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If you are in Amsterdam and want to take a deeper dive into Dutch culture, a day trip is the perfect way to see more of the delights that Holland has to offer. There are a variety of destinations less than an hour away by train, bike or car. Here are our top 5 Amsterdam Day Trips to experience the surrounding countryside with its windmills, quaint villages, tulip gardens and eclectic museums. This is the Holland of everyone’s imagination.
1. The Windmills of Zaandam
The region of Zaandam was an important industrial center during the 18th and 19thcenturies which led to the construction of the iconic windmills that dot the landscape. In Zaanse Schans, located just 30 minutes north of the city, the well-preserved windmills, warehouses and workshops recall another era. You can easily get there by train from Amsterdam Central Station and a convenient ferry service runs during the summer.
2. Keukenhof Gardens
The Keukenhof Gardens are world-famous and for a few weeks in the spring you can ogle the ornate flower beds in their multi-hued splendor. Surrounding the structured gardens are the vast fields of vivid tulips for which Holland is so famous. Don’t be alarmed by the overwhelming crowds at the entrance. Once inside you will be able to stroll along pathways and soak in the beauty in relative peace. The gardens are reachable by the Keukenhof Express which departs from central Amsterdam and gets you there in 50 minutes.
If you are not here during flower season, a visit to Haarlem is an excellent alternative to Keukenhof. Aside from the well-preserved historic center, this beautiful city has two fascinating museums worth visiting: the Frans Hals Museum which houses the works of one of the greatest painters of the Golden Age and the Teylers Museum, one of the oldest in Europe, which showcases art, natural history and science in its collection of books, scientific instruments, drawings, painting and fossils. Haarlem is only 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.
4. The Beach
Did we say beach? Not many people think of going to the beach while in Amsterdam, but the coastline of Holland is wide sandy beaches backed by rolling dunes. You may not want to take a dip in the cold North Sea, however the natural beauty of the area is worth the trip. For a bit of a beach scene go to the resort town of Zandvoort or for something quieter, enter through the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, further to the north. The beaches are reachable by bus or car in about 45 minutes.
Once an important port and now a quaint fishing village, Monnickendam is a less-touristy option than Volendam or Marken. Due to the its location on the coast of the former Zuiderzee (‘Southern Sea’) and close to several important inland towns, the shipping and fishing industries flourished here for centuries. There are several historic buildings from the era, including a seventeenth-century weigh house, once used by merchants and port officials, and a bell tower that dates from 1591.
One of the best ways to get to Monnickendam is by bike across the flatlands north of Amsterdam, known as the Waterland. There are dedicated bike paths with clearly marked signs and the trip takes about one hour. Otherwise by car or bus, it is a quick 25 minutes.
Paul Bachant, Insider Voyges | June 8, 2016
After traveling the world extensively, living abroad for long stretches and fully immersing himself in foreign cultures, Paul Bachant founded Insider Voyages to share his passion and expertise with those on a journey of discovery.
Formerly a senior executive for a global luxury retailer, Paul has an elevated aesthetic that informs his unique approach to traveling in style. He also knows the value of building loyal relationships with his clients, the better to serve their individual needs. And then there is his restless curiosity. It drives him to continually seek out inspiring destinations, resources and relationships wherever he goes. For Paul, the most memorable trips are those that reveal the authentic heart of a place.
Paul continues to travel frequently, not only as a contribution to his work, but also for the pure joy of discovering new destinations and experiences.