The best day trips from Amsterdam
Visiting the Netherlands and looking for some great Amsterdam day trips? Amsterdam has a ton to offer, but if you visit Amsterdam you’ve gotta see more than just the city! From Dutch windmills to tulip sightings, and cheese markets to canals, this list of the best day trips from Amsterdam and Amsterdam travel guide will surely fuel your wanderlust and give you a great reason to see what is beyond the city.
In this blog post you’ll find the best Amsterdam day trips that will give you loads of inspiration to explore beyond Amsterdam and see a side of the Netherlands most tourists don’t see.
Before you continue – are you still unsure of the difference between the Netherlands and Holland? If so, check out my post on who the Dutch are.
Looking for more great things to do in the Netherlands? Don’t miss these posts:
- What to do in the Hague, Netherlands
- Getting muddy with Dutch wadlopen
- Escape to the Dutch island of Texel
- Holland’s best Hidden Gems!
- Why you need to add Rotterdam to your Netherlands itinerary
- Visit the breathtaking Kasteel de Haar
Kristy from Tassie Devil Abroad
If you’ve seen those dreamy photos of the Dutch ‘town with no roads’ then you’ve seen photos of Giethoorn! Located in the province of Overijssel, it is the perfect place for a magical Amsterdam day trip or even a romantic overnight stay, making it one of the best day trips from Amsterdam. While Giethoorn does have some roads, the majority of this pretty little town is only accessible by foot or boat. Because there are so many canals, little bridges and boats, it is often called the “Venice of the Netherlands”. You’ll want to get there as early as you can to avoid the crowds and enjoy seeing the gorgeous cottages with thatched roofs and perfect gardens.
The best way to go is by car or you can take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to the town of Steenwijk, and then a short bus ride to the centre of Giethoorn. There are some small museums with the history of the area and lots of lovely cafes and restaurants lining the canals. Take a picnic or sit at a canal-side cafe to watch the swans, ducks and whisper-boats go by; bliss!
Zaanse Schans, an Amsterdam windmill tour
If you come to the Netherlands and don’t see a real windmill, can you really say you’ve been to the Netherlands? One of the best day trips from Amsterdam is the short jaunt over to the neighboring town of Zaandam, where you can visit the open air museum of the Zaanse Schans, best known for its iconic windmills.
At the Zaanse Schans you can see how windmills were (and in some cases still are) a part of every day life for Dutchies and how livelihoods are made from windmills. You can also tour a windmill and get your fix of Dutch charm wandering through this small quaint area where people are unbelievably still living. A visit to the Zaanse Schans is one of the best Amsterdam day trips, and the most iconic, and you’ll get that Amsterdam windmill tour you so desire!
Emily from Em Dashed
Do you love cheese? If so, Alkmaar is the perfect Amsterdam day trip for you! If you’ve heard anything about the Dutch city of Alkmaar before, it probably had something to do with cheese. Its world-famous cheese market is held in the Waagplein every Friday morning during the summer—though these days, it’s not so much an actual market as a recreation of one from days gone by. There’s also a dedicated cheese museum located inside the old weigh house (“waag” in Dutch).
Looking for something less, well, cheesy? Wander along the beautiful canals, go shopping on the narrow streets of the old city (“oude stad”), or visit one of the many stunning national heritage buildings—like the Sint Laurenskerk (St. Lawrence Church), or “het huis met de kogel,” which was struck by a cannonball during the 1573 siege of Alkmaar.
Need a break? Stop for a coffee at Kaldi or Anne & Max. Or take advantage of the city’s proximity to the coast and head to the nearby beaches at Egmond aan Zee or Bergen aan Zee.
Alkmaar is about 40-50 minutes from Amsterdam by car, or 35-40 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal Station by train, making it one of the best Amsterdam day trips.
Kathrine and Pam from Everywhere Forward
If you’re looking to experience the Dutch coast, visit the fishing village of Volendam! This adorable town makes for a great day trip from Amsterdam. If you want to see how authentic Dutch clogs and gouda cheeses are made, stop at Irene Hoeve on your way into Volendam. At Irene Hoeve, you can see a clog making demonstration and where the cheese is made! Irene Hoeve has been in operation for over 100 years, so it’s quite authentic! And of course, you can shop for some cheese and clogs!
Once in Volendam, you can visit the harbor and walk along the beautiful Markermeer Lake coast. As you walk, you can take in the traditional, colorful wooden houses and the views. Since you’re in a fishing town, try the herring and onions, a traditional seafood dish in Volendam. If you’re a fan of museums, you can visit the Volendam Museum to learn more about this fishing village’s history! Don’t miss Volendam as its one of the most iconic Amsterdam day trips.
If you’re looking for a fishing village that is a little less crowded than Volendam, head over to Marken – which you can conveniently combine with the Voldendam-Marken Express. Marken is another ideal day trip from Amsterdam that is even more cute and quaint than Volendam – if you can even imagine that is possible.
Visit a clog factory where you can watch clogs being made right before your eyes – the machine that shapes the clogs is actually very impressive (!), and wander around the two neighborhoods that comprise the tiny village of Marken – the Kerkbuurt and wharf.
Kasteel de Haar
Located only 30km outside of Amsterdam, Kasteel de Haar is a splendid recreated castle glittering with opulence. Although this castle doesn’t have any royal roots, it was far more luxurious than any royal castles that existed at the time it was built and hosted its lavish parties at the turn of the 20th century.
Visit Kasteel de Haar to find out how this castle attracted the elite of the silver screen and the who’s who from around the world who flocked to the castle to party and indulge and stay in some of its 200 rooms.
To visit Kasteel de Haar on a day trip from Amsterdam take the train to Vleuten, and from Vleuten take bus 111 to the castle. This beautiful castle makes for a wonderful Amsterdam day trip.
Visit the Keukenhof and Tulip Fields
If you are visiting Amsterdam anytime between mid-March and mid-May, you must see if the tulips are in bloom! The time to see the Dutch tulips in bloom is unfortunately fairly short, but seeing the iconic tulip fields with row after row of colorful tulip is one of the most “Dutch” experiences you can have.
There are two ways to check out the Dutch tulips on a day trip from Amsterdam. The first is to visit the famous Keukenhof Gardens – this is probably the most popular way to see the tulips and is the easiest way to see them. The Keukenhof Gardens are a bit expensive though, and here you’ll see tulip displays, not necessarily the rows of tulips you see in the surrounding areas on tulip farms.
If you’re interested in a self guided tulip tour, check out this post on how you can see tulips in Holland on a day trip from Amsterdam. When you visit, please be sure to refrain from getting an insta-pic of you frolicking through the tulip fields – the Dutch farmers don’t want anyone trespassing on their property!
To get a glimpse of a real medieval castle, head to Muiderslot Castle to take a step back in history. Muiderslot was built in 1280 and was used up until the 18th century.
The castle has served to enforce a toll on traders traveling on the Vecht River, it was used to host parties, and in the 18th century was used as a jail. Today, it is an ideal place to visit on a day trip from Amsterdam, especially if you have kids who have dreamt of what its like to be a medieval knight.
Tour the castle to see chainmail in real life, and stick around the town of Muiden afterward to soak in this quaint village. Muiderslot can be visited with the Amsterdam Tourist Ferry from Ijburg Marina, a short tram ride from Amsterdam Central Station, so it is a relatively easy Amsterdam day trip.
Bloemendaal & Zandvoort Beaches
If you’ve had enough of the historic and cultural sites, then a trip to the beach is the perfect Amsterdam Day Trip for you. If you’re visiting Amsterdam in the summer, you can’t miss a trip to a Dutch beach. Sure, the beaches aren’t exactly as rugged and gorgeous as in other countries, but what they lack in nature, they more than make up for in beach bars.
Bloemendaal and Zandvoort are beaches located just a short distance from Amsterdam, and even closer to Haarlem.
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.