Amsterdam’s Day Trips: Beyond the City Limits


There are so many amazing places that are easily accessible from Amsterdam, so why not take a day trip outside of the city? These are the greatest day trips from Amsterdam, ranging from classic Dutch activities like touring windmills, tasting cheese, and learning about the past to theme parks and leisurely bike rides through verdant surroundings.

Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands, but it only occupies 84 square miles of land so that you could ride a bike through the entire city in less than an hour. Even though there are surprisingly many things to see and do, if you intend to stay longer than a weekend, check out our blog and schedule a few day trips.


Zaanse Schans

The town of Zaandam’s Zaanse Schans, a distinctly Dutch neighborhood, is a well-liked destination for day trips from Amsterdam. Relocating from all over the nation, it is dotted with historic windmills, traditional homes, and warehouses that were meant to resemble a village from the late 18th or early 19th century. You can view historical costumes, observe clog makers in action, and even get your hands dirty while learning how to make chocolate at the Zaans Museum.



We often call Utrecht a “Mini Amsterdam” because of its canals lined with trees and its old buildings. Compared to its larger counterpart, it is far less touristy but still has a lovely old town to explore. The 14th-century Domtoren, which rises beside the imposing St. Martin’s Cathedral, offers stunning views of the city. An excellent means of discovering Utrecht is by canoeing down the Oudegracht, a row of former warehouses that are now home to eateries, cafés, and nightclubs.




Go to the historic Haarlem Culinair, Haarlem, and Haarlem Grote Markt. Visitors enjoy food and beverages at the Grote Markt during the Haarlem Culinair food festival, along with performers and art installations. Haarlem is only 15 minutes away by train, but there are so many things to do and see there that a day trip from Amsterdam may not be enough. The impressive Grote Kerk and the massive, reconstructed windmill Molen de Adriaan, which towers over the river, are just two of the historical and cultural treasures that abound in this small city. Take a stroll along the renowned Gouden Straatjes, also known as the “Golden Streets,” and end the day with a boat ride along Haarlem’s canals before returning to Amsterdam.


Pampus Island

Nestled amidst the IJmeer is Pampus Island, an artificial island constructed during the 1800s as a component of Amsterdam’s Defence Line, now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With Amsterdam no longer in danger of being taken, Pampus Island and the enormous fort erected atop it are accessible to tourists from April through November. Take the 45-minute guided fort tour and lunch at the Pavilion by taking the ferry from Muiden or Amsterdam IJburg (or sailing your boat!).



You will immediately sense that this is a city rich in academic tradition and history as soon as you arrive. Wander through the beautiful Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, and enjoy a stroll around the esteemed Leiden University campus, making sure to peek inside its magnificent library.



Dutch beauty, history, and culture extend beyond Amsterdam. The tranquil canals of Utrecht and the picturesque windmills of Zaanse Schans each have their charm. Whether you visit Leiden’s academic atmosphere, Pampus Island’s tranquility, or Haarlem’s historical sites, these day trips enrich Amsterdam’s vibrant life. They are perfect for those interested in the Netherlands’ history and natural beauty, making every trip an unforgettable experience away from the city.

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