With so much to do in Amsterdam with kids, it’s easy to spend your entire trip exploring there – but it’s also a great base to discover the most beautiful cities to visit in The Netherlands, among other great day trips from Amsterdam with kids.
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And thanks to the country’s well-connected rail system, you don’t necessarily need a car to get around either, if you’re looking to venture beyond the capital.
Best of all, The Netherlands’ size means that for the majority of these tempting cities, these are easy day trips from Amsterdam with kids, taking an hour or less on the train – plus one or two, where it’s worth the extra travelling time.
For more ideas of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids, check out my top picks
Pretty Amersfoort looks straight out of a medieval book filled with centuries-old houses and monuments, and it’s only around 30-45 minutes from Amsterdam on the train.
In the province of Utrecht, Amersfoort is right in the middle of the country and is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the Netherlands as well as being compact enough to stroll around easily.
The city has lots of attractions to keep you busy for a few days, but if you only have one day to spare, here are some of the main spots to visit first.
For history, head to the Onze Lieve Vrouw church tower, which stretches over 98 metres high – nicknamed Lange Jan (or Long John), and the unmissable Koppelpoort. This medieval landmark was built in the 15th century and was one of the city’s former gates, stretching over the water.
You can also see the Mondriaan House (where the famous Dutch painter grew up), and De Drie Ringen (the city brewery) to enjoy a beer (or two).
For a fun way to explore Amersfoort with kids, try this Escape Tour where you need to search for clues as you wander the city streets.
To get to Amersfoort, take a direct train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Amersfoort Centraal Station, which is around a 15-minute walk from the city centre, with good signs to lead you there. It’s hard to get lost – though you might be tempted to.
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The city of Breda is a cultural hub in the Netherlands, so if you’re planning a day trip from Amsterdam, chances are you’ll find you can’t fit everything into one day.
With a population of 170,000 inhabitants, it has 11 museums, countless shops (and more than a hundred bars), as well as a string of historical buildings in Breda’s city centre.
Its history dates back to the late 11th century when it became a fief of the Holy Roman Emperor, before Breda became a fortified city in 1534, and played an important role in Netherland history, during wars with France.
Learn more on this great bike tour of Breda (infant seats available if you’re visiting with younger kids).
Many of its fortifications are still intact and can be observed on “The Historical Kilometer” tour, while some of the other big attractions are the Ginneken Market (Ginnekenmarkt), Grote Kerk, Breda Castle, Saint Anthony’s Cathedral, and The Begijnhof district.
With the city centre set inside an extensive water canal network, one of the loveliest ways to explore is by hopping on a relaxed boat tour. Tours depart from the city port (Haven) and last around an hour, going through the beautiful sightseeing landmarks.
Breda lies in between the rivers Aa and Mark, not far from the Belgian border, in the province of North Brabant. It takes just over an hour by train from Amsterdam Centraal.
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Dating back to around 1075, Delft is a charming, traditional Dutch town in South Holland – perfect if you’re looking for cobbled streets, medieval houses, cosy cafes, and beautiful canals with old bridges, but without the crowds.
Along the way, visit the Johannes Vermeer Museum, to learn more about the famous artist, who came from Delft, and walk up the 376 stairs in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) for a stunning view over the city.
Of course, the reason Delft is most famous is for its traditional Dutch blue and white pottery, known as Delft Blue, and you can still visit the Royal Delft Pottery Factory, first established in 1653, where you’ll learn more about Vermeer and the country’s royal family along the way.
For those looking for a real Dutch experience, there’s also a windmill to visit for free and a statue of a cow at one of the squares, or it’s a great place to try some traditional Dutch food, such as Snert or stamppot.
Delft is located about an hour from Amsterdam by train, leaving from Amsterdam Zuid station – and 15 minutes from Rotterdam or 10 minutes from The Hague
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Beautiful Giethoorn is known as the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’ thanks to its waterways – mostly car-free, the town in the Dutch province of Overijssel makes a lovely relaxing escape.
The name Giethoorn originated in the 13th century when the original farmers discovered horns of wild goats that had died during the floods of 1170. “Goat horn,” or “Geytenhoren”, was later transformed to Giethoorn .
Despite being a car-free destination, the easiest way to get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam is to drive – it’s around a 90-minute journey, with free parking to leave your car (don’t be tempted to park elsewhere unless you want to risk a fine).
Otherwise Giethoorn doesn’t have its own train station, so the closest you can get is 9km away, which means you need a bus to finish the journey.
When exploring Giethoorn, the best – and only way – is with a boat! You can rent different sizes of boats and canoes at several places, most with a silent electric motor, or join a cruise.
As you sightsee, you’ll pass Giethoorn’s beautiful authentic Dutch homes with thatched roofs, pass under bridges and it’s easy to dock at cafes and restaurants for a break and lunch or a coffee. Depending on the route you choose, you will also visit the beautiful national park of Weerribben Wieden.
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Located just under an hour away from Amsterdam by train, the little city of Gouda in south Holland is well worth a visit – and not just if you love cheese.
It’s no secret that Gouda is famous for its cheese though, and the best day to visit is on Thursdays, when the Cheese Market is held from 10am onwards in front of the 15th Century Stadhuis (the old Town Hall).
Here, you can buy hundreds of different cheeses, including everything from traditional Gouda cheese to cherry liqueur and Heineken beer cheese! For an even wider selection, visit the various cheesemongers dotted around the city (although the prices are often more reasonable at the market).
There are lots of things to do in Gouda besides consuming copious amounts of cheese, however. Gouda is also famous for its stroopwafels and long-burning wax candles.
The city centre still houses a number of historical landmarks including Museum Gouda, Sint Janskerk (St. John’s Church) – the longest church in the Netherlands at 123m – and the 17th Century Goudse Waag.
The church was once used as a weighing house for the Cheese Market. Today, it is home to a cheese-making museum – alongside the aforementioned Stadhuis.
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Haarlem is one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands, with its medieval old town, cute bridges spanning waterways and pretty, colourful buildings lining cobbled streets – think of it like a mini-version of Amsterdam, without the crowds, more cleaner and compact.
The top things to do in Haarlem include a visit to Grote Markt, the lovely old-town square, at the centre of which is the towering 14th century Grote Kerk, Haarlem’s main church.
Take a walk along the cobbled streets around Grote Markt to gaze at the historic buildings, some of which are now cafes and restaurants – or you could join a walking tour of Haarlem to discover some of the less well-known corners too.
Visit Frans Hals Museum, dedicated to the famous medieval painter born in Haarlem, split over two sites and showing some of his wonderful artworks, or Netherland’s oldest museum, Teylers Museum of Science and Arts, with its extensive collection of fossils.
Then head to the 18th-century traditional wooden windmill, Molen de Adriaan, outside the square: you can climb the windmill for splendid views of the town.
You can also take a canal cruise to see some of Haarlem’s landmarks from the water, as well as a bike tour of the city.
It takes just 15 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal to reach Haarlem by train, so it’s one of the best options if you’re looking for easy day trips from Amsterdam with kids.
Contribution: Reshma Narasing, The Solo Globetrotter
Known as the “International City of Peace and Justice”, The Hague is the home of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice as well as the International Criminal Court, but there’s far more than legal tangles to find here.
Its Dutch name, Den Haag, comes from the medieval name “Des Graven Hage”, which translates as “the counts’ hedge”, referring to the Dutch noblemen who used the land for hunting.
Or perhaps finding your own piece of treasure to take home from Europe’s biggest outdoor market, the Hague Market (Haagse Mart). For more shopping, follow in the footsteps of the country’s Queen by taking a stroll through the covered shopping arcade, the Passage.
History buffs can also tour the Gothic-style Binnenhof, home to the Dutch parliament – the hop-on hop-off tram will take you there, as well as being a great way to see the sights of The Hague with kids.
Younger kids will love the miniature models of Dutch life at theme park, Madurodam, as well as attractions like the Sea Life Centre and Legoland Discovery Centre at Scheveningen, where you can also spend time on the beach.
If the weather is nice, take a walk out along the pier on Scheveningen Beach too and enjoy the views from the SkyView ferris wheel
The Hague is an easy day trip from Amsterdam, around 1 hour away on the train, and easily one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands too.
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Imagine a life beyond the canals of Amsterdam. Imagine empty streets where you can cycle. And imagine a little alley along the canal which is full of bars and restaurants with terraces facing the water.
Well, you might have just arrived in the cute little town of Helmond, a short drive from Eindhoven in the Brabant region.
Once an industrial city with lots of factories and big businesses exporting goods to the entire world, today, one of the former factories has been transformed into an amazing building with art galleries, a cinema and restaurant.
Around 90 minutes from Amsterdam to Helmond by train, Helmond is also full of little surprises that you might have not expected.
In the centre of the city, you’ll find a castle which is not only perfect for kids as it is super interactive, but also great to hear a little about the history of this area of the Netherlands.
The best way to spend the day here is on your bike. Cycle along the canals, have some ice cream and explore the surrounding park, to get a glimpse of Dutch daily life away from the better-known cities.
Contribution: Anne & Clemens, Travellers Archive
Oozing history and charm, Leiden is an often overlooked destination and one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands.
An easy day trip from Amsterdam by train, it takes just over half an hour to reach Rembrandt’s birthplace, which has all the charm of the capital minus its crowds.
Home to one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands, Leiden has a lively student vibe – take your own self-guided walking tour of Leiden, and stroll alongside the picture-perfect canals that weave through its 17th century historic centre.
There are some great museums to discover, including the excellent Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde, which celebrates world cultures, or stop by Leiden’s Windmill Museum to discover more about a working windmill.
If gardens and nature are more to your taste, the city is home to Hortus Botanicus Leiden, one the oldest botanical gardens in the world. Or cruise from Leiden to the ‘Amsterdam Lakes’ on a 30-minute boat ride too.
And you can learn more about the lifestyle of some of its 17th century inhabitants at the American Pilgrim Museum, with many settling in the area around St Peter’s Church after fleeing religious persecution in England.
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Just south of Amsterdam, Lisse’s biggest claim to fame is being the location of the world-renowned Keukenhof gardens.
Keukenhof boasts millions of springtime tulips and other flowers, making it one of the most beautiful spring events around the world. And each year during April and May, Lisse is bustling with tourists arriving to see the flowers come into bloom and the iconic tulip fields of the Netherlands.
Buy a skip-the-line ticket to Keukenhof here
In addition to the gardens at Keukenhof, Lisse is also home to Castle Keukenhof and the Black Tulip Museum.
There are tours galore but it’s easy to explore independently too. If you want to see the flower fields (and of course, some windmills), rent a bicycle and head down the Stationsweg Route.
Lisse is an easy day trip from Amsterdam, taking only about 30 minutes by car, although it’s a little bit trickier by public transport – there is a bus at some times of year direct from Schipol, or the closest stations are Sassenheim, where you can catch a bus, or via Leiden.
If you are going just for Keukenhof, a tour from Amsterdam including transport can be more straightforward.
Maastricht is one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands, with a great mix of history, museum, shops, restaurants and a lively atmosphere.
It’s further from the capital than other cities, around two hours on the train if you’re planning day trips from Amsterdam, so this is somewhere to stay overnight if you can.
Maastricht is a place with lots of history, with people settling here thousands of years ago, and gaining the rights of a city by 1204.
Today, you can still see the remains of its fortifications, and the oldest city gate and the oldest bridge, St Servaasbrug, in the Netherlands – join one of the free city tours to explore.
Or wander through Maastricht’s cool neighborhoods on your own – Wyck, which runs from the train station to the Maas, is full of cute cafes (try the local speciality, kruisbessenschuim, or gooseberry pie) and shops. Look out for quirky places like Boekhandel Dominicanen, a bookshop in a church, toovold.
There are also some excellent museums like Bonnefantenmuseum art museum, the St Servaas basilica and Maastricht Underground, a series of tunnels and caverns under the city.
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For a different side to the Netherlands than its cities, the fishing town of Marken is a great way to get a taste of the countryside.
Marken isn’t somewhere to tick off a string of sights – although you can see the wooden shoe factory while you’re there.
Instead, stroll past the eye-catching traditional houses, relax by the waterfront in one of the cafes, and head up towards the lighthouse, where you can look out to sea – you can’t climb to the top though.
Or for an even more memorable walk, continue to Marker Landtong, a narrow strip of land with the sea on either side.
You can’t take the train to Marken but the 315 bus runs directly from Amsterdam Noord and takes less than half an hour. It’s also easy to take the ferry to Volendam from here (or vice versa), included in your I Amsterdam card.
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The beautiful town of Muiden is just a short trip away from Amsterdam, and while few tourists tend to head here, the town is home to a fascinating little castle.
Muiden Castle, also known as Muiderslot, was first built in 1280 – then after being demolished by 1300, it was rebuilt based on the original plans after another 100 years.
These days, it’s a museum, open to the public and easy to combine with some time exploring Muiden itself – plan around an hour and a half to visit the castle.
Then after some lunch – or perhaps a snack like bitterballen – you can head to Krijgsman Beach, the small beach near Muiden.
The easiest way to travel to Muiden for a day trip from Amsterdam is by car, which takes around 15 minutes. Or you can cycle there in less than an hour. Otherwise you’ll have to combine bus/subway/train – allow 30 minutes to an hour depending on the route you take.
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Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second largest city, is somewhere which deserves far more than a single day – but if you only have time for day trips from Amsterdam, it’s around 40 minutes by train so get ready to pack your time full.
Bombed during the Second World War and later rebuilt, the modern city has some impressive architecture as a result: places like the yellow cube houses, the beautiful Martkhal and the Erasmus bridge are just a few examples of what this city has to offer in terms of architecture alone.
As you might have guessed, Rotterdam is not your typical Dutch city – the industrial heart of the country, this hip spot is quite different from the rest of the Netherlands and makes a great contrast to the historic streets elsewhere.
And make sure to pay a visit to the old harbour too – the Sightseeing Splash Tour finishes by plunging into the Maas river after travelling around the city streets.
The city is home to a string of museums as well – the Rotterdam Welcome Card will give you discounts off entry – such as the Maritime Museum, as well as exploring the Steamship Rotterdam, the biggest oceanliner built in the Netherlands,
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The Dutch island of Texel is one of the most unusual places in the Netherlands to explore on a day trip from Amsterdam. Part of the Wadden Islands in the north of the country (also known as the Frisian islands), each island has its own unique nature reserves.
Texel is the largest of the islands as well as the easiest to reach. Just take the train from Amsterdam to Den Helder station and hop on the Texel bus from there, which uses the ferry to bring you all the way to the island villages.
Texel is big enough to have a number of villages. The biggest one is Den Burg, in the heart of the island; its typical Dutch streets are lined with red brick houses and small shops.
Do visit the village De Koog, as it’s at one of the best beaches of the island, as well as being home to Museum Flora, which is packed with finds which have washed ashore or been picked up by beachcombers.
The small village of De Cocksdorp all the way up north is a must-visit as well, as it’s home to the iconic Texel lighthouse. Get a ticket to go up for some amazing island views.
One of the best ways to explore the island is by (electric) bike. You can rent them at pretty much each village
The highlight of a visit to any of the Wadden islands is a guided hike on the mudflats (‘wadlopen’ in Dutch). During low tide you can walk on the sea bed between the islands, as the sea is not quite deep in this part of the country.
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Utrecht is a fantastic city for wandering – think Amsterdam without the crowds. It has all the best elements of the capital, from canals and great restaurants to thought-provoking museums, but Utrecht is calmer and more picturesque.
And the museums are definitely out of the ordinary – check out the Speelklok Museum (packed full of mechanical instruments all in a wonderful setting), the Miffy Museum (perfect for a trip to the Netherlands with kids) and the train museum (Het Spoorwegmuseum).
If you’re feeling energetic then walk the steps to the top of the Dom Tower (a 14th century bell tower) for wonderful views across the city.
Cars are largely banned from the centre, meaning this city is ideal for walking. The sound of bicycles whizzing past or boats chugging through the waterways are the main traffic noise as you lose yourself in the backstreets and parks, discovering delights around nearly every turn.
It’s an easy option if you’re looking for day trips from Amsterdam with kids too, as Utrecht is less than half an hour away by train.
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With its cobbled streets, timber houses and small canals, a day out at Volendam can feel like stepping back in time – perfect for a day trip from Amsterdam.
As well as strolling the streets of the waterfront, where you can find herring galore at the restaurants and food trucks, the fishing village has plenty of history to discover.
Voldenam is one of the most Catholic cities in North Holland and its Catholic residents can be often identified because they’re usually wearing the typical Dutch costume.
If you’re looking for sights, there are museums and a famous church to visit, but the best thing to do in Volendam is to get lost in the narrow streets, among the canals and bicycles.
It’s easy to combine with a visit to Edam – you can take a tour that combines all three, along with Zaanse Schans.
Otherwise you can’t take the train to Volendam but the 312 and 316 bus routes run from Amsterdam Centraal and takes less than half an hour. It’s also easy to take the ferry to Marken from here (or vice versa), included in your I Amsterdam card.
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Zwolle is a charming town in the Netherlands which is often overlooked when you’re planning day trips from Amsterdam, especially as it’s further east than most of the bigger cities.
But Zwolle is one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands, so well worth keeping on your list.
Given city rights in 1230, it was part of the old Hanseatic League and profited a lot from trade in the 15th century. You can still see its old defences, with the city centre is surrounded by a canal.
Stroll around the centre itself, and you can find historic sights like the famous Peperbus tower – climb the 236 steps for some great views – as well as the old city gate Sassenpoort. You can even taste sweets at the historical sweet shop Zwols Balletjeshuis.
But it’s not all about history: the museum De Fundatie has a collection of visual arts inside while the ‘cloud’ on top of the building makes it equally eye-catching outside.
The train to Zwolle from Amsterdam takes as little as an hour from Amsterdam Zuid, and it’s one which is easy to combine with a visit to Giethoorn as well.
Contribution: Manouk, Groetjes uit Verweggistan
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