Are you looking for places to visit in the Netherlands in December, January and February? Would you like to take a day trip from Amsterdam this winter?
10 Day Trips from Amsterdam in Winter
The weather might be cold, blustery and wet but that doesn’t mean you can’t go exploring! The Netherlands is a small country so you can easily reach many wonderful and interesting places on a day trip from Amsterdam. Here are 10 of my favorites for a winter day trip.
Just 20 minutes on the train from Amsterdam, Haarlem is one of the best option for an easy day trip from Amsterdam in winter. Visit one of the fascinating museums, take a walk around and peek into hidden hofjes. There are lots of cozy cafes to warm your bones after strolling around. And if you are into craft beer you are in luck! Visit Jopen or Uiltje. Check out more of our tips for Haarlem here.
2. Zaanse Schans
While this open air museum is beautiful in the summer months, the winter lends it a quiet charm. Check out the windmills and get a dose of Dutch history. Afterward make your way to one of the restaurants for pannenkoek or maybe a beer and bitterballen. Don’t miss a taste of the locally made jenever. The duindoorn is my favorite flavor. You can reach Zaanse Schans with the train and some walking but you can also go on a small group tour.
Jump on the train and watch the Dutch countryside pass by on your way to Rotterdam. This city looks very different from Amsterdam, and there is plenty to explore. Visit one of the many museums. If you like modern art check out Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen or the Kunsthal. The Fotomuseum is pretty great too! I also think it would be interesting to take one of these architecture walking tours. Dine at one of Rotterdam’s food markets to sample what the city has to offer. You can check out more of our Rotterdam tips here.
Utrecht is beautiful in the winter months when the huge trees along the canals lose their leaves. Go shopping for vintage clothes or antiques along the Oudegracht. Check out the quirky Speelklok Museum and imagine how the crowds must have danced to the music of the antique machines. Finish your day with a beer and bitterballen in an old church at Cafe Olivier. Utrecht is an excellent choice of places to visit in the Netherlands in December, January and February. For more Utrecht ideas check out our post here.
Winter seems like a good time to visit a medieval castle. One of the most famous residents of Muiderslot castle was playwright P.C. Hooft. You may recognize the name of the fancy shopping street near Amsterdam’s Museumplein. You can explore the castle walls and towers as well as a guided tour of the 17th century rooms. Dress warmly though, castles didn’t have radiators!
Do you enjoy walking on a windy deserted beach? I do! If you agree you might want to make your way down to the sea for an invigorating day trip from Amsterdam. You can catch the train to Zandvoort aan Zee, but you’ll have to change in Haarlem during the wintertime. Or you can take the 80 bus from Amsterdam to Zandvoort, which takes about an hour. After your stroll on the sand you can find a cozy bar on top of the dunes where you can warm up again. Tijn Akersloot is usually open in the winter with a roaring fire.
In the summer it is lovely to cycle from Amsterdam through Waterland to visit Volendam. Depending on the weather, and your own tolerance for cold and rain, you might want to take a bus instead in the wintertime. But Volendam is a wonderful place to visit in any season. Charming wooden houses, a small harbor and cute (if touristy) shops and restaurants are what keeps visitors coming back. You can also hop on the ferry to even cuter Marken, or take the bus there as well.
Winter hiking is the best! There are fewer people so you get to see more wildlife and enjoy your solitude. Head to the lovely Waterleidingduinen for a walk and to see where Amsterdam’s water comes from. Yes, Amsterdam’s drinking water is filtered through these sand dunes. You’ll probably spot deer and many birds here. If you are lucky you might see a fox! You can access the Waterleidingduinen by public bus 9 or 14 getting off at Vogelenzang. Here you can take a look at walking routes within the property. Keep in mind adults will need to purchase an entry ticket for €1.50 from the machines at the gate.
Did you know you could visit Belgium on a day trip from Amsterdam? Well, I would definitely recommend spending longer, but if that is all the time you have then seize the day and make your way to Belgium. You can grab a direct train from Amsterdam Centraal to either Antwerp or Brussels, or switch trains there for charming towns like Brugge and Ghent. You can also take a guided tour including a direct coach from Amsterdam to Bruges. Amsterdam to Antwerp on the direct train takes a little over an hour. Check out our tips for exploring Antwerp here.
Would you like the feeling of leaving the Netherlands without actually crossing the border? Maastricht is probably the furthest you can travel from Amsterdam by train and still be in the Netherlands. The train takes about two and a half hours each way. The city has an amazing art museum called the Bonnefanten or explore the underground caves. If you are visiting on Saturday stop by the flea market! Maastricht also has a wonderful feeling around Christmas, making it one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands in December.
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