One of the most visited European cities, Amsterdam’s economy benefits from the tourism industry and has established facilities and services that make exploring the city (and beyond) convenient for tourists. The cityscape echoes how the locals built their city in the past by sophisticated urban planning, resulting in the formation of its elaborate canal system, which has also become not just a key tourist attraction but a major part of its identity.
Its efficient transportation system makes Amsterdam a well-connected city. It has the metro, tram, bus, and railway tracks that link it to other Dutch cities and even further to the city of neighboring countries like France, Belgium, and Germany.
If you’ve scratched off all the items on your Amsterdam list and been wanting to visit other attractions outside the city, here are some of the tourist destinations and activities you can do on a day tour from Amsterdam. At the end of each item are brief directions to these destinations if you choose to explore on your own. But if you’d rather be comfortable, we also provided Klook links for tour bookings.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
1. Zaanse Schans
This open-air museum village is located in the town of Zaandam, a few kilometers northwest of Amsterdam.
This residential neighborhood is known for its iconic windmills and various 18th- to 19th-century structures relocated from all over the country. It features the symbolic green wooden houses, the historic windmills, barns, museums, and artisanal shops where you can witness craftsmen making clogs, shoes, cheese, chocolate, barrel, and pewter.
Getting There: Take the train (Sprinter) from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans Station. The travel time is less than 20 minutes. From the station, Zaanse Scans can be reached in 10 minutes on foot.
If you want convenient transfers, you can join a guided half-day tour to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam. Klook is offering a package that includes Zaanse Schans walking tour, Clog Museum, Annex Wooden Shoemaker Shop, and a farm in the itinerary. It covers roundtrip transfers and a multilingual guide.
If you are interested in visiting other nearby attractions, you can book this full-day tour of Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken.
2. Volendam & Edam
The towns of Volendam and Edam, both straddling the IJe River, forms the larger Edam-Volendam municipality, located northeast of Amsterdam.
Volendam, located on the shore of Markermeer Lake, is a fishing village known for its colorful wooden houses, traditional fishing boats, and residents who still don their traditional clothing. Tourists flock to the village to visit the Volendam Museum and to take the ferry to Marken, a picturesque peninsula village.
On the other hand, Edam is renowned for its cheese market and world-famous Edam cheese. Nowadays, the cheese market tradition is kept alive through the re-enactment of how they trade cheese in the past, drawing tourists to the town. Other attractions in Edam are the St.Nicholas Church, the Town Hall, Edam Museum, and Carillon.
Getting There: There are direct buses (Bus 312 & 316) operating between Amsterdam and Volendam. These buses depart from Amsterdam Central to several bus stops in Volendam. The travel time is about 35 minutes. You can travel from Volendam to Edam by bus (Bus 316) in less than 10 minutes.
If you are planning to visit Volendam, Edam, and Zaanse Schans, Klook has a package that includes all three in the itinerary. This covers roundtrip transfers and a multilingual guide. You can also check out the other three packages for additional offers like a canal cruise or Amsterdam city tour.
Marken used to be frequently separated from the mainland by floodwater from the 13th century until 1957 when a causeway was constructed, connecting it to Uitdam on the mainland.
The village is known for its traditional old houses built on mounds or stilts (Original House of Marken). Other attractions are the Marken Museum, Wooden Shoe Factory, and the Horse of Marken Lighthouse. The whole island can be explored on foot or by riding a bicycle.
Getting There: The major bus stop is the Centrum Marken Stop (Bus 315). From Amsterdam Noord (North), you can take the bus to the center of Marken. This stop is near the port for those who want to take the ferry to Volendam from here.
If you want to visit Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken, joining a group tour provides hassle-free roundtrip transfers. Klook is offering a package that covers all three tourist destinations, plus entrance tickets to Cheese Factory Volendam and the Woltje Stroopwafel Bakery, an audio guide, roundtrip transfers, a traditional wooden clog making demonstration, and a River cruise between Marken and Volendam.
Giethoorn is a village in the municipality of Steenwijkerland, several kilometers northeast of Amsterdam. Often referred to as “Little Venice” or “Venice of the Netherlands”, it is the picturesque Dutch village, which has canals for its streets instead of concrete roads. Well, almost. The village still has few car-accessible roads, but they are located on the outskirts of the village, away from the major transportation areas where most of the settlements and businesses are located. It also has narrow pedestrian and bicycle paths.
The village is famous for its thatched-roof houses and boat-filled canals, lined with restaurants, cafés, and shops.
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central or Zuid (South), the train routes require one or two change trains to either Zwolle Station (south of Giethoorn) or Steenwijk Station (north of Giethoorn). From either station, get on a bus (Bus 70) to Giethoorn village. The total travel time is about two hours.
To ensure your hassle-free transfers between Amsterdam and Giethoorn, joining a group tour is one of the recommended options to get to the village. Klook is offering a tour package that covers both Giethoorn and Afsluitdijk (Enclosed Dike), a 32-kilometer dike that links North Holland and Friesland provinces. You will also be accompanied by a multilingual guide.
Located almost 60 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam, Rotterdam is Europe’s largest seaport and the Netherlands’ second-largest city. Hailed as the “Gateway to Europe”, its sophisticated transportation system makes exploring the city convenient for tourists. It is known for its maritime culture and the riverside establishments, a high concentration of foreign nationals (mostly students), and the post-World War II modern architectural structures.
Popular Attractions: Maritime Museum, Pilgrim Fathers Church, the Delshaven neighborhood and its canalside shops, Lawrence Church, Euromast, the Cube Houses, Rotterdam City Hall, and Markthal
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, there are direct train routes to Rotterdam Central Station. The travel time is 40-90 minutes depending on the type of train.
There are day tours from Amsterdam that include Rotterdam in their itineraries. Klook has a package that bundles Rotterdam with Delft and The Hague, inclusive of Rotterdam harbor cruise, entrance to Delft Blue Pottery, roundtrip transportation, WiFi on board, and am English-speaking guide.
Delft is located a few kilometers northwest of Rotterdam and almost 65 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam. Tourists are drawn to the canal-bordered city for its old buildings and sites, the hand-painted blue pottery ceramics, its connection to the Royal House (House of Orange), and as the birthplace of Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (Jan Vermeer van Delft).
The old town cradles most of the historical structures including the Nieuwe Kerk, where the Dutch royal family’s crypt is housed. The canals and bridges also add to the charm of the town.
Popular Attractions: Nieuwe Kerk, Oude Kerk, Stadhuis Delft (City Hall), Prinsenhof, Weigh House, Vermeer Centrum Delft, Royal Delft, and Science Center
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, there are direct train routes to Delft Station. The travel time is about an hour.
If you are interested in visiting not only Delft but also Rotterdam and the Hague, Klook is offering a guided tour package that covers Rotterdam harbor cruise, entrance to Delft Blue Pottery, roundtrip transportation, WiFi on board, and am English-speaking guide.
Located a few kilometers east of Rotterdam and almost 60 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, Kinderdijk is a village that lies at the meeting point of Noord River and Lek River, specifically the Alblasserwaard polder in Molenlanden, South Holland province.
It is home to the largest concentration of historical windmills in the country, making the village a protected area since 1993. The system of 19 windmills was created in the mid 18th century to control and prevent the river water from flooding the polder. The Kinderdijk Windmill System was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, attracting many tourists to the village.
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central, you need to make a stop at the Rotterdam Central Station, and then bus to Kinderdijk. From Rotterdam Central Station, you need to take the metro to Rotterdam Kralingse Zoom, and then from there, board the bus (QBuzz 489) to Kinderdijk Molenkade. Alternatively, you can take the Waterbus (202 or 20) from Rotterdam Erasmus Bridge Ferry Terminal/Stop. The travel duration is about two hours.
If you want to visit other tourist destinations near Kinderdijk such as the Hague and Mauritshuis but without the hassle of multiple transfers, you can just join a group tour from Amsterdam. Klook is offering a small-group day tour to all three locations, inclusive of roundtrip transfers and a professional guide.
8. The Hague
Situated on the western shore of The Hague is a coastal metropolitan city in the Netherlands. Although highly urbanized and spacious, it still retains its historical sites in the old town with its narrow medieval streets and canals. The canals are now primarily used for boat tours for tourists. It also has a lot of green spaces — parks, gardens, and even seaside resorts!
The Dutch monarch has three official residences, two of them are located in the Hague — the Noordeinde Palace, the King’s office palace, and Huis Ten Bosch, the royal residence. The third is the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
The Hague is also the headquarters of the Dutch Parliament and hundreds of international government organizations. It also hosts international law and arbitration like the United Nation’s International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the Europol, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Popular Attractions: Hofvijver area, Binnenhof complex, Scheveningen and Kijkduin seaside resorts, Hoftoren, museums (especially Mauritshuis Museum), and high-end shopping districts
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, there are direct train routes to The Hague Central Station and The Hague HS Station. The travel time is about an hour.
If you want to see The Hague (with Mauritshuis Museum visit) and Kinderdijk windmills, you might want to check out Klook’s small-group day tour from Amsterdam. This includes roundtrip transfers and a guide.
For those who are interested in visiting The Hague, Rotterdam, and Delft in one go, you can book this tour from Klook too!
Alkmaar, a city located northwest of Amsterdam, is another perfect place for cheese lovers, aside from Edam. The city is popular for its cheese and traditional cheese markets where the age-old cheese-trading system is demonstrated for tourists.
Waagplein is the most famous site for this old cheese-trading tradition. If you want to buy some cheese and cheese-based products, you can get yours from any of the stalls surrounding the square.
Other attractions in Alkmaar are the city’s old canals, the museums (especially the Holland Cheese Museum), Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, De Molen van Piet, Alkmaar City Hall, and Oosterhout Park.
Getting There: There are two railway stations serving Alkmaar — Alkmaar Station and Alkmaar Noord Station. There are direct train routes to Alkmaar from Amsterdam Central Station. The travel duration is about 40 minutes.
If you want to know more about the history of cheese trading in Alkmaar, you can book a guided tour departing from Amsterdam. Klook is offering two options: Cheese Market Tour and Cheese Cruise Tour.
Located southwest of Amsterdam, in the Duin en Bollenstreek (Dune and Bulb) region, Lisse used to harbor several estates of the nobility and wealthy merchants in the 17th-18th century. These affluent villas and estates’ extensive gardens and forests created a bucolic atmosphere, paving the way for the town to be one of the largest producers and exporters of flowers.
Keukenhof Tulip Garden draws throngs of tourists in town, especially during springtime when the park’s flower fields are pulsating with vivid blooms and a wide array of colors. It was first opened to the public in 1950 and is touted as one of the largest flower gardens in the world, sprawling over 32 hectares of land and producing more than seven million flower bulbs.
The park is accessible to the general public from March to May, during the eight-week-long tulip bloom festival, which is the highlight of Keukenhof. It boasts about 800 kinds of tulips! The entrance fees are €19 for adults, €9 for 4-17 years old, and FREE for 3 years old and below.
Other attractions in Lisse are Castle Keukenhof, Huys Dever, and the Black Tulip Museum.
Getting There: The easiest way is the direct route offered by Keukenhof Express Bus. From Amsterdam, the bus departs from both the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Bus Terminal (Bus 858) and Amsterdam RAI Station (Bus 852) to Lisse, Keukenhofdreef Stop. The travel duration is about 35 minutes.
Located at the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht is 35 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam. It is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands and the capital of Utrecht province.
Although closer to the country’s capital, Amsterdam, it is often overlooked by tourists who opt to go to Rotterdam or The Hague. But with hundreds of historical and cultural landmarks adorning the pedestrian-only old city center, Utrecht is a worthy day trip destination.
Two of the most prominent structures are the Dom Tower — the tallest belfry in the country — and Castle De Haar. The Oudegracht is an old canal that is flanked by wharf cellars hosting cafés and shops. It also harbors the largest university in the country — Utrecht University.
Popular Attractions: Dom Tower, St. Martin’s Cathedral (Dom Church), Castle De Haar, Buurkerk, Oudegracht, Zuylen Castle, Museum Quarter (particularly Centraal Museum), and Rietveld Schröder House
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, take a train to Utrecht Central Station. The travel time is about 30 minutes.
12. Amsterdam Forest (Amsterdamse Bos)
Said to be three times larger than New York’s Central Park, the Amsterdam Bos is a 1000-hectare landscape park just south of Amsterdam Zuid.
This vast greenery is one of the largest in Europe and welcomes millions of local and foreign visitors every year. The forest park is located in Amstelveen but is under the jurisdiction and management of Amsterdam.
It features walking paths, bicycle paths, gardens, monuments, an organic farm, animal parks, sporting clubs, camping sites, tree-top adventure park, dining places, restaurants, and water-related recreational spots for boat tours, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, and swimming. Some spots serve as venues for different types of events — entertainment, social, and political.
Opening Hours: Tourist Office 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Tuesday – Sunday)
Entrance Fee: FREE (Forest)
Getting There: To access the park, note that the main entrance is located at the crossing of Van Nijenrodeweg and Amstelveenseweg. You will see the Tourist Office De Boswinkel on the left side of the entrance. You can travel on a bicycle from the Museum District to the park in about 20 minutes. The nearest Bus Stop is Amsterdamse Bos Stop (Bus 242, 347, 348, 357, 358, N47, N57).
Haarlem, the capital of North Holland province, straddles the Spaarne River. Due to its proximity to the coastal dunes and the Duin en Bollenstreek (Dune and Bulb) region on the western part of the Netherlands, it flourished as the hub for tulip trading for centuries, earning the nickname Flower City (Bloemenstad).
Apart from the blooms, the city is also known for its medieval old city center, characterized by narrow cobbled streets and dotted with historical monuments and structures. It also takes pride in having some of the country’s best museums and shopping districts.
If you love craft beers, drop by one of the restaurants or pubs and have a swig of Harleem beer.
Popular Attractions: Grote Markt, City Hall, Vleeshal, Hoofdwacht, Grote Kerk, Sint-Bavo Cathedral, Teylers Museum, Amsterdamse Poort City Gate, Haarlemmerhout Park, Bosch en Vaart neighbourhood, and the hofjes
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, get on a train to Haarlem Station. The travel time is about 20 minutes. Haarlem Railway Station is also one of the tourist attractions in the city so take time to appreciate the station when you arrive or before you head back to Amsterdam.
Also situated in North Holland, Broek op Langedijk is a town that developed from a marshland near a dike.
Also called the Realm of a Thousand Islands, Broek features numerous manmade islands that were formed from digging canals throughout the marsh area and filled the visible grounds with sludge to make them useful for farming.
The town is famous for its traditional selling of fruits and vegetables by sail-through auction. One of the famous spectacles in town is the annual Night Illumination in late August. Thousands of candles are lit to illuminate the town. Cycling and hiking are also popular tourist activities.
Popular Attractions: Museum BroekerVeiling, Realm of a Thousand Islands tour, Geestmerambacht, Molengroet Park, and the August Illumination
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central, you can take a train to Heerhugowaard Station. From there, take Bus 407 to Broek. This bus stops at Museum BroekerVeiling. The total travel time is 45-60 minutes.
Situated about 40 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam, Leiden is known for its strong academic vibe and student culture, which stems from the establishment of the prestigious 16th-century Leiden University, the oldest in the country. It is often referred to as the “City of Discoveries” because of the many scientific breakthroughs and discoveries. A huge chunk of the population is composed students, both local and international.
The city is not only embellished with university buildings but also with museums, canals, parks, fortresses, churches, hofjes, and other historical landmarks. The city is also the birthplace of the artist Rembrandt.
Popular Attractions: Hortus Botanicus, Burcht van Leiden, Hooglandse Kerk, Leiden University buildings, City Hall (Stadhuis), Leiden Weigh House (De Waag), Stadstimmerwerf, Herengracht, Zijlpoort and the Morspoort old city gates, Gravensteen, and the Poetry Murals throughout the city center
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, you can reach Leiden Central Station by direct train. The travel time is 30-40 minutes.
Gouda is situated 42 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam and lies between Utrecht and Rotterdam. The city is famed for its namesake cheese, one of the country’s iconic contributions to the culinary world.
At the heart of the ancient city center is the historic Grote Markt where traditional cheese market is hosted. The square is also adorned with old buildings like the City Hall and De Goudse Waag. The old city center is also home to the country’s longest church, the St. Jans Kerk, which is also famous for its 16th-century stained glass windows.
Fairtrade street and streetfood market are also flocked by tourists. If you plan to try some local gastronomic offering, don’t miss the stroopwafels!
Popular Attractions: Grote Markt, Old City Hall, De Goudse Waag, St. Jans Kerk, Museum Gouda, Museumhaven Gouda, Waaier Locks, and the historic canals
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, you can get to Gouda Station via direct train. There are also train routes that require a stop at Utrecht Central Station and transfer to a train that will make a stop at Gouda Station. The travel time is an hour or less.
17. Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp is a port city, featuring one of the biggest ports in the world and the second-largest in Europe, next to Rotterdam. It is the capital of Antwerp province in the Flemish region of Belgium and the second-largest city in the country.
Although most of the ancient structures and fortifications have been destroyed, its medieval old town still retains some of the city’s historic landmarks. The city is also known for its numerous diamond traders and shops, especially those lining the Diamond District.
Popular Attractions: Grote Markt and the Flemish Renaissance-style buildings, Antwerp City Hall, the Ruben’s House, Antwerp Central Station, Rubenshuis, Cathedral of Our Lady of Antwerp, St. James’ Church, Palace of Justice, Museum aan de Stroom, Nello & Patrache Statue, Ingang Sint-Annatunnel – Voetgangerstunnel, and Zurenborg neighborhood
Getting There: There are direct trains running this route. From Amsterdam Central Station, get on a train to Antwerp Central Station. The travel duration is about an hour and a half, depending on the type of train.
18. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is another port city in Belgium. It is the capital of West Flanders in the Flemish region. The oval-shaped old town, almost surrounded by canals, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. The historic canals, particularly the Baudouin Canal, connect the city center to the seaside resort and port of Zeebrugge.
The medieval old town is also known for its age-old structures and narrow cobbled streets. Most of the notable landmarks adorn the Burg Square and the Markt Square, which are linked by Breidelstraat Street.
Popular Attractions: Burg Square, Markt Square, Burges City Hall (Stadhuis), Bruges Belfry, Church of Our Lady, the old city gateways (Smedenpoort, Gentpoort, Ezelpoort, and Kruispoort), Minnewaterpark (Lake of Love), the numerous museums, and the canal views.
Getting There: From Amsterdam Central Station, getting to Bruges requires one to three train transfers. Normally, tourists transfer trains to Bruges from Brussels Midi (South) Station. The travel duration is three to four hours, depending on the type of train (Thalys or Intercity).
19. Brussels, Belgium
A significant political hub, Brussels is the capital of Belgium, as well as the de facto capital of the European Union. The city is studded with historical landmarks; some are recognized by UNESCO as worthy of the World Heritage Site status.
Do not miss the food scene and gastronomic offerings while in Brussels! The city is famous for its fries, waffles, beer, and mussels.
Popular Attractions: Grand Place (Grote Markt), Manneken Pis, Brussels City Museum, Atomium, Museum of Arts and History, the Town Hall, Mont des Arts (Kuntsberg), Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, the Royal Palace of Brussels, public parks, and other medieval buildings and churches
Getting There: Brussels has three main stations — Brussels Nord (North), Brussels Centrale, and Brussels Midi (South). From Amsterdam, direct train routes are offered by both high-speed trains (Thalys) and Intercity trains to Brussels Midi (South). The travel time is 2 to 3 hours, depending on the train type (Thalys or Intercity).
✅ MORE INFO: THINGS TO DO IN BRUSSELS!
20. Paris, France
One of the favorite tourist destinations in the world, Paris caters to all types of travelers — families, friends, solo travelers, and of course, lovers. It provides travelers a wide spectrum of options: bustling streets and green spaces, modern and ancient structures, museums and amusement parks, Michelin-starred luxury restaurants and regular dining places, and laidback cafés and buzzing nightspots.
It is a highly developed city but has managed to preserve and maintain most of its historical and cultural landmarks.
Popular Attractions: Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Montparnasse Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Sainte-Chapelle, Les Invalides, Place de la Concorde, parks and gardens, museums, and many others
Getting There: The fastest and most convenient way is to take the high-speed train (Thalys) from Amsterdam Central Station to Paris Gare du Nord. The travel time is about 3.5 hours.
✅ MORE INFO: THINGS TO DO IN PARIS!
Top Amsterdam Hotels & Apartments
We stayed at XO Hotel Inner, located just in the outer fringes of the museum complex (Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk, and Van Gogh Museum). It was undergoing renovation at the time, but we enjoyed our stay. I think the renovation is complete now.
If you plan on making Amsterdam your base, here are some of the top hotels and apartments on Booking.com as ranked by review scores and price.
- B&B Keizers Canal. Check Rates & Photos! ✅
- Canal House Inn. Check Rates & Photos! ✅
- Canal view suite. Check Rates & Photos! ✅
- Amsterdam B&B Barangay. Check Rates & Photos! ✅
- Prinsenhof Suite. Check Rates & Photos! ✅
- PH93 Amsterdam Central. Check Rates & Photos! ✅
Search for more Amsterdam Hotels!
Edited by Asta Alvarez