21 amazing day trips from Amsterdam

Muiderslot Castle

Amsterdam is an incredible city of culture, charm and cosmopolitan energy. But many people explore only the city and then leave, before seeking out some of the incredible day trips from Amsterdam.

I truly think that a trip to Amsterdam isn’t complete without exploring some of the towns and cities nearby for an extra insight into Dutch (and Belgian!) life.

From quaint Dutch villages to historic cities, there is a wealth of culture to explore just a short distance from the capital city.

Whether you’re after scenic countryside or more urban spots, I’ve rounded up 21 of the best day trips from Amsterdam – based on my own personal experience and recommendations from fellow travellers.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Utrecht

Best for: Mediaeval city centre

Travel times:

  • By train: 26 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 45 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

Offering visitors an eclectic mix of immense history, culture, and modernity, Utrecht is a charming city just a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam.

I often feel like Utrecht is unfairly overlooked by tourists – this city has a lot to offer and is definitely a worthy day trip from Amsterdam.


One of the main attractions in Utrecht is the Dom Tower, which is the tallest church spire in the Netherlands.

You can climb just under 500 steps to reach the top of the tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city for your effort.

In the tower, you’ll also find a magnificent carillon – a musical instrument consisting of many bells.

The carillon is played regularly, and you can often hear the beautiful melodies of the Dom Tower throughout the city which I think must be a truly magical experience.

The mediaeval city centre is surrounded still to this day by a moat, with the impressive Dom Tower at its heart. 

Another famous landmark in Utrecht is the Rietveld Schröder House, designed by the famous Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld.

Now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, the house is a prime example of the De Stijl abstract art movement, founded in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. 

For your hit of culture, visit the Museum Catharijneconvent, dedicated to the history of Christianity in the Netherlands.

Housing a vast collection of religious art and artefacts, the museum itself is found in a beautiful mediaeval monastery.

2. Zaanse Schans

Best for: Traditional Dutch charm

Travel times:

  • By train: 17 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 22 minutes

Top tours to book:

A trip back in time, Zaanse Schans transports you to a fairytale world filled with colourful windmills.

This charming village is located merely 20 minutes from Amsterdam and is famous for its well-preserved historic windmills and traditional Dutch houses.

To get the most out of your visit, I’d recommend taking in the culture of the village by exploring the Zaanse Schans Museum.

Zaanse Schans

Offering a fascinating insight into its history, you’ll also discover the old crafting techniques used in the village and a range of artwork from the Zaan region. 

If you want to find out more about the iconic windmills of Zaanse Schans, you can take a guided tour of the windmills. Here you can see how they were used to grind flour, saw wood and pump water.

After your tour, stroll through the village and see the picturesque houses, many of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Traditional Dutch houses line the streets, with local cafés and restaurants dotted in between. 

I definitely suggest sampling some of the local delicacies, such as stroopwafels (syrup waffles) or poffertjes (mini pancakes), and wash them down with a refreshing Dutch beer or hot beverage – trust me, they really are amazing! 

You can also visit the local cheese factory and sample some of the delicious Gouda cheese that the region is famous all over the world for.

3. Volendam

Best for: Fishing town

Travel times:

  • By train (to Amsterdam Centraal) and bus: 36 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 26 minutes

Top tours to book:

A charming and picturesque day trip from Amsterdam, Volendam is a small fishing village. Just a short drive or bus ride away from the city, it’s an easy and convenient destination.

When you arrive in Volendam, you’ll immediately notice the colourful wooden houses and the bustling harbour.


I feel like this is a great place to take a stroll and soak up the atmosphere of the town.  You can watch the fishermen bring in their catch, or take a boat tour of the harbour to get a different perspective.

The Volendams Museum showcases the history and culture of the village between 1850 and 1950.

Here, you’ll find a permanent exhibition showing the traditional Volendam costume and historical interiors, and old photographs of Volendam life. 

You’ll even have the chance to try on a pair of wooden clogs!

Art-lovers, be sure to take a walk along the Edam-Volendam Art Route. This self-guided tour takes you through the village and beyond, showcasing the work of local artists. 

Of course, no visit to Volendam would be complete without sampling some of the delectable local seafood.

There are plenty of restaurants in the village which serve up fresh fish and other tasty seafood dishes.  So, if you’re a foodie like me, Volendam is the place to visit on a day trip from Amsterdam.

Insider travel tip: Be sure to try the smoked eel, which is a local speciality.

4. Keukenhof Gardens

Best for: Horticulturalists 

Travel times:

  • By bus: 1 hour
  • By car: 39 minutes

Top tours to book:


For a day trip from Amsterdam that’s sure to delight your senses, a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens is a must.

Located around 40 minutes drive from Amsterdam, the Keukenhof Gardens are one of the largest flower gardens in the world.

They boast over seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths – I’ve never seen as many gorgeous flowers in my life! Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a sea of vibrant colours and intoxicating fragrances.

Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, admiring the meticulously arranged flower beds and stunning sculptures. 

It’s no secret that the Netherlands are known globally for their stunning tulips, but don’t discount the other flowers you’ll find here.

The array of spring-flowering bulbs display the very best of Dutch horticulture. 

5. Rotterdam

Best for: Modern architecture

Travel times:

  • By train: 39 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 1 hour 5 minutes

Top tours to book:

A port city that’s filled with modern architecture, Rotterdam is known for its innovative design and impressively distinct skyline.

In my opinion, the Markthal is a must-see market hall, with a striking and intriguing curved design and colourful murals.

You can also visit the Cube Houses, which are a series of unique homes, set at a 45-degree angle.


For a more traditional experience in Rotterdam, take some time to visit the historic Delfshaven neighbourhood.

This charming area has a real old-world feel which I love, with narrow streets to wander through and picturesque canals. 

You can also visit the Pilgrim Fathers’ Church, which is where the Pilgrims who sailed to America from England in the 17th century worshipped before their journey.

Be sure to visit the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to get your fill of incredible art and culture.

This museum has an impressive collection of art from the Middle Ages to the present day.

It features works by famous artists such as Salvador Dalí, Vincent van Gogh, and Rembrandt.

Good to know: Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, so expect a bustling atmosphere with plenty of people about.

6. The Hague

Best for: Beach trips

Travel times:

  • By train: 48 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 1 hour

Top tours to book:

Mixing history, culture, and beach vibes, The Hague is a great option for a day trip from Amsterdam

As the seat of the Dutch government and home to the International Court of Justice, The Hague is a city steeped in history and politics. 

Pay a visit to the Binnenhof, a 13th-century Gothic castle that houses the Dutch parliament.

The Hague

It provides the perfect opportunity to learn about the building’s rich history and the role it has played in Dutch politics over the centuries.

Afterwards, I recommend heading to the nearby Mauritshuis museum to see some of the finest works of Dutch art on display.

These include Vermeer’s iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp”. 

The museum is small enough to explore in a few hours, but the quality of the art on display is truly world-class and something to remember.

If you’re hoping to get some fresh air and crave a change of scenery, head to Scheveningen, The Hague’s popular beach resort. 

Here, you can take a refreshing dip in the North Sea, play some beach volleyball, stroll along the pier, or sample some fresh seafood at one of the many cosy beachfront restaurants.

7. Giethoorn

Best for: Fairytale village

Travel times:

  • By car: 1 hour 30 minutes

Top tours to book:

A peaceful and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, Giethoorn is a mostly car-free village in the Netherlands.


Located in the Overijssel province, Giethoorn is affectionately known as the “Venice of the Netherlands” due to its many canals and bridges. 

You can spend hours exploring the village by boat or on foot, admiring the thatched-roof houses and beautiful gardens.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the De Wieden National Park which borders the village.

Here you’ll discover a variety of intriguing flora and fauna, as well as some peaceful walks.

If you want to stay active on your trip, there are plenty of opportunities for cycling, hiking, and kayaking in the area.

8. Gouda

Best for: Gothic architecture

Travel times:

  • By train: 49 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 1 hour

Top tours and activities to book:

Located less than an hour from Amsterdam, the charming town of Gouda is famous for its cheese, but it has much more to offer than just dairy products.

Gouda’s historic city centre is filled with beautiful buildings and quaint streets that I could easily just get lost in.


You can take a stroll through the Markt – the main square – and admire the Gothic-style town hall and the 15th-century Weigh House. 

The Markt is also the site of Gouda’s weekly cheese market, which takes place every Thursday from April to September – it would be rude not to! 

St. Janskerk is an incredible Gothic church that dates back to the 15th century.

It’s known for its beautiful stained glass windows, which are some of the largest in the world. You can climb the church tower for a panoramic view of the city.

If you’re a cheese enthusiast like me, you won’t want to miss the Gouda Cheese Museum, where you can learn about the history of Gouda cheese and see how it’s made. 

You can also sample some of the delectable local cheese at one of the many cheese shops in town.

9. Bruges, Belgium

Best for: Budding chocolatiers

Travel times:

  • By train: 2 hours 46 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 3 hours 10 minutes

Top tours to book:

If you’re looking for a charming and picturesque day trip from Amsterdam and to tick another country off your bucket list, Bruges in Belgium is an excellent option. 

A mediaeval city known for its well-preserved architecture, canals, and chocolate shops, Bruges is easily accessible from Amsterdam by both train and car.

Take a stroll around the historic city centre of Bruges that is surrounded by beautiful buildings, including the Belfry Tower – one of the trio of iconic towers in the city. 

You can climb the tower for panoramic views of the city from above – just keep in mind it’s 366 steps to the top.

Belgian chocolate is famous around the world, and I believe that Bruges truly has some of the best chocolate shops in the country.

Beautiful Bruges

Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bruges is to indulge your sweet side in a chocolate making workshop.  

Another of my highlights in Bruges is its maze of canals. You can take a boat tour to explore the city from a different perspective, and save your legs from walking. 

When it comes to gastronomy in the city, you certainly aren’t short of options.

With a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants in Bruges, you can enjoy the best cuisine the city has to offer.

If you want to extend your stay beyond a day trip, take a look at my roundup of the best luxury hotels in Bruges.

10. Kinderdijk

Best for: Iconic windmills

Travel times:

  • By train and bus: 1 hour 43 minutes
  • By car: 1 hour 20 minutes

Top tour to book:

Located just 15 miles southeast of Rotterdam, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 19 windmills that have been standing since the 18th century.


The monumental windmills are the star of the show in Kinderdijk, but don’t overlook the epic history behind them. 

The story of Kinderdijk is inseparable from the Dutch fight against water, with the mills, canals and pumping stations keeping the village from flooding. 

Make sure you take the time to get up close and personal to the windmills to appreciate their magnitude.

There are several walking and cycling routes that will take you through the picturesque landscape.

You can also take a boat tour of the area, which I think offers a unique waterside perspective.

11. Marken

Best for: Island trip

Travel times:

  • By train (to Amsterdam Centraal) and bus: 58 minutes 
  • By car: 28 minutes

Top tours to book:

A charming day trip from Amsterdam, the quaint village of Marken is located just 30 minutes away from Amsterdam and offers a glimpse into traditional Dutch life.

To get to Marken, you can take a ferry from Amsterdam Central Station.


Once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by postcard-perfect views of colourful wooden houses and winding canals. 

I think one of the main attractions in Marken has to be the steam engine powered wooden shoe factory.

Here, you can see how traditional Dutch clogs are made in regular demonstrations and even try on a pair for yourself. 

Another must-see is the lighthouse, which offers incredible views of the coast and sea.

It provides a real sense of Marken’s former island status – before it was connected to the mainland.

History buffs, the Marker Museum is for you. Found in what were six historical houses, I think this museum really showcases the history and culture of the island and its people. 

Good to know: The village is predominantly car-free, so it’s best to explore on foot or rent a bike to see more of the island.

12. Delft

Best for: Keen potters

Travel times:

  • By train: 55 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 55 minutes

Top tours to book:

Where traditional Dutch charm meets immense history, Delft is a small city famous for its gorgeous blue and white ceramics.

The Markt is the heart of the city, and it’s where you’ll find the striking Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the historic City Hall.


You can climb the immense gothic tower of the Nieuwe Kerk for sprawling views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

Delft is also home to the Royal Delft Factory, where you can see for yourself how the famous blue and white ceramics are made. 

The factory has been producing exquisite pottery since the 17th century.

You can learn about the history of the craft and I’d really recommend staying and watching the skilled artisans at work creating their next piece.

Art lovers, don’t miss the Vermeer Centrum Delft – a museum dedicated to the life and work of Johannes Vermeer, one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17th century. 

Here, you can see reproductions of his paintings and learn about his techniques and influences, as well as view artwork by other established and up-and-coming artists.

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

13. Haarlem

Best for: Tulip fields

Travel times:

  • By train: 15 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 33 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

For a day trip from Amsterdam that’s both charming and historic, Haarlem is just a 15 minute train ride from the city, which I think makes it one of the easiest and most convenient choices for a day trip.

The Grote Markt in Haarlem is a beautiful and bustling square that’s surrounded by historic buildings and home to the weekly market. 


Housing an impressive collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings, the Frans Hals Museum is a must-see in Haarlem. 

Named after the Dutch painter Frans Hals, known for his lively and colourful portraits, this museum showcases an eclectic mix of modern and historic art.

If you’re keen to learn more about the history of Haarlem, I’d recommend you stop off at the Teylers Museum – a centre for contemporary art and science and the oldest museum in the Netherlands.

The tulip fields close to Haarlem are a real crowd-pleaser and perfect for snapping that postcard-perfect shot.

Situated between Haarlem, Amsterdam, Leiden and The Hague is the Bollenstreek, an area filled with many blooming fields of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. 

14. Brussels, Belgium

Best for: A miniature world

Travel times:

  • By train: 1 hour 53 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 2 hours 38 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

The Belgian capital is only a two hour train ride away from Amsterdam and is known for its incredible architecture, delicious food, and rich history.

Be sure to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Grand Place, which features awe-inspiring Gothic and Baroque architecture.

Brussels Architecture

The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, including the Town Hall, the Breadhouse, and the Guildhalls. It’s a great place to take a stroll and admire the architecture.

Another must-visit attraction in Brussels is the Atomium, a giant steel structure that was built for the 1958 World Expo. 

Now an international symbol of Brussels, the Atomium offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. You can even take a tour of the interior to learn more about its history.

Unleash your inner child with a trip to Mini Europe, a unique miniature world that details Europe’s past and present – from the fall of the Berlin wall to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. 

Brussels Belgium

If you’re a foodie like I am –  especially one with a sweet tooth – you’ll love Brussels’ famous cuisine.

Indulge in moules-frites, waffles, and mouth-watering Belgian chocolate. 

Are you struggling to decide which of the Belgian cities are worth a day trip from Amsterdam?

I’ve broken down what to expect from each to help you decide between Brussels or Bruges, but if you have time, I’d really recommend giving both a visit. 

If you do choose to extend your day trip and see Bruges too, take a look at my pick of the best luxury hotels in Brussels.

15. Edam

Best for: Cheese lovers

Travel times:

  • By train (to Amsterdam Centraal) and bus: 44 minutes (book here)
  • By car: 28 minutes

Top tours to book:

This picturesque town is located less than half an hour’s drive from Amsterdam and is known for its eponymous cheese, canals, and historic buildings.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the main attractions in Edam is the Edam Cheese Market, which takes place every Wednesday morning from May to September. 


Here, you can watch as farmers and traders negotiate the price of Edam cheese, which is still made using traditional methods, and purchase some authentic Edam for yourself. 

For an insight into the cheesemaking history of the region, I’d visit the Edams Museum.

Housed in a beautiful 18th-century building and exhibiting the rich history of Edam, this museum is not just for the history buffs among us.

To take in your beautiful surroundings at a slower pace, you could take a leisurely boat ride through Edam’s winding canals and enjoy the scenery from a different perspective.

When it comes to food and drink, Edam has plenty of options to excite your taste buds.

Of course, you can sample some of the town’s famous cheese, but there are also plenty of cafés and restaurants that serve traditional Dutch cuisine like stamppot and bitterballen.

16. Muiderslot Castle

Best for: Mediaeval fortress

Opening times:

  • April to October: Daily, 10:00 – 17:00
  • November to March: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00

Travel times:

  • By train (to Weesp) and bus: 58 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 22 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

Located just 15 miles southeast of Amsterdam, this mediaeval fortress is one of the best-preserved castles in the Netherlands, and I think it’s a real glimpse into times gone by.

Muiderslot Castle

Built in the 14th century, Muiderslot Castle served as a strategic stronghold and a residence for several prominent Dutch figures.

This includes the poet and playwright Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft.

Today, the castle has opened its doors to allow visitors to explore its many rooms, towers, and gardens.

One of the things I love the most about Muiderslot Castle is its impressive collection of antique furniture, paintings, and weapons.

The castle also features a fascinating exhibition that showcases the history of the Dutch Golden Age and the life of Hooft.

Good to know: If you are travelling with little ones, Muiderslot Castle offers various activities and workshops for kids, including an audio tour for children.  

Children can also discover the castle by completing the children’s quest and completing the assignments. 

17. Leiden

Best for: Off the beaten path

Travel times:

  • By train: 35 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 40 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

A little off the beaten path and just over a half hour’s train journey away, Leiden is a great day trip from Amsterdam.

What I really love is that this charming university town is full of history and life.


A popular attraction with both locals and tourists, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) is where you’ll find exhibits on everything from ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire. 

The museum also features a collection of fascinating artefacts from across the Netherlands, including prehistoric objects and mediaeval art.

If you want to immerse yourself with thousands of plant species from all over the globe, a butterfly house and a collection of tropical plants, head to Hortus Botanicus.

It’s one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.

History lovers, I’d recommend taking a visit the Pieterskerk, a stunning Gothic church that dates back to the 14th century.

Plus, stroll through the charming old town that’s filled with historic architecture and picturesque canals.

18. Oudewater

Best for: Witchy history

Travel times:

  • By train (to Woerden) and bus: 1 hour 8 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 50 minutes

Top tour to book:

A small town in the province of Utrecht, Oudewater is a wonderful day trip from Amsterdam, taking less than an hour to travel by car.

One of the main attractions in Oudewater is the Heksenwaag, known locally as the “Witches’ Weighhouse.”


It’s a museum dedicated to the history of the persecution of witches and it makes for a fascinating experience.

This historic building was used during the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries when someone was accused of witchcraft.

Today, you can learn about the history of the witch hunts and even weigh yourself on the original scales used in the trials – I’m not sure I’d want the verdict!

Providing a fascinating insight into the history of witchcraft and the witch hunts in the Netherlands, the Museum de Heksenwaag exhibits original documents, artefacts, and interactive displays.

In addition to the Heksenwaag, Oudewater is also home to several beautiful churches and historic buildings.

The town’s picturesque streets and canals make it a perfect destination for a leisurely stroll and a few moments of peace.

19. Antwerp, Belgium

Best for: People watching

Travel times:

  • By train: 1 hour 15 (book now)
  • By car: 2 hours 10 minutes

Top tours to book:

A vibrant city in Belgium that takes just an hour and a quarter on the train from Amsterdam, Antwerp is known for its rich history, enchanting architecture, and excellent foodie scene. 

One of the tallest churches in the world and home to several works of art, the Cathedral of Our Lady is a must-see stunning Gothic cathedral that dates back to the 14th century.

Antwerp Belgium City

Make sure to climb the tower for breathtaking views of the city – but be prepared for a fair climb!

The Grote Markt is the central square of Antwerp that is surrounded by beautiful guildhalls and the City Hall.

It is a great place to do some good old people-watching while soaking up the atmosphere of the city. – what more could you want? 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the oldest printing press in the world, the Plantin-Moretus Museum is a fascinating museum that showcases the history of printing and bookbinding. 

Here, you can also see iconic original works by famous artists such as Rubens and Rembrandt.

For a quieter stroll, the River Scheldt runs through Antwerp, and you can see the iconic Antwerp skyline and watch the boats go by.

There are also several bars and restaurants along the river where you can enjoy a drink or a meal.

20. Nijmegen

Best for: Rich cultural history

Travel times:

  • By train: 1 hour 23 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 1 hour 25 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

For a day trip from Amsterdam that combines history and modernity, Nijmegen is an excellent choice.


The oldest city in the country with a rich cultural heritage, it’s no surprise why Nijmegen draws visitors from near and far.

Located in a 12th-century castle, the Valkhof Museum has a wide range of exhibits covering the history of the city and the surrounding area.

Offering simply breathtaking views over the city from its famous tower, St. Stephen’s Church is an impressive gothic church and one of the most iconic landmarks in Nijmegen.

For a peaceful ambiance, I recommend visiingt Hortus Nijmegen, a botanical garden in the heart of the city, with a wide range of blooms from all over the world.

You won’t be short of wonderful places to eat in Nijmegen, as the city has a thriving food scene where you can discover the taste of Dutch cuisine.

21. Arnhem

Best for: Military history

Travel times:

  • By train: 1 hour 4 minutes (book now)
  • By car: 1 hour 15 minutes

Top tours and activities to book:

Located just over an hour by train from Amsterdam, this city in the eastern Netherlands is known for its role in World War II and its beautiful parks.


The Airborne Museum is dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem of September 1944.

It’s located in the historic Hartenstein Hotel, which served as the headquarters for British forces during the battle. 

Inside, you’ll find exhibits that tell the story of the battle and its aftermath, as well as displays of military equipment and personal items from soldiers who fought in the battle.

Another my must-see attractions in Arnhem – especially if you’re visiting the city with children – is the Burgers’ Zoo.

Here you’ll find a wide variety of animals, as well as a large aquarium and a butterfly garden.

If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors, Arnhem has several beautiful parks to explore, with plenty of spots for picnics and walks.

You’ll find winding paths, ponds, and sculptures, as well as expansive heathlands, forests, and sand dunes.

Discover more of my Amsterdam content:

Planning a trip to the Netherlands capital? Watch my Amsterdam vlog or discover my Amsterdam guides:

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

20 Michelin-Star Restaurants in Amsterdam 20 Best Luxury Hotels in Amsterdam 21 of the Best Things to do in Amsterdam 15 Unforgettable Museums in Amsterdam