Particularly recognized for windmills and tulip fields, the Netherlands is an amazing country to explore beyond Amsterdam. Once you’re done with your Amsterdam itinerary, make sure you explore more of the country. Charming towns and friendly locals are just some of the things you can expect when discovering this incredible destination. Here are some of the best weekend trips from Amsterdam so you can get the most out of your trip to the Netherlands.
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Weekend trips from Amsterdam
The Netherlands is an amazing country with so much to see and do. Don’t forget to practice responsible tourism when you explore the best weekend trips from Amsterdam.
Recommended by Cosette of KarsTravels
Utrecht is a city in the middle of The Netherlands, with beautiful canals, renowned museums and some fantastic street art.
The canal area in Utrecht is a highlight when visiting. It’s what gives the city its cozy feeling. The Oudegracht, from before the 10th century, in the middle of the city center, has an extensive system of wharves and vaulted cellars.
In the summer, terraces align the canals from the restaurants and pubs housing in the wharves and vaulted cellars. Along the canals are some beautiful historical buildings, like the city hall, Stadskasteel Oudaen, and the Winkel van Sinkel.
Utrecht has some great museums, like the Centraal museum with old and modern art, the Nijntje (Miffy) museum and the Rietveld Schröder house. A fun museum is the Speelklok museum with a collection of self-playing musical instruments.
The street art in Utrecht is beautiful with art ranging from paintings from Caravaggio, like Sleeping Mars and The Lute Player, to a mural of a bookcase from JanIsDeMan that went viral.
Amsterdam to Utrecht is 40 minutes (45 kilometers) by car or 25 minutes by train.
There’s a direct train from Amsterdam Centraal to Utrecht Centraal.
Where to stay: NH Centre Utrecht Hotel
Recommended by Richard of RJOn Tour
The Limberg city of Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands is a very nice-looking place located on the Meuse River. To get to the city by train, you need to take the intercity 2927 which takes just over 2 hours.
The old town center is rather impressive with medieval fortress walls surrounding it and pretty gates such as the Helpoort.
Inside the walls are many historic churches including the Basilica of Saint Servatius. This church is a popular pilgrimage site as well as being home to the impressive treasury.
One of the most stunning areas is around Vrijthof Square, home to many churches, historic buildings, and cafes. Vrijthof Square houses many open-air music concerts.
The River Meuse is perfect for a stroll, passing 2 stunning bridges. The Sint Servaasbrug bridge is a 13th-century footbridge and the modern Hoge Brug which has some amazing views.
Where to stay: Kruisherenhotel Maastricht
Tulip Fields & Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse
Recommended by Sarah of CosmopoliClan
When spring arrives, the most colorful Dutch icon awakes. Tulips and other bulb flowers paint the Dutch landscape, heralding the most radiant season of the year.
Keukenhof Gardens, located in Lisse town, right in the heart of Holland’s bulb region, is where most visitors gather to take in the fragrant bulb beauties.
Getting there from Amsterdam is easy, thanks to the Keukenhof express combination tickets or the Amsterdam Pass. The transfer takes no more than half an hour. On-site, visitors follow the meandering pathway connecting one colorful display to another.
But the flowery fun doesn’t have to end there. Rent a bike at the Keukenhof entrance and explore more tulip fields in South Holland’s colorful bulb region.
Several cycling routes are available to take visitors to the most spectacular fields in the so-called Flower Strip. Halt in one of the tulip-picking farms to compose your own pretty bouquet or to have your picture taken amidst a sea of flowers.
The Dutch bulb flowers bloom from late March to early May, with a peak in the second half of April. Needless to say that this is a popular period to visit, especially during the Easter Weekend and King’s Day.
Where to stay: Hotel Restaurant de Engel
Efteling Theme Park
Recommended by Naomi of Probe Around The Globe
If you’re looking for some magic and family-friendly fun, then the Efteling Theme Park is THE place to be for a weekend break in the Netherlands.
Located in the south of the country, you can easily reach this theme park from Amsterdam by car (1 hour) or by public transport (special ‘Efteling busses go from Tilburg and Breda train station, 1-2 hours).
The Efteling is an amusement park for the whole family. It measures 72 ha but only 30% is used for rides and attractions. The rest of the park is a perfectly manicured nature land that offers amazing flower displays in spring and great autumn colors in the fall.
You can wander around for a day, or take your time and go in all the rides and make it into a fun-filled weekend trip. There are 6 roller coasters, a fairy-tale forest, a wild-water ride and so much more.
But a whole magic-filled day will be tiring, so I advise spending the night at The Efteling Hotel. Make your weekend memorable and sleep in the Cinderella room or any of the other themed Efteling rooms. If you’re opting for a long weekend, the Efteling also offers wooden-style cabins and houses. The fairytale doesn’t have to end after closing time!
Where to stay: Efteling Hotel
Recommended by Fiona of Travelling Thirties
One of the best weekend trips from Amsterdam is the small village of Volendam. Located in the north, Volendam is about a 20-minute drive from Amsterdam or, if you don’t have a car you can take a local bus. The bus departs from Amsterdam central station and takes about 45 minutes to the middle of Volendam.
Like many places in the Netherlands, Volendam has gorgeous canals that are lined with Windmills and bright coloured houses. The houses in Volendam are bright green and orange and make you feel as though you are walking through a movie.
If you are visiting Volendam in the summer months you can easily spend a day at the beach. The beach is a 2-minutes walk from the main street of Volendam which makes getting ice cream after your beach visit super easy.
When you are in Volendam you need to visit Henri Willig Cheese and Clog Factory. At the factory, you can see how the cheese is made and how traditional clogs are made and worn by the dutch and of course, buy some cheese or a pair of clogs.
Where to stay: Hotel Old Dutch
Recommended by Dymphe of Dymabroad
Zaanse Schans is one of the best weekend getaways from Amsterdam.
This is a place where you can learn about and see the history of
There are historic windmills and houses and you
can experience what life was like in the past through interactive
museums, which is amazing! In fact, it is one of the most popular
attractions in the Netherlands!
One of the best things to do here is to go inside a historic windmill.
There you can see what the windmill was used for in the past and how it
was used. For example, you can see how spices were ground.
Another fun thing to do at the Zaanse Schans is to go to the clogs museum. This is where you can learn all about typical Dutch clogs and see how they are made.
What’s great is that you can easily reach the Zaanse Schans from
Amsterdam. There is a railway station that you can get to with a direct
train from the central train station in Amsterdam. This will only take you
about 20 minutes which makes Zaanse Schans one of the best places near Amsterdam for a weekend trip.
Where to stay: Heerlijck Slaapen op de Zaanse Schans
Recommended by Claire of Stoked To Travel
Rotterdam makes for a great weekend trip excursion from Amsterdam by train, as it’s just one hour on direct and regular rail service.
From its unusual futuristic architecture to the older historical district of
Delfshaven, Rotterdam has plenty to take in. It’s even been described
as an ‘open-air museum of modern and contemporary design.
Sadly, much of Rotterdam was destroyed during World War Two, leaving huge areas of the city needing to re-built. This has resulted in a quirky, colorful city, packed with multi-ethnic districts and some excellent and
inspiring urban developments.
The one area that remained after World War Two is Delfshaven, which is the only part of Rotterdam that looks like Amsterdam – it’s definitely worth wandering to this area to admire the old narrow houses lining the canal.
One of the most famous sites to visit is Kubuswoningen, the famous
yellow cube houses, which is one of the best things to see in Rotterdam.
People live in these and you can actually wander right in. It’s guaranteed you’ll have seen nothing like these before.
Just opposite is the huge inverted U-shaped Markthal which is a giant indoor food hall and another must-see spot in Rotterdam.
Around a 15-minute walk/10 minute cycle away is the heart of the art and culture scene in Rotterdam in the Witte de Withkwartier, which is more affectionately known as Witty.
This eclectic area is buzzing with restaurants spilling out into the road, as well as lively bars, great art galleries, and hip fashion stores – plus amazing street art on nearly every wall.
Where to stay: citizenM Rotterdam
Recommended by Anuradha of Country Hopping Couple
The Hague (also known as Den Haag in Dutch), is the third largest city
after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It is also the administrative and royal
capital of the Netherlands.
However, The Hague is not one of the cities that comes to your mind when you think of traveling in the Netherlands. But the truth is, there are plenty of interesting things to do in the Royal city.
Be it the historic buildings, palace, canals, beaches, or myriad museums – one is spoilt with choices. Top on the list will be a visit to Binnenhof and Peace Palace. Both these places represent the city, known for their rich history and grand architecture.
If you are looking for free things to do in The Hague, walk along the pretty
canals or soak in the vibe at Scheveningen beach, one of the popular
sandy beaches in The Hague.
At the end of the pier is SkyView de Pier, the iconic Ferris Wheel. Alternatively, you can visit Madurodam, a miniature theme park, and marvel at the toy size attractions of the Netherlands.
Where to stay: Boutique Hotel Corona
Recommended by Nichola of Globalmouse Travels
Scheveningen lies just outside The Hague and is an easy trip from
Amsterdam, taking around an hour to drive or you can take the train to
The Hague and a tram out to this suburb.
This seaside town is best known for its beautiful long sandy beach which can feel like a breath of fresh air after the well-populated city of Amsterdam.
Here the breeze blows off the ocean, and even though it’s fairly built up, it’s a really fun weekend. In the summer the sand is packed with quirky little restaurants where you can eat in and really relax.
The newly renovated pier is a great place to promenade and stop for a drink or something to eat.
Where to stay: Bilderberg Europa Hotel Scheveningen
Weekend getaways from Amsterdam to Belgium
Recommended by Stéphanie of Bey of Travel
Antwerp is the perfect weekend trip from Amsterdam. By car or by bus you are about 3 hours on the road from Amsterdam. Yet, the traffic between these two major port cities can be quite busy, so the train is a better and faster option. It will only take you about 1 hr 15 min to arrive in Belgium’s city of fashion. Antwerp is a bustling city full of culture, architecture, and delicious food.
Make sure to visit the train station Antwerp Central, whether you actually need to take a train or not. Its one of the most beautiful train stations in the world! The Vlaeykensgang is Antwerp’s most hidden but most beautiful alley. Antwerp is a city by the water, so ensure you enjoy a picnic along the Scheldt during your stay.
You have not been to Antwerp if you didn’t visit a brewery. De Koninck Brewery is one of Antwerp’s oldest breweries, and several kinds of beers have been brewed here since 1833.
Are you a museum Lover, make sure to check out the Photo museum, MAS, The Red Star Museum, or the Fashion Museum.
Where to stay: Yust Antwerp
Recommended by Chrysoula of Travel Passionate
The medieval city of Bruges is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’. It is the perfect place for a weekend getaway from Amsterdam as it has a number of beautiful UNESCO monuments to explore including Minnewater ( the “Lake of Love”) and 13th-century Begijnhof.
There is the brick tower of the Church of Our Lady to see, the charming area around the Dyver canal, the cobbled square of Walplein, and the narrow lanes of the Stoofstraat.
Other places to discover include the Gruuthuse Palace, Burg Square, and Basilica of the Holy Blood, as well as the numerous lace and chocolate shops.
Grote Markt is also a great place to visit for souvenirs and of course, there is the Belgian beer to enjoy during your weekend in Bruges.
The easiest way to travel to Bruges from Amsterdam is by train with a change at Brussels-Midi. The journey takes 2.5 hours on the high-speed train, and 4 hours on a regular route. The station is 20 minutes’ walk from the city center.
Where to stay: Hotel Jan Brito
Recommended by Cecilie of Worldwide Walkers
Ghent is one of Belgium’s biggest and most beautiful cities, yet it often goes under the tourist radar in favor for Bruges or Brussels.
Ghent is a very romantic city because of its old historic city center which is jam-packed with old interesting buildings and intertwining canals. On top of that, there is also a great international food scene and vibrant nightlife in Ghent.
There are so many things to do in Ghent. You can visit the old Gravensteen Castle, go up in Belgium’s tallest Belfry and get a great view over the city, or see the city from a boat tour around the canals.
You can easily go on a weekend trip from Amsterdam by car or train. The quickest way by car is about 220 km and should take 2-3 hours. If you go by train you can take the train from Amsterdam to either Antwerp or Brussels, and from here catch a train to Ghent. The train journey also takes 2-3 hours.
Where to stay: Ghent Marriott Hotel
Recommended by Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer
Brussels holds the title of being the capital of both Belgium and Europe
and is the perfect weekend getaway from Amsterdam. The city is the perfect
example of a cosmopolitan city where you can find pretty much any
Yet what sets Brussels apart from other large cities in the
world is the kindness of the people. It’s not unusual to hear “Bonjour”,
“Hello”, or “Hallo” when you cross a local in the street.
The city is home to some of the best museums in the country, you can go
say hi to the dinosaurs in the national history museum or marvel at the
ingenuity of the paintings Rene Magritte in the aptly named Magritte
Brussels also has a more peculiar monument, the Atomium. The
Atomium is a remnant of the 1958 World Expo and offers the best views
over the city. You will need to purchase a ticket to see these views.
The Grand Place of Brussels is a sight to behold with gold façades
adorning each corner of the square, it will be hard not to be impressed.
Just around the corner of the Grand Place you can indulge in some
traditional speculoos at Café Dandoy – Juhm.
A little known fact about Brussels is that it is home to about 33.000
Italians, which translates into a lot of very high-quality Italian
restaurants. You might not know this, but Brussels has some of the best
pizza you will find not only in the country but in Europe (outside of
Italy of course).
Where to stay: Hotel Hubert Grand Place
Reflections on weekend trips from Amsterdam
There is no doubt there are a lot of amazing places to visit near Amsterdam and hopefully, you found the perfect place for you to spend a weekend. Make sure you travel responsibly, respect the locals, and bring your reusable water bottle and coffee cup to avoid single-use plastic when you travel. Take the opportunity to shop locally when you visit new places so you support the local economy too.
With so many places to see near Amsterdam, not only in the country, but beyond borders, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing weekend trip from Amsterdam! Have fun!
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