Day Trips from Amsterdam

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Day Trips from Amsterdam - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Keukenhof

    This famed 79-acre park and greenhouse complex is one of the largest open-air flower exhibitions in the world, and draws huge crowds during the eight weeks it's open (late March–mid-May). Founded in 1950 by Tom van Waveren and other leading bulb growers, its hothouses and lakeside flower beds see as many as 7 million tulip bulbs bloom every spring. In the last weeks of April (peak season) you can catch tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and narcissi all flowering simultaneously. There are also blooms on show in the pavilions along with floral demonstrations and exhibitions about the history of tulips. Leading Dutch bulb-growing exporters use it as a showcase for their latest hybrids, which does mean that commercial—not creative—forces are at play here. Some of the planting is of the rather gaudy tulip varieties, and there's no holding back on the bulb-buying opportunities. It's lovely—if squashed at times—to wander around meandering streams, placid pools, and paved paths. The avenues were designed by Zocher, of Amsterdam's Vondelpark fame. Keukenhof's roots reach back to the 15th century, when it was the herb farm (Keukenhof means "kitchen courtyard") of one of Holland's richest ladies. Any sense of history has almost been obliterated, although there is a historical garden re-creating the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands in Leiden and at least a nod to contemporary trends in the "Inspiration" section. Head for the windmill for some calm and a vista over the surrounding fields, or view the crowds from a distance with an hour-long boat tour (book this near the windmill, €9). This is the Netherlands' most popular springtime attraction, and it's easy to reach from all points of the country. Traveling independently rather than in an organized group should present no problem—just follow the crowds, but you can buy a ticket that includes bus transportation. Tickets are €1.50 cheaper if booked online in advance.

    Stationsweg 166a, Lisse, South Holland, 2161AM, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €19, Closed mid-May–late Mar., Late Mar.–mid-May, daily 8–7:30 (ticket office closes at 6)
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  • 2. Kinderdijk

    The sight of Kinderdijk's 19 windmills under sail is magnificently and romantically impressive. Not surprisingly, this landmark sight (on the UNESCO World Heritage list) is one of the most visited places in the Netherlands. These are water-pumping mills whose job was to drain water from the Alblasserwaard polder enclosed by the Noord and Lek rivers—a function now performed by the 1950 pumping station with its humongous water screws, which you pass on the way to the site. The somewhat chocolate-boxy name (which means "children's dyke") comes from a legend involving a baby in a cradle who washed up here after the great floods of 1421, with a cat sitting on its tummy to keep them both from tumbling out. Rarer than ever, these windmills date all the way back to 1740. Just 150 years ago, 10,000 windmills were in operation across the country, but today only 1,000 remain. These have been saved from the wrecking ball thanks to the help of heritage organizations. The windmills are open in rotation, so there is always one interior to visit. A walk through a working windmill gives fascinating insight into how the millers and their families lived. The mills can be seen in full action (wind permitting) on Saturday 1–5 pm in July and August, as well as on National Windmill Day (second Saturday and Sunday of May), and National Monument Day (second weekend of September). Throughout the first week following the first Monday of September, the mills are illuminated at night. You can walk around the mill area whenever you like, so it's a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon. There are a couple of cafés for snacks, but if the weather is good bring a picnic.

    Kinderdijk, South Holland, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11 (€9 bought online in advance), Mill interior: mid-Mar.–Oct., daily 9–5:30; Nov.–Dec., daily 11--4
  • 3. Kröller-Müller Museum

    Many connoisseurs rank this as the third most important museum of art in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Opened in 1938, it is the repository of a remarkable private collection of late-19th-century and early-20th-century paintings, the nucleus of which are 91 paintings and 175 works on paper by Van Gogh (about 50 of which rotate on display at any given time) that, when combined with the collection in the Amsterdam museum, constitutes nearly four-fifths of his entire oeuvre. Hélène Kröller, née Müller, had a remarkable eye as well as a sixth sense about which painters created art for the ages and through her family firm, run by her husband, the means to bankroll it. For Vincent, fame came too late; for the Kröller-Müllers, however, their great Van Gogh holdings helped make this museum world famous. But Hélène Kröller-Müller was not myopic in her appreciation and perception. She augmented her collection of Van Goghs with works by Georges Seurat, Pable Picasso, Odile Redon, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian. The museum also contains 16th- and 17th-century Dutch paintings, ceramics, Chinese and Japanese porcelains, and contemporary sculpture. The building itself, designed by Henry Van de Velde, artfully brings nature into the galleries through its broad windows, glass walkways, and patios. The gardens and woods around the museum form a stunning open-air gallery, the largest in Europe with a collection of 20th-century sculptures that include works by Auguste Rodin, Richard Serra, Barbara Hepworth, Alberto Giacometti, and Jean Dubuffet. There is a gift shop and self-service restaurant on-site.

    Houtkampweg 6, Apeldoorn, Gelderland, 6731 AW, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Park and museum €21.90, Closed Mon., Tues.–Sun. 10–5 (sculpture garden closes at 4:30)
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  • 4. Hoge Veluwe

    Once the private property of the Kröller-Müller family, this is now the largest national park in Holland. It covers 13,300 acres of forest and grassland, moors, and sand dunes, where it is possible to stroll freely, apart from a few areas reserved for wildlife. The traditional hunting grounds of the Dutch royal family, it is populated with red deer, boar, roes, mouflons (wild sheep), and many birds; it is also filled with towering pines and hardwood trees, dotted with small villages (Hoog Soeren, near Apeldoorn, is particularly charming), and laced with paths for cars, bicycles, and walkers, more than 42 km (26 miles) of which are specifically designated for bicycling. Indeed, there are 1,800 white bicycles at your disposal here, free to use with the price of admission (available at the entrances to the park, at the visitor center, Parkrestaurant De Hoge Veluwe, and at the Kröller-Müller museum; return them to any bike rack when you are finished). There is a landlocked, always-shifting sand dune to marvel at; the world's first museum of all things that live (or have lived) underground; plus an old hunting lodge beside a pond that provides a nice stopping place. At the heart of the park is the visitor center (Bezoekers Centrum), which contains exhibits on the park and an observation point for game-watching. Jachthuis Sint Hubertus (St. Hubert Hunting Lodge) was the private home and hunting lodge of the Kröller-Müllers, a monumental house planned in the shape of antlers, built between 1914 and 1920 by Dutch architect H. P. Berlage around the legend of St. Hubert, patron saint of hunters. Rooms with Art Deco furniture follow in sequence from dark to light, representing Hubert's spiritual development and path of enlightenment from agnostic to saint. Free guided tours of the lodge, which is still used as a residence for visiting dignitaries, may be arranged at the park entrance only. Inside the visitor center is Museonder, an underground museum, offering visitors a fascinating look at life below the surface, including a simulated earthquake. There are four restaurants in the park: Parkrestaurant De Hoge Veluwe, a self-service restaurant in the center of the park opposite the visitor center (055/820–0410); Café Monsieur Jacques at the Kröller-Müller Museum (0318/591–657); and two teahouses. There is also a summer-only outdoor restaurant in the museum's sculpture park. The best opportunity for game-watching is at the end of the afternoon and toward evening, and park officials advise that you stay in your car when you spot any wildlife. Special observation sites are signified by antlers on the maps provided at the entrances.

    Entrances at Hoenderloo, Otterlo, and Schaarsbergen, Apeldoorn, Gelderland, 7351 TA, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10.95 park only, €21.90 park and museum; cars €7.75, Nov.–Mar., daily 9–6; Apr., daily 8–8; May and Aug., daily 8 am–9 pm; June and July, daily 8 am–10 pm; Sept., daily 9–8; Oct., daily 9–7
  • 5. Kaasboerderij Alida Hoeve

    A fascinating working dairy farm, Kaasboerderij Alida Hoeve lets you discover how cheeses are made, and, needless to say, purchases are greatly welcomed.

    Zeddeweg 1, Volendam, North Holland, 1131 CW, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Mar.–Oct., daily 8:30–6; Nov.–Feb., daily 8:30–6
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  • 6. Marker Museum

    The intimate Marker Museum comprises six former smokehouses (ventilated by a hole in the ceiling rather than a chimney), with exhibits showcasing the past life of Marken. You can see how a fisherman's family lived until about 1932.

    Kerkbuurt 44-47, Marken, North Holland, 1156 BL, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3, Apr.–Sept., Mon.–Sat. 10–5, Sun. noon–4; Oct., Mon.–Sat. 11–4, Sun. noon–4, Closed Nov.–mid-Mar.
  • 7. Nederlands Tegelmuseum

    "See and buy" is the plan at the Netherlands Tile Museum, where Dutch tiles from as far back as the 13th century—including those old Dutch standbys, Makkum and Delft—are displayed in a former summerhouse in the village of Otterlo, not far from the Hoge Veluwe. For those with a decorative eye, the tiles for purchase in the gift shop are irresistible.

    Eikenzoom 12, Apeldoorn, Gelderland, 6731 BH, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6.50, Closed Mon., Tues.–Fri. 10–5, weekends 1–5
  • 8. Royal FloraHolland

    Five days a week from the predawn hours until mid-morning, the largest flower auction in the world takes place in the biggest commercial building in the world—it's the size of 120 soccer fields. You can watch the proceedings from the catwalk above as carts laden with flowers and plants zip about at warp speed. The buying system is what's called a "Dutch auction"—the price goes down, not up, on a large "clock" on the wall (although there are also Internet buyers these days). Buyers sit lecture-style with buzzers on their desks; the first to register a bid gets the bunch, and they work their way through more than 30 million purchases of flowers and plants daily.

    Legmeerdijk 313, Aalsmeer, North Holland, 1431 GB, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8, Closed weekends, Mon.–Wed. and Fri. 7–11 am, Thurs. 7–9
  • 9. Volendams Museum

    You can learn about Volendam's history at this museum, located next to the VVV tourist information center. One highlight is the reconstructed period rooms, like the school filled with mannequins adorned with folkloric costumes. Look for the photograph of chanteuse Josephine Baker clad in traditional folkloric Dutch garb.

    Zeestraat 41, Volendam, North Holland, 1131 ZD, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5, Daily 10–4:30, Closed mid-Nov.–mid-Mar.
  • 10. Waterlandsmuseum de Speeltoren

    To the left and right of the town's famed 16th-century bell tower, the Waterlandsmuseum de Speeltoren is housed in two charming historic buildings. You can see exhibitions on the history of Monnickendam (and neighboring villages), on the Waterland landscape, shows of contemporary art, plus a display of a noted collection of decorative blue-and-white tiles and majolica. It is also possible to see how the carillon of the Speeltoren (the oldest in the world) works, from the inside. Inquire here about walking tours, as almost every building in town has an interesting history (one is hallowed as a hiding place for Jews during World War II).

    Noordeinde 4, Monnickendam, North Holland, 1141 AM, Netherlands

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5, Closed Mon. Apr.–Oct., and weekdays Nov.–Mar., Apr.–Oct., Tues.–Sun. 11–5; Nov.–Mar., weekends 11–5

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