Amsterdam by itself is pretty amazing, and I’m sure you could spend weeks in this beautiful city and still discover something new every day. But if you want to see the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam and don’t have too much time to travel around, there are a lot of pretty places near Amsterdam as well.
To be fair, in such a small country, every part of the country is pretty nearby. Here are some of the best places to visit in the Netherlands that can all be visited as part of a day trip from Amsterdam.
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1. Zaanse Schans
This little neighbourhood is so close to Amsterdam that you should definitely visit it, even if you only have a spare couple of hours. Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam which is only about a 20-minute train ride away. This area has a lot of lovely windmills, museums and is quite the contrast to the busy streets of Amsterdam.
Distance from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaanse Schans: about 35 minutes (train and walking for a few minutes)
This city has a lot of similarities to Amsterdam: Canals, small houses, boats etc. But it is definitely not as crowded as Amsterdam is. Haarlem is easily reachable by train, only a 20-minute ride away.
Distance from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem: 18 minutes by train
3. Den Helder
Den Helder is all the way up in the North of the country and probably mostly known for its getaway to Texel island, as the ferry departs here. And if you have the time you can definitely pay a visit to Texel as well, but also Den Helder is quite interesting by itself.
There is a Navy museum and you can find a bunch of ships throughout the city. There is also a massive submarine outside as part of the museum, which is quite impressive. And of course, it’s by the sea which is always a plus.
Distance from Amsterdam Centraal to Den Helder by train: 1 hour 17 minutes
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This lovely town can easily be reached by train as a day trip from Amsterdam. The most popular attraction in Alkmaar is definitely the cheese market, which takes place on Friday mornings during the summer months and draws in a bunch of tourists every week.
Believe me, it’s really busy! You will also find some traditional Dutch foods and souvenir stores as well as a cheese museum. Or in summary, the place to be for cheese lovers!
Distance from Amsterdam Centraal to Alkmaar by train: 37 minutes
If you are looking for the closest biggest city in the area then Utrecht will be your best choice. The fourth-largest city in the Netherlands is only a 26-minute train ride away from Amsterdam central station. Similarly to Amsterdam, you can find canals throughout the city but probably a little less tourists around.
Distance from Amsterdam Centraal to Utrecht: 26 minutes
If you want to see the open ocean rather than just canals, then Zandvoort aan Zee would be your closest option. Around 30 minutes by train it is really accessible by both cars and trains and a nice beach to relax on if the weather is nice.
Distance from Amsterdam Centraal to Utrecht: 30 minutes
This is probably my favourite place out of this list and one of the most charming villages in the Netherlands. Harlingen is located in Zeeland, by the sea, with a lot of canals and ships. Other than in the Amsterdam canals, the boats in front of the houses are a lot bigger.
There is also a ferry terminal departing to the nearby islands. However, getting there by public transportation will take quite a bit but if you have a car available or are planning on renting one this is the perfect day trip. It will take around one and a half hours to get there and includes taking the highway over the “Afsluitdijk”, which is quite the adventure by itself. There are also a few viewpoints along the way.
And of course, there is a lot more to see, but these are the places that I have been at. Where have you travelled to when you were in the Netherlands? Do you have any other suggestions about day trips to take from Amsterdam?
Let me know in the comments x
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