Beyond Amsterdam: Our Netherlands Road Trip
We love Amsterdam. I mean seriously, what’s not to love about this amazing city? With beautiful canals, great food, and happy people, it’s no surprise that an estimated 6.3 million people visited Amsterdam last year. But what else does Netherlands have to offer? What’s beyond Amsterdam?
On our second trip to the Netherlands, we decided to skip Amsterdam and rent a car with the plan to visit as many villages/towns as we could in one day. In this post, we share our itinerary along with some tips and ideas to help you plan your own Netherlands road trip.
Leg #1: Amsterdam to Volendam (Visafslag)
The first destination in our Netherlands road trip was Volendam. This picturesque fishing village is well known for its traditional Dutch character and culture. At the harbor, you’ll see beautiful fishing boats, traditional homes, quaint restaurants, and residents wearing traditional Dutch clothing. We really enjoyed walking around the village and checking out some of the shops.
Eating Raw Herring in Volendam
A visit to Volendam wouldn’t be complete without eating raw herring, a traditional Dutch snack. The most popular way of eating Dutch herring is grabbing the entire fish by the tail and lower it down your mouth. Of Course, I had to try it… Yum!
A Great Place to Grab a Bite to Eat
After my herring snack, it was time to eat something heartier (and I needed to get that salty fish taste out of my mouth). The harbor is a great place to grab a bite to eat. Most restaurants have outdoor seating areas that overlook the water.
TIP: If you have the time, we recommend spending one or two nights in this beautiful fishing village. We found it REALLY difficult to leave!
Leg #2: Volendam to Haarlem
After spending way too much time in Volendam we got back in our car and headed to Haarlem, a beautiful medieval city in northwest Netherlands. We’ve been told that this is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Netherlands, and after visiting Haarlem, we agree. Brandon and I fell in love with Haarlem as soon as we arrived.
Leg #3: Haarlem to Delft
From Haarlem, we drove to Delft. Delf has many interesting points of interests including the New & Old Churches, Royal Delft, Vermeer Centre and Museum Prinsenhof. We walked around Delft for an hour and grabbed a coffee before heading to our next destination.
Leg #4: Delft to Kinderdijk
From Delft, we continued to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a serene place where you can take a peaceful walk while enjoying the unique collection of 19 authentic windmills. We spent about an hour walking around the windmills. Since it was rainy, we had the whole place to ourselves. If you get here before 5 PM you can tour a working windmill! This is a quintessential Dutch experience and a must-do for any traveler!
Leg #5: Kinderdijk to Utrecht
Our last stop was Utrecht. By the time we got to Utrecht it was pretty late and most places had already closed. We walked for about an hour admiring the amazing architecture. Utrecht is one of Netherlands’ oldest cities and is known for its beautiful and unique canals. The city is home to some of the best bars and cafes and has some of the largest outdoor terraces in Europe. The vibe in the city was fun and upbeat.
The Pot Boat
During our walk around town, we spotted a boat that appeared to be a restaurant. We walked in and were slapped by the smell or marijuana. Nope, we were wrong… not a restaurant. It was a pot boat! Of course, we were deeply offended and walked out immediately, hehe. 😉 Truthfully we did leave because we still hadn’t had dinner and I was really hangry by this point. Who has a pot boat without food?!?!
Fast and Furious
We really enjoyed our road trip. It made for a really busy and sometimes rushed, day but we were able to see a lot of the Netherlands in one day! Ideally, this would have been a 2 or 3-day trip. We really wanted to do an overnight in Volendam and spend more time in Utrecht. Hopefully, this post will help you plan your Netherlands road trip!