Welcome to the perfect family destination — Holland! On this ten-day adventure, you'll explore the canals of Amsterdam on a private boat, see the windmills of Kinderdijk and learn how they work, spot beavers in their natural habitat at Biesbosch National Park, and spend several days on the relaxed island of Texel. Travel by train, ferry, canoe, bus, and bicycle as you make your way between the country's top destinations. Featuring a mix of activities for adults and children alike, and diverse landscapes from mudflats to tulip fields, this itinerary is fun for the whole family.

Highlights

  • Learn about sea monsters at Rotterdam's Maritime Museum
  • Ride bicycles from the city to the beach
  • Sleep in a cabin at a campground on a Dutch island
  • Walk through a model version of the Netherlands at Madurodam
  • Tour the inside of a windmill to find out how it works
  • Walk on a sandbar off the coast of Texel

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit NEMO Science Museum  Amsterdam
Day 2 Day-trip to Marken and See the Windmills at Zaanse Schans Amsterdam
Day 3 See the Country's Oldest City and the Windmills of Kinderdijk Dordrecht
Day 4 Visit Rotterdam's Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Day 5 Cycle Around the Hague and Detour to the Beach The Hague
Day 6 View a Miniature Version of the Netherlands at Madurodam The Hague
Day 7 See Tulip Fields and Sleep in a Campground Texel
Day 8 Explore Texel on Bicycles Texel
Day 9 Go Hiking Through Mud Flats in Texel Texel
Day 10 Travel from Texel to Amsterdam & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit NEMO Science Museum 

Picturesque architecture in Amsterdam

Welcome to the Dutch Lowlands! After arrival at Amsterdam's airport, you'll continue on to your hotel in the city center, an amazing labyrinth of canals and small streets. From the canal closest to your hotel, you'll be picked up by a small private open boat for a tour of the canals. After about two hours, the boat will drop you off in front of the NEMO Science Museum, an interactive space for curious kids to learn more about the world around them.

Later, do as the Amsterdammers do and head to the Vondelpark to sit in the grass, have a drink, watch the laid-back locals, and soak up some sun. Nearby Westerpark also has a small children’s pool during the summer months.

For an adrenaline rush, check out the sky-high A’DAM Tower with a panoramic observation deck, rotating restaurant, and Europe’s highest swing.

Day 2: Day-trip to Marken and See the Windmills at Zaanse Schans

Windmills rising up from the landscape outside Amsterdam

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. If there's time, squeeze in a visit to Sijtje Boes’ house, a charming cottage where you can see how locals traditionally live — and buy souvenirs, of course. Then you'll catch 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). Kids usually love it, though raw salty herring is a bit of an acquired taste!

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, saw wood, and produce oil. 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: See the Country's Oldest City and the Windmills of Kinderdijk

A windmill beside a watery landscape in Kinderdijk

After breakfast, you'll head to Dordrecht, the oldest city in Holland. Located in a wetland area, it was an important merchant city primarily trading in wood and wine. The historic city center is full of monuments that have been repurposed as restaurants, museums, and theaters. Catch the waterbus (a public boat) to the famous area of Kinderdijk. The area features no fewer than 16 windmills from the 18th century. Until 1868, these mills pumped water away from lower-lying areas. Now electric mills do the same job. But Kinderdijk is special: nowhere else in the Netherlands can you see so many windmills together, all in such good condition. It's a wonderful photo opportunity. 

Later in the day, travel by private boat to Biesbosch National Park, the largest freshwater tidal zone in Europe. Here, you'll find a wide variety of bird species, plus a population of around 300 beavers — the beaver is a symbol of the park. See this unique landscape on a boat tour or a guided canoe excursion. The latter, which is possible from April through November, is especially fun for older children.

Day 4: Visit Rotterdam's Maritime Museum

Striking modern architecture in Rotterdam

Welcome to Rotterdam, a short train ride from your hotel. It's a city of many faces, known for its rough-and-tumble port history, trendy nightlife, upscale shopping options, and lively art scene. Today you will visit the Maritime Museum, where you'll learn about the relationship between the sea and the city. It's a fun place to visit with children, as there are many exhibits especially for the younger visitors — one focuses on sea monsters — and interactive programs where kids can learn to tie knots or see what's it like to work in the harbor.

In the afternoon, take a speedboat to the harbor area to check out the massive cargo ships that anchor here. Or enjoy an excursion to the Euromast, an observation tower with a glass elevator and sweeping views over the city. 

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Day 5: Cycle Around the Hague and Detour to the Beach

Building a sandcastle near Scheveningen Beach

Your next destination is 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 go on a short bicycle tour around the city, then pedal over to nearby Scheveningen Beach. The coastline and the long pier are wonderful for walking, and there's plenty of space for children to play. Relax over a seafood dinner before heading back to town.

Day 6: View a Miniature Version of the Netherlands at Madurodam

The cheerful entry to Madurodam

See all of Holland in just one day? It’s possible in Madurodam. This miniature version of the Netherlands is located in The Hague and makes for a wonderful outing with kids. You can walk among the tiny windmills, cheese markets, bridges, and waterworks, all Dutch highlights built to scale. There are hands-on elements, too. Kids can operate the storm surge barrier, load cargo ships, make an airplane take off from Amsterdam's airport, and much more!

Next, 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. 

Day 7: See Tulip Fields and Sleep in a Campground

A campground near the beach on the island of Texel

The adventure continues with a journey by train, bus, and ferry across the Wadden Sea to the island of Texel. On the way, keep your eyes open for seals lying on the sand!

Arriving on the island is like entering another world. A taxi will take you to the small town of Den Hoorn. You will stay overnight in a cabin located inside a campground set on a beautiful landscape of sand dunes. Here, you'll see how the Dutch do a family vacation. There’s plenty for children to do: the campground features an outdoor pool and expansive outdoor space to run and play. An onsite restaurant is convenient, too, and there are many more dining options located in the island's various villages. 

Hop on bicycles for a short tour in the afternoon. The coastal landscapes are especially lovely at low tide, and along the way, you'll spot large flocks of sheep grazing the pastures. Then go for dinner in nearby Den Hoorn, where fresh seafood dishes are superb. Also be sure to try local cheese and lamb, two regional specialties. 

Day 8: Explore Texel on Bicycles

Playing in the sand at sunset on the island of Texel

Today, you'll continue your exploration of Texel on bicycles. The scenery is quiet and stunning, with vast marshes, dazzling sand dunes, and seemingly endless beaches. Birds love these islands and the Wadden Sea, so be sure to bring your binoculars!

Stop at the natural area of De Slufter, climbing the dunes for mesmerizing views from the top. Bring a picnic lunch and you could easily spend a day hiking here between the sand dunes and the muddy salt marsh. Swimming suits are a good idea: these shallow waters are tempting for travelers of all ages! Later, explore one or two of the island's villages, stopping at local farms to pick your own fruits or sample homemade ice cream. At some farms open to visitors, you can see sheep barns and cows being milked.  

Another interesting stop along the way is the Juttersmuseum Flora near De Koog. This quirky beachcomber museum displays items found on the island's beaches over many years, including a collection of messages-in-bottles. Then cycle back to Den Hoorn along the western side of the island, following the shore of the North Sea. Finish the day with snacks and drinks in one of many beach cafés.

Day 9: Go Hiking Through Mud Flats in Texel

Using a fishing net on a sandbar off the coast of Texel

You'll explore the Wadden Sea from a different perspective today. Cycle to the small fishing village of Oudeschild and board a boat that will take you out to sea at low tide. You'll go walking — rubber boots optional — on the mudflats of a sandbar. The mud is full of life: you'll see all kinds of interesting sea creatures as you walk across the muddy surface with a knowledgeable guide. Kids can try catching something with a fishing net, as well. Sometimes your shoes may get stuck in the mud, but that’s part of the fun!

Later, cycle around the island or just relax by the pool back at the campground. Enjoy a leisurely dinner in one of Texel's quaint villages to toast the end of the trip.

Day 10: Travel from Texel to Amsterdam & Depart

Colorful rows of tulips

This morning, it’s time to bid farewell to the island of Texel. On the way to the harbor to catch the ferry back to the mainland, you might spot some Dutch tulip fields in full bloom. It's a cheerful end to your family's journey! Head to the Amsterdam airport or train station to make your way to your next destination. Safe travels!

More Great Netherlands Itineraries

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

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