Last Updated on December 14, 2023
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Updated for 2022 / 2023
By Jim Ferri
There are some wonderful places to travel to on day trips from Amsterdam.
With its iconic windmills, tulips, and canal-laced cities and countryside, you can see iconic Holland on two easy day trips from the Dutch capital. Unfortunately, many travelers never see the Dutch countryside and other cities since they only visit Amsterdam.
Don’t be one of them.
Beautiful Delft, a Short Day Trip from Amsterdam
Driving: 45 minutes / Train: 1 hour
I had been to Delft some years ago on another of my day trips from Amsterdam, when on a trip to Holland, I took a side trip there after deciding I wanted to buy a piece of antique Delftware. That time I purchased a plate that was created in the early 18th century. And I also remember sitting on the curb in front of an antique shop waiting for it to open.
I returned to Delft a few days ago. I went not to buy another plate but because I remembered it being such a charming little city. And it turned out to be better than I remembered.
Delft is a delightful Dutch town. It is filled with old brick buildings, brick streets, brick sidewalks, and more bikes than you can count. It’s perfect for a day trip from Amsterdam or elsewhere. And like many small Dutch cities, it’s a quiet place that charms you with its shops, cafes, and restaurants. And, of course, those centuries of culture beckon from all over town.
Off to Delft’s Markt Square
I entered the old historic part of the city by walking down Nieuwe Langendyk, a pretty street. It’s lined with sycamore trees shading the tables and chairs that spill out from the cafes that line its sidewalk. The road flows into the city’s large and attractive Markt Square. It’s a beautiful little square between the old Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the ornate and beautiful city hall.
The church is being restored, and I was delighted to see a 12-foot fence around it showing an artistic rendering of sections of its historic stained-glass windows with commentary in both Dutch and English explaining the story behind what was being depicted in different panels. It was a fascinating history lesson on my day trip, one of the most interesting and colorful I’ve seen anywhere in the Netherlands.
I found Delft’s Tourist Office right around the corner on the left side of the church. The woman there was accommodating and, in fact, took the time to mark everything on a map she thought I’d be interested in seeing.
She suggested two small museums she thought I’d be interested in seeing on my day trip. One was the Prinsenhof & Sint Agathaplein Museum, across from the Oude Kerk several blocks further on. The other was the Museum Paul Tetar van Elven – both of which I certainly wanted to visit. But since my time in Delft was quite limited, I decided to just roam about Markt Square instead. I wandered and poked into various shops before wandering about the old city. I wandered for an hour or two, which was quite enjoyable.
For someone with limited day-trip time, it turned out to be the best thing to do.
Windmill Country, One of the Easy Day Trips From the Capital
Driving: 1 hour / Train + bus: 2 hours+
It was a beautiful early June morning in Kinderdijk, in the heart of Holland’s windmill country. It’s another easy day trip from Amsterdam and one of Holland’s picturesque UNESCO World Heritage sites. Here 19 centuries-old windmills still grace the polders southeast of Rotterdam. In fact, it’s the only place in the world where so many windmills stand so close together in an authentic polder landscape. Again, it’s one of the great day trips from Amsterdam.
The Windmill Nederwaard
When I arrived at about 8:30am, I found two river-cruise boats had arrived earlier, and passengers were already gathering onshore for a walking tour of the area. I quickly parked my car and beat the crowd to the site. Within minutes I had the place to myself except for an occasional bicyclist, two fishermen, and, later, a group of amiable rollerbladers.
The sun was still low in the sky, so it wasn’t yet hot, and several geese glided across the still water with their goslings. The only sounds I could hear came from the geese and an occasional duck in the reeds along the water’s edge. Along the path of the canal, thousands of white daisies had burst into bloom; in the water, white and yellow water lilies would do so in another day or two. I couldn’t think of a better place for day trips on a quiet Sunday morning.
A Historical Significance
The beauty of the surroundings notwithstanding, Kinderdijk also has great historical significance since its mills were part of an inventive pumping and water-management system that actually created the Holland we know today. 17 of the mills were built between 1738 and 1740, the other two years earlier, and many are now used as homes. Unfortunately, tourists can only visit the Windmill Nederwaard, a few hundred yards from the entrance.
Although around 9am, tour buses with travelers on day trips from Amsterdam and other places began arriving, bringing in more visitors, everything remained relatively tranquil. But even when the tour groups arrive, if you continue walking further past Windmill Nederwaard, you can find even greater tranquility. Or even better, come between 8 – 8:30am as I did, and you’ll find few distractions.
I found the small museum across the canal not really interesting since it only contained a “workshop” in which group tour guides demonstrated how the windmills worked. In addition, the adjacent “museum” only included a few artifacts of passing interest.
Although I would have welcomed some exhibits that had more depth, it shouldn’t deter travelers on day trips from Amsterdam or elsewhere from visiting this beautiful place. It’s iconic Holland, perhaps more so than any other place in the country.
If You Go on Day Trips From Amsterdam:
Kinderdijk Tourism Office
2961 AT Kinderdijk
Tel: 0031(0)78 6912830
Delft Tourism Office
2611 GX Delft
Tel: +31(0)15 215 40 51
Netherlands Board of Tourism