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Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the surrounding area - the Dutch countryside and its tulips are well worth a trip!

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

5 min read

Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

Dutch countryside | ©Viswas Katti

Traveling to Amsterdam allows you to visit places of great interest on the same day. You can lose yourself in the countryside with its famous windmills, fishing villages and poppy gardens; visit Rotterdam or The Hague or even travel to Bruges and Brussels.

1. Excursions to Rotterdam and The Hague

Aerial view of Rotterdam
Aerial view of Rotterdam

Taking the opportunity to visit Rotterdam in one day from Amsterdam is an almost essential experience that, if you can combine it with a visit to another historic city, The Hague, becomes a winning trip.

About Rotterdam

Rotterdam is known as "The Manhattan of the Meuse" for its modern urbanism, built since the destruction of the city during the bombings of World War II; it is the second-most populous city in the Netherlands and has the largest port in Europe.

Famous also for its cultural life and maritime heritage, with breathtaking views of the city from the harbor and the banks of the Meuse River, the city is considered an open-air museum for buildings such as the town hall and the old St. Lawrence Church, as well as for its contemporary architecture, with the original Markthal building, its Cube Houses and the Van Nelle Factory from the 1930s and declared a World Heritage Site.

About The Hague

The Hague will ring a bell because of the International Court of Justice of the United Nations. This coastal city, nicknamed 'the judicial capital of the world', is not only important for its decisive role in history. The Hague features interesting attractions such as the Mauritshuis museum, with the famous 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Vermeer and others by Rembrandt; the Dutch Parliament, the Noordeinde Palace, the Lange Voorhout Avenue, and the Madurodam miniature park.

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2. Keukenhof Poppy Gardens Excursions

Keukenhof Poppy Gardens
Keukenhof Poppy Gardens

18 miles from Amsterdam, between Lisse and Hillegom, there is an Eden garden. It is that of the Keukenhof Gardens, known to be the largest flower garden in the world and called 'The Garden of Europe'. What was once a simple, sprawling orchard in the south of Holland is today, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands. This is where you will see the country's famed flower, the poppy, in all its splendor on its 32 hectares of colorful grounds.

With this guided tour to Keukenhof, which you can take in the morning or afternoon, you will travel by bus from the center of Amsterdam to this flower paradise. There you will stroll along 9 miles of paths and among the ephemeral beauty of thousands of tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths surrounded by ponds and fountains. In addition to visiting its flower sculpture, whose shape changes from year to year, and its themed gardens, your guide will explain the history of the place, the planting, and its care.

What is included in the Keukenhof Poppy Gardens tours?

  • Entrance fee to the Keukenhof Gardens
  • Professional guide and guided tour in the Keukenhof Gardens. Valid for the guided tour
  • Transport by air-conditioned coach

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3. Excursions to Volendam, Marken and the Zaanse Schans windmills

Windmills of Zaanse Schans
Windmills of Zaanse Schans

Excursions to Volendam, Marken, and the Zaanse Schans Windmills are usually very complete: they bring together everything you need to see Amsterdam's most beautiful surroundings and some even include a tourist bus ticket pack with free stops and 1-hour cruise on Amsterdam's canals.

About Volendam

Volendam is a charming fishing village where you can go for a wonderful stroll through its old town and along its promenade surrounded by colorful houses typical of the fourteenth century. From this town, which is only 12 miles from Amsterdam, you can take a ferry to visit Marken, a peaceful village almost isolated from the world by the water that surrounds it and dotted with bridges, cottages, orchards, and farm animals.

About Zaanse Schans

In addition, you will visit original windmills in the Zaanse Schans area and there you can participate in a host of activities to learn about the culture and history of the country with cheese tastings, demonstrations of the making of its iconic clogs, or the operation of its windmills.

What do the excursions to Volendam, Marken and Zaanse Schans include?

  • Visit an authentic Dutch windmill and demonstration by a miller
  • Boat trip from Volendam to Marken
  • Visit the traditional fishing village of Marken and demonstration by a clog maker
  • Canal cruise

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4. Excursions to Brussels from Amsterdam

Grand Place de Bruxelles
Grand Place de Bruxelles

Did you know that in less than 3 hours by car you can hop on from Amsterdam to Brussels? This excursion to Brussels from Amsterdam picks you up in the center of Amsterdam and takes you by bus to Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, with a guided walking tour in English of the city's main sights.

Brussels, home of the European Parliament, is well worth a visit as one of the most dynamic and modern European cities with numerous cultural and leisure attractions. During this tour you will visit its famous Atomium sculpture, emblem of the city commemorating the Universal Exhibition of 1958, along with its historic center passing by places such as St. Michael's Cathedral, the Mount of Arts, its famous Manneken Pis, and the jewel of Brussels: the Grand Place.

The square, the nerve center of the city, served as the main market during the twelfth and fifteenth centuries when it became home to the town hall, in a Gothic Bravantine style, and markedly asymmetrical. After finishing the walking tour you will enjoy free time. Take advantage of it to stroll through its streets and delight in its cafeterias and shops with the best of chocolates, sweet waffles, brewed beer, or its popular mussels and fries.

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5. Excursions to Bruges from Amsterdam

Bruges by night
Bruges by night

You can also take advantage of your stay in Amsterdam to discover another of Belgium's major cities, Bruges, an idyllic medieval city surrounded by multiple narrow canals spanned by charming bridges. Bruges is the most visited city in Belgium, due to its beauty and its wonderful historic center declared World Heritage Site. Don't want to miss it? Check out this other article in which I tell you Bruges Day Trips from Amsterdam.

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Other interesting activities in Amsterdam

If you feel like getting to know the city in depth, I recommend that you value the option of taking a typical cruise along its canals and explore the option of purchasing the Amsterdam Tourist Card that will allow you to save quite a bit when buying tickets to the many attractions. Read more here: I Amsterdam Pass and Other Passes.