Amsterdam is a great city. More than 18 million foreign tourists visit this city every year. Within 1 or 2 days you’ll discover the best of Amsterdam. Spend some time to explore the surroundings also, we give you 5 reasons why you should. Amsterdam is surrounded by a number of must see places that are waiting to be found. Find out more about the country’s culture, geography, and heritage. The Netherlands is a small country, yet divers in so many ways.
As a local company we give you advice in day trips from Amsterdam and activities you can do outside Amsterdam. Many of the day trip suggestions we give are less than one hour away from Amsterdam and easily to reach by public transport. In addition, we also included a few Dutch road trips (best day trips by car) from Amsterdam, which include many must-see places in the Netherlands and wich also attracts many visitors. Our selection of the best day trips by car from Amsterdam includes some of our favorite places.
You can choose for package deals (organised tours). This way you will visit 2 or 3 Dutch sites on a day. The most common day trips from Amsterdam are the Zaanse Schans, Giethoorn, Volendam, the Keukenhof, or the Cheese market in Alkmaar. While many other places, just as popular or rather quiet and less visited, yet are also definitely worth visiting for a day trip. Do you need some help with choosing the best organized day trips and tours from Amsterdam? We want to give you the best advice. Outside Amsterdam has knowledge and experience in the tourism branche.
Beside the organised tours, we believe in the spirit of the indipendent traveler. The indipendent traveler seeks for speciality, individuality, culture, like the locals do, hidden gems. Perhaps just one specific thing without all the fuss around it. Time is mostly no issue, the experience is the most important. For the independent traveler we have many suggestions.
If you are familiar with cycling, then you’ll have many options in Amsterdam, but also outside the city. Our country is designed for cyclists. From Amsterdam you will find many kilometers to go by bike. Cycling in the Netherlands is normal, so you will find cycle paths everywhere! You can take an organized bike ride just outside the city, or rent a bike and go your own way. The most popular destinations are Marken and Volendam, +/- 21 km cycling. Outside Amsterdam has many suggestions for biking trips from Amsterdam, also in combination with a boat cruise or a visit towards a castle.
Discover the beautifull Green heart region by bike. Go to Gouda by train within 45 minutes and join a guided bike tour with Green cow bike tours. They organise 8 different guided bike tours from Gouda. Whether you want to go short or long, combine the tour with a visit to a cheesefarm, windmill or an old village, this is one of the best ways to discover Holland by bike. Vast meadows, pollar willows, narrow dike roads, farms and windmills are characteristics of this region.
Can’t wait to go? Get in contact with Green cow bike tours
In the Muiden-Naarden-Weesp triangle, the history of an important part of the country is up for grabs. An area full of uncovered history lies just a few kilometers from Amsterdam. A beautiful landscape with the Vecht river as the border and fortified towns of Muiden, Weesp and Naarden. A military landscape is hidden here, an abundance of defenses formed by the Old- and New Dutch Water Line. A network of locks, dams, bunkers and forts with the aim of protecting the Fortress Holland and Amsterdam.
At Muiden, Naarden and Weesp there are important locks: in Muiden the Great Sea Lock, At Weesp near Fort Uitermeer and in the Weesp fortress.
Highlights on this route:
Weesp is a small 14th century town along the river “Vecht”. The town was strongly fortified, more than it’s size would justify. The river “Vecht” was from the late Middle Ages a military defense line until the Second World War. Parts of the fortification are still visible.
Weesp can be discovered easily by bike, or peacefully on foot, because it’s not that big. The historic city center has more than 200 national monuments, including the gothic St. Laurens church from 1462. The municipal musuem is situated in the former town hall, build between 1772 and 1776. The museum is mainly focused on 18th-century porcelain crafts from this area. Every tuesday and friday morning the local market is beeing held.
Read more about Weesp
Muiden is a little village at the IJmeer and the river Vecht. This fortified town used to be part of a defence line to protect Amsterdam. Altough its a small town, there’s lots to do. You can visit a bunker museum, take a ferry (departing from Muiden) towards Pampus Island (a fort island), visit the Muiderslot castle or stroll around the harbour, ramparts and the locks.
From IJBURG (Amsterdam east) also the Amsterdam tourist ferry departs towards Pampus Island and the Muiderslot castle. It is possible to bring your (rental)bike aboard the tourist ferry towards the castle and continue cycling from there. It is required to report this when booking the boat tickets, but does not entail any extra costs. During the boatride you can listen to an audiotour via this link.
Until 1957 Marken was seperated from the Dutch mainland. Since that year a dike was constructed to connect the village with the province Noord Holland. Dispite the connection the village kept its historic charms. Open to the public, you still sense the community life. With its lovely wooden houses, the lighthouse and the picturesque harbour, the centre of Marken is a great sight to visit. From Marken you can take a ferry to Volendam and back. Broek in Waterland and Monnickendam are good places for having a break.
The stronghold of Naarden was part of a large defense line which was to protect Amsterdam. The stronghold is unique in the Netherlands because of the star shaped pattern of the citadel, surrounded by moats and bridges, The stronghold is still in very good condition. Stop by at the villages Muiden or Weesp for a break. In the area around Naarden, many castles are to be found.
Outside Amsterdam designed 2 road trips of 50 kilometers that will lead you past castles and gardens. Imagine yourself driving from Amsterdam through the Dutch landscapes and visiting 2 or maybe even 3 castles on a day. The most popular castle nearby is the ‘Muiderslot’, also called the Amsterdam castle. Many other castles and gardens nearby are worth visiting also. More information about these day trips by car you will find over here.
Castle route south:
Castle route north:
This castle is definately worth a visit. It has one of the most beautifull fruitwalls in Western Europe and one of the few remaining in the Netherlands. The so called “Slangenmuur” (fruitwall) was built around 1742 and is 120 meters long. The castle is located at the hemlet Oud Zuilen, Beside the garden, the castle itself is also great and the hemlet must be visited too. Verry cosy and quiet. Guided tours trough the castle can be done in different languages.
Cant wait? Get in touch with Slot Zuylen.
Castle Muiderslot has two beautiful gardens. Both gardens date back to the 17th century and still look the same. They not only look beautiful, but are also still being used for growing vegetables and herbs. At the time, this garden was created for ornamental purposes and for growing herbs. A herb garden was very common in the Golden Age. From March to October, there are daily volunteers working in the gardens who proudly talk about the gardens and crops. You will also find a plum orchard and a number of art objects and a master falconer that does flight demonstrations with his birds on certain days!
Cant wait? Get in touch with Muiderslot Castle.
Walk through the beautiful castle garden with exotic trees and an apple orchard. Later take a a cup of coffee on the terrace aside the castle moat. Guided tours are done to show this castle-like home. The tour lasts over an hour and is given by volunteers who work for the castle. Impressive rooms with many old authentic details with art objects collected by the last baron! Many beautiful paintings, 2 enormous tablewares are exhibited in 2 dining rooms and a lot of Loosdrecht porcelain. Former local porcelain.
Cant wait? Get in touch with Slot Sypestein.
All of our day trip suggestions start from Amsterdam Central station. It is the most central place in the Amsterdam area and has the most possibilities in ways of transportation. Within 30 minutes from Amsterdam we suggest to go to one of these 5 places below.
This seaside resort has more than only a beach. In the center of the town are also plenty of things to do. Zandvoort is known for it’s Formula 1 racing circuit, which is re-opened. Throughout the year you can attend events at the circuit. Zandvoort is close to Amsterdam, just 20 minutes by train. For this you’ll see many Amsterdammers down at the beach. It can be crowded here on sunny days, but that shouldn’t spoil the fun. With more than 30 beach bars to be found and all kinds of water sports, you wouldn’t get bored verry soon.
In the town you can rent a bike to explore the surrounding nature and beaches. A visit to the manucipal museum (Zandvoorts museum) or the beachcomber museum (Jutters Mu-ZEE-um) is also worth to go for. During bad weather take a swim at Aqua Mundo Zandvoort (Center Parks), or go jumping at Jump xl.
Also for the 8th time, the European Championship Sand Sculpting took place, see you next year again (2020).
Click here for more info about Dutch beaches close to Amsterdam.
Broek in Waterland is enchanted, beautiful and still untouched. Lets call it a peaceful oasis of narrow streets, beautiful old houses and canals. Rent a whisper boat and guide yourself through Broek in Waterland and the surrounding area to discover the silent beauty here. This village is close to Amsterdam, just 30 minutes by bike or bus.
The Sint Nicolaas is a little church in Broek in Waterland. The origins date back to before 1400, but completely destroyed in 1573 by the Spaniards, it had to be rebuilt. Inside, at the entrance, there is a (sailors)box from 1609, which was originally used to store the church funds. It is worth noting that there is also a small cafe in the church.
Traditional pancakes can be eaten at Pannenkoekenhuis De Witte Swaen.
Read more about the Waterland route.
Monnickendam is a small and elegant fishing town, without the touristy reputation of it’s neighbor Volendam, but no less interesting and photogenic.
In this town you’ll find the oldest carillon of Europe, with galloping knights, a spectacle you can see at the hour. Stroll along the beautiful harbour and through the old city center. Go for a lunch or dinner to one of the few bars and restaurants around the harbour. For local food, buy a smoked eel at smokehouse “Gebroeders De Boer”, the best one in town.
Once in bloom because of fishing, smoking fish, sailing and shipbuilding, nowadays its hard to imagine that till the 18th century the harbour of Monnickendam, was as just important as the harbour of Amsterdam. Do a local activity and sail with the Zuiderzee on the open waters.
Haarlem is the most Flemish city in the Netherlands, given its history. At the same time it is remarkable that the use of the Dutch language in Haarlem is generally regarded as the norm in our country.
After the fall of Antwerp (1585), Haarlem was flooded by Flemish immigrants. They brought capital and knowledge with them and made the city flourish. They influenced architecture, culture and art in the city and these influences can now be found not only in Haarlem museums, but also in today’s street scene.
Haarlem’s most famous painter is Frans Hals. Born in Belgium and came to Haarlem with his parents. His way of painting gave a new look onto portraiture. His paintings are rough, direct and lively.
The center of Haarlem is fun and easy to explore by foot. Walk around some beautifull sights, like the old cityhall, the Bakenesser church and the Teylers hofje (courtyard), go shopping in one of the main streets. Bring a visit to the iconic windmill, the Saint Bavo Catherdral or join a guided boat tour. A favorite is the Haarlem Highlight tour by bicycle! Also a visit to Haarlem is great to combine with a trip towards the beach of Bloemendaal or Zandvoort aan Zee, wich are just 20 minutes away.
The center of Utrecht is located around the Dom Tower. This tower was completed in 1382 and reaches 112.5 meters in height and has 465 steps to reach the upper platform. The tower is now the icon of the city and is open daily for visitors. The history of the city dates back to the period of the year 47 AC. In the heart of the city, on the canals, a wharf system was built as an inner city harbour system. Storage facilities (wharf cellars) were built on top of the yards and on top of that the main street. Nowadays these cellars are small shops, galleries, pubs and restaurants. Nice places to visit in Utrecht! There are around 732.
Utrecht is a lively city with approximately 322.00 inhabitants. There is a lot to do; the city has 13 museums, has a Saturday market (flowers and fabrics), has around 150 cafés and 350 restaurants, countless shops and moreover there are also 14 theater and concert halls. In addition, there are also a number of courtyards and botanical gardens hidden in the city. The city is subdivided into 6 districts, each with its own character.
Ever been to a village that felt like an open air museum? Well the Zaanse Schans is just like that! Its full of culture and traditional crafts while people still live here. Actually, it is industrial heritage and an anchor point of the European Route of industrial Heritage. It’s easy to get there, but hard to leave, because it’s so much fun!
Once over a 1000 windmills could be found in this area, nowadays 13 of them are located here. Read more. Six windmills can be visited; a sawmill, oil mills, a mustard mill and a dye mill. Visit one and experience how narrow, but great fun, it is to stand and walk around in a working windmill. Beside windmills, you can rent a bike, eat a pancake, visit a clogmaker, a cheesefarm and many other things. Many little shops, museums, nice views for perfect camera shots. Ducks and goats, chocolate, cheese and souvenirs.
Walk from the trainstation within 5 minutes into the old center and soon you’ll find yourself standing beside one of the canals overlooking the many beautiful buildings and facades. With its canals, old warehouses and narrow arched bridges, Leiden soon reminds you of Amsterdam. But there is one big difference; it’s less crouded than in Amsterdam. Join a walking tour and discover the 35 courtyards, hidden in the city center or dive into history or science and visit one of the many excellent museums Leiden has.
The oldest university in the Netherlands is located in Leiden. The university of Leiden is nowadays one of Europe’s best international research universities. Many buildings in the city are connected with the university, such as; the Leiden Observatory, the Kamerlingh Onnes building from 1859 (Faculty of Law), the botanical gardens and a number of museums.
During the 17th century the city produced several brilliant painters, such as; Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Steen. They both studied at the famous Leiden painting school. Read more.
In Hoorn stands the statue of “De Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe”. In 1924 a novel was written based on a 17th century journal of captain Willem Bontekoe concerning three boys aboard of the “Nieuw Hoorn” (merchant vessel) that sailed towards the East Indies. The novel “De Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe”, also known as: “Java ho!: The adventures of three boys amid fire, storm and shipwreck”, has been filmed in 2007. The city Hoorn was represented at the board of the VOC, “Dutch East India Company” in the 17th and 18th century. Read more.
The old center is close to the train station. The center is small, but beautiful. Buildings in Dutch Renaissance style, the market square with the old weighhouse (nowadays a restaurant), the Westfries museum (museum of the golden age) and nearby you’ll find the the picturesque harbor area. From the habour area you can take a boatride or watertaxi to your next destination (new: also to Marken or Volendam).
Naarden-Vesting is a unique part of the Netherlands. The old town is surrounded by a star-shaped fort that was rebuilt from 1673 after many looting before. Around 1813 the fort was part of the New Dutch water line, a line of defense. Read more here. All this has been preserved and it can still be admired.
The city has a small center with many sights and there is plenty to do. For example, you can participate in a guided boat trip on the ditches and canals, or walk around and visit the fortress museum. There are also a handful of cafes where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings and even listen for a while to some of the cannons that shoot around (every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month). If you feel like escaping from the crowd, then Naarden fortress is a great place to go and it is very interesting to discover the stronghold and its history.
Amersfoort is a medium sized city with 152,000 inhabitants. The inner city is hidden between parts of the old city walls and is full of stories like: 1. Around the old outer wall, there is a path where only the nobles were allowed to walk on Sundays. 2.The icon of the city is a boulder, a stone weighing seven thousand kilos that was dragged into the city in 1661 because of a drunken bet.
Inside the citywall you’ll find the (Muurhuizen) Wall Houses. These houses where built from the stones that came available during the demolition of the city wall. These houses stand on the place where the city wall once stood and are an unique piece of urban development. The houses still form a recognizable inner ring in the old town center. If you really want to see or photograph a beautiful part of Amersfoort, then you have to go to the Muurhuizen.
The Onze Lieve Vrouwe Toren (tower) is located in the heart of the center. It is said that due to the geographical location this was the center of the Netherlands. Although, it is no longer the case, you can still see the former centerpoint of the Netherlands in this tower. The nice thing is that you can also climb the tower.
The city has 5 museums, including the Mondriaanhuis, 364 restaurants, plenty of shops, lots of nature in the area and a large zoo just outside the center
Stroll through the picturesque streets and you will immediately understand why Enkhuizen is a beloved place. The old buildings, the restaurants with terraces, shops, specialty shops and the harbor make Enkhuizen a very pleasant town. The striking tower in the harbor is called the Drommedaris. It is an old city gate from 1540 and at the same time a defense tower that watched over the harbour and the former Zuiderzee. Today, a cultural center with its own café is located here.
The town with now 18.000 inhabitants used to be at the basis of the Golden Age, which made the city flourish. The atmosphere of that time is still noticeable and it is not surprising to think that the Zuiderzee museum is located here in Enkhuizen. The heyday of fishing is long gone, but it used to have the largest herring fleet in the country. Enkhuizen is a tough town, it was the first city that choose the side of Prince Willem of Orange during the 80 years war, it was the city of Jan Huygen and Dirck China who discovered the world and the city of Paludanus and Zachaeus de Jager, 2 doctors who provided medical breakthroughs.
In Enkhuizen you can visit 5 museums, it has a charming center near the harbor, with a handful of shops and cafes and there is always something to see and do around the harbour.
Gouda still shows clear traces of its medieval past. The canals enclose the city center since the mid-fourteenth century and the street plan is still largely medieval. A large number of historic and monumental buildings stand proudly in the city center. The cheese market has been held in Gouda since the end of the 15th century. The peak occurred in 1937 when 4.5 million kilos of cheese were traded. Gouda has been the center for the manufacture of clay pipes since the 17th century and for candles since the 19th century. In addition, Gouda has made its own coockie: a Stroopwafel (syrup waffle), which you can find in every supermarket these days. Still the best you get fresh in Gouda. Seven bakers from Gouda have baked the largest stroopwafel in the world, with a diameter of almost 2.5 meters and a weight of more than 70 kilos. In Gouda stands the Sint Janskerk (Saint Johnchurch) Whoever enters St John falls silent when seeing the majestic space with the 72 world famous stained glass windows.
Nowadays Gouda counts 72,000 inhabitants, 4 museums including the Catharina Gasthuis (museum Gouda), a city theater, a cultural center, 5 courtyards, shops, restaurants & cafés and many monumental buildings.
The Hague is the second cultural treasure room in our country and houses more than 548,000 inhabitants. The city has two faces; stylish and modest on the one hand, full of bravado and bluff on the other. The royal city is proud of its unknown canal belt, hidden Jewish quarter and colorful Chinese world. Perhaps the greatest secret of The Hague are the often beautiful and green courtyards, hidden behind walls and houses. The city once had seven hundred, now 115, but still an impressive number.
The Hague has no fewer than 45 museums with unique collections, exhibitions and world-class experiences. Thirty top events can be experienced in two months during the ‘The Hague Festivals’.
The city is subdivided into 7 districts, each with its own character. Within 20 minutes from the center you are at the North Sea coast of The Hague also known as Scheveningen, where you can enjoy the sea and even more art and culture.
In the historic centre, stands a 110-meter-tall landmark of Delft, a tower build in 1496. Delft is a medium-sized city, has a university and two research institutes which are well known for their high standard of research and education.
What makes Delft zo special? Of course the atmospheric canals and the car-free strolling streets with their historic buildings. The city also enchants with its centuries-old churches and impressive burial monuments. Delft houses at least 10 museums, 6 theater and concert halls, 13 monumental buildings and every year many cultural events take place. Delftware pottery has been produced here since the 17th century, also known as Delftware, Delft blue ceramics or Delft Blue. The famous painter Johannes Vermeer was born here and lived and worked here all his live. Other painters at that time were Pieter de Hoogh, Carel Fabritius and Nicolaes Maes.
Delft is best known in Dutch history because Willem van Oranje, the leader of the revolt against the Spaniards, had decided to make Delft his permanent residence. He felt safe in Delft, between her walls, canals and ramparts He stayed here for 12 years until he was murdered in 1584 by Balthasar Gerards. The bullet holes of his gun still attract many visitors.
Alkmaar is a 45-minute journey from our capital. Alkmaar is a medium-sized city and has around 245,000 inhabitants. People from Alkmaar are also popularly called “cheese heads”. This of course has to do with the fact that the cheese market is located here. A cheese head is actually a cheese mold in which the (spherical) Edam cheese is pressed. The Alkmaar cheese market is a tradition that took place since the 18th century. Globaly 300 tons of cheese where traded here per market day.
Shopping is particularly nice in Alkmaar, because there are many specialty shops in the historic buildings of the picturesque shopping streets. A few years ago, Alkmaar was named as one of the best shopping cities in our country.
Wandering past the monuments you will be surprised at the beauty of the old center. In the historic city center there are a number of hidden courtyards that can be visited, Alkmaar has a number of museums that are worth visiting. The Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar in particular is highly recommended. In addition, Alkmaar owns canals, a theater and restaurants that provide relaxation. Think of a relaxed canal tour or a delicious lunch on a nice terrace.
A good way to spend your vacation in the Netherlands is by bicycle and boat. Eurosail travel organizes guided bike tours from Amsterdam throughout the Netherlands by boat. Spend a week on board a ship and cycle during daytime in a group with a guide, or independently. While you cycle, the boat sails to the next meeting place.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.