example of perfectly preserved gothic architecture.

15. Utrecht

Utrecht, the NetherlandsSource: Christian Mueller / shutterstock

Placed in the heart of the Netherlands is the university city of Utrecht.

In the winter months when the canals freeze over it is possible to ice skate through the city.

De Haar Castle is a remodelled medieval style castle in the centre of the city that feature magnificent gardens and traditional architecture.

If you’re travelling with children then the Railway Museum is an interactive and educational way to experience Utrecht as is the Museum of Speelklok.

Much like the Gouda Stadhuis, in the main Domplein square in Utrecht you will find the Cathedral of St.

Martin another incredible example of 14th-Century gothic architecture.

15 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam:

  • Keukenhof
  • Zaanse Schans & Edam
  • Rotterdam
  • Marken & Volendam
  • Bruges
  • Giethoorn
  • Bourtange
  • Delft
  • The Hague
  • Brussels
  • Kröller-Müller Museum
  • Kinderdijk
  • Batavia Stad
  • Gouda
  • Utrecht