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5 of the Most Charming Day Trips from Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a wonderful and vibrant city to explore the newest events, the hottest trends and the most delicious cuisine around the Netherlands. But what lies just outside of these beautiful canal streets and urban shops?

The Netherlands is a relatively flat land made up of almost 17% rivers, canals and small lakes completely separate from the larger seas and oceans. The soil is rich in nutrients making the Netherlands a perfect place for food and agricultural production. You’ll find fields of lush blooming flowers, never ending rivers and an abundance of produce farms as you explore the outskirts of the city limits.

So, after you’ve perused your way through the Anne Frank House, taken in all of Van Gogh’s art collections and walked along the canals of the old town, it’s time you took a look outside of the city to explore some of the most romantic and charming towns in the Netherlands.

The choice is yours, you can rent a car and head out on a beautiful 500-Kilometre long weekend journey (6-hours), or simply rent a car for a few day trips while you are visiting the city of Amsterdam.

In the perfect road trip order, here are 5 of the most charming towns in the Netherlands, all within a couple hours drive from the beautiful city center of Amsterdam.

1. Giethoorn, Netherlands

Known as the Venice of Holland, Giethoorn is a beautiful (almost) car-free village surrounded by rivers, canals, bike paths and hiking trails. You can rent a boat and paddle along the canals, or follow one of the walking paths past the quaint cafes along the water's’ edge. The thatched-roof homes in Giethoorn are centuries old and absolutely beautiful.

2. Harlingen, Netherlands

Harlingen is a charming little town directly at the Wadden Sea. Known for their fishing industry, Harlingen is a perfect place to take a walk along the port, enjoy a delicious meal at a local fish shop or if you have some extra time in the town, you can take a day trip out to the Wadden Islands.

3. Leiden, Netherlands

Leiden is a historical town along the Old Rhine (Oude Rijn) and just a short drive away from the capital city of Holland, The Hague. It is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands and rich with culture and history. A few must-sees while you are there include the Molenmuseum de Valk (Mill Museum), the National Museum of History and their beautiful Botanical Gardens (Hortus Botanicus).

4. Delft, Netherlands

Located in the south of Holland, Delft is a small historical town known for their Delft Blue pottery and their beautiful canals. There is a rich history in Delft including numerous monumental buildings, historical bridges, and ancient legends. A few must see places in Delft include the Old Church (Oude Kerk), the Prices’ Court Museum (Prinsenhof) and Eastern Gate (Oostpoort) that was built in the 1400’s.

5. Utrecht, Netherlands

While Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, it certainly hasn’t lost its charm. The city dates back to the 11th century and is one of the most religious centers in the country. There are tons of beautiful churches and dom's to explore around the city. It is also worth your time to walk along the canals and enjoy a cup of coffee at a local cafe. If you’re looking to keep busy, there are tons of places to see in Utrecht.

So, while Amsterdam is quite the experience in itself, you may understand now why it’s even more amazing to try and get out and explore other charming towns in the Netherlands as well. Across the wide open meadows, the romantic hidden canals and the beautiful bike trails, there’s so much more to explore in the Netherlands.

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