Thinking about taking a day trip from Amsterdam? Wat leuk! (How nice!) There is heaps to see in the Dutch capital, but you can discover even more outside of the city.
Picking what to do and see in a short time can be confusing and complicated — but we have some top travel recommendations, no matter what you want to see!
Here are 19 of the best day trips you can take from Amsterdam — sorted by distance. 😉
- Day trips less than 30-minutes from Amsterdam
- Day trips less than one hour from Amsterdam
- 6. Hoorn: the pearl of the IJsselmeer
- 7. Leiden: the city of arts and sciences
- 8. Utrecht: the very centre of the Dutch mainland
- 9. Rotterdam: a city with an unmatched skyline
- 10. The Hague: city of international peace and justice
- 11. Delft: home to Vermeer and Delft Blaauw
- 12. Gouda: the birthplace of iconic Dutch cheese
- 13. Schiedam: home to the world’s tallest windmill
- Day trips over an hour from Amsterdam
- How to get around the Netherlands for day trips
- Day trips from Amsterdam: frequently asked questions
Day trips less than 30-minutes from Amsterdam
If you won’t be in the city for long, a 30-minute day trip from Amsterdam is perfect if you want to get out of the city for a day! Here are our top picks for nearby towns and cities.
1. Zaanse Schans: a picture-perfect town of windmills
A trip to the Netherlands would be incomplete without seeing windmills — and there’s no better way to see them than in the historical town of Zaanse Schans. 🍃
This quaint village gives visitors an accurate impression of Dutch living in the 17th and 18th centuries. From cheese and dairy factories to traditional windmills and historical museums, you’ll live, breathe, and experience the old Zaan style of living. Classic!
🚗 Travel time by car: 21 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Station Zaanse Schans, 17 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Zaanse windmills, Honig Breethuis, Museumwinkel
2. Haarlem: the river city
An ideal day trip from Amsterdam, Haarlem is located between the Spaarne River and coastal dunes — did someone say beach? 🏖
This city has everything: bustling markets and shopping streets, plenty of family-friendly cultural activities like museums, comedy clubs, concerts, and cuisine choices to die for. 🍴
If you’re looking for a change of scenery but still want to have lots of activities to do, Haarlem is the place for you.
🚗 Travel time by car: 30 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Station Haarlem, 19 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: St. Bavo’s Kerk (church), Grote Markt, Bloemendaal aan Zee
3. Broek in Waterland: a village fit for sea captains
Broek in Waterland made a name for itself back in the 16th century — a popular vacation destination for sea captains! 🧑🏻✈If you’re looking for a getaway from the big city, Broek in Waterland is the definition of an idyllic Dutch town.
READ MORE | The 10 best authentic Dutch villages that you have to visit
With a population of fewer than 2,500 people, this village has quiet streets and picturesque nature.🌿 It’s standout feature is its traditional wooden houses, with more than 80 of them are considered National Heritage Sites.
There are also lots of biking and walking routes nearby. If you’re looking to get some fresh air and exercise while on a day trip from Amsterdam, check out the biking tours around the town!
🚗 Travel time by car: 14 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Broek in Waterland, 18 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Traditional village townhouses
4. Marken: a former island in the Zuiderzee
Marken was separated from the Dutch mainland in the 13th century by a storm, turning it into an island in the Markermeer lake. ⛈
Residents of the town built wooden houses on artificial hills to prevent more flooding damages. To this day, these picturesque homes remain a popular cultural attraction.
Only 9 kilometres in area, you can easily walk across the whole town and island. On your walk, you can visit the cosy town harbour or enjoy the scenic route of fields, forests, and the lakeshore. 🚣🏼
This lovely town has historical connections to Volendam, so you could make it a longer day trip from Amsterdam and visit two towns with one ferry. 😉
🚗 Travel time by car: 27 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Marken, 45 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Paard van Marken Lighthouse, The Marken Museum
5. Volendam: a traditional Dutch fishing town
Volendam is the best-known fishing village in the Netherlands. You can visit the old harbour full of traditional Dutch ships, many of which are still in use! 🎣
This day trip from Amsterdam would be incomplete without trying some of the fish delicacies — you can finally conquer your fear of raw haring (herring) and smoked eel, or stick to the delicious kibbeling (deep-fried codfish).
Volendam is also one of the few towns where you can experience the traditional Dutch clothing style. It’s one of the most recognisable traditional Dutch costumes, with charming hats and clogs (not everyone wears them, so they’re extra special). You can even wear the clothes yourself for a souvenir picture!
🚗 Travel time by car: 25 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Volendam, Marinaweg, 27 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Fish restaurants in De Dijk, Volendams Museum, the Old Harbour
Day trips less than one hour from Amsterdam
If you have a little more time on your hands, these day trips from Amsterdam are worth checking out! They’re just a tad further away from the Dutch capital, but you’ll find some beautiful monuments and sites if you make the trip.
6. Hoorn: the pearl of the IJsselmeer
Hoorn is located by the IJsselmeer, an artificial sea-turned-lake in Noord Holland. This harbour town has a lively centre, with plenty of shops, terraces, and restaurants to enjoy. If you’re looking for an authentic Dutch maritime village, Hoorn is the go-to choice.
You can also check out historical monuments like the historic ship and 16th-century warehouses, the defence tower built in the 16th century, and the Oosterkerk (Eastern Church) for fishers and sailors!
If you want to get active, you can try out some water sports (although we can’t guarantee comfortable water temperatures 🥶) or take a walk on the beach and dunes around the area. 🚶🏻
🚗 Travel time by car: 35 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Station Hoorn, 33 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Westfries Museum, The Red Square, De Hoornse Straatjes
7. Leiden: the city of arts and sciences
With canals and architecture to rival Amsterdam, Leiden might be one of the most underrated places. We should know — it’s our headquarters and one of our favourite Dutch cities!
A walk through the city centre will show you all the trendy restaurants, bars, and cafés. Leiden is also home to cute unique shops where you can buy handmade ceramics, old-fashioned mechanical wristwatches, and vintage records.
A university city since 1575, Leiden has been a prominent art and science centre of the world. The inner city is full of museums and historical buildings like the Leiden Citadel and the old city gates. It was also home to many Dutch artists than you might expect — Rembrandt, Steen, and more! 👨🏼🎨
Plenty of trains pass through Leiden making it a convenient day trip from Amsterdam. 😌
🚗 Travel time by car: 42 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Leiden Centraal, 43 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Hooglandse Kerk, Museum de Lakenhal
8. Utrecht: the very centre of the Dutch mainland
Utrecht is the Netherlands’ bright, beating heart connecting the east to the west at the centre of the Netherlands. Built around the Dom Tower, you can see this spectacular monument from all around the city — so you’ll never get lost!
The historic city is surrounded by an old moat called The Singel, built for defence in the 12th century. One of the most special parts of Utrecht is its unique terraces: landings right next to the canals that thrive with bars and restaurants.
With lots of places to shop and eat, cultural spots like museums and concert halls, access to nature, and beautiful inner-city sites, you won’t run out of things to do in Utrecht.
This city is a super convenient day trip from Amsterdam because of the direct intercity train (the fast train that travels between cities) that runs every 15 minutes. The journey is less than 30 minutes! 🚅
🚗 Travel time by car: 44 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Utrecht Centraal, 26 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: The Dom Tower, Rietveld Schröder House, Hoog Catharijne
9. Rotterdam: a city with an unmatched skyline
A city of skyscrapers, bright buildings, and modern facades, Rotterdam is the metropolis of the Netherlands. 🏙 Rotterdam was heavily bombed during World War II, which is why you see far less iconic Dutch architecture from the 17th century, like in Amsterdam or Leiden.
The city has a thriving nightlife scene, sophisticated shopping streets and markets, hip cultural attractions, and a wealth of good food. Rotterdam might be best known for its expansive port and the iconic skyline that graces the river Maas. ⛴
It’s also another convenient day trip from Amsterdam with direct intercity trains running every 15 minutes from the central stations!
🚗 Travel time by car: 1 hour and 1 minute
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Rotterdam Centraal, 41 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Markthal, The Euromast, The Cube Houses, Blijdorp Zoo
10. The Hague: city of international peace and justice
The Hague is the political capital of the Netherlands, making it a perfect pairing for a day trip from Amsterdam, the cultural capital.
This Dutch city is filled with historical monuments and museums, is the only major city with a beach and has an international scene second to none in the Netherlands.
You can enjoy a beautiful city centre with places to eat and shop to your heart’s desire, or perhaps go hiking in one of many scenic locations in the Hague like the Haagse Bos.
If you’re looking to dip your feet in the (albeit, freezing) sea, look no further than Scheveningen Pier. It’s the perfect place to sit by the beach, grab a drink, and enjoy the sea, whether it’s doing water sports or just lounging. 🙂
🚗 Travel time by car: 58 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Den Haag Centraal, 53 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Peace Palace, Buitenhof, Madurodam, Scheveningen Pier and Boardwalk
11. Delft: home to Vermeer and Delft Blaauw
Delft has an international reputation for being the hometown of Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer and the originator of Delft Blaauw (Delft Blue) pottery. It is the definition of a full-sized city with a small-town feeling — gezellig! 🔵
The city boasts beautiful architecture and historical sights like the Eastern Gate from the old city walls to the New Church of Delft. If you’re curious about experiencing another student city, Delft’s busy nightlife will keep you up on your feet all night long. 💃🏻
🚗 Travel time by car: 59 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Station Delft, 1 hour and 5 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Delft City Hall, Old Church of Delft
12. Gouda: the birthplace of iconic Dutch cheese
Which came first, the cheese or the city? For Gouda, the city is the namesake for this world-famous cheese. 🧀 It’s a surprisingly old city with plenty of old monuments and buildings from as early as the 13th century, like the city hall (formerly surrounded by a moat!) and St. John’s Church.
The city is quaint, but the centre bustles with shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés. Check out the weekly Markt (market) on Thursdays and Saturdays and the first Fairtrade Street in the Netherlands, where all street food is sustainably produced and sold!
🚗 Travel time by car: 1 hour
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Station Gouda, 53 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Gouda cheese market, Old City Hall, The Waag (weigh house) Museum
13. Schiedam: home to the world’s tallest windmill
Yep, you heard that right! While there are windmills all around the Netherlands, Schiedam has the tallest traditional windmills of all, standing at 26.6 metres. 🍃 Tall windmills for a tall group of people, it seems. 🤷🏻
Schiedam is also known for being the Netherlands’ gin capital, with the city producing the most jenever (also known as Dutch gin) in the country. There are multiple
bars museums where you can check out the production process. 🍸
Apart from windmills and gin, you can visit Gothic cathedrals, 14th-century churches, and history museums, creating an excellent combination of culture and recreation in one day trip from Amsterdam!
🚗 Travel time by car: 55 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Schiedam Centrum, 1 hour and 8 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: National Jenever Museum, Jenever ‘t Spul, Liduina Basilica, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
Day trips over an hour from Amsterdam
If you’re looking to get out of the region and visit a far off place (for Dutch standards), here are some longer day trips from Amsterdam!
14. Dordrecht: a historic trading port
Dordrecht is the oldest city in Holland (we mean the old province of Holland and not the so-called “country”!). There are plenty of cultural spots, including seven churches and several historical monuments-turned-museums.
While most of the Netherlands is surrounded by canals and dikes, water and boats make a unique part of Dordrecht’s cityscape.
As an old trading port, there are plenty of historic boats scattered around the old harbours connected by canals. Check out the canal network and catch a boat tour! 🚤
🚗 Travel time by car: 1 hour and 5 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Dordrecht Centraal, 1 hour and 34 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Dordrechtsmuseum, Munt van Holland (Mint of Holland), Grote Kerk
15. Tilburg: Dutch textile central
Tilburg is the second-largest city in Noord Brabant, and is a city with a focus on turning old into new. ✨
Originally famous for its textile industry, the city has now made a name for itself for its energetic street art, world-class museums, urban scene, and as one of the greenest cities in the Netherlands.
Don’t miss a trip to the LocHal library, a former warehouse converted into a library and the 2019 World Building of the Year! If you visit in July, Tilburg runs a 10-day fair that draws more than a million visitors every year. 🎡
🚗 Travel time by car: 1 hour and 28 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Tilburg Centraal, 1 hour and 52 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Textielmuseum, Stadsmuseum Tilburg, Tilburg Kermis
16. Groningen: the hidden gem of the north
Despite being far away from most big cities, Groningen attracts many travel buffs, making it the perfect day trip from Amsterdam if you really want to get out of your surroundings.
Groningen has a compact city centre with restaurants and shops, beautiful sites like the Martini Tower and Grote Markt, and contemporary art museums. 🗼
As a student city, Groningen has exciting nightlife — plenty of clubs and bars included. 😉
Along with an energetic centre, quiet countryside surrounds Groningen city which you can enjoy. You can hike on one of the beautiful trails through the dunes and along the coast or take a cycle route around artificial hills, forests, and old forts.
🚗 Travel time by car: 2 hours
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Groningen Station, 2 hours
⭐ Don’t miss: Groninger Museum, Martinitoren, Groningen City Centre
17. Den Helder: city of the sun
Surrounded by water on three sides, Den Helder is a maritime city at heart. On the northernmost point of the Dutch coast, the city has a lot of naval sights to see, including the largest naval base in the Netherlands.
Den Helder boasts a rich history with the largest Dutch naval base, a historic harbour, and fascinating marine attractions, including the North Sea Aquarium and three museum ships (museums homed in historic ships from the Dutch Navy!).
If you’re seeking nature and scenery, the city has a wide variety of landscapes — you can take a refreshing hike around the dunes and polders surrounding the Wadden Sea.
🚗 Travel time by car: 1 hour and 10 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Den Helder, Steiger TESO, 1 hour and 40 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: Fort Kijkduin, The Marine Museum, Lange Jaap Lighthouse
18. Giethoorn: Venice of the Netherlands
A picture-perfect landscape, Giethoorn is an almost entirely car-free village, replaced with boats and, of course, bicycles. You don’t want to miss a boat tour around this scenic town or a pleasant hike around the area. 🚶🏻
READ MORE | 21 beautiful towns in the Netherlands that aren’t Amsterdam
Giethoorn is a Dutch town through and through — with winding canals, countless boats, and quaint matching houses, it doesn’t get more gezellig than this. 🧘🏻
🚗 Travel time by car: 1 hour and 26 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Blauwe Hand Bus Station, 2 hours
⭐ Don’t miss: Boat tour through Giethoorn, Gondola festival, Giethoorn walking route
19. Bourtange: the medieval fortress village
While the name suggests a beautiful rural town in France, Bourtange is actually in the Netherlands! Although, it might be the longest day trip from Amsterdam yet.
This small village is a perfectly restored fortress town from medieval times in the north, built in the shape of a star. ⭐️
With a population of 430 people, there isn’t much room for proper shopping — but you can check out smaller quirky shops with Delfs Blaauw pottery, candles, other gifts, and trinkets.
We recommend exploring the mediaeval architecture which you’ll find all over the city. From fortified walls and traditional houses to windmills, visiting Bourtange is like visiting a village-sized museum!
🚗 Travel time by car: 2 hours and 35 minutes
🚃 Travel time by train: Amsterdam Centraal – Bourtange Bus Station, 3 hours and 16 minutes
⭐ Don’t miss: City fortifications, Church of Bourtange
How to get around the Netherlands for day trips
There are a couple of ways to get around for day trips in the Netherlands depending on what you’re comfortable with; taking public transport, hiring a car, and cycling.
Using the Dutch public transport system for day trips
Public transport in the Netherlands is reliable and easy to use — most big cities have trains, trams, and buses, and some, like Rotterdam and Amsterdam, even have metros and ferries.
If you’re travelling between cities and towns, you can buy many types of (cheap) train tickets. The day ticket is the most common and accessible ticket to travel on any train during off-peak hours.
You can buy tickets on most trams and buses within cities. Metro and train stations have machines to buy tickets. The Netherlands also has an extensive night public transport system that you can use.
An OV-chipkaart (public transport card) can be the easiest option if you plan to make a lot of day trips from Amsterdam using public transport. With this, you can load a balance on so you can check in and out of the turnstiles with ease. You can usually buy an anonymous OV-chipkaart in the major train stations. Just go to the NS service desk and ask to buy one!
Hiring a car to visit Dutch towns and cities
There are five major car rental companies where you can hire a car: Avis Budget, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt.
If you’re flying into Schiphol Airport, you can rent a car from one of these companies directly at the airport. You can pre-book a car or just go with the flow and see what’s there on the day!
If you’re arriving in Amsterdam another way, these car rental companies have rental locations in the city itself.
Biking on a day trip from Amsterdam
Biking around your desired day trip city is a great way to get a feel for Dutch cycling culture!
If you have a personal OV chipkaart (only available to residents of the Netherlands), you can go full circle and rent an OV-fiets. The NS has set up bicycle rental locations at most train stations, bus and metro stops, and P+R facilities which you can rent for a few hours at a time.
If you only have an anonymous OV-chipkaart or none at all, you can rent a bicycle from companies in Amsterdam. Different types of bicycles are available for hourly/daily rates. We promise you don’t have to bike like a seasoned Dutchie — but do be careful on the bike paths.
Day trips from Amsterdam: frequently asked questions
What are the best day trips from Amsterdam?
Depending on how much time you have during your trip to Amsterdam, there are different trips you can take
Some beautiful locations are within 30 minutes by car or train, such as Haarlem or Volendam, while others can take two to three hours to reach, like Bourtange and Tilburg.
You can choose to visit smaller towns and villages or a big city like Rotterdam — depending on whether you want to visit another urban space or get a break in the quieter, more rural areas, there are plenty of locations to pick from.
Where can I see windmills near Amsterdam?
The closest windmill town to Amsterdam is Zaanse Schans, less than 30 minutes by either car or public transport. If you’re looking for other windmill locations, you can check out Kinderdijk and Schiedam, close to Rotterdam.
Where can I see tulips near Amsterdam?
Tulip season runs throughout spring, so the best time to see the Dutch tulips is from March to May. The most popular tulip attraction in the Netherlands is De Keukenhof in Lisse, a large flower garden that features tulips.
Lisse is about 1 hour and 22 minutes away from Amsterdam Centraal Station by public transport and 44 minutes by car. You can only enter the park with a ticket, so make sure to book them in advance if you’re interested in visiting.
There are other tulip fields by independent farmers in Lisse while walking or cycling around — usually, you can visit these parks for free, but there’s no guarantee the farmers will let tourists near their tulips.
Can you do a day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges?
Yes! You can take a train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Bruges.
Travel time and prices vary depending on the type of journey, which train you take, and whether you have transfers. The average travel time from Amsterdam to Bruges is between one to two hours.
Where is it easy to travel to from Amsterdam?
We recommend a location within 30 minutes from Amsterdam by car or train for extra easy travel. You can check out Haarlem if you want a change of scenery but want to stick to a city.
Smaller traditional towns like Marken and Volendam will give you a great impression of the scenic Dutch countryside.
If you want to see other big cities, Amsterdam has direct trains that run every 15 minutes to Rotterdam and Utrecht — you can get to the city in less than 30 minutes on these trains!
What’s close to Amsterdam by train?
Generally, the bigger the city/town, the easier it is to reach by train and public transport. So if you’re looking for a laidback day trip with public transport, going to a city like Den Haag, Leiden, and Gouda is the most convenient.
Intercity trains connect most of the Randstad cities, so these trains run consistently — every 15 minutes in both directions from 5 AM to 12 AM.
How about Utrecht? Or Harderwijk? Edam? Or with a slightly longer drive Sneek or Bolsward, Harlingen, Leeuwarden? I could even provide some tips on why and what to enjoy.
Where is Haarlem on this list?? Closer to Amsterdam than Leiden, only 15 minutes by train. Full of history, canals, restaurants, bars and shops.