While you're in Amsterdam, it's totally worth venturing out of the city a little to explore more of the Netherlands. There are so many awesome places to discover that are just a short journey away from the Dutch capital. Take a day trip into the countryside, or visit the famous windmills. Here are our top picks of day trips that will be sooooo worth your time and money…
Train from Amsterdam Centraal/Zuid to Utrecht Central then bus from Utrecht, Centraal Jaarbeurszijde to Kinderdijk: 2hr15 via https://www.ns.nl/en
Step into a postcard at the home of the Netherlands’ most famous windmills, Kinderdijk. The quintessentially Dutch village makes for the perfect day trip out of Amsterdam. Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been cleverly working its mills for almost one thousand years and now attracts visitors from all over the world who want to see what the Dutch people are so proud of. Hire a bike and cycle around the windmills or take a boat tour for just a few euro, the views are breathtaking.
Train from Amsterdam Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal: 40min, €16.40 return via www.trainline.eu
The unmissable hipster market Markthal in Rotterdam
Giving Amsterdam a run for its money is the city of Rotterdam, just a 40 minute journey from the heart of the Netherlands’ capital. There you’ll find the mind-blowing indoor food Markthal, insane architecture and a whole load of artwork plastered on the walls - Rotterdam is pretty cool. The city’s Euromast stands 158 metres high as the country’s tallest public tower. You have to pay to get to the top, but the amazing views make it so worth it. Take a stroll to the super Instagrammable yellow cube housing complex called Kubuswoning right by Markthal to see a prime example of Rotterdam’s striking architecture.
ALKMAAR CHEESE MARKET
Train from Amsterdam Centraal to Alkmaar: 35min, €8.60 return via www.trainline.eu
Witness a spectacle every Friday morning in Alkmaar between April and September. The Alkmaar Cheese Market is a Dutch tradition that has been ongoing since 1593. Visit the town’s market square to see the hundreds of wheels of cheese stacked on top of one another. Once they’ve been sampled by samplers (and you’ve got a nibble as well), the cheery cheese bearers in their white overalls and colourful hats carry the hefty stacks of cheese over their shoulders to be weighed. It’s a show that you cheese lovers do not want to miss!
THE HAGUE (DEN HAAG)
Train from Amsterdam Centraal to Den Haag Centraal: 50min, €12.80 return via www.trainline.eu
Take a direct train out of Amsterdam to The Hague (or Den Haag), home of the world’s oldest used Parliamentary House Binnenhof, as well as the stunning Peace Palace and the world famous portrait of the Girl With the Pearl Earring. The Hague could easily fill an entire day and more. It has a sandy seaside, museums and galleries, and also tonnes of cool spots for a bite to eat or a fancy cocktail. The perfect combo of beach and bustling city. In the summer, the beach is a wonderful place to spend lazing around.
Train from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem: 15min, €5.40 return via www.trainline.eu
Spend a day wandering the cobbled streets of Haarlem. Just a 15 minute train journey from Amsterdam Central, the medieval city is only small but absolutely packed with amazing sights and exciting attractions to keep you busy for hours. Go along to the hub of the city, Grote Markt, on a Saturday to see one of the Netherland’s most exquisite street markets. While you’re at it, take a look inside the Grote Kerk cathedral, it’s inside is just as magnificent as the outside. Hidden courtyards, quaint little shops and views to die for of the River Spaarne, Haarlem should definitely be on your to do list during an trip to Dam.
Book onto the €5 shuttle bus which runs to and from Noordwijk from our sister hostel the Flying Pig Downtown. It’s just a 5 minute walk from St Christopher’s at the Winston
Fall in love with the Netherlands’ stunning beaches of Noordwijk. When the sky is blue, head to the west coast for a relaxing break from the craziness of Amsterdam and soak up the sun on the sandy beach. End the day in one of the beach pavilions (they’re only set up in the summer) and enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine with a wonderful view of the sea and sunset. All you have to do is hop on the shuttle bus from the Flying Pig downtown hostel (5 min walk away from the Winston) and you’ll arrive in less than an hour.
Train from Amsterdam Centraal to Leiden Centraal: 35min, €10.20 via www.trainline.eu
The picturesque city of Leiden makes for the perfect getaway from the crowds of Amsterdam and it’s only a 35 minute journey from the centre. Located within the tulip-growing part of the Netherlands, this quaint canal city is a university hub with some of the best views you could wish for. Take ‘The Leidse Loper’ route and walk around the city - just follow the signposts and you’ll be lead to all the right places. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you’ll find colourful street markets lining the roads with their fresh produce. Get off the tourist track and head to Leiden for the day.
Bus from Amsterdam Centrum to Keukenhof: 1hr30, €29.50 return including park entrance
The world’s largest flower garden is definitely worthy of a day’s exploring from the Dutch capital. The Keukenhof Gardens are only open for 2 months of the year when more than seven million flowers are in full bloom. However with this limited time comes huge amounts of visitors, so don’t visit on a weekend and make sure you get there early! Once you’ve strolled around and taken in the rolling sea of multicoloured flowers, hire a bike and cycle around the surrounding tulip fields. You’ll feel like you’ve entered another technicoloured world!
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