Amsterdam makes for a great vacation—not only is there a ton to do in the city, but there are plenty of day trips you can take. Branching out from the city is essential to get a well-rounded experience of the entire region. Here are our top day-trip picks.
Stop & smell the tulips
Amsterdam is famous for its springtime tulips. Flourishing March through May (but most prominent in April), tulips take center stage throughout the city. Although there’s lots of places to see them at, here are two favorite spots to marvel at the beauty and get that perfect ‘gram.
Keukenhof Gardens is one of the very best spots for a complete tulip experience. This 32 acre garden has over 7 million tulips and 800 varieties, and each year is a different theme – the 2020 theme is the World of Colors. This is only open from mid-March to mid-May, so we suggest planning ahead and purchasing your ticket online!
How to get there: The Arriva Keukenhof Express Bus 858 can take you there in 30 minutes from Schiphol Plaza.
Locally known as “Bollenstreek,” the Dutch Flower Strip stretches for 20 miles between Haarlem and Leiden. Biking is the best way to admire this display up close and personal. Rent a bike for the day to spin through the cycling route. Walking is also an option with the Wandelnetwerk Bollenstreek routes.
Nicknamed “Dutch Venice,” this quaint town sits just an hour and a half outside of Amsterdam. The entire town is made up of canals, there are no actual roads! The most popular to-do in this city is booking a canal cruise or renting a small boat yourself. There are also plenty of walking and cycling trails if that’s more up your alley, or if you’re looking for a cheaper way to explore this village.
How to get there: You can drive there in 75 minutes. Taking public transportation is possible, but may take over 2 hours. Day tours from Amsterdam are also easy to find and schedule!
Only have a day in Rotterdam? No problem! It’s perfect for day trips from Amsterdam. Take a tour of the SS Rotterdam—this massive ship has been converted into a hotel and museum. Take a tour and then eat or drink at one of the restaurants or bars. Up your maritime history game even further by visiting the Maritime Museum or taking a boat tour. Be sure to also walk through the Cube Houses and Market Hall (Markthal) for some of the city’s most unique architecture. Or get a new view on the city by heading up to the top of the Euromast tower.
How to get there: A 40-minute Rail Europe train runs every 2 hours for as little as $24 round-trip. Many any bus companies have trips for even less.
Calling all cheese lovers: you’ll have an un-brielievably good time eating, seeing, learning about everything cheese. Here are a few nearby hotspots that live and die by dairy:
Alkmaar: This is where you go to worship cheese. They even have a museum dedicated to it (The Alkmaar Cheese Museum). The market of all cheese markets, the Alkmaar Cheese market, is open 10:00am to 1:00pm every Friday from late March through September.
How to get there: a quick 35-minute train from Amsterdam
Gouda: The cheese is named after the town, how can you not have a gouda time?! Grab all your free samples at the Gouda Cheese Market every Thursday morning. In the summer, there’s the Kaas en Ambachtenmarkt (Cheese and Crafts Market) to explore. There’s even something for your lactose intolerant friend: St. John’s Church is known for its distinct stained glass from the 16th century. Plus, their city hall, Gouda’s Stadhuis, is one of the oldest in the Netherlands.
*Pro tip* The town is pronounced HOW-da, not GOO-da.
How to get there: an easy 55-minute train ride.
Who knew you could cover another country in just a day? Brussels is super close by and makes for a great day trip. It’s a super walkable city known for great eats and stunning architecture. Must sees include the Grand Palace, the Atomium and Cafe Belga, and at least one of the many museums.
The Jeu de Balle Flea Market, also known as the Old Market, is the city’s most famous. It’s open year-round until 2pm on weekdays and 3pm on the weekends. Stop by in the morning and find everything from antiques to clothing to books and old vinyl records. To snap the perfect Insta, check out the comic strip murals found throughout the city streets! There are over 50, so you have plenty to choose from.
How to get there: You can drive to Brussels in 2.5 hours. An easier option may be one of the many trains zipping between both cities. The high speed train takes just under 2 hours and regular trains take 2.5 hours.