Amsterdam has a magical pull that captures the hearts of travelers from all corners of the globe. It’s no wonder why it’s hailed as the crown jewel of the Netherlands, with its dreamy canals, awe-inspiring architecture, and an energy that pulsates through its vibrant cultural scene. However, while Amsterdam is a mesmerizing destination, don’t confine yourself to its embrace throughout your stay in the Netherlands.
Before you pack your bags, wave goodbye to the enchanting city and catch a train from Amsterdam to Paris or wherever home is, we have a little secret to share with you – there are some incredible day trips waiting just beyond Amsterdam’s borders, ready to complement your experience in Amsterdam and add to your unforgettable adventures. Let’s explore the three most interesting options:
Just a short 20-minute train ride away from the bustling city of Amsterdam lies the small village of Zaanse Schans. The village is famous for its historic but visually stunning windmills dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. These windmills served a multitude of purposes, including spice grinding, wood sawing, and paint making. You can embark on a guided tour of the windmills, immersing yourself in their captivating history and discovering their ingenious functions. Additionally, you can visit the local cheese farm and savor the delectable flavors of the region’s renowned cheese.
Zaanse Schans also showcases a collection of traditional Dutch houses and buildings meticulously preserved to offer visitors a glimpse into life in the Netherlands centuries ago. You can explore quaint shops and cozy cafes through the village’s narrow streets, soaking in the authentic ambiance.
This iconic Dutch village provides an array of activities for visitors to partake in. You can engage in entertaining workshops to learn about Dutch handicrafts and the art of product making. Alternatively, you can feed your eyes by watching actors adorned in regional costumes, interacting with model windmills, or even joining a delightful chocolate-making class.
If you have always wanted to experience the Dutch countryside, Zaanse Schans serves as an idyllic starting point. Encircled by lush green fields and situated on the banks of the tranquil Zaan River, it promises a harmonious connection with nature. With the multitude of iconic sights awaiting you at Zaanse Schans, your Instagram feed is bound to come alive with vibrant snapshots after your visit
The Hague, or as the locals fondly call it, Den Haag, is just an hour away from Amsterdam. This vibrant city stands as the Netherlands’ third-largest gem and is known for its governmental institutions, including the Dutch Parliament and the prestigious International Criminal Court. The Hague is an ideal destination for those with a fascination for politics and the inner workings of governance.
One of the most popular attractions in The Hague is the Mauritshuis Museum, which houses some of the world’s most famous artworks, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. The museum is located in the heart of the city and is easily accessible by public transport. Another of The Hague’s most amazing attractions is the Binnenhof, which is the seat of the Dutch government. The Binnenhof is an iconic complex of buildings that date back to the 13th century. And as you take a tour of the buildings, you can learn about the country’s political history.
Of course, The Hague isn’t all government and history; it also offers delightful diversions from politics. Stroll through the picturesque streets of Scheveningen, The Hague’s seaside resort. Feel the sand beneath your toes as you bask in the sun, take a refreshing dip in the North Sea, or indulge in delectable seafood at one of the charming beachfront restaurants. You can also enjoy a stroll along the beach or take part in various water sports activities, including surfing and kiteboarding.
And lastly, we have the city of Utrecht, which is also located just 30 minutes away from Amsterdam. One of the city’s crown jewels is the iconic Dom Tower, proudly standing as the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. Dare to climb its spiraling staircase and be rewarded with an awe-inspiring panoramic view that stretches as far as the eye can see. The city unfolds beneath you from the top, revealing a tapestry of rooftops, canals, and centuries-old architecture. It’s a sight that will etch itself into your memory forever.
Utrecht isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s a gastronomic delight as well. Immerse yourself in the thriving food and drink scene, where local restaurants and cafes serve up a tantalizing array of traditional Dutch cuisine. Indulge your taste buds with mouthwatering stroopwafels, bite-sized poffertjes topped with powdered sugar, and crispy bitterballen, all while savoring the warm hospitality of the locals.
For the avid shoppers reading this, Utrecht has something for you too. The city is a treasure trove of local markets and unique shops. So, lose yourself in the bustling markets, where vibrant stalls display a cornucopia of goods, from artisanal crafts to fresh produce. Check out the boutique stores that line the streets, where local artisans showcase their talent in handmade jewelry, fashion, and home decor. You’re sure to get the one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts you are looking for ⸻something you’ll find something special to commemorate your time in this enchanting city.