Considering the best day trip from Amsterdam? Why not sample dutch cheese, see dutch windmills at Kinderdijk, visit the Hague or see tulips at the Keukenhof gardens.
Dutch Windmills, Cheese & Tulips: 5 Iconic Day Trips from Amsterdam
The last stop on our Viking River Cruise was Amsterdam. Since I’ve been to the city a couple times before, I was looking for some other great day trip options to explore in the Netherlands. I saw so many picturesque photos of dutch windmills turning in the foggy marshes that I knew my top priority was seeing the windmills at Kinderdijk.
From past trips, I’ve also seen the International Court of Justice at the Hague and learned what goes into making dutch cheeses. There are quite a few popular day trip options within easy access of Amsterdam’s central station and all of the below can be visited in a convenient day trip!
|No||Day Trip from Amsterdam||Top Things to Do||Distance|
|1||Kinderdijk||see dutch windmills||~75 minutes driving|
|2||Rotterdam||explore World War II history and modern dutch food||~1 hour driving|
|3||Gouda||eat dutch cheese||~1 hour driving|
|4||Lisse||see dutch tulips in Keukenhof Gardens||~45 minutes driving|
|5||The Hague||learn about Dutch politics and government||~1 hour driving|
Keep reading for details about the best fun day trips from Amsterdam.
Day Trip from Amsterdam to see the..
Dutch Windmills at Kinderdijk
Windmills in Amsterdam don’t exist so you’ll have to head out into the suburbs! The most famous Dutch town to spot the windmills is Kinderdijk.
Much of the Netherlands is under sea level so without windmills to pump out water, the country would be flooded. The windmills of Kinderdijk were built in the 18th century and today, are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kinderdijk is a must see if you want that classic postcard image of dutch windmills!
How Do Dutch Windmills Work
There are about 19 remaining today along the canal, viewable either on foot or by boat. Viking provided us with an excellent a guided tour and we had an in-depth look into the history of dutch windmills and also learned how the windmills work. Did you know that dutch windmills are made from 19 different types of wood? The main mast is made from one solid, tall piece of oak!
Another interesting fact: when the windmill is not in use, the position of the sails are used to signal different messages. For example, tilting them in a certain way means joy or celebration (perhaps for a birthday) while a different tilt signals mourning.
Afterwards, we visited the interior of the dutch windmill, which was quite interesting. There are lots of stairs and winding bunk bed rooms that are worth a look. Our guide mentioned that some windmill keepers had up to 17 children in those tiny homes!
Here’s how to do a Kinderdijk Day Trip from Amsterdam:
From Amsterdam Central Station, board a train to either Rotterdam Central or Utrecht Central. From Rotterdam, take the metro to Rotterdam-Zuid and catch the 154 bus to Kinderdijk. From Utrecht, you can take the 154 bus directly.
Day Trip from Amsterdam to explore…
World War II History at Rotterdam
On your way back from Kinderdijk, explore Rotterdam. During World War II, the city was completely flattened from bomb raids and so the city is modern and entirely rebuilt. Rotterdam today is a vibrant urban city – make sure to check out the harbor and grab a bite at the Markthal. It’s a large indoor market where the ceiling is painted with various foods. You can feast with your eyes and your taste buds!
Here’s how to visit Rotterdam on a day trip from Amsterdam:
From Amsterdam Central Station, a direct train to Rotterdam takes just over an hour.
Day Trip from Amsterdam to taste…
Dutch Cheese at Gouda
Every Thursday morning, Gouda’s City Hall holds a cheese market. After all, don’t you want to try authentic Gouda cheese in its namesake city?
Also – I realized that I’ve actually been saying ‘gouda’ wrong the entire time… it’s not pronounced goo-da in Dutch but more like gow-da. They say dutch is one of the most difficult languages to learn and I can see why!
Here’s how to visit Gouda on a day trip from Amsterdam:
From Amsterdam Central Station, board a train to Rotterdam and get off at Gouda.
Or, make it easy on yourself and book a dutch cheese tasting at Edam.
Day Trip from Amsterdam to see the…
Dutch Tulip Fields at Lisse
From mid-March through May, the Lisse fields bloom with tulips! We visited the city’s most famous botanical garden, the Keukenhof gardens, a couple years ago and the rows and rows of color are a uniquely Dutch experience.
There are over 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinth flowers within the park so a great way to see all the various fields is by bike. You can download a bulb field cycling map and lose yourself in the rainbow colored countryside. The Keukenhof tulip gardens are quite popular so I do recommend booking a tour to skip the lines or booking a bike in advance.
Here’s how to see the Dutch tulips from Amsterdam:
From Amsterdam Central Station, board a train to Hoofddorp then transfer to another train in the direction of Den Haag Centraal. Get off at Sassenheim.
Day Trip from Amsterdam to discover…
Politics & History at The Hague
The Hague is the center of the Dutch royalty and government, where many famous museums and international political centers are located. Don’t miss a visit to the International Court of Justice and Peace Palace. It’s far from boring – there are priceless artifacts dedicated from various international world leaders and hallmark judicial rulings which were officiated here. A great way to see all the sights is on foot.
Top things to do in the Hague:
- Art lovers will want to check out the Mauritshuis which houses Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring
- Explore the dutch pottery tour and try a painting workshop
- Foodies can taste dutch beers, cheeses and famous eats on a food walking tour
- Nature and outdoor enthusiasts can visit Scheveningen Beach to touch the North Sea.
Here’s how to visit the Hague on a day trip from Amsterdam:
From Amsterdam Central Station, board a train to direct to Den Haag Centraal.
Or, if you wish to stay overnight and explore leisurely, find the latest Hague hotel deals here.
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