Many people immediately think of Amsterdam when they think of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is a beautiful city filled with lots of interesting and exciting things to do. There are many museums, cute cafes, canals and also coffee shops.
However, the Netherlands has much more to offer than its capital city. There are many gorgeous places to visit on a day trip from Amsterdam. This tiny country is home to a lot of places to discover, which are actually not that far away from Amsterdam.
Most of these places aren’t even located more than two hours away from the buzzing capital. That’s why it’s ideal to visit these places on a day trip from Amsterdam. Read on to find out what places you should visit!
Funnily enough, this city actually looks a bit like a smaller version of Amsterdam. There is still a lot to do in this city, however there are a lot less tourists here. As Haarlem is smaller than Amsterdam, it’s an easy city to navigate. There are a lot of nice things to do in Haarlem.
In Haarlem, you could for instance visit the Frans Hals Museum (an art museum), het Dolhuys (a national museum for psychiatry) or the Teylers Museum (an art, natural history and science museum). For more interesting museums in Haarlem, have a look over here.
Besides a lot of interesting museums, Haarlem is also home to a lot of cosy cafes. If you want to have drinks and play boardgames at the same time, head over to The Boardroom (location: Kruisweg 60, 2011 LE Haarlem).
If you’re more into craft cocktails, have a look at Bar Wigbolt (location: Smedestraat 41, 2011 RE Haarlem).
Alkmaar is another beautiful, yet smaller city in the Netherlands. This city is located around half an hour to 45 minutes away from Amsterdam either by train or by car. Which makes it an ideal day trip from Amsterdam. Just like Amsterdam, Alkmaar is home to a couple of charming canals running through the town.
In Alkmaar you can go shopping, you can wander around its narrow streets and you can even visit its famous cheese market! During the day you can also visit the Beatles Museum in Alkmaar. There is also a national beer museum in Alkmaar (address: Houttil 1, 1811 JL).
If you’re looking to have dinner at a great Greek restaurant, head over to Irodion (location: Waagplein 1, Alkmaar). Afterwards, go for a beer at Proeflokaal De Kleine Deugniet (location: Gedempte Nieuwesloot 117, 1811 KR Alkmaar) or visit Proeflokaal de Boom.
Wijk Aan Zee
If you’re looking for an escape by the sea, head over to Wijk Aan Zee. There is a wide beach here and it’s located nearby the village of Ijmuiden. Do keep in mind that this beach’ location is not far away from Tatta Steel (which you probably know as a really big polluter). Despite this location, it’s very peaceful to unwind at Wijk Aan Zee.
A place I cannot recommend enough is Restaurant Aloha Beach in Wijk Aan Zee. Especially their lunch menu and their coconut coffees are absolutely delicious. They make great smoothie bowls too. Besides, it’s also possible to bring your laptop and work here. Its atmosphere is very chill and will make you want to come back over and over again.
Another great place to visit as a day trip from Amsterdam is Castricum. This is a favorite holiday destination among locals from Amsterdam. It’s only small, yet there’s enough to do and there are plenty of lovely restaurants to dine at.
You can cycle through its dunes, swim in the sea or walk through the forest. Another thing I would highly recommend doing here is to see the sun set in the sea.
Volendam is very different from the other places on this list. It’s a small, yet famous, fishing village located nearby Amsterdam (25 minutes by car, 40 minutes by public transport). The town is located on the Markermeer Lake and is home to several colorful houses.
Volendam can be filled with tourists on some days, while on other days the town can feel pretty empty. In Volendam you can take pictures in traditional Volendam costumes, you can eat fish nearby the harbor and you can visit the Cheese Factory in Volendam.
You can also take the ferry to nearby Marken or you can visit the Volendam Museum. All in all, there is plenty to do in this pretty little seaside village and it makes an ideal day trip from Amsterdam.
Den Haag (The Hague)
Den Haag, also known as ”The Hague”, is actually the place where most Dutch government officials work. A lot, maybe even all, ministries of the Netherlands are located here. The Hague is filled with great lunch spots and places to see.
It’s a great city to visit on a day trip from Amsterdam as it’s located only 45 minutes by train from Amsterdam. The Hague is home to lots of museums, such as het Mauritshuis (Dutch olden age paintings), Escher in het Paleis (graphic art) and Louwman Museum (classic and antique cars).
You can easily explore the Hague by walking around or by using public transport. Don’t forget to visit the Binnenhof, this is where the Dutch Parliament is located. It is among the world’s oldest Parliament buildings still in use.
Another magnificent place to visit in the Hague is the Peace Palace. This building houses the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague Academy of International Law and the Peace Palace Library.
If you’re looking for a place to have lunch while sightseeing, head over to Cafe Kafka or Restaurant August. Or simply head to the Grote Markt. This is an area in the city centre where lots of restaurants are located. Afterwards, visit ‘t Goude Hoofd. This is a place where locals often go for drinks or to have dinner.
The city of Rotterdam has its own kind of vibe. It’s very different from Amsterdam and it sees a lot less tourists. Rotterdam is the kind of place where you will never feel bored. There is always something going on.
That’s why Rotterdam is a unique day trip from Amsterdam. There are a lot of great restaurants and places to explore. A lot of these places are located in the Witte the With Straat, a very lively street in the centre of Rotterdam.
A place I recommend going to is the Soju Bar in Rotterdam. Here you can eat really delicious fried chicken and drink soju at the same time. Furthermore, you can visit the Markthal, where you will find a huge array of shops and restaurants.
In Rotterdam you can also visit the Euromast Tower, the Erasmus Bridge and Depot Boijmans-van Beuningen (the latter is a charming art museum).
If you’re looking for something different, have dinner at Restaurant Bird in Rotterdam. Their service is great and they have a huge wood-fired oven to prepare Neapolitan pizzas. This establishment also has gigs going on now and then, so I would definitely recommend checking this out.
Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands known for its medieval city centre. It’s located around 30 to 45 minutes away from Amsterdam. Here you can walk along the canals, visit the Spoorwegmuseum, go shopping or visit one of the many museums.
You can also visit the Dom Tower, a gothic bell tower, or you can go for a picnic in the Wilhelminapark. A great alternative to the often very touristic flower market in Amsterdam, is the Janskerkhof Bloemenmarkt.
You may have heard of Zaandam before. Zaandam is a city located along the River Zaan. It’s famous for its windmills (de Zaanse Schans) and its unique architecture. It’s an ideal day trip from Amsterdam as it’s only 15 minutes away by train.
Here you can go shopping, but you can also visit the Zaans Museum or you can even attend a clog-making workshop! After all your sightseeing, go for dinner at Restaurant Castell. If you fancy a drink after, head over to the best beer cafe in Zaandam, called The Blacksmith.
This place is actually one of my favorite places in the Netherlands. The village is home to a lot of artists. During the ”Kunst10daagse” in October they even showcase their artworks, sometimes in their own, often very beautiful, homes.
Bergen is nothing compared to Amsterdam, which makes it an even more worthwhile day trip to go on. You could also go for a long walk along the beach in Bergen aan Zee, a coastal village located nearby.
What I would really recommend doing here, is to have pancakes (in Dutch: pannenkoek) at a restaurant called Duinvermaak. Their pancakes are delicious (and really Dutch).
Afterwards, you can go for a stroll through the forest which is located opposite of this restaurant. This is actually one of my favorite things to do in my birth country and makes me really feel at home.
For more information about what to do in Bergen, have a look at this article.
Amsterdam is a great place to visit in the Netherlands, however there are many more places worth exploring! From small fisherman villages to buzzing cities, there is something here for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article on worthwhile day trips from Amsterdam. Please let me know in the comments whether you have been to any of the places mentioned above.
Away with Danae