Peaceful islands, maritime museums, a fairytale-themed amusement park — these are just a few of the attractions that make Holland a wonderful destination for a family vacation. On this two-week itinerary around the country, you'll explore the canals of Amsterdam on a private boat, see windmills at Kinderdijk, hike on a sandbar at low tide, explore interactive museums, and cycle from The Hague to a beach that's perfect for building sandcastles. Your accommodations, from a cabin on a windswept island to a fanciful suite on the edge of Holland's best theme park, are part of the fun. Bring the whole family — this well-rounded adventure is sure to please travelers of all ages!

Highlights

  • Enjoy several days in Holland's largest amusement park
  • Discover a miniature version of the Netherlands at Madurodam
  • Spend the night in a fairytale-themed hotel suite
  • Cycle and hike on the relaxing island of Texel
  • Visit maritime museums and zoos in Holland's largest cities

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit NEMO Science Museum  Amsterdam
Day 2 Check Out a Maritime Museum & the Zoo Amsterdam
Day 3 Explore The Hague and Cycle to the Beach The Hague
Day 4 Walk Through a Mini Version of the Netherlands at Madurodam The Hague
Day 5 Visit Rotterdam's Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Day 6 See the Country's Oldest City and the Windmills of Kinderdijk Dordrecht
Day 7 Have Fun at the Biggest Theme Park in the Netherlands Kaatsheuvel
Day 8 Enjoy a Full Day of Rides and Games at Efteling  Kaatsheuvel
Day 9 Final Morning at Efteling & Transfer to Volendam Volendam
Day 10 Catch a Ferry to a Traditional Fishing Village Volendam
Day 11 See Tulip Fields and Sleep in a Campground Texel
Day 12 Explore Texel on Bicycles Texel
Day 13 Go Hiking Through Mud Flats in Texel Texel
Day 14 Depart Texel   

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 Over the Edge, Europe’s highest swing.

Day 2: Check Out a Maritime Museum & the Zoo

A replica of an old sailing vessel at Scheepvaartmuseum

Today's agenda features two family-oriented activities. First, you will visit the Scheepvaartmuseum, a maritime museum.  Kids will especially love the real-size replica of the Dutch East India Company ship De Amsterdam. Wander around on the deck and inside the ship, then explore the adjoining museum with artifacts and hands-on exhibits. After lunch, spend the afternoon at ARTIS, Holland's oldest zoo. 

Day 3: Explore The Hague and Cycle to the Beach

Building sandcastles at 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 4: Walk Through a Mini Version of the Netherlands at Madurodam

The cheerful entrance to Madurodam

See all of Holland in just one day? It’s possible at 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!

Day 5: Visit Rotterdam's Maritime Museum

Striking modern architecture in Rotterdam

Welcome to Rotterdam, a short train ride away. 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. Not suited, of course, to travelers with a fear of heights!

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Day 6: 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.

You'll spend the night at Villa Augustus, a hotel located inside an old water tower. It's surrounded by lovely gardens, and guest rooms offer wonderful views on clear days. 

Day 7: Have Fun at the Biggest Theme Park in the Netherlands

A wooden roller coaster at Efteling

Kids will be thrilled to learn that your next few days will be spent at Efteling, the best-known and biggest theme park in Holland — and one of the best in Europe. Open since 1952, it draws millions of visitors from the Netherlands and abroad each year. The park started with a simple fairytale-inspired forest, but now it's also home to thrilling roller coasters, a theater, and facilities for a range of activities from ice-skating in winter to golf in summer. You'll have a three-day pass offering access to the park, but there's a lot to see, so it's best to start right away!

During your visit, you will overnight in style in a family suite at the Efteling Hotel, located on the edge of the park. All of the hotel's suites have special themes inspired by fairy tales.

Day 8: Enjoy a Full Day of Rides and Games at Efteling 

The excitement of arriving at Efteling

Spend a full day exploring the amusements of Efteling. Smaller children will love the fairy forest and walk-through castles, teenagers will head for the roller coasters, and the whole family will enjoy boat rides, horse shows, and delicious snacks and drinks available throughout the park. You're allowed to bring your own sandwiches if you'd rather — that's the Dutch way!

Day 9: Final Morning at Efteling & Transfer to Volendam

Whimsical architecture at Efteling

In the morning, you'll have a few more hours to enjoy Efteling. Now is your chance to be the early bird if there are any attractions you missed the day before! After lunch, you'll travel to a fishing village called Volendam. It's full of old-fashioned charm, with little fisherman's cottages and excellent seafood restaurants. You'll stay overnight at a hotel that has a playground, a simple swimming pool, and fun activities for kids.

Day 10: Catch a Ferry to a Traditional Fishing Village

Relaxing by the harbor in Marken

Breathe in some fresh sea air and take things easy today. Take a stroll around Volendam's harbor before boarding a ferry to the ancient village of Marken. Like Volendam, it's full of old wooden fisherman's cottages and good waterfront restaurants. After a leisurely seafood lunch, catch a ferry back to Volendam, where many shops offer family photos in traditional costume. It's a one-of-a-kind souvenir to remind you of your trip!

Day 11: See Tulip Fields and Sleep in a Campground

A picturesque church near Den Hoorn
A picturesque church near Den Hoorn

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 12: Explore Texel on Bicycles

Playing on the beach 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 gear is 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 13: 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 14: Depart Texel 

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 & Belgium Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Netherlands and Belgium? Check out these other Netherlands itineraries, including a 10-day Art Tour of the Netherlands, a 10-day Family Tour of the Netherlands, and a two-week Grand Tour of the Netherlands and Belgium.

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