Jam-packed with attractions, it's easy to see the appeal of Amsterdam. While most visitors don't leave the cities boundaries, a day trip from the city can prove rewarding with culture and beauty, only the Dutch countryside can provide.
The Dutch have always been a resourceful lot and from the late 1500s onwards they set about harnessing the power of the wind that sweeps across this low-lying country by building windmills. Eventually almost 10,000 of them would dot the countryside but today only a fraction remains, and you can see a series of them at Zaanse Schans.
The village is just 20 minutes from Amsterdam and features six historic windmills clustered together. These are all working windmills and have various uses. De Huisman is a mustard mill and you can explore it for free. The other windmills generally cost just €4 to enter and the highlight of them is probably Het Jonge Schaap (The Young Sheep), which is one of the sawmills that helped the Dutch gain mastery of the high seas in the 1600s.
Step inside and see the large, toothy saw blades hovering perpendicular to the floor and the timber being fed in. One of the friendly volunteers will be more than happy to give you an account of how the Dutch reduced the length of time it took to build a ship from three months to three weeks with this nifty innovation!
There is more to Zaanse Schans, however, than just windmills and it is often described as an open-air museum. There are about 35 historic houses, a couple of small museums and old-timey craft shops – one which sells traditional candy and another which features a clog making demonstration every ten minutes.
The tour lasts three hours and there will be a guide on board the bus to give you the lay of the land and a rundown on local history. After that you’ll be able to explore Zaanse Schans at your own speed!
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An ideal and idyllic daytrip out of Amsterdam and into the traditional Dutch life of days gone by. Fill your clogs with herring, windmills and picturesque village life - all with a live guide.
This excursion goes from Amsterdam right into the pastoral beauty of the Netherlands of the past. Just north of Amsterdam, on the edge of the river Zaan, is the windmill village of ‘de Zaanse Schans’. Packed with wooden windmills, houses, and museums built in the typically Dutch wooden architectural style, it's an actual working community. Rural Dutch life seemingly preserved right out of the days of long ago.
Then, carrying on through typical Dutch scenery, the tour arrives in historic Volendam, where you take a city walk along the shores of the former Zuiderzee. Afterward, hop aboard a boat to the traditional fisherman’s village of Marken. Your time here includes a to a traditional clogmaker, and a live demonstration in a cheese factory.
This trip is a perfect complement to your visit to the bustling city of Amsterdam. Though just a few miles outside the city, this Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken tour delivers you right into the pages of a storybook.
But your adventure doesn't end there. You can cruise along Amsterdam's iconic canals with a complimentary canal tour ticket (which will save you €18.00). Simply choose the day that suits you best and enjoy the city from its best angle.
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3. Keukenhof + Flower Fields Guided Tour from Amsterdam
The world-famous Keukenhof is open just seven weeks a year, so get there while you can! This ticket gets you transportation from the center of Amsterdam (and back) in air-conditioned comfort. On your 45-minute bus journey there your live guide will tell you how to make the most of your time in the Garden of Europe. Upon arrival you'll get an orientation tour, then have hours to wander and enjoy seven million cheerful blooms spread throughout 32 hectares.
The tulip is one of the most iconic symbols of the Netherlands. In these famous flower fields and gardens you’ll find over 800 colorful varieties. You may even spot the rare black tulip. Amble through the gardens and pavilions, where you can also learn about the tulip’s storied history in Holland.
And the flower power goes beyond the tulip. The royal-themed pavilions feature weekly shows of other varieties, from gerberas to daffodils to roses. The season culminates with the world’s largest lily show over the last 12 days of the season. No surprise then that it’s known as The Garden of Europe.
There are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained as well: a maze, a petting zoo, a treasure hunt and a playground. Our guide will prepare you for it all on the bus, and then set you free to explore on your own.
>>Get Your Tickets Now << (Keukenhof is open from 22 March until 13 May 2018.)
Two times a day (08:30, 12:00) from four locations
Keukenhof is open from 22 March until 13 May 2018.
4. Beach trip to Zandvoort aan Zee
Zandvoort is a popular beach destination located near to Amsterdam, with clean sandy beaches, trendy beach bars and family activities. Popular with tourists and families, Zandvoort boasts wide, sandy beaches and a good choice of funky beach bars for food and drinks overlooking the sea. Locals and visitors from all around Europe flock there during the warmer months for long lazy days of sun bathing and seaside fun. The water can feel pretty cold (that's the North Sea for you), but it does warm up on hotter days. The sea at Zandvoort is very clean, so if you're bold enough to brave the cold it's a lovely place to swim and splash about.
How to get there:
The beach resort of Zandvoort is easily reachable from the city by public transport in under half an hour.
By trainTake a train from Amsterdam Central Station to Haarlem (every 15 minutes), and then change at Haarlem for Zandvoort aan Zee. In the summer months, a special train service runs directly from Amsterdam to Zandvoort aan Zee (Zandvoort beach), and takes around 25 minutes.
By busThe number 80 bus runs directly from Marnixstraat in central Amsterdam to Zandvoort beach, and takes around 50 minutes.
Getting back to Amsterdam at night
If you want to enjoy the beach parties and travel back to Amsterdam afterwards, the number 81 bus runs hourly from Bloemendaal Strand (beach) to Haarlem until around midnight, from where you can catch the train to Amsterdam. Please be aware that the last train from Haarlem to Amsterdam is usually around 01.00, so make sure you leave enough time for your journey.
5. Bruges Day Trip from Amsterdam
Explore one of Belgium’s most incredible cities on this Bruges day trip from Amsterdam. Journey in the comfort of a coach bus and relax as you listen to information about the city’s sights from your guide. You’ll have five hours to explore the churches, canals, and shops on your own, plus plenty of time to snap photos of the iconic windmills and sample famous Belgian chocolates on this tour that showcases the best of this European destination.
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11 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
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