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Dutch Windmills, Cheese & Tulips: 5 Day Trips from Amsterdam You Can’t Miss

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.

Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk

 

 

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!

 

NoDay Trip from AmsterdamTop Things to DoDistance
1Kinderdijksee dutch windmills~75 minutes driving
2Rotterdamexplore World War II history and modern dutch food~1 hour driving
3Goudaeat dutch cheese~1 hour driving
4Lissesee dutch tulips in Keukenhof Gardens~45 minutes driving
5The Haguelearn about Dutch politics and government~1 hour driving

Keep reading for details about the best fun day trips from Amsterdam.

 

 

Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk

 

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.

Alternatively, some of the most famous windmills in Holland, like the Zaanse Schans Windmills can be visited on an affordable guided tour from Amsterdam.

 

Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk interior house
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk interior house
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk


Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk interior house
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk interior house
Best Day Trip from Amsterdam Dutch Windmill Kinderdijk interior house

 

 

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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.

 



 

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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.

 



 

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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.

 



 

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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.

 

 

Amsterdam Vacation Checklist

 

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the 5 best day trips from Amsterdam dutch windmills cheese tulips
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CelenaJune 19, 2017 - 12:37 pm

Thanks for your amazing guides! My only trouble with them is that you make every place sound so amazing that I have trouble choosing where to go! I’m planning on spending 2.5 weeks in Europe next month and was either going to do something to your Spain/Portugal itinerary, or a river cruise. I haven’t been to Europe as an adult, so every place is new to me. Between the cruise experience or the S/P itinerary, what would you recommend? I’m a solo, female traveler in my mid/late 20s if that is helpful. Thanks in advance!

SherJune 19, 2017 - 2:24 pm

Hi Celena, thanks for the kind words :) Hmm Viking and the Spain/Portugal trip I did are pretty different so I’ll do my best to provide some more context and hopefully make your decision easier!

The spain/portugal trip I did on my own, which was wonderful in that I was able to plan my own itinerary, and linger where I wanted to. On the flip side, it can get a bit exhausting to be on the go and traveling every ~3 days or so from city to city.

You mentioned you’ll be going solo – are you interested in meeting up with other solo travelers and experiencing the cities at night? You might prefer booking a hostel dorm room, LOTS of people visit Spain in the summer and it’s easy to make friends that way.

The other thing to mention about Spain is that it really helps to plan it in advance. Pretty much all their top sights require timed tickets (buy these online beforehand) and they sell out if you wait too long. For example, all of the Gaudi works in Barcelona you have to pick an exact hour that you plan to see the attraction (if you miss it you buy another ticket). Also in Spain, you can save a significant amount on train tickets by buying as early as possible, same with hotels. July/August is peak high season for Spain and Lisbon.

I really loved my Viking trip, but a couple things to note: the average demographic is a bit older, about 40+. Most people travel with someone because cruises will charge a single supplement fee for only 1 person. Viking hits a lot of places in 1-2 weeks, so you have the benefit of seeing a lot while having everything taken care of. I’ve taken tons of tours and traveled on my own and I was really impressed with how seamless Viking manages everything. Only unpack once, guided tours, free time, all meals/transfers included.

They do offer a Portugal douro river cruise, where the itinerary looks amazing, so check that out! I believe that portugal itinerary is new for 2017. Also they do have 2 for 1 sales from time to time so perhaps a friend or family member might want to go with you? If you like to mingle, they have shared tables at dinner so you can get to know other travelers. There isnt really entertainment on board in the evening the way there is with a massive ocean liner cruise, but they stop overnight in a couple cities so you can stay out late on those days.

I hope that was helpful! I loved Spain but would stress that a trip there in high season is probably best done if well planned in advance, whereas a viking cruise is great for “show up and have a great time”. If you want to meet other solo travelers, the spain/portugal itinerary i wrote hits all the top spots other travelers will be at, whereas viking is more leisurely and tends to attract an older crowd. Maybe you might be interested in the viking douro river cruise for 1 week and then fly in to barcelona/madrid for 1 week?

If you have any other questions, let me know!

CelenaJune 19, 2017 - 3:31 pm

Thanks so much! This was so helpful.
I think I will go the Spain/Portugal route, I have 16/17 days, so I was thinking Porto (2d) -> Lisbon (3d) -> Seville/Grenada (3d) -> Bilbao/San Sebastian (3d) (Have you been? I’ve heard great things about Northern Spain) -> Barcelona (5d) (Leaving Madrid for another time). Thanks for the tip on booking everything in advance! I will be sure to do that.

I am interested in meeting others– but am a bit of a sensitive sleeper, so I’m not sure whether to go the hostel, hotel, or AirBnB route. Perhaps a private room in a hostel would be a good medium? Do those exist? It’s actually going to be my first solo trip.

I also wanted to add that I used your itinerary for my trip to Thailand last November and it really helped me decide where I wanted to go. My friend and I had a blast of a trip largely thanks to you, so thank you again!!

SherJune 19, 2017 - 4:06 pm

Ah that’s great! Im so glad you found it helpful and im so happy to hear it :)

The times that I’ve stayed in a hostel (to be honest, not many times) Ive always chosen a private room with a private bathroom just bc i travel with my photo gear and like the privacy. They definitely offer those, you just select the type of room you want and then usually lots of people will hang out in the common areas to mingle. There was actually a really cute barcelona hostel i looked at… ill see if i can find it and let you know the name.

I did a mix of hotels and airbnb in spain/portugal. They were all good! It is kind of hard to meet people that way, but when I do travel solo i don’t usually meet up with people unless I know them.

I loved barcelona, way more than madrid! Madrid was quieter than I expected and the sights in Barcelona were so unique! I really like good food/ pretty architecture so barcelona hit all that for me. that reminds me, i’ve been meaning to write some posts about Barcelona still… one year later.. ha. Do a day trip to Girona and Montserrat if you have time. The gelato at rocemblanc is really good.

I wanted to do bilbao/san sebastian for the food and museum but had to save it for a different trip (sadly) let me know how you liked it after your trip!

CelenaJune 20, 2017 - 9:04 am

I think private hostel might be the way to go then– unless I really feel I need some space and quiet, or just a nicer accommodation break in which case I’ll book a hotel/AirBnB.

I’ll definitely let you know how Bilbao/SB is and report back :) Thank you again for all the help!!

PS. – I think a cool topic to write about in the future could be solo traveling/female traveling. I didn’t know you made the trip alone and it really gives me some confidence doing so knowing you did it yourself!

JoyceJune 20, 2017 - 10:04 am

All the windmills are so gorgeous! I love that outfit of yours with the red cap :)

Characters & Carry-ons

cherriJune 20, 2017 - 3:49 pm

these suggestions all sound amazing! I would love to visit some day!

SherJune 20, 2017 - 7:33 pm

No problem! I didn’t travel alone for my spain trip – I do occasionally but for the most part I travel with friends or family :)

OkiziaJune 25, 2017 - 1:47 pm

All interesting places to visit, enjoy and learn of. My favorite from this article was learning about how they use the wind mills to mean different things like joy etc. I think that is very creative. Thanks! :)

SherJune 25, 2017 - 2:07 pm

Right? I thought the secret signals were fun to learn about :) thanks for stopping by Okizia!

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