This short trip takes you to the far north of the Netherlands for five days of cultural sightseeing and outdoor adventure. Begin in Leeuwarden, the capital of the green province of Friesland. This hidden gem is a lively city with a distinct language and culture. You'll tour its picturesque network of canals on a private gondola tour before continuing north. Ride a ferry to the peaceful island of Terschelling, known as the "Pearl of the Wadden Sea" for its windswept dunes, lovely beaches, and cozy villages. You'll explore the island on an e-bike, cycling past vast marshes and endless beaches home to a wide variety of birdlife. Dine on fresh seafood and enjoy this relaxing getaway before returning to Amsterdam, where the itinerary ends.


  • Discover the remote north of the Netherlands
  • Visit the charming historic town of Leeuwarden
  • Explore Leeuwarden's canals on a private gondola tour
  • Cycle around the sand dunes of enchanting Terschelling island
  • See the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands
  • Enjoy the natural wonders of the Wadden Sea

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Travel from Amsterdam to Friesland Leeuwarden
Day 2 Discover the Canals of Leeuwarden on a Gondola  Leeuwarden
Day 3 Cycle to Holland's Oldest Lighthouse  Terschelling
Day 4 Explore the Island of Terschelling Terschelling
Day 5 Depart Amsterdam - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Travel from Amsterdam to Friesland

Historic architecture in Leeuwarden

Welcome to the Netherlands! Today you will travel by train from Amsterdam to the province of Friesland. Though you will notice similarities in architecture between Friesland and other Dutch provinces, the locals have a unique culture and a distinct language, Frisian. You will notice many signs are marked in both Frisian and Dutch.

The lively city of Leeuwarden, the birthplace of graphic artist M.C. Escher, has a canal system like Amsterdam's. A local guide will show you around the city center, pointing out highlights like the crooked tower of Oldenhove, on which construction started as early as 1529, but was never completed. 

Consider having dinner at popular Proefverlof, located in a former prison. The property doubles as a hotel, Alibi Guesthouse, where onetime cells have been transformed into guest rooms and suites. It's possible to stay the night here if you like. You will be released the next morning — that’s a guarantee!

Day 2: Discover the Canals of Leeuwarden on a Gondola 

A canal in Leeuwarden

You'll have this morning free to enjoy walking around the city. You might want to head to the Fries Museum to learn more about local history. Alternatively, check out the Museumhaven. The old ships moored here are like floating museums. One also houses a pancake restaurant, ‘t Pannenkoekschip, so if you want to try this Dutch specialty, this is an excellent place to do so. 

Plan your trip to The Netherlands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Later, you'll go on a private gondola tour through the canals. It's a wonderful way to end the afternoon before choosing a restaurant for dinner. 

Day 3: Cycle to Holland's Oldest Lighthouse 

Brandaris Lighthouse

After breakfast, you'll catch a ferry across the Wadden Sea to the island of Terschelling. It takes about two hours to get there, but it’s a different world altogether. Keep your eyes open for seals lying on the sand as you arrive in the harbor.

Right next to the arrival area, you will pick up your e-bike. Don't worry about your luggage — it will be transported to your hotel for you. Take off on a cycling adventure to the western side of the island, making your way to the impressive Brandaris Lighthouse. Dating back to 1594, it's the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands.

Continue pedaling to your hotel. In the evening, you'll have many dining options. Needless to say, the fresh seafood is superb here. Also try a dish with Terschelling’s specialty: cranberries. Get some rest before your excursion tomorrow.

Day 4: Explore the Island of Terschelling

Sand dunes on Terschelling

Today, you'll explore the island at your own pace. You'll have an e-bike to use for the whole day — crisscrossed with bike lanes, scenic Terschelling is a cyclist’s paradise! You will be provided with a map; it’s very easy to find your way around.

Visit the shore of the North Sea and the Wadden Sea coast on the south side of the island. Observe the vast differences between low tide and high tide, and thousands of migratory birds that fly around these shallow waters. Bring your binoculars!

Along the way, stop at local farms selling fresh strawberries or homemade ice cream. If you’re interested in antiques, tour the Wrakkenmuseum Terschelling. This museum displays artifacts uncovered from over 150 shipwrecks off the coast. Cycle back along the sand dunes and stop for a cocktail or a cold drink at Heartbreak Hotel, located on the north shore of the island near Oosterend. Have one more seafood dinner in a local restaurant before heading back to the big city tomorrow.

Day 5: Depart Amsterdam - End of Trip 

Colorful rows of tulips

This morning, it’s time to bid farewell to the Netherlands. Pedal back to the harbor and catch a ferry to the mainland. Head to the Amsterdam airport or train station to make your way to your next destination. Safe travels!

More Netherlands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Netherlands? Check out these other Netherlands itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.