Our trip to the Netherlands was a whirlwind. You can probably tell by this Netherlands itinerary. Like many of my holidays, I try to make the most of my vacation days and pack as much as I can in to a short amount of time. Relaxing at home is always possible – when I travel I want to see and experience everything. I saw so much of Netherlands in just nine full days; I traveled from A to Z, from Amsterdam to Zwolle.
Here is my tried and true Netherlands itinerary:
Day One: Flying from Edmonton to Netherlands
Wherever you are traveling from, make sure to consider the time you spend traveling! We flew Icelandair, and had a comfortable stretch in Keflavik Airport. You can read about my experience with the airline here.
Day Two: Check In – Amsterdam
Upon arrival at Schiphol Airport, we grabbed our luggage and took the train into Amsterdam. Our AirBnB host picked us up from the ferry in Amsterdam Noord and took us to her place to settle in. From there, the Noord was ours to explore and to dine (see yummy places here).
Day Three: Exploring the Venice of the North
After a night of fighting off jet lag, into the heart of Amsterdam we went. You can find my walking (or better yet, biking) tour here. Visiting the highlights of Amsterdam, without paying a lot of money, was a goal of mine. It was a common theme throughout my whole Netherlands itinerary.
Day Four: Amsterdam to Leiden
With nearly another full day in Amsterdam, we spent more time exploring other districts. Two days in the Dam isn’t enough to truly see the city, but it is enough time to get the highlights reel. We picked up our rental car in the evening and headed out of the city to Leiden, where we spent the next three nights.
Day Five: Keukenhof to Haarlem
This day was spent exploring two regions: North & South Holland. The bright sunny morning was perfect for us to explore the gardens of Keukenhof (read about my visit here). From there, an easy drive North brought us to Haarlem. Haarlem is a remarkable historic city, one I wish I spent more time in. Since parking was so pricey, we drove back to Leiden for dinner, and spent the evening exploring the old town.
Day Six: Delft to Kinderdijk
An early morning brought us to Delft for the opening of the Royal Delft Pottery. A drive far south brought us into North Brambant, to visit Fort de Roovere (a special image brought us here). Looping back, we spent the afternoon in Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk is a place to see traditional windmills in operation. You can read a whole post on this day here. We decided to use our remaining time in the late afternoon to visit one of the nicest beaches in Netherlands, Katwijk. Dinner was found once again in Leiden old town.
Day Seven: Overjissel: Utrecht to Zwolle
After checking out of our hotel in Leiden, we road tripped to Utrecht, a city that was deserving of more time as well. Visiting on Sunday morning meant nothing was open, but parking was free and church bells echoed around the old town. We hurried off to Zwolle for the afternoon. The capital of Overjissel is an area of Holland this is often overlooked. Zwolle would have never made our list had it not been a special place to a friend. Zwolle is definitely worth the visit, even just a short one! It’s very quiet, even for Netherlands. Our hotel was far out in the country in a small town called Vilsteren, so we spent the evening there searching for a Dutch country dream home.
Day Eight: Hoge Veluwe & Giethoorn
This day was meant to be dedicated mostly to Netherlands largest National Park, Hoge Veluwe, in Gelderland. Driving towards the park, there was nothing indicating that we had arrived, just the amount of trees were a tell-tale sign. With no hiking clothes, we decided to head to Giethoorn to save time on our trip to Texel the following day. It was a great choice.
Day Nine: Back to North Holland Texel via Aflsuitdijk
Another early start (a theme on this trip) meant getting to Texel with time for exploring. Things close early on this little island. We took the Afsluitdijk, which is a long road on a dyke over the sea! I’m really glad we added this more distant location to our Netherlands itinerary.
Day Ten: Marken, Edam, & Zaanse Schans
Checking out of the hotel in Vilsteren, we headed back to Amsterdam, but not before a stop in Waterland to visit the cute towns of Marken and Edam. Zaanse Schans entertained us for the rest of the afternoon. It was not long until we had to drop off the rental car. The evening was spent shopping in the Nine Streets, near our hotel.
Day Eleven: Saying Goodbye to Amsterdam
A lazy morning brought us to say farewell to the city. Off we went to experience a long layover in Iceland (post coming soon).
There you have my nine day Netherlands itinerary (11 if you count travel days!) thanks for following along my journey. If you have any questions regarding my trip, I’d be happy to answer.