Giethoorn - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

20 Best Day Trips From Amsterdam  

The Dutch capital is filled with a lively and charming atmosphere, however, you might be planning a longer holiday to the Netherlands and looking for the best day trips from Amsterdam.

Known as the “Venice of the North” and widely-known for its large amount of canals, Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of Holland. It is difficult to believe that this extraordinary city was once just a small fisherman village. Nowadays, however, tourists from all over the world visit the capital to enjoy the historical canals lined with traditional colorful narrow houses. The vibrant nightlife and various festivals taking place throughout the year are another reason why visitors are planning at least a weekend getaway to Amsterdam.

With its mild climate, the Netherlands is a great destination year-round. If you are planning on taking some of the best trips from Amsterdam to nearby towns and cities, however, it might be a good idea to visit during the springtime in between April and May.

If you are ready to pack your bags, but you also want to fully immerse yourself into the traditional charm and atmosphere of the Netherlands, here you can find the 20 best day trips from the Dutch capital.

1. Giethoorn

Giethoorn is by far the most popular day trip from Amsterdam. With its unique canal system, the town does not have any roads. If you want to truly experience the Dutch way of living, you should certainly plan a day trip to this picture-perfect gem! Known as the “Venice of the Netertherland”, this magical city can be explored by a boat and you will certainly feel like you are in a fairytale.

Giethoorn - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

Besides, admiring the town by water, though, visitors can also take the path winding along the canals, and grab some traditional Dutch lunch from one of the numerous charming restaurants. Keep in mind that an Amsterdam day trip to Geithoorn can be a bit challenging and you might need to change a few trains and buses before you reach the town. Once you take a first look of the beautiful houses quietly situated along the canals, though, you will know that it was all worth the time.

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2. Delft

Known as the town of the blue and white pottery, Delft is one of the prettiest places to visit near Amsterdam. Make sure to plan this less than an hour-long train journey and spend an entire day exploring the charming streets of the city of Delft. The old city with its market square, churches and narrow alleys, certainly deserves your attention. Immerse yourself into the laid-back and relaxing atmosphere and take your time when admiring the views of traditional bridges passing over the calm canal waters. If you like Dutch beer, you might want to book a tasting tour along the town’s breweries, whereas art lovers would enjoy a visit to the Vermeer Center featuring art pieces by one of the most popular Golden Age artists – Jan Vermeer.

3. Leiden

One of the best train trips from Amsterdam takes just 20 – 30 minutes and will take you to the quaint town of Leiden. With an extensive canal system and beautiful historic buildings, Leiden has a unique laid-back atmosphere, which will allow you to escape the busy and hectic streets of the larger cities. Locally known as a university town, Leiden is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands.

Leiden - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

As you can imagine, the town is packed with charming small bars and restaurants that are so inviting that you cannot skip grabbing some traditional beer or snack food, while admiring the quiet waters of the canals. Combine a bit of history with stunning views of the city and make sure to pay a visit to Molen de Valk – Leiden’s windmill museum.

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4. Volendam

As the best-known fishing village in Holand, Volendam is one of the most popular day tours from Amsterdam. Situated on the Markermeer Lake, the town’s main attraction is the harbour packed with fishing boats and street stalls offering fresh seafood. For anyone interested in art, the Volendam Museum is home to sculptures and paintings from the 18th Century until the present day. In order to fully experience the charm and atmosphere of the picturesque village, though, is enough to just wander through the narrow cobblestone streets lined with traditional colorful wooden houses.

5. Marken

Immerse yourself into the traditional Dutch culture by taking a day trip from Amsterdam to Marken. This small fisherman village situated on a remote secluded island will absolutely impress you with its colourful traditional wooden houses. Despite having a number of options to reach Marken, one of the best and picturesque ways is by taking a boat from Volendam and enjoying the stunning scenery.

Marken - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam
Credits: Daniel Zimmermann, Flickr CC BY 2.0

Besides just strolling down the quaint alleys, visitors can stop by a number of interesting craft workshops, which will allow them to further experience the Netherlands as it used to be back in the times. The close proximity to Volendam will allow you to have a fantastic Amsterdam day trip to both towns.

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6. Haarlem

Haarlem is a typical Dutch town and one of the best short trips from Amsterdam. Just hop on the train and in under 20 minutes, you will find yourself wandering through the quaint cobblestone streets lined with small, traditional cafes and restaurants. Visitors can also admire the stunning cathedral in a Gothic architectural style, which is part of the UNESCO heritage sites. Similar to other Dutch towns, the city is divided by cute canals, which can be explored on a boat cruise along the river. If you are visiting on a Saturday, you might want to stop by the Grote Market to experience the traditional farmers market offering fresh locally-grown products. Just before you decide to head back, grab a beer at Jopenkerk, which is a unique brewery that once used to be a church.

7. Efteling

If you are planning a family trip to the Netherlands, you should certainly consider taking a day tour to Efteling. As the largest fantasy-themed amusement park in the country, it is home to 24 different rides. During the summer months, you can jump on one of the 4 water rides, whereas the adventure seekers might give a try to the 6 rollercoasters. The entire park covers the massive territory of over 270 ha, and has an extremely interesting nature vibe, as it was built in a pine forest.

Efteling - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

As a result, visitors are not only able to enjoy the rides, but they can also take a stroll down the gardens or go for a boat ride in the pond. Situated approximately 100 km away from Amsterdam, Efteling is easily accessible by car. If you are planning on taking the bus, though, keep in mind you will need to make one connection and it will take you longer to get to the amusement park. If you are looking for a weekend trip from Amsterdam, you can book a room in the hotel situated within the resort.

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8. Keukenhof

As the largest spring flower festival in Europe, Keukenhof gardens are one of the best places to travel from Amsterdam. Those who are visiting between March-May can get the opportunity to stroll between the 32 hectares of colorful blooming tulips. Besides the huge variety of 800 different tulips, though, visitors can also admire fields packed with other types of hybrid flowers. The best way to reach Keukenhof is by car and will take you just 40 minutes. It is advisable to start the day early as the gardens can get extremely crowded in the afternoon. Keukenhof is one of the best day excursion from Amsterdam you can plan. Get ready for a day filled with amazing colors and a fantastic mood.

9. Utrecht

It is not only the picturesque canals but also the historic buildings and lively atmosphere, that make Utrecht one of the compulsory day trips out of Amsterdam that you should take while visiting the country. Situated at the heart of Holland, this medieval town will impress you with its charming vibe and historical importance.

Utrecht - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

As the highest church tower within the Netherlands, visitors should climb the Dom tower and admire the stunning views of the city from the top. Even if you do not have any special plans about exploring the city, just strolling down the old town and its cobblestone alleys with gothic-style buildings is enough to spend a fun and relaxing day. Hop on the train and just under 30 minutes you will be able to explore the traditional charm of Utrecht.

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10. The Hague

For the history buffs, one of the best day trips from Amsterdam is the Hague. Situated on the North Sea coast, this is the third-largest city in the Netherlands, but also one of the most important ones. As the former capital of the country, the Hague is still home to the Dutch parliament, the International Court of Justice, numerous embassies and international organizations, as well as the Dutch Royal Family. The city’s vibe is quite interesting due to the unique fusion between ancient and modern. In one day, you can be passing by the Gothic buildings from the 13th Century, but also visiting the Kuntsmusem Den Haag and admiring some contemporary art pieces. If you are looking for some easy day trips from Amsterdam by train, you should certainly consider the Hague.

11. Rotterdam

Once you have explored the traditional Dutch charm, you might also want to visit some more modern places near Amsterdam. As the second-largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is a fantastic choice. As a large portion of the city was destroyed during the Second World War, the city’s architectural style is much more different compared to other Dutch towns.

Rotterdam - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

With its tall skyscrapers, popular yellow cube houses and iconic white Erasmusbrug bridge, Rotterdam’s cutting-edge and contemporary architecture can impress anyone. To fully experience the city’s stunning scenery head to the Euromast TV tower and reach the 185-meter top by the rotating glass elevator. This is one of the best spots to enjoy the sunset views from while sipping on delicious cocktails.

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12. Zaanse Schans

The traditional historic village of Zaanse Schans is probably the best day trip from Amsterdam. Situated along the Zaanse River, visitors will quickly notice the impressive windmills, some of which still operational nowadays. The day trip to Zaanse Schans will transport you back to the 1800s and you will be able to learn and experience the Dutch traditions and heritage. The landscape is also complemented by the colorful wooden houses, the deep blue waters of the river and the endless fields of green untouched nature to create a truly picture-perfect scenery. Visitors should make sure to stop by the clog-making or cheese producing shops for a true and complete experience of the historic village of Zaanse Schans. Plan in advance, as this is a popular tourist destination. It is better to start the day early and explore the town in the morning. With the regular bus services from Amsterdam, it will take you just 40 minutes.

13. Kinderdjik

Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinderdjik is a fantastic day trip from Amsterdam. Visitors will be absolutely overwhelmed with just the first glimpse of the 19 historic windmills situated along the quiet river waters. As the largest portion of the windmills have been transformed into museums, you can easily learn more about the Dutch heritage and what life used to be a few centuries ago.

Kinderdjik - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

You will also find it interesting to hear about the different water-management strategies that have been used throughout the years, as the country had to continuously deal with the rising water levels. As one of the most unique Amsterdam day trips, Kinderdjik allows its visitors the opportunity to explore the area by boat, on foot or even by bike. Get ready for a fabulous day filled with lots of history and beautiful scenery. However, keep in mind that the best way to reach the city is by car as the distance is around 100km.

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14. Edam

It is impossible to travel to the Netherlands without trying some traditional Dutch cheese. That is why one of the best daytrips from Amsterdam will take you to the medieval town of Edam. Between the 14th and 16th Centuries, edam was the world’s most popular cheese as it took much longer than others to spoil and it was widely used as a trade for other unique products or spices. Back in the times, Edam was a shipbuilding city with a massive harbor, however, it is now one of the most well-known side trips from Amsterdam. Make sure to plan well in advance, as the best time to visit Edam is on a Wednesday between July-August when the town hosts the traditional cheese market. You will feel like you have taken a step back in time, as you are witnessing farmers bringing the edam cheese from the nearby villages by boat or carriages. As one of the most popular trips from Amsterdam, the town can be easily reached by car or bus in just 30 minutes.

15. Gouda

It might be difficult to believe, but Edam is not the only cheese originating from the Netherlands. One of the most well-known and most popular cheeses around the world, nowadays, is the yellow cow’s milk cheese – Gouda. And guess what it was produced for the first time in the namesake village located in the traditional Dutch countryside.

Gouda - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

For a full experience, plan your day trip from Amsterdam to the small town on a Thursday between April and August. Early in the morning, producers gather together in the market square for the traditional cheese market. It is not just the fantastic dairy-products that you can try, though, as Gouda is a fantastic spot to admire some stunning medieval architecture as well.

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16. Alkmaar Cheese Market

Do you like cheese? If yes, then you should plan a trip to Alkmaar Cheese Market. Known as the “cheese capital” of Holland, Alkmaar is one of the Amsterdam day tours that you should add to your itinerary. Similar to Edam and Gouda, Alkmaar also hosts its cheese market during the summer months. Plan visiting on a Friday between April and September. Keep in mind that Alkmaar, however, is much more popular and over 100,000 tourists visit every year. The train journey from Amsterdam takes just 30 – 40 minutes, which makes Alkmaar extremely easily accessible as well. After enjoying the event and getting to experience what centuries-old trading practices looked like, head to the narrow streets of the town and indulge in some delicious traditional Dutch lunch.

17. Bourtange

With a population of just over 400 people, Bourtange is one of the most unusual places to travel from Amsterdam. The small secluded village was once used as a fort by the Dutch army, hence, its extraordinary star shape. Built by William I of Orange between the 1580s – 1650s, the fortification is now an open-air museum, which allows visitors to learn more about its historical importance throughout the years.

Bourtange - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

As Bourtange is situated over 200 km away from Amsterdam, it is not often visited by tourists. This, however, makes it a great quiet getaway far from the busy city life. Make sure to plan in advance, though, as the best way to get there is by car and it takes around 2 and a half hours.

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18. Brussels

If you are planning a longer trip to Holland and you are also looking forward to visiting some other popular European cities, you can take a day trip from Amsterdam to Brussels. Just hop on the high-speed train and you will find yourself exploring Belgium’s capital in less than 2 hours. You can easily start the day with traditional Belgium waffles and delicious coffee. Stop by the stunning Grand Place, the Royal Palace and St. Michael’s Cathedral in the morning. Grab some Belgian beer in the afternoon and admire the stunning views before getting the train back.

19. Bruges

The picturesque small town of Bruges is another amazing Belgium day trip from Amsterdam that you can take. Despite the fact that you need to take the three-hours-train journey with one connection along the way, the stunning medieval architecture of Bruges will prove you that it was all worth the trip.

Bruges - Best Day Trips From Amsterdam

The quaint cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings and the peaceful water of the canals will make you feel like you have entered a real fairytale. If you have an additional day or two, it is a good idea to take an entire weekend to fully experience the charming atmosphere of Bruges.

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20. Cologne

Despite the fact that the Netherlands borders with Germany to the east, taking German day tours from Amsterdam can be quite challenging. If you still want to experience the country, though, one of the best options is the city of Cologne. With more than 2000 years of rich history, the city is situated along the Rhine River and will quickly impress its visitors with stunning Gothic architectural style. Start by stopping by the Cologne Cathedral, followed by a visit to the Museum Ludwig, which hosts a massive collection of Picasso’s art pieces. Located approximately 260 km away from Amsterdam, the best way to reach Cologne is by train as the journey takes just 2 and a half hours.

Which one of these awesome day trips from Amsterdam would you like to take first? Would you prefer experiencing the traditional Dutch atmosphere or are you looking for some contemporary modern city vibe? Let us know which of these day trips out of Amsterdam you have already added to your travel itinerary.

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