Best Day Trips from Amsterdam – Day Trips in The Netherlands & Belgium

Amsterdam is an exciting place to visit with museums, architecture, canal trips, beer and food, but sometimes you want to explore a bit further afield. How about a day trip from Amsterdam to see the tulips in Keukenhof, or to visit the seaside at the Hague. Maybe you would like to see windmills, explore Rotterdam, or even go to Belgium and visit Brussels or Ghent?

Thanks to some recommendations from fellow travel bloggers, all these day trips and more are detailed below for you:

This article refers to a visit or visits made before the travel restrictions put in place to deal with the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak around the world. Please take into account the advice from your local government before planning any travel and click here to see the current UK government advice regarding Covid-19

Perfect Day Trips from Amsterdam in Holland

The Hague – day trip from Amsterdam to the seaside

Recommended by Samantha from Sam Sees World

A day trip to the beach at The Hague

The Hague is an exciting city in the Netherlands that is full of unexpected sights and interesting surprises. The city itself is known as a place of diplomacy and international affairs. In the core of The Hague, you will find Dutch parliament buildings, embassies, and even the U.N.’s International court of justice. However, there is more to this city than this which makes it the perfect day trip from Amsterdam.

To get to the Hague you need to take a train from Amsterdam central to The Hague central. Trains run very often and the whole journey takes only around one hour. Once you arrive you have a ton of different things you can do!

One of the best things to do here is to visit the stunning Scheveningen beach which is a vast sandy beach that is full of people in the warm months. Or you can venture to Madurodam which is a unique park full of miniature Dutch cities and monuments. More so, the city is also very beautiful and well worth a walk around.

In the city and along the beachfront you will find various restaurants and cafes that are perfect for stopping in for a bite to eat. The Hague is a day trip that is well worth it and will keep you entertained from beginning to end. 

Keukenhof – day trip from Amsterdam to see tulips

Recommended by Jonathan from Journey Maxx 

The amazing tulips at Keukenhof

The Netherlands in Spring can mean one thing to many of us. Tulips, very much a national symbol of the nation. Come the month of April and you will see these delightful colourful bulbs around many gardens across the world but it is here in the Lowlands that they are most celebrated. 

I am always impartial to a stroll around many a large park or garden any time of year. An escape into a series of immaculately trimmed hedges accompanied by a cornucopia of colours in bloom. But there is one place that is possibly the most essential visit of them all.

Open annually between mid-March and mid-May, the Keukenhof Gardens near the old university city of Leiden are an undisputed bucket list item for any horticulturalists. As Spring blooms and peak tulip season arrives, so too will the crowds. But such is the grand scale of the gardens that you can find plenty of quiet spots.

Around 7 million bulbs are plenty here during the close season covering over 32 hectares. Yet although the glorious tulips steal the show you will be surrounded by plenty of daffodils, orchids, carnations, roses and hyacinths too. Various corners of the gardens represent different themed gardens too such as a Japanese style.

If you want a particular time to visit Keukenhof and see as many different flowers at their finest I would go for the second or third week of April. By then all of the tulips will have bloomed fully and the daffodils should still be in full shape, as from experience they seem to be the first to wilt away.

The best way to visit from Amsterdam would be by bus, particularly the Keukenhof Express. Sometimes it goes direct from Amsterdam but if not then it involves one simple change at Schipol Airport.”

Edam

Recommended by Laura from Laura No Está

If you are visiting Amsterdam you can’t miss exploring Edam, one of the most typical cities of the region. Maybe the name already sounds familiar to you, that’s because Edam is worldwide known for its cheese.

Edam is perfect for a day trip because it’s just half an hour away from Amsterdam Central Station. You can go there by bus, simply take the 314 bus at the bus station on the second floor of Amsterdam Centraal.

Once in Edam, there are some places you have to explore. First, go to the Grote Kerk or Sint Nicolaaskerk, this massive church was built in the 16 century and has a small cafe inside. After that, you can make a stop in the most famous spot in Edam: the cheese market! Be aware that it’s only open on Wednesday.

Edam is a small city so the best way to get to know the beauty of it is to wander around the cobbled streets and the charming canals. 

If you fancy some lunch, there’s a nice restaurant called Restaurant de Fortuna in the city centre. In case you want to expend some more time in Edam, or to take the weekend to explore neighbouring cities like Volendam and Marken, you can sleep in this beautiful Bed & Breakfast, with a lovely view of the canal.

Maastricht

Recommended by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker

At the southern terminus of the Netherlands is a medium-sized city that has lived a whole different life from the rest of the country. Maastricht is an incredibly old and beautiful city that’s worth the visit for anyone that wants to see – and hear – the regional differences.

Today, Maastricht has a wholesome mix of activities for the affluent and as well as for its lively international student community. For a cheap and possibly vegan/vegetarian bite, go to Cato by Cato. For meals based on the (meaty) Limburgish cuisine, enjoy a dinner at an upscale restaurant at the Markt and order zuurvlees/zoervleis. Between spring and autumn, it’s possible to go up the Sint Janskerk tower for the views and into the caves for the thrill. On a cold or rainy day, pick a museum like the Bonnenfantenmuseum on the east side of the river.

Getting to Maastricht and back to Amsterdam within a day isn’t for the bad planners and the ones that like to sleep in. It’s a train journey of 2 hours and 34 minutes each way with a transfer at Eindhoven. It’s imperative to hop on early to still have time to see and do things. Alternatively, take the high ground and book a night in town. You can get an OV-bike rental for €3.85 at the train station, or you can do it on foot. Make sure to wear flat shoes with thick soles, as most of the city is cobbled. 

Haarlem – Netherlands

Recommended by Lisa from FlipFlopGlobetrotters

One of the easiest day trips you can do from Amsterdam is a visit to Haarlem. There’s a direct train connection and the train ride from Amsterdam Central Station to Haarlem is only about 20 minutes. Haarlem is a lively city with a rich history and perfect if you want to discover the real Dutch culture. Called a ‘tiny jewel of a city’ by the New York Times, Haarlem has plenty to offer. Like Amsterdam, Haarlem also has an interesting history, canals and lovely historic architecture, but without the crazy amount of tourists. 

In the summer one of our favourite activities is to rent a boat and cruise around the Spaarne river that crosses the city. Renting a bike is also a fun way to discover this wonderful city and surrounding areas. Why not ride your bike to the dunes and the sea at Zandvoort? If you’re on a budget, there are also plenty of free things to do in Haarlem.

Named the Netherland’s best shopping city numerous years in a row, Haarlem has an excellent selection of shops ranging from the large chains to quirky boutiques. Culture-wise Haarlem also has a lot to offer. You’ll find contemporary art at De Hallen, the Dutch Masters of the Golden Age at the Frans Hals Museum and all kinds of weird and wonderful at 18th-century Teylers Museum. If you’re into history, don’t miss the Grote Kerk, a late Gothic cross-basilica, at Haarlem’s central square Grote Markt. We also recommend the ‘Hofjeswandeling’ to learn more about Haarlem’s history

READ MORE: De Adriaan Windmill, Haarlem

Rotterdam

Recommended by Heather from RaulersonGirlsTravel

If you are looking to escape the crowded canals and streets of Amsterdam, consider taking a day trip to Rotterdam. There are several ways to get to Rotterdam. Some of the cheapest are the train (little over an hour.) and bus (almost 2 hours) which makes it very economical and quick to get there. 

Once you arrive at the Central Station, you have a variety of things to see. You can stroll along the harbor to see the fishing and houseboats, walk around the town and marvel at the amazing collection of architecture, go up the Euromast Tower, wander through the museums, munch on amazing delicacies in the Markthal, go on a self-guided tour of beautiful street art, and take hundreds of photos of this wonderful and welcoming city. The Dutch food is delicious and you have to try a few of them like the Stroopwafel, Poffertjes, and Kibbeling. And don’t forget to look up to see the murals at the Markthal. 

If you want to stay longer to explore deeper there are plenty of hotels and hostels for you to choose from. Do you want to stay in a truly unique place? Check out Culturel Campsite which has sustainable city camping in a fun and creative way. Oh, and if you do stay longer, consider taking a boat ride to Kinderdijk to see windmills up close. Rotterdam is a special town that has so much to offer visitors that you just might want to stay longer than one day.

Kinderdijk Windmill

Recommended by Chloe & Michael from Nomad And In Love

The Kinderdijk Windmills is a must-see attraction when travelling to the Netherlands. You won’t find another windmill complex like it anywhere else in the world. That’s why it’s the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in Holland.

You can easily get to Kinderdijk from Amsterdam taking public transport via Rotterdam or Utrecht. We recommend taking the Rotterdam route if you love vibrant street art and bold architecture. You can take either the train or bus to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. From Rotterdam, you can take the bus, ferry or even rent a bike and cycle to Kinderdijk.

The traditional Dutch windmills are the obvious highlights of Kinderdijk. But there are plenty of other exciting things to do as well, especially if you love the great outdoors. The best way to see Kinderdijk is by cycling. That way you can easily explore the entire Kinderdijk area and its surrounds at your own pace. Otherwise walking and taking a boat cruise along the dike is another great option.

Bird watching and landscape photography are also popular activities to do in Kinderdijk. And of course, your visit to Kinderdijk is not complete without exploring the two windmill museums.

When you’ve worked up a good appetite, there are a few restaurants to try in the area. The closest one will be next to the Kinderdijk visitors’ centre. Otherwise you can bring your own food and enjoy a picnic instead.

There are some B&B options if you want to stay the night. For more accommodation options, we’d recommend staying the night in Rotterdam instead. That way you can explore another beautiful Dutch city as well.

Find out more on this detailed Kinderdijk Windmills guide

A day trip from Amsterdam to Utrecht

Recommended by Amy from Amy Guides

Oudegracht (“old canal”) which runs through the centre of Utrecht

Looking for a serene, gloriously scenic day trip away from the frenetic atmosphere of Amsterdam? Terrific news! Utrecht, Netherlands is a mere 44 km/27 miles away, and is easy to reach by car, taxi, train or bus. If you’ll be in The Netherlands for three days plus and prefer clean, safe, stress-free, reliable public transport, buy a reloadable OV-chip card at any NS service location. The gorgeous atmosphere of Utrecht is enough to entice casual visitors and wanderlusters alike. Picturesque bridges and cobblestone streets line the Oudegracht (“old canal”), which runs through the city center. Take a picnic, rent a canal boat or simply buy a canal tour ticket with Schuttevaer Boat Cruise, located near Neude on the Oudegracht to soak in the canal life. 

Food lovers adore the rich food scene in The Netherlands’ fourth largest city. Locals frequent BUNK, Balijepark (outside of the city center, and well worth a visit), Metro City Kitchen, Beers and Barrels, and OLI MAZÍ-The Greek Shared Dining experience. If you’re keen on vegan cuisine, head to Wittevrouwenstraat and check out Lucas, Gys or Pampalini Lunchroom. Dogma Hotdogbar and ANAN Saigon Streetfood also have tasty vegan and vegetarian options. For top-notch coffee and cakes, meander into KEEK, The Village Coffee & Music or Ohøj Coffee Roasting to get your cuppa and treats.  

If you plan to stay in Utrecht, there are high-quality, reasonably-priced accommodations in the City Centre, including Court Hotel City Centre Utrecht (4 stars), Inntel Hotels Utrecht Centre (4 stars), Apollo Hotel Utrecht City Center (4 stars), Hotel NH Utecht Center (3 stars), and Stayokay Utrecht City Center (2 stars). 

Amersfoort

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Amersfoort is a small city that is located about 35 minutes by train from Amsterdam. It is full of history and charming houses as well as canals with cafes and restaurants lined up along the sides. Additionally, it’s also a big railway junction in the Netherlands with connections to all over the country from east to west and north to south. 

The city was founded in 1259 and still today, you can see several old houses as well as the iconic Koppelpoort, which is a land and water gate. Another iconic gate is the Monnikendam. Amersfoort is also home to the tallest medieval church in the Netherlands, with a total height of the church towers at 95 meters (322 ft). The church itself was actually built at the very center of the country, and was used for the Dutch grid system.

The best way to get to Amersfoort is by train, which depart frequently from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. What makes it really worth visiting is the fact that it’s a lesser-known city that is easy to reach and full of charming places and buildings. It’s a great day trip to make from Amsterdam that can be combined with other nearby cities as well.

Helmond

Recommended by Clemens from Travellers Archive

Imagine a life beyond the canals of Amsterdam. Imagine streets, that are empty and where you can actually cycle. And imagine a little alley along the canal which is full of bars and restaurants with terraces facing the water. Well, you might have just arrived in the cute little town Helmond, which is located in the region Brabant and just a quick drive from Eindhoven.

Helmond has once been an industrial city with lots of factories and big businesses exporting goods to the entire world. Today, one of the former factories has been reformed into an amazing building with art galleries, a cinema and a cosy restaurant – and this is exactly how you can imagine Helmond. It is small, it is romantic and it is full of little surprises that you might have not expected. In the centre of the city, you’ll find a city castle which is not only perfect for kids as it is super interactive, but also great to hear a little about the history of this area of the Netherlands. 

The day here can be best spent on the bike. Cycle along the canals, have some ice cream and explore the surrounding park. Also, you can visit the neighbouring town Brandevoort which looks a little as if it was taken out of the Truman Show.

Above all, Helmond and its surrounding areas are a great place to get a glimpse of Dutch daily life off the known cities, such as Amsterdam.

Den Bosch

Recommended by Daniela from Ipanema Travels

‘s-Hertogenbosch, or Den Bosch for short, is an easy day trip from Amsterdam. Located in the southern province of North-Brabant, Den-Bosch is a laid-back city which is great for sightseeing, dining and why not even shopping. There are direct train connections from Amsterdam Centraal and Schiphol and it takes respectively an hour and a bit more than an hour to reach Den Bosch. Driving from Amsterdam to Den Bosch is also an hour.

The most remarkable highlight of Den Bosch is the Sint-Jan (Saint-John’s Cathedral). Built in the 14th-16th centuries, Sint-Jan dominates the Parade. The Parade Square is the cultural hub of the city, with numerous events organized throughout the year and the city theatre of the same name located on one side. There also plenty of cafés and pubs on the square.

If you are interested into museums, Den Bosch won’t disappoint you. The Noordbrabants Museum has a nice collection of Dutch artists, including a few Van Goghs, the Design Museum hosts various hipster exhibitions and the Jheronimos Bosch Art Center has a collection of reproductions of all works of the most famous medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.

The most unique thing to do in Den Bosch is to take a boat trip through the old sewerage system of the city (the so-called Binnendieze). 

If you love going out, Den Bosch has lots of lovely restaurants and cafés. The two streets Korte Putstraatand the Uilenburg are the buzzing heart of the city. When in Den Bosch, you should try the famous Bossche Bol (a giant chocolate covered profiterole filled in with whipped cream). The original one can be found at the bakery of Jan de Groot near the train station. There are also a few cafés that serve them as well.

Day Trips from Amsterdam to Belgium

Sometimes it is nice to go a little further afield on your day trip. How about a day trip from Amsterdam to Belgium? With Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent and other cities accessible by train from Amsterdam, it makes the perfect day out. Start your journey early to maximise your time.

A day trip to Brussels from Amsterdam

Recommended by Larch from The Silver Nomad

The Atomium in Brussels

The capital of Belgium, Brussels is about a 2-hour train ride from Amsterdam. Pick up a Brussels Card and have free entrance to 41 museums and discounts in a variety of attractions, restaurants and bars.

Head for the UNESCO Broodhuis (Bread House) in the Grand Place and explore the Brussels City Museum. Search out the murals of Tintin, Asterix and other cartoon characters around the streets. Visit the famous Manneken-Pis fountain, 17th-century statue of a naked boy peeing which, on special occasions is dressed up in one of the 800 different costumes in his wardrobe. In Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat, there is a modern statue, Jeanneke Pis, of a small girl peeing.

You are spoilt for choice with museums dedicated to fine arts, natural history, the artist Magritte, comics and even chocolate.

While we are on the subject of chocolate, you can indulge yourself in the finest Belgian chocolate and there are number of specialist stores selling chocolate including La Belgique Gourmande, Bruyerre and the beautiful Elisabeth shops. You may come back from Brussels slightly heavier!

A little way out of Brussels is The Atomium, a magnificent building made up of metal balls in the shape of atomic particles. Standing at 102 metres high, it was built for the 1958 World’s Fair and was not intended to be permanent. It reopened in 2006 as a cultural and tourist attraction.

Finish off your day in Brussels with a plate of moules et frites washed down with a lovely Belgian beer.

A day trip to Ghent from Amsterdam

Recommended by Larch from The Silver Nomad

The beautiful medieval banks of the River Leie

For around €36 you can take the 2 and a half-hour train from Amsterdam to the charming city of Ghent. With soaring steeples, canals and lovely windy alleyways, not to mention a castle, Ghent is the ideal day trip from Amsterdam.

Take a stroll to Sint-Michielsbrug (St. Michael’s Bridge) for picturesque views over the Leie river and down to the beautiful medieval Graslei (Grass Quay) and Korenlei (Corn Quay).

Not far from here is the Gravensteen (Castle of the Count) where the Counts of Flanders lived for over 200 years. The castle built in the 12th Century and looks as if it comes from the pages of a fairytale with its towers and moat.

For impressive architecture and amazing views over the city visit St. Bavo’s Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal) or climb the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ghent Belfry (Belfort) for 360 degrees over Ghent and the iconic Saint Nicholas’ church.

The lanes and streets of Ghent are full of beautiful medieval buildings and interesting little places like the Vrijdagmarkt, House of Alijn which used to be an alms house, but now is a museum of Ghent or the streets of Patershol.

You can’t visit Belgium without tasting one of their divine waffles, topped with cream, chocolate sauce and strawberries, or maybe a glass or two of Belgian Beer is more your thing?

To round your day trip to Ghent off, why not take a trip down the canals with a canal trip. The guides will give you an insight into the history of the city.


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4 thoughts on “Best Day Trips from Amsterdam – Day Trips in The Netherlands & Belgium

  1.  These day trips can enrich you with the heritage, culture, art, rural life, and many more attractions of the Netherlands. 

    1. Thank you Hiago, I am glad you think so.

  2. I want to see more of the Netherlands so this is perfect thank you!

    1. Fantastic Kariss, hope you get there soon!

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