The 21 BEST Day Trips from Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a delightful city with seemingly endless amounts to do and see. From its picturesque canals to its world-class museums, the Netherlands’ capital is worth a visit.

While Amsterdam has a lot to offer, it also makes for a great central place to stay if you want to explore the Dutch countryside or visit other cities in the Netherlands or even Belgium.

There are so many great day trips from Amsterdam and so many must-see places in the Netherlands and across the border in Belgium that are all within 3 hours.

You could spend several days in Amsterdam or even weeks if you love museums and not grow tired of this cultured city. It’s no wonder millions of visitors flock to the canal city each year.  

Also read: How to see the best of Amsterdam in 3 days 

With so many beautiful villages in the Netherlands, we have created a comprehensive list of the 21 most popular and best day trips from Amsterdam.

So, whether you have only a few days and you’re looking for one or two Amsterdam day trips, or you have 2 weeks to explore the Benelux region, and want to see it all, we’ve got you covered. 

The guide to the best day trips from Amsterdam includes the top places to visit from Amsterdam, how long it takes to get to each day trip destination, what to do there, and the easiest ways to get there. 

Most popular organized day trips from Amsterdam

An organized tour takes the stress of planning off of you, so you don’t have to worry about transportation, research, or missing any of the highlights. Knowledgeable guides take care of it all for you.

Here are some of the most popular day trips from Amsterdam that often sell out. 

Where to stay in Amsterdam for day trips

If you plan to do multiple day trips from Amsterdam and want to travel by public transport, it’s best to stay near Amsterdam Centraal, the city’s main train and bus station. Ibis Amsterdam Center is a good option directly in front of the train station. 

If you’re looking for something more luxurious, check out Park Plaza Victoria. Or for historic appeal, Hotel Sint Nicolaas is just a five minute walk from the train station.

The Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

While organized tours are quite easy, a lot of the best Amsterdam day trips can easily be done on a self-guided adventure. Here are 21 day trips in the Netherlands and Belgium to consider taking from Amsterdam.

Zaanse Schans

Windmills in Zaanse Schans - one of the easiest day trips from Amsterdam
Zaanse Schans is one of the easiest day trips in Amsterdam to see windmills in Holland.

Zaanse Schans is perhaps the easiest and most popular day trip from Amsterdam, as it is only 17 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal by train.

There are a lot of things to do in Zaanse Schans, but the biggest draw to the small village is the chance to see the beautiful windmills the region of Holland is known for

There are at least 8 old-fashioned windmills in Zaanse Schans bordering the waterfront of the River Zaan. Six of those are working mills still in operation, grinding everything from oil to sawdust using the power of the wind.

You can tour one of the working windmills and even climb a ladder to the top for beautiful views of the countryside. 

Aside from the windmills you can also visit a clogmaker’s workshop, a Dutch cheese farm, and walk through the charming village of green wooden houses and tiny canals.

Allow yourself at least 2-4 hours to wander through the village, visit a few of the attractions and museums and have lunch with a peaceful view. 

Because this is such a popular Amsterdam day trip, get there early to avoid the crowds.

Most of the businesses open around 9am and visitors start arriving around 9:30-10 a.m., so if you get there before 9 a.m. you can enjoy the stunning views and get photos without hoards of other people. 

  • How long it takes to get there: 17 minutes by train or 40 minutes by bus
  • Easiest way to get there: Take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaandijk-Zaanse Schans Station, then walk approximately 10-15 minutes to the windmill village.
  • Book a guided tour to Zaanse Schans


colorful houses with orange roofs along a canal in Volendam
The seaside town of Volendam is just a short car or bus ride from Amsterdam. | Photo by Fiona from Travelling Thirties

There are many fantastic day trips from Amsterdam, including a trip to the small seaside village of Volendam.

Like Amsterdam, the canals in Volendam are lined with beautiful brightly colored buildings and the traditional Dutch windmills.

The houses in Volendam are almost an attraction themselves; they are bright green with orange roofs. Walking through the middle of the town makes you feel as though you are walking through a movie set.

Wandering the streets is definitely one of the best things to do in Volendam.

During the summer months you need to buy an ice cream and make the two-minute walk down to the beach and cool off in the ocean.

In the winter months, you need to buy a freshly made stroopwafel and walk along the main street and find somewhere cozy to have a drink.

Volendam is quite small and can easily be explored in a couple of hours, unless you spend the day at the beach of course, so you need to visit the Henri Willig Cheese and Clog Factory which is just outside of the main town.

At Henri Willig you can do a cheese tasting and the cheese making process and you can learn how the traditional Dutch footwear, the clogs, are made. Before leaving the cheese factory you need to stock up on some cheese to take with you for the rest of your journey.

  • How long it takes to get there: 20-25 minutes by car or bus
  • Easiest way to get there:  Volendam is located 20km North of Amsterdam. Driving is the easiest way to get to Volendam but you can also take the bus. The bus departs from Amsterdam Central Station and takes about 25 minutes to the center of Volendam. Look for bus 316, you will be on the bus for 6 stops.
  • Book a guided tour to Volendam, Edam and Marken

Recommended by Fiona from Travelling Thirties


the man canal in Utrecht Netherlands with crowded outdoor patios
The canal area in Utrecht is a great place to hang out on a nice day. | Photo by Jonne Makikyro from Unsplash

Utrecht is a perfect day trip from Amsterdam. Utrecht is located in the middle of the Netherlands and is a beautiful city. It has canals, renowned museums, a rich history and fun festivals. There are plenty of things to do in Utrecht, so getting bored isn’t an option.

The Dom Tower and canal area are two iconic landmarks from Utrecht. The most famous part of the canal area is the Oudegracht, which is from before the 10th century.

Take a boat ride on the canals, kayak on them, or admire them from one of the terraces aligning the canals. The Dom Tower can be climbed for fantastic views.

Don’t miss the Speelklok Museum with a collection of self-playing musical instruments. Or the Centraal museum with Nijntje (Miffy) museum and Rietveld chairs. There’s plenty of street art in Utrecht, so a self-guided city walk is perfect.

During Pentecost there’s the food truck festival TREK in the Griftpark. In June, there’s the Central Park Festival in park Transwijk with Dutch artists. To name just two of the many festivals each year.

  • How long it takes to get there: Amsterdam to Utrecht is 45 minutes by car (48 kilometers/30 miles) or 25 minutes by train.
  • Easiest way to get there: By train is the easiest way, since parking in the center of Utrecht is expensive. There’s a direct train from Amsterdam central station to Utrecht central station.
  • Book a day trip to Utrecht 

Recommended by Cosette from KarsTravels

Lisse Tulip Fields and Keukenhof Gardens

red tulip fields in The Netherlands
The tulip fields and Keukenhof Gardens are one of the most popular Amsterdam day trips to see tulip fields during spring. | Photo by Chris Heckmann from Around the World with Me

One of the most popular day trips from Amsterdam can only be done in a limited time frame each spring.

April in the Netherlands means tulip season, and if you visit Amsterdam in April, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the world-famous Dutch flower fields and the magical Keukenhof Gardens

While you can find tulip farms all over the country, the highest concentration of colorful fields can be found about 40 km southwest of Amsterdam near the town of Lisse. 

By far the most popular way to experience the tulips is to visit Keukenhof. Keukenhof is a large botanical garden full of colorful flowers.

There are buses that leave from Schiphol Airport continuously every day to shuttle visitors to the garden, as there is no quick way to get to Lisse on public transport. (It will take you about 90 minutes, plus the walk to Keukenhof.) The shuttle bus ride takes about 25 minutes.

But if you really want the Dutch tulip experience, skip Keukenhof and head to the endless flower fields west of Lisse. There are tulips fields of every color imaginable, and they stretch for as far as the eye can see.

These are private farms, so technically you’re not supposed to walk in the fields. You can stop anywhere on the side of the road you can safely pull over and take in the views.

You’ll ideally want a car to explore the tulip fields on your own, but you can also rent a bike for 15 euros from Keukenhof and explore the tulip fields in true Dutch fashion.

You’ll be in flower heaven exploring the tulip fields in the Netherlands!

Recommended by Chris Heckmann from Around the World with Me


A cottage in Giethoorn - one of the most beautiful day trips from Amsterdam
Giethoorn is one of the most beautiful day trips from Amsterdam. | Photo by Myeclecticself from Pixabay

Giethoorn, Netherlands is often called the “Dutch Venice” or the “village with no roads”.  This enchanting 800-year-old village located in northeastern Netherlands draws nearly one million people a year to its series of small canals and channels that connect the town.

The most popular things to do on a Giethoorn day trip from Amsterdam is to simply rent a small whisper boat and navigate through the canals on your own self-guided discovery of the village.

For those uncomfortable with the idea of driving their own boat, you can also hire a private boat captain or join a tour-bus style canal cruise. 

The town is home to less than 3,000 people most of whom live in beautiful thatched roof homes that border the canals. 

The village also borders Weerribben-Wieden National Park, one of the most important natural reserves in Europe. The large bog and marshland is a breeding ground for lots of species of birds and other animals.

This is a great place to kayak through if you want to be surrounded by nature rather than picturesque houses. 

  • How long it takes to get there: 1 ½ hours by car, or 2-3 hours by public transport
  • Easiest way to get there: Driving or a guided tour are the easiest ways to get to Giethoorn. However, you can reach it using public transportation. Take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Steenwijk, then switch to bus 70 or 270 to travel to Giethoorn.
  • Book a day trip to Giethoorn

Muiden Castle

muiden castle - one of the best day trips from Amsterdam to see castles in The Netherlands
Muiden Castle is one of the best day trips from Amsterdam to see castles in The Netherlands. | Photo by Jonny from Backpackingman

Muiden Castle, also known locally as Muiderslot, is one of the best castles in the Netherlands and makes for one of the best day trips from Amsterdam.

It is a 13th-century medieval castle that has been restored and has a lot of history behind it which you can learn when there.

Sometimes they have a bird of prey show on display, which you can inquire about when visiting. Situated opposite the castle is the ‘Kasteeltuin’, the castle gardens, which are peaceful to stroll around.

Muiden is also home to the Royal Netherlands Yacht Club, which is located on the other side of the canal and is full of sailing boats, some of which are occasionally traditional Dutch sailing barges.

A good place to relax near the castle before or after visiting is the Bakkerij P & E. Stricker, for coffee and cake and is scenically situated by a canal. If you have any interest in castles, boating, and a (very) small traditional Dutch city, then a day trip to Muiden and Muiden Castle is a must.

Muiden can be reached from the center of Amsterdam in around 1 hour by cycling there along a cycle path, which adds to a great ‘Dutch’ experience, and is highly recommended. You can rent bikes for the day in Amsterdam.

If you don’t feel like cycling then you can take a train from Amsterdam Zuid Station to Weesp and change there to bus 110 which takes around 40 minutes in total.

Recommended by Jonny from Backpackingman


A bicycle on a bridge looking out at a windmill across the canal in Haarlem
Haarlem is a traditional Dutch town just 15 minutes from Amsterdam. | Photo by Megan from Wandertoes

Haarlem is a very traditionally Dutch town, and incredibly convenient at only 15 minutes from Amsterdam.  It has a wonderful small-town feel with all major sites within easy walking distance, making Haarlem a delightful choice for an Amsterdam day trip. 

However, Haarlem packs a lot into its walkable town.  Just a 10-minute walk from the train station, and you could fill your day within steps of the Grote Markt (central market square) alone. 

In the Grote Markt are the Grote Kerk (literally ‘big church’), The Frans Hals Museum of their hometown Dutch golden age painter, the city hall, cafés for people watching – if you’re lucky, watch celebratory newlyweds exiting city hall – and two markets per week. 

The Monday market is sewing and clothing focused, while Saturday is more general with flowers, household goods, and foods.

But as you continue exploring Haarlem, you will discover why it has been named the Netherlands’ top shopping destination repeatedly: stroll De Gouden Straatjes, the Golden Streets, for some retail therapy. It is a great place to find all your Netherlands souvenirs.  

There are also the hidden gardens of the Hofjes to uncover, and the Molen (windmill) de Adriaan to tour and take in the view.  If history is your thing, be sure to visit the Corrie ten Boom house where some 800 of those escaping the Nazis through the underground network during were hidden.  

Whether you are looking to spend your day with markets, shopping, and food, or with history and museums, plan a Haarlem day trip and explore!  

  • How long it takes to get there:  Approx 20km from Amsterdam and takes 15 minutes by train
  • Easiest way to get there: Train from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem Station.  There are direct trains departing approximately every 15 minutes.
  • Book a private day trip to Haarlem

Recommended by Megan from Wandertoes


cheese farmers selling cheese at the cheese market in Gouda
Visiting the Gouda Cheese Market is a unique way to spend the day outside of Amsterdam. | Photo by W4 Media from Pixabay

Gouda, one of the most interesting destinations in the Netherlands, is only a short ride away from the capital Amsterdam. The city is known for its production of cheese in a farmer’s market which takes place here every week.

The gouda also boasts of great architectural heritage which includes places like the Church of Saint John, Gouda Stadhuis, and the City Hall.

The cheese that is sold here needs no introduction. Every Thursday a huge number of cheese makers from the region gather here to display the best of their produce.

The donut-shaped, wheel-like cheese being sold by the natives donning traditional wear is quite a sight.

For those of you who appreciate historical architecture visiting the church of St. John is a must. Going back to the 15th century the church is known for its stained glass windows, grand archways, and intricate façade.

The historical Market Square is the perfect point to start your day tour. Many of the city’s famous sites are located around here.  

Stadhuis is a 15th-century town hall located on Market Square. A marvel of gothic architecture, the City Hall features a number of pointy turrets and stone figures on its front.

The best way to get from Amsterdam to Gouda is by taking the direct train which takes under an hour to complete the journey.

  • How long it takes to get there: Less than an hour by train.
  • Easiest way to get there: Take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Gouda Station
  • Book a day trip to Gouda

Recommended by Vidyut from Triplyzer


The Maastricht city center
The Maastricht city center is a great place to explore any time of year. | Photo by Zoe from Together in Transit

A picturesque location that should be considered for a day trip from Amsterdam, Netherlands is the beautiful city of Maastricht.

Located all the way in the south of the country, this beautiful cobblestone city is great to explore any time of the year. The city itself is split on each side of the famous River Maas, connected by two main bridges.

The city center is a good place to start exploring in, shopping at the big well-known stores and then to the little local boutiques. Like books? Don’t forget to check out the Dominican church, converted admirably to a bookstore.

From there, enjoy a sweet nature walk to one of the local city parks. Maastricht city center is still surrounded by the original 13th century walls, so walking past these and Hell’s Gate is also a must.

For a bit more history, you can also book an English tour to visit the local underground caves. This is pretty interesting and a top local thing to do in Maastricht, allowing you to learn more about the history of the city. It’s very cold inside, so bring a jumper! 

For a foodie highlight of the visit, grab a bite to eat from the local Bisschopsmolen bakery, where they sell the best Dutch Limburg’s vlaai. The top flavors include plum, strawberry and peach.

Finally, find yourself enjoying a bite to eat or drink at one of the many restaurants in the city; there are lots to choose from! 

  • How long it takes to get there:  Amsterdam to Maastricht it is a total of 210 kilometers
  • Easiest way to get there: By car it’s 2 hours 18minutes driving, however it’s easiest with a local and direct NS train from Amsterdam Centraal to Maastricht which takes 2.5 hours exactly and costs 27 EUR one way.

Recommended by Zoe from Together In Transit

Efteling Amusement Park

A fairytale castle at Efteling Theme Park, one of the most fun day trips from Amsterdam for families
Efteling is one of the most fun day trips from Amsterdam for families. | Photo by Teunard Droog from Unsplash

The Efteling is a theme park in the town of Kaatsheuvel in the South of the Netherlands. It has attractions for all ages, ranging from a fairytale forest to dark rides.

The Efteling opened in 1951, which makes it one of the oldest (still-opened) theme parks in the world. From a nature park it has been enlarged with the fairytale forest and more and more attractions.

The style of Anton Pieck has set the tone of the park and has made the park famous. Together with the elaborate set up with lots of nature throughout the park. From the 1980s on, famous rides such as the Python, Carnaval Festival and Droomvlucht were built.

In this millennium even more thrilling or magical rides were opened such as Baron 1898 and Symbolica. The park receives over 5 million visitors a year, and is among the most popular theme parks in Europe.

Like Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark or even Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia in the United States, Efteling is a stunning park that puts as much emphasis on creating a beautiful atmosphere as it does into creating fun rides.

There are enough attractions for all ages to enjoy a whole day at the park. The park is open all year long. In winter, there’s the Winter-Efteling bringing extra magic to the park.

Ticket prices range from €38.00 to €46.00 depending when you visit. Parking costs €12.50.

  • How long it takes to get there: Amsterdam to the Efteling is 1 hour and 15 minutes by car (110 kilometers/68 miles) or almost 2 hours with public transport (train + bus).
  • Easiest way to get there: By car is the easiest way, since it saves a lot of time. With public transport it’s a train from Amsterdam central station to ‘s-Hertogenbosch station. There, take bus line 300 to Tilburg, getting out at stop Efteling, Kaatsheuvel in front of the park.
  • Book a day pass to Efteling Theme Park

Recommended by Cosett from KarsTravels 


cheese market in Woerden
Woerden is a unique,lesser known day trip in the Netherlands to visit an authentic Dutch cheese market. | Photo by Chloe from Chloe’s Travelogue

Many cheese-loving travelers first consider Gouda or Alkmaar when it comes to Dutch cheese market destinations. But if you want the real deal that is not a reenactment show for tourists, head over to Woerden. Woerden is a small town between Utrecht and Gouda.

This low-key village is the last-standing commercial cheese market where farmers and merchants still trade cheese in a traditional Dutch way. Woerden Cheese Market has been in business since 1885.

Farmers wheel their cheese blocks into the city center for trade. Traders visit each farmer’s cart to inspect products. They name a price and clap hands until both agree on the price and shake hands.

Unlike other cheese markets, the trade in Woerden still determines the cheese prices in the market today. Saturdays from April to August, tourists are welcome to join the Woerden Cheese Market in the city center. The trade demonstrations at 11 am and 12 pm are made in Dutch only.

Regardless of your Dutch language skills, it is an interesting scene to watch. To make it more enticing, Woerden market is known to give out the most generous and diverse cheese samples to the spectators after the trade.

If you like any of them, you can buy a vacuum-sealed cheese to take home directly from farmers.

These cheese are freshly handmade at the farm, not from the factories. Woerden may be a relatively unknown destination. But it is a hidden gem to experience the Netherlands’ famous cheese scene without the tourists.

  • How long it takes to get there: 40 minutes by train from Amsterdam
  • Easiest way to get there: Take a train (towards Rotterdam) from Amsterdam Centraal station to Woerden station

Recommended by Chloe from Chloe’s Travelogue

The Hague

Madurdam in The Hague is a great way to visit the whole of The Netherlands in one day. | Photo by Amelie Mathieu from Pixabay

It may be the seat of international justice but visiting The Hague with kids is a great way to spend a day away from Amsterdam. The Hague, or Den Haag in Dutch, is home to castles, palaces, and beaches.

Head to Scheveningen Pier and take a ride on the SkyView Ferris Wheel, whizz down a zipline, or simply take in the sights in the seaside town. 

One of the more unique things to do in The Hague, Madurodam is a must-visit. This miniature city features exact replicas of Dutch buildings, landscapes, and other famous landmarks. You can walk through the exhibits and admire the different elements and all the detail, just don’t touch them. 

In the heart of the city, Binnenhof Castle compound is a spectacular 13th century complex home to the top government officials in the Netherlands. 

After visiting the castle courtyard, take a stroll through the Old City, before heading back to Amsterdam or visiting one of the other nearby cities like Delft or Rotterdam.


cube houses in Rotterdam
The cube houses are known for their unique architectural design. | Photo by Photostore from Unsplash

As a bustling logistics and economic center, Rotterdam is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands thanks to the city’s unique and interesting architecture.

First, visit the innovative cube houses, designed with the concept of ‘living as an urban roof’; you can admire from the outside or learn more about the style and history in the museum.

Another popular place to visit is the market hall. This unique building contains market stalls and quirky bars and restaurants, but the main attraction is the beautifully decorated roof and overall structure.

Finally, take some time to immerse yourself in Rotterdam’s history at the maritime museum. Even if you don’t go inside, the walk along the canal gives you a flavor of the old ships.

You will see many shipping parts across the city that have been tactfully placed as contemporary art exhibits.

  • How long it takes to get there: 40 minutes by train
  • Easiest way to get there: You can take a train to Rotterdam Central every 15 minutes in peak times. The intercity direct is the fastest option. The sprinter train is also an option, but doubles the time.

Recommended by Kerry Hanson from VeggTravel


a purple bike leaning against a bridge railing along a canal in Delft.
Delft is not only a pretty city to visit from Amsterdam, but there is a lot to do on a day trip. | Photo by Djedj from Pixabay

A great day trip from Amsterdam is one to the city of Delft. Delft is a small historic city with a total population of about 100,000 people that you can find close to the city of Rotterdam, and there is a lot to see and do there.

The city center features very picturesque buildings, including many historic ones. For example, you can see the Oude Kerk here, which is a historic church.

Also, you can go to the Markt, where you can see the City Hall of Delft. This is a building that dates back to the 17th century, and there is a lot of art inside the building. 

Another thing that Delft is known for is Delftware, which is blue pottery that originated in the city. When you are in Delft, you could go to Royal Delft, which is a company that has been making this type of pottery since the year 1653.

Furthermore, a great museum to visit is Museum Prinsenhof Delft. Here, you can learn about the history of the Netherlands, Delft, and William of Orange.

Also, the Vermeer Centrum Delft is very interesting to visit as you can learn about the famous artist Johannes Vermeer and his works at this place.

  • How long it takes to get there: It takes 45 minutes to get to Delft from Amsterdam by train or by car
  • Easiest way to get there: The easiest way to get to Delft is by train. That’s because you can travel in a direct way from city center to city center.  You can go from the “Amsterdam Centraal” station to station “Delft”.
  • Book a day trip to Delft, Rotterdam and The Hague

Recommended by Dymphe from Dymabroad

Noordwijk Beach

a seaside restaurant at Noordwijk Beach
Spending a few hours enjoying the beach and the seaside restaurants in Noordwijk is a great day trip. | Photo by Samantha from Continuous Roamer

Noordwijk is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the Netherlands. For this reason, it is worth the effort to travel outside Amsterdam for a day trip to visit this quaint beach town.

Noordwijk Beach has soft white sand and crashing waves, which make it ideal for enjoying sports such as; kitesurfing and boogie boarding or simply a relaxing day on the beach.

The beach promenade is lined with numerous restaurants and beach clubs serving a range of refreshing drinks and food.

For those looking for a recommended spot for some refreshments, try out Branding Beach Club. The food is delicious, and the décor is impeccable.

When visiting Noordwijk in spring, you will pass stunning fields of tulips the region is known for. During the school summer holidays, the beach will be busier with families enjoying the seaside, so come early to secure your spot.

On a sunny day, Noordwijk is a great spot to visit throughout the year, especially given that many beach clubs remain open in winter for dining.

  • How long it takes to get there: Approximately 45 – 80 minutes (depending on transportation method)
  • Easiest way to get there: The easiest way to travel to Noordwijk: by car in around 45 minutes without traffic, or take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Leiden, and then take bus 20 from Leiden to Noordwijk
  • Book a beach and bike tour in Noordwijk

Recommended by Samantha from Continuous Roamer

Bruges, Belgium

a pretty canal in Bruges Belgium
Bruges, Belgium is one of the most charming villages you can visit from Amsterdam.

A Bruges day trip is another widely popular option from Amsterdam. The beautiful fairytale town in northwest Belgium looks like the real-life setting of a Disney movie and smells like chocolate and waffles.

If that isn’t enough of a draw to visit Bruges, the UNESCO World Heritage city center is home to the oldest Town Hall in the region, bustling squares,  a spiraling clock tower, pristine canals and green spaces, and ornate cathedrals. 

Two of Bruges’ most notable cathedrals, the Basilica of the Holy Blood and Church of Our Lady, are best known for the treasures they hold inside. The Basilica, while small and humbly tucked away in a corner, is said to contain a cloth relic stained with the blood of Jesus Christ.

While the Church of Our Lady boasts one of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures, Madonna and Child.  

Perhaps a more popular day trip from Brussels, getting to Bruges from Amsterdam will take around three hours if traveling by train or by car.

There is no direct train, so if traveling by public transport you’ll have at least one train transfer in either Antwerp, Ghent, or Brussels. 

  • How long it takes to get there: Travel time ranges from 2 hours 40 minutes to 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Easiest way to get there: A guided tour takes the stress of train station transfers or navigating on a road trip out of the mix. However, if you don’t mind a train transfer or two, it is easy to get to Bruges by train.
  • Book a day trip to Bruges

Antwerp, Belgium

A historic building in Antwerp Belgium
Antwerp is one of the closest Belgium cities that can be reached as day trips from Amsterdam. | Photo by Babs from Next Stop Belgium

If you are looking for awesome day trips from Amsterdam, Antwerp is a great choice!

Antwerp is a city in the Northern part of Belgium that is located about an hour and a half away from Amsterdam.

Antwerp is known for its diamond industry and its fashion scene, but it also has a charming and picturesque historical center. There are plenty of things to do in Antwerp so you’ll have to pick your favorites if you only have one day in the city.

Some of the most famous sights in Antwerp include the Cathedral of Our Lady, the Rubens House, and the Antwerp Zoo. It’s also home to a number of excellent museums.

The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) is one of the best, offering visitors a chance to learn all about the city, the port and its connection with other cultures. End your visit with some amazing views from its 10th-floor observation deck.

Art lovers will want to make a stop at the brand new Royal Museum of Fine Arts (it just reopened after 10 years of closure!), which houses a world-renowned collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.

In winter, Antwerp is transformed into one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe, with an enchanting Christmas market and lots of holiday activities.

Antwerp is a great city to visit for a day trip from Amsterdam because it is close enough to make the trip feasible and there is a lot to see and do in the city.

  • How long it takes to get there: 1 hour 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on method of transportation
  • Easiest way to get there: The easiest and fastest way to travel from Amsterdam to Antwerp is by train. Traveling from Amsterdam CS to Antwerp Central Station takes 1h15 if you go by Thalys and 1h48 if you travel by a regular intercity train.
  • Other ways to get there: By car it will take you a little less than 2,5 hours without traffic jams. 
  • Cheapest way to get there: The cheapest route is by Flixbus. It takes 2-3 hours but you can book a ticket for as little as €9.
  • Book a day trip to Antwerp

 Recommended by Babs from Next Stop Belgium

Gravensteen - one of the top things to see on a Ghent day trip
Gravensteen – one of the top things to see on a Ghent day trip. | Photo by Bridget from The Flashpacker

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent is one of Belgium’s medieval gems.

It is as charming as its neighbor and erstwhile rival, Bruges, but with a fraction of the visitor numbers. Picture a labyrinth of narrow canals, lacing their way past gabled buildings and Gothic spires and you’ll have the measure of the place.  

The city’s star attraction is the newly-restored The Adoration of Mystic Lamb, Jan van Eyck’s masterpiece, but there are many other things to do in Ghent.

Climb the Belfort for panoramic views over the historic center or visit the century Gravensteen. Also known as the Castle of the Counts, this hulking pile was built to both intimidate and protect Ghent’s unruly citizens.

See Ghent from another perspective by taking a one-hour boat tour along its canals. When night falls, learn more about one of Belgium’s greatest exports on a guided beer tour.

Art lovers should make a beeline for the city’s excellent museums: the Fine Art Museum (MSK) and S.M.A.K., which houses Ghent’s contemporary art collection. Urban fangirls and fanboys should head to Werregarenstraat, otherwise known as Graffiti Street.

  • How long it takes to get there: It takes just over two and a half hours to get to Ghent from Amsterdam.
  • Easiest way to get there: The easiest way to get there is by train from Amsterdam- Centraal to Ghent St. Peter’s Station (Gent-Sint-Peters). Change trains at Antwerp. Ghent historic center is a 30-minute walk from the train station or hop on the frequent tram #1.
  • Book a boat tour in Ghent

Recommended by Bridget from The Flashpacker

Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place in Brussels Belgium
Brussels, the capital of Belgium can be reached in 2 hours from Amsterdam.

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and often considered the capital of Europe as a whole thanks to the city being the headquarters for the European Union. But there is much more to see and do in Brussels than see the administrative offices for European democracy.

The city has a good mix of historical charm and modern flare. While you really need 2 days in Brussels to truly appreciate all it has to offer, a day trip from Amsterdam to Brussels is doable. 

Start your day by taking the train to Brussels Central Station. From there, go on a self-guided walking tour through Old Town, starting at Grand Place, the most opulent public square in the city.

Check out Manneken Pis, which is only a five minute walk from Grand Place. The tiny bronze statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain is one of the most beloved and famous statues in Europe.

Grab some Belgian waffles or Belgian fries for a quick snack and continue on to Mont des Arts. This public garden and gathering place boasts one of the most photographed views in Brussels. 

After taking in the views and atmosphere, catch the train once again and head to the Atomium, Brussels’ most unique tourist attraction. Go inside the atom-shaped building and then finish your day trip at Mini-Europe.

At the foot of the Atomium, this miniature park features more than 350 tiny replicas of buildings, monuments, and landmarks from across Europe. 

  • How long it takes to get there: 2 hours by high speed train
  • Easiest way to get there: Take the direct train from Amsterdam Centraal to Brussels Centraal
  • Book a day trip to Brussels


Boats along the harbor in Hoorn - a lovely harbor town which is one of the best day trips from Amsterdam by train
Hoorn is a lovely harbor town which is one of the best day trips from Amsterdam by train. | Photo by Trijit Malliick from Budget Travel Buff

Hoorn is close to the IJsselmeer, a man-made lake in north Holland. You’re sure to fall in love with the old-world architecture, magnificent canals, interesting history, stunning harbor, and charming old town while you’re here.

This harbor town boasts a bustling downtown with a wide selection of stores, terraces, and eateries.

The city center’s architecture, which originates to the 16th century, is regarded as some of the Netherlands’ most exquisite. Hoorn is the place to go if you’re seeking for a genuine Dutch maritime village.

You can explore an authentic town that is not yet overrun by tourists on a day trip to Hoorn.

Additionally, you can visit historical sites like the Oosterkerk (Eastern Church) for fishermen and sailors, the Museum of the 20th Century, and the ancient ship and 16th-century warehouses.

Discover the medieval buildings scattered around the ancient, early 16th-century city, including the cathedral. It is a great place if you are looking for places to travel solo in Europe. As there aren’t many international visitors, the prices here are relatively reasonable.

You will discover that the cafes, restaurants, and stores are more genuine and less marketed than in other tourist-oriented towns, allowing you to enjoy a genuine Dutch town free of tourists.

  • How long it takes to get there: It is around 44 kilometers away from Amsterdam and takes 35 minutes to travel there by car and 30 minutes by train.
  • Easiest way to get there: You can board a train towards Enkhuizen from Amsterdam Centraal station and get out at Hoorn
  • Book a guided walking tour in Hoorn

Recommended by Trijit Mallick from Budget Travel Buff


A canal in Leiden at sunset
Leiden in a popular university town and an easy train ride from Amsterdam. | Photo by Arief Yusuf from Pixabay

The university town of Leiden is the perfect day trip from Amsterdam, it is jam-packed with the best museums in the country, has a swinging nightlife scene (thank you students) and is a very easy train ride away.

Multiple direct trains leave daily from Amsterdam Central to Leiden Centraal and take 30 minutes to get you from point a to point b (the car will take 40 minutes not counting time searching for parking!).

There are plenty of things to do in Leiden, weather permitting partake in the Leiden Route of Discoveries which takes you through the major sites of the city (pick up your map at the tourism office or simply download it online).

Find all the hidden Hofjes (there are no less than 35), learn about the link between Japan and the Netherlands at the Botanical Gardens and end the day with a sunset canal cruise.

Castle lovers will rejoice in a visit to the Duivenvoorde Castle, a 13th-century castle on the outskirts of town or a short 15-minute bike ride away.

If your visit coincides with a bout of rain you have a myriad of museums to choose from to keep you dry. Pop into Naturalis (Natural History Museum), or Corpus (a museum dedicated to the human body) or visit the quintessential Dutch windmill at the Molen De Valk Museum.

  • How long it takes to get there: 30 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal to Leiden Centraal by train. 
  • Easiest way to get there: Take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Leiden Centraal.
  • Book a day trip to Leiden

Recommended by Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer 

Other suggestions for day trips from Amsterdam

While these are the easiest and most popular day trips from Amsterdam, it is possible to take a day trip from Amsterdam to Germany if you want to visit the beautiful city of Cologne, home to one of the most famous churches in Europe.

It will take you roughly 3 hours by car or by high-speed ICE train to get from Amsterdam to Cologne.

Munster or Dusseldorf are other Amsterdam day trip options in Germany. Although with so many great day trips from Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Belgium, you’ll have plenty to see and do without feeling like you need to cross into Germany for just a day.

And while it isn’t a day trip, you can easily visit Luxembourg from Amsterdam as a weekend getaway and cross one of Europe’s smallest countries off your bucket list!

ALSO READ: How to book train travel in Europe using Rail Europe

Have a question or comment about any of these day trips from Amsterdam? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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