This enlightening 5-day journey will take you to the highlights of Amsterdam and its surrounding region. Start at the Anne Frank House, then enjoy a private boat tour along the city's canals before visiting two world-class art museums, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. On a day trip to the countryside, you'll see historic windmills, wander around a quaint fishing village, and sample traditional Dutch cheese in Edam. Spend the last part of the trip in the charming city of Haarlem, an easy side trip from the capital, where you'll visit the oldest museum in the Netherlands.

Highlights

  • Tour the cultural highlights of Amsterdam
  • Visit the famous Anne Frank House
  • View Vincent van Gogh's original masterpieces
  • Enjoy a private boat tour through the canals
  • See windmills up in the Dutch countryside

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam & Visit the Anne Frank House Amsterdam
Day 2 Visit the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Day 3 Take a Day Trip to Marken & See the Windmills at Zaanse Schans Amsterdam
Day 4 Tour Haarlem & Frans Hals Museum Haarlem
Day 5 Depart Amsterdam - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam & Visit the Anne Frank House

Amsterdam beautifully lit up at night
Welcome to the Dutch Lowlands! After arrival at Amsterdam's airport, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city center, a picturesque labyrinth of canals and small streets dotted with old houses and buildings. 

You'll start exploring Amsterdam with a visit to the Anne Frank House. Learn about the famous story of a young Jewish girl who lived here during the Second World War; the museum is built around the secret annex where she and her family hid for over two years.

In the evening, have a leisurely dinner at one of the many restaurants near your hotel. 

Day 2: Visit the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum

Museum crowds in Amsterdam

Begin today's art-focused tour on a private boat cruise through the city's canals. After about two hours on the water, the boat will drop you off in front of the Rijksmuseum, the most famous museum in the country. It's home to The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, considered one of the most important paintings ever created in the Netherlands. Near this massive artwork, you'll also see The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer and many other 17th-century works by Dutch Masters. 

Next, you'll stop by the Van Gogh Museum. Take a break for lunch in the museum's café, then explore the collections at your own pace. Van Gogh famously created over 2,000 paintings in a little over a decade. The museum houses some of his most famous works, including The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and one of his very last works, Wheatfield with Crows.

Later, take a stroll through the picturesque neighborhood of the Jordaan and stop to have dinner there.

Day 3: Take a Day Trip to Marken & See the Windmills at Zaanse Schans

Dutch windmills at sunrise

After exploring the rich culture of the capital city, it is time to check out some other Dutch icons: wooden shoes, fishing villages, cheese, and windmills! Today, you will experience the beauty of the countryside north of Amsterdam. 

Begin in the picturesque village of Marken, located on an island in the Markermeer lake. Explore the small town and visit a wooden shoe factory before catching the ferry to Volendam, Holland’s best-known fishing village. The quaint harbor is lined with cafés and fish vendors. It's a good place to sample local treats like kibbeling (traditional battered and fried fish nuggets). Next, your guide will take you to visit the centuries-old cheese market area in Edam. The market happens on Wednesdays in July and August, but the market square and waag (weigh house) itself are very much worth a visit even outside those times. 

The last stop on your tour today is Zaanse Schans. During the 17th century, over 600 windmills were constructed in the area as part of an early industrial zone. The windmills were used to grind spices, produce paint and oil, and cut wood. A number of these windmills still exist and can be visited today, inside and out. 

Day 4: Tour Haarlem & Frans Hals Museum

A church in Haarlem

On the last full day of the tour, continue on to the city of Haarlem. Here, you'll spend some time at the Frans Hals Museum. Hals, together with Rembrandt and Vermeer, is one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Known for his free and painterly brushstrokes, he lived and worked in Haarlem for more than sixty years until his death in 1666. 

If time allows, stop at the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands, home to an impressive art collection. The rest of the day, you're free to enjoy the charming streets and cafés of the laid-back city center.

Day 5: Depart Amsterdam - End of Trip

Postcards at a shop in Amsterdam

Today the trip comes to an end. You'll transfer to the airport in Amsterdam to catch a flight out. Safe travels!

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