Getting Oriented

The towns and cities of the Randstad are all within easy reach of Amsterdam, and can be visited on day trips, for overnight stays, or incorporated into a circular tour. Rotterdam lies farthest from Amsterdam, yet is still only 73 km (45 miles) to the south, little more than an hour away by train or car.

  • The Bulb Fields. From late March until mid-May, the countryside south of Amsterdam transforms into a vivid multicolor patchwork thanks to its postcard-perfect tulip fields. Floral HQ is the town of Lisse, and nearby are the gardens and glasshouses of the Keukenhof.
  • Storybook Holland. Within easy reach of Amsterdam is the Holland of your dreams: castles, harbor resorts, folkloric villages framed in lace, and "the cleanest town in all the Netherlands."
  • Haarlem. Just 20 minutes from Amsterdam, this city drips as much history as its illustrious neighbor. Dominated by the imposing hulk of the Great Church, many of its quiet cobbled streets have changed little since painter Frans Hals held court here.
  • The Hague. The center of Dutch government is more restrained than Amsterdam, with fewer canals but more tree-lined boulevards. The collection of museums is reason enough to visit—the Gemeentemuseum is an especially rewarding stop.
  • Delft. With long canal-lined streets and medieval houses, Delft is like a scaled-down version of Amsterdam, without the hectic pace of capital-city life. It's easy to understand how Johannes Vermeer found such inspiration here.
  • Rotterdam. Rebuilt almost from scratch following the devastation of World War II, Europe's biggest port has worked hard to transform itself into a showpiece of modern architecture. By contrast, the historic area of Delfshaven—from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for their New England—escaped intact.
  • Utrecht. With a longer history than Amsterdam, picturesque Utrecht is divided in two by Oudegracht, a canal with unique split-level wharves. Dom Tower is the country’s tallest church tower, and the view from the top is unsurpassed.

Previous Experience

Vermeer: The Sphinx of Delft

Next Experience

Top Reasons to Go

Find a Hotel