The Dutch coast has so much to offer, from quiet beaches to bustling cities to pristine national parks. This 10-day itinerary takes you through some of the top highlights, including picturesque Amsterdam, beautiful Oosterschelde National Park, the charming artisan center of Delft, and the architectural capital of Rotterdam. Ride a bike along with the impressive Delta Works, view historic windmills at Zaanse Schans, and explore remnants of the Dutch Golden Age in Middelburg. From nature to culture to history, this adventure has something for everyone.

Highlights

  • Explore the fishing villages and quiet beaches of the Dutch coast 
  • Pay a visit to the impressive Delta Works
  • Shop for locally produced Delft Blue pottery in Delft
  • Enjoy a boat cruise around Oosterschelde National Park
  • Tour Rotterdam with an architect as your guide
     

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit the Anne Frank House Amsterdam
Day 2 Take a Day Trip to Marken, Volendam, Edam & Zaanse Schans Amsterdam
Day 3 Explore the Seat of Government and Cycle to the Beach The Hague
Day 4 Learn about Old Artisan Traditions in Delft The Hague
Day 5  Tour the Architectural Highlights of Rotterdam Rotterdam
Day 6 Explore the Delta Works on Burgh-Haamstede Burgh Haamstede
Day 7 Cycle Around the Island of Walcheren Zoutelande
Day 8 Relax by the Sea at Zoutelande Zoutelande
Day 9 See Remnants of the Dutch Golden Age at Middelburg Middelburg
Day 10 Return to Amsterdam & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

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

Amsterdam illuminated at night

Welcome to the Dutch Lowlands! After arrival at Amsterdam's airport, transfer to your hotel in the city center. 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.

Several other museums are nearby. The Rijksmuseum is the most famous museum in the Netherlands, housing the country’s most important painting, The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn. Besides this masterpiece, you can see The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, plus many other 17th-century works by Dutch Master painters. Right next to the Rijksmuseum, you will find another Dutch highlight: the Van Gogh Museum. The Dutch post-Impressionist painter created more than 2,000 paintings in just over a decade.

Later, take a stroll through the picturesque neighborhood of the Jordaan. Situated on the west side of the city center, the Jordaan is full of beautiful arched bridges, cobblestoned streets lined with trees, and numerous Dutch cafés where you can spend a cozy evening enjoying local food and beer.

Day 2: Take a Day Trip to Marken, Volendam, Edam & 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. After a busy day of sightseeing, you'll head back to your hotel in Amsterdam.
 

Day 3: Explore the Seat of Government and Cycle to the Beach

Going for a dip at Scheveningen Beach

After breakfast, take a quick train ride to your next destination, The Hague. Known to the Dutch as Den Haag, it's the seat of the Dutch government and home to one of the most magnificent paintings in the country, Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring. You'll have a chance to view it in person while visiting the Mauritshuis. The museum features a few of the 37 paintings Vermeer created during his life, as well as works by Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and Frans Hals.

After your museum visit, you'll hop on an e-bike and pedal around the neighborhood. Ride over to The Binnenhof, headquarters of the Dutch government, taking advantage of the city's excellent infrastructure of safe and flat cycling lanes. Once you're warmed up, it's time for a cycling trip to nearby Scheveningen Beach. The coastline and the long pier are wonderful for walking, and in the evening it’s easy to find a good restaurant to enjoy fresh seafood. Afterward, cycle back to the center of The Hague with your guide.

Day 4: Learn About Old Artisan Traditions in Delft

Souvenir shops selling Vermeer-inspired products

Today, the itinerary takes you to Delft, a charming city full of quaint canals and monumental buildings. The great painter Johannes Vermeer lived here in the 17th century. Visit the Vermeer Center, where you can see reproductions of his work and tour his studio, then stop into nearby workshops where the world-famous blue and white Delft Blue pottery is made. First introduced as a cheap alternative to Chinese porcelain, it's still produced according to age-old techniques.

The Vermeer Center is very close to the house where Vermeer was born (currently the Flying Fox Inn, still serving dishes from the Golden Age) and the central square with the magnificent town hall and de Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). When you're finished sightseeing, head back to the train station to catch a train back to The Hague.
 

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Day 5: Tour the Architectural Highlights of Rotterdam

Striking modern architecture in Rotterdam

Halfway through the trip, you'll go to Rotterdam. It's a city of many faces, known for its rough-and-tumble port history, trendy nightlife, upscale shopping options, and lively art scene. Above all, perhaps, Rotterdam is an architectural highlight of Holland.

Its skyline is always changing, and there's so much to do amid the towering skyscrapers. 

Begin your explorations with a private walking tour of Rotterdam led by a local architect. From the newly built Central Station, you'll walk through the city, stopping to admire monuments like the Lijnbaan, a post-war Modernist shopping area, Theater Square, and the Timmerhuis, one of the most unique and sophisticated indoor markets in all of Europe. Walk along the river and see Manhattan on the Maas, a new architectural development on the South Bank. The tour ends near the iconic Erasmus Bridge.

Day 6: Explore the Delta Works on Burgh-Haamstede 
 

A sheep grazing near the Dutch coastline

From Rotterdam, you'll travel by taxi to Burgh-Haamstede, a small village on the island of Schouwen-Duivenland. On the way, you will get the first glimpse of the famous Delta Works, a collection of dams, dykes, sluices, and storm surge barriers in the province of Zeeland. If you wish, you can also make a stop at the seal sanctuary at Stellendam.

On arrival in Burgh-Haamstede, you'll have lunch before going on an e-bike tour around the island. The coastline here is scenic, with large dune areas and wide beaches. At a landmark known as Plompetoren, you will learn about the history of a "lost village" that was swallowed by the sea. At the nearby harbor of Burghsluis, board a boat for a cruise around Oosterschelde National Park, where you may spot seals — and whales, too, if you're lucky.

Day 7: Cycle Around the Island of Walcheren

Part of the Delta Works off the coast of Walcheren

Bicycle adventures continue today. On two wheels, you'll ride across the famous Oosterscheldekering — the major structure of the Delta Works — to the neighboring island of Walcheren. Head into the most beautiful area of the island at Westenschouwen, where narrow bicycle lanes wind through the forest, offering occasional views of the beach and the North Sea. 

When you reach Domburg, it's time for some rest and relaxation. Treat yourself to lunch at the classy Badpaviljoen Domburg, then continue to Zoutelande, where you'll check into a relaxing beach hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy by the sea.

Day 8: Relax by the Sea at Zoutelande

Entrance to the Beach at Zoutelande

Today is a day to relax and enjoy the coast at your leisure. You will spend the day taking in the sun, sea, and sand at Zoutelande. Enjoy a relaxing walk along the beach, check out the Lichtopstand Zoutelande (the lighthouse), or visit the village of Zoeterwoude and wander through the local market.           

In the evening choose one of the many local beach restaurants, serving up regional specialties, and enjoy a sunset dinner by the sea.  

Day 9: See Remnants of the Dutch Golden Age at Middelburg

The grand architecture of Kloveniersdoelen in Middelburg

Today's plan offers a mix of culture and history. You'll travel to Middelburg, the capital of the province of Zeeland. With its lovely canal-side houses and historic architecture, Middelburg used to be an important trading center in the Dutch East India Company, mostly due to its practical location. Spices, textiles, and porcelain from Asia and Africa passed through here before becoming available on the European market. 

Today, reminders of the Golden Age are still evident throughout the town. One of the eight city gates is still visible, named the Koepoort, and so are many warehouses and shipyards where shipbuilders constructed around 300 ships over the course of two centuries. Another must-see is the Kloveniersdoelen, a residence built in 1607; it once housed the archers' guild. The 15th-century town hall, built in Gothic style, is one of the most impressive sights of all of Zeeland.

Many cafés and restaurants encircle the square here, so sit back and enjoy the view over a coffee or a glass of wine. Then wander through the narrow alleys of town — you're near the beach, so it's a good place to dine on fresh seafood on the last night of the trip.

Day 10: Return to Amsterdam & Depart

A map of the Netherlands

There's time for just one more train ride: the short trip back to Amsterdam, where the trip ends. Safe travels! 

 

More Great Netherlands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Netherlands? Check out these other Netherlands itineraries, including a 5-day Family Tour of the Netherlands, a 7-day Cycling Tour of the Netherlands, and a weeklong Highlights of the Holland adventure.

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