So you have family visiting or you want to take the kids exploring beyond the city limits – look no further. These are the favourite tried-and-tested day trips from Amsterdam by the Amsterdam Mamas. Enjoy!
Dutch Cities and Towns
There are many beautiful cities and towns within the Netherlands, some of the more popular being Haarlem, Maastricht, and Den Haag.
But of course you can also visit the cheese market in Alkmaar to see the show and visit the museum of cheese. Or enjoy a boat tour followed by high tea at Heeren van Sonoy.
Delft is beautiful and easy to explore in a day. With no cars allowed through the centre, you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. There is also a lot of history in Delft relating to the Delftware, the famous blue and white pottery.
Visit Leiden and go to Naturalis, which has been undergoing a huge renovation, the natural history museum, and check out the dinosaurs! It’s a short train ride from Amsterdam, then a short walk. Great fun.
The Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht is a hit with old and young alike. In the winter the train museum is transformed into a Christmas paradise, including an indoor skating rink. And for Thomas the Tank Engine fans, they hold an annual Thomas event. Also in Utrecht, the Dick Bruna Huis is where you can learn all about Nijntje (Miffy) and the world of Dick Bruna’s lovely books. Great for children as there is a lot to touch and explore.
Other places also recommended by the mamas are Giethoorn and Naarden.
On a sunny day a day trip to Paleis Het Loo is definitely recommended. The palace is over 300 years old and has beautiful gardens to explore. Find out how a Dutch royal family really lived!
Kasteel De Haar is a beautifully restored castle, fit for modern living. There are special tours for kids and the grounds are gorgeous.
Closest to Amsterdam, the medieval castle Muiderslot might also be the most child-friendly castle in the Netherlands. There are plenty of fun, hands-on activities for kids, including demonstrations (and jousting practice!). Combine it with the seasonal ferry for a fun day out.
Open Air Museums
If you like a hands-on feel of what life was like in North Holland, visit the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. You can make ropes, visit the sweet shop, do a treasure hunt, or make a klompbootje. There is also an indoor museum too. If you plan carefully, you can combine with a day on the popular steam train and boat.
GeoFort is a new award-winning navigation museum, billed as a “fortress island”. There’s nothing quite like it! It’s a little remote so a car is a must to get there.
Touristy as it is, you can’t help but be charmed by Zaanse Schans. A short ride north of Amsterdam, it offers working windmills, cheese, clogs, chocolate, the original Albert Heijn store, boat rides and more!
The Hoge Veluwe is a beautiful national park in any season. The Kroller-Muller Museum hosts an impressive art collection and the beautiful glass building itself is a gorgeous location. There is a lovely sculpture garden to walk through or you can use one of the free white bikes (some have child seats) to explore the woods. Pop into the visitors centre too to see the view underground.
Between late March and mid-May, you can visit Keukenhof. They have wonderful gardens to explore, mazes to get lost in, and tulips galore. Take the mother-in-law as a good excuse, but you will all enjoy it.
For a true taste of Dutchness, go for a fietstocht. Try biking to Durgerdam or Marken – stop for apple pie on the way and have lunch in the super-cute traditional village. You can also take the boat across to Volendam and then cycle back via Edam.
Go fruit and flower picking – zelfplukken! Depending on the season, pick some apples and pears at Olmenhurst (usually September and October), flowers at the Big Bulb Shop (usually April and May), or strawberries in Lingedijk at Fruitbedrijf De Hoenderik (usually June to July). Call before you go to check what is in season.
And there is more…. Be sure to check out our articles on our favourite beaches, museums, and theme parks in the Netherlands. And for more ideas, sign up for our Weekend Roundup Newsletter. It’s full of fun things to do, every weekend, in and around Amsterdam with the kids. Don’t miss out!
Happy exploring, everyone!
This list has been compiled from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group. This article has been updated in 2019 by the editorial team.
Photo credit: Banner image, Pixabay
Simone Davies is the owner and directress of Jacaranda Montessori Playgroup. As well as being a mama of 2 children, Simone provides a Montessori environment for parents and babies and also hosts courses and workshops.