Planning Your Trip to The Netherlands
To capture the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam, opt for a week-long visit. While five days is ample time to cover a variety of the country's major highlights—most centering in and around the capital—a couple of extra days allows you to get off the proverbial beaten path. In seven days you can cover a lot of ground thanks to the Netherlands' excellent public transport network. Given the country's small size, you can travel from Amsterdam to most places you're likely to visit in under three hours.
With 10 days, however, you can take a more leisurely approach and spend an extra night in a favored location or take on a neighboring country like Belgium.
The Netherlands in 5 Days
There's enough time to sample the Netherlands' top sites in five days, focusing on a few cities and towns.
From Johannes Vermeer to Vincent van Gogh, this art-focused itinerary has you visiting renowned museums like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the Frans Hals Museum and Teyler's Museum in Haarlem. You'll traipse the cobblestoned streets of charming Leiden, the country's oldest university town, and Delft to visit the one-time studio of Johannes Vermeer before being swept away by the artworks in Mauritshuis in The Hague. Here you can lay your eyes upon The Girl with a Pearl Earring.
History buffs might prefer this unique World War II-themed option. Starting in Amsterdam with the Anne Frank House, you'll explore important sites, like the remains of Camp Westerbork and Airborne at the Bridge, a monument paying homage to officers. Traveling to Nijmegen, close to the German border, you can walk with a veteran across De Oversteek (The Crossing) before spending the night in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen, where the Nazi German Army famously conceded.
For more 5-day itineraries, read this article.
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The Netherlands in 7 Days
A week-long itinerary is a perfect amount of time to visit popular sites and attractions and explore lesser tourist-visited destinations. This cycling tour has you exploring western Holland and hitting the hotspots like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, and The Hague, as well as taking you through Naarden, Ankeveense Plassen, and pretty Breukelen. You won't be rushed and will have plenty of time to visit noteworthy museums, check out cheese markets, tour the Binnenhof (Dutch government headquarters), and cycle through the famed Bollenstreek, the "Flower Bulb Region."
Have the kids in tow? This activity-filled family tour starts in the capital with an outing to NEMO Science Museum before cruising the canals in a private boat. You'll cover the Dutch countryside with a visit to Marken, sample kibbeling (battered fish pieces) in Volendam, eat cheese in Edam, and check out centuries-old windmills in Zaanse Schans and Kinderdijk. Another day has you paddling in Biesbosch National Park in a canoe and cycling to Scheveningen Beach for an afternoon beach day. Kinderen (kids) and adults will enjoy a trip to The Hague's Madurodam for a miniature Dutch world to scale.
This article shares more 7-day itineraries worth checking out.
The Netherlands in 10 Days
Spend an extra night in a locale or two with a 10-day trip. Or add a few more stops to your route to cover more of the Netherlands—and a second country.
Consider this leisurely art-based option. You'll explore multiple provinces as you hit the Dutch highlights while learning about Dutch masters. After seeing renowned artworks in three of Amsterdam's famed museums, you'll set out for Groninger Museum in the country's north. Then it's an e-bike tour in the mid-east to the Kröller-Müller Museum (the van Gogh's!) before a train ride south to 's Hertogenbosch to see the whimsical imaginings of Hieronymus Bosch. Looping west, you'll continue to cover world-class museums in Rotterdam, Delft, The Hague, Leiden, and finally Haarlem.
For a two-country itinerary, you'll divide your time between the Netherlands and Belgium. Starting with the Dutch capital, you'll then head out to Marken and other 16th-century towns for the country's highlights before ending the Dutch portion of the trip with The Hague and Rotterdam. The second half of the tour has you crossing the border into Belgium and to Antwerp to sightsee the Grote Market and a Peter Paul Rubens. Then there's the Belgian food tour, complete with waffles and a visit to the Rubens House, followed by an excursion along the fanciful streets of Bruges for chocolate and a boat tour of the medieval city of Ghent.
Head to this article for additional 10-day itineraries.
More Great 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.