Road Trip Netherlands: My 15-Day Itinerary

Florence Consul

Florence Consul

After spending a week in Amsterdam, I'm now on the road driving my rental car for a one-week road trip. Amsterdam has many gems but the rest of the country has much more to offer! To be completely honest, I must admit that I was more charmed by the smaller cities than the capital. I'm taking you with me on the road!

A few days are enough to discover the capital of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is mostly a pleasant city to stroll between its canals and admire the pretty facades of its luxurious buildings. Also, take the opportunity to visit one of the best museums in Amsterdam (an article is specifically dedicated to them). For a luxurious stay, book a room in one of the city's 5-star hotels: the Conservatorium, the Pulitzer, the Intercontinental Amstel, the Waldorf Astoria, or the Hotel de l'Europe.

After picking up your rental car, head to Zaanse Schans, which will give you a glimpse of life in the 17th and 18th centuries in this region where more than 800 mills were built (some of which are open for visits). Sure, it has a stereotypical side, but the walk is still very pleasant and bucolic (when you avoid weekends and holidays, of course!).

In spring, it is the region not to be missed in the Netherlands. Located 30 minutes from Amsterdam, this park features the most beautiful tulips and flowers in the region. More details in the article dedicated to Keukenhof Park.

The small town of Leiden is a must-visit when discovering the Netherlands! As a university town, it is quite dynamic and has an impressive concentration of museums, including the Rembrandt Museum (the painter was born in Leiden).

The walk in its historic center with its canals and bridges is very pleasant, especially when you take the time to admire its townhouses and beautiful university buildings.

I have to admit that The Hague was not a favorite of mine! Looking back, I would not have planned to stop there (that's also what travel is about!). The city has many monuments, but it is mainly known as the political center where the government resides (Binnenhof district). I may not have captured the interest of the city as, except for a few monuments, it did not charm me.

On the road to Rotterdam, don't miss the city of Delft, known around the world for its porcelain, but also for the painter Johannes Vermeer (who has a museum dedicated to him). The walk in its historic center along the canals is as picturesque as you'd like! You can admire its churches, master buildings, and inner courtyards. In addition, the city is lively, and many bars and restaurants make you want to sit down in this peaceful environment.

I was very curious to discover Rotterdam, which seemed quite different from other cities in the country! And I confirm, it is very atypical and has several faces: first its huge port that gives it an industrial side, but also a modern city center with original and innovative architecture.

The second largest city in Holland is ideal to visit for a day or two. Don't miss the famous cube houses, these yellow inclined houses that have become the symbol of the city. You can even visit one!

In the Oude Haven neighborhood is also the Markthal, which is a huge covered market but is worth the detour for its ultra-modern building all dressed in glass with a large painting on the wall.

In the vicinity of Rotterdam are the Kinderdijk windmills: 19 beautiful windmills, dating from 1740 and which helped to prevent floods with a water management system. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bucolic walk to admire them is worth the detour.

Gouda is the cheese capital of the Netherlands. This small historic town is also very pretty to visit with its beautiful market square (Markt) and its imposing town hall or even St. John's church. A visit to be made on the road between Rotterdam and Utrecht.

Utrecht is an ultra-dynamic and absolutely charming city. In its center dominates the Dom Toren tower, which constitutes an excellent landmark when wandering through the city. Utrecht has like many cities in the Netherlands beautiful canals but the little specificity here is that there are old quarry caves by the water that have been transformed into bars and restaurants with beautiful water-side terraces.

This university town has a rich cultural heritage: its cathedral and many other religious buildings, its ancient fortifications, its underground ruins and many museums.

Don't miss its small market, ideal for trying some local specialties.

Haarlem will be the last stop on this road trip through the Netherlands. Located 20 kilometers from Amsterdam, it is ideal for this last stop because it is very close to Amsterdam airport, making it easy to return to take your flight home. This small historic town has an absolutely gorgeous old center. It also has its canals but it's the walk through its winding streets lined with beautiful homes that makes it so enjoyable.

In addition to the historic buildings to admire in the center, Haarlem is also renowned among art lovers with its Teylers Museum or the Frans Hals Museum.

And now this road trip is finished, depending on the number of days you have, you can either extend with other stops or remove stops (if you only have 4 or 5 days in addition to Amsterdam, that is to say a week in total).

Florence Consul

About Florence Consul

Editor of Experiences Luxe since 2015, I love discovering new exclusive and authentic experiences all over the world. I left my home country (France) 6 years ago to become a global citizen, traveling 365 days out of the year. I am a foodie person and I make a point of tasting local specialities.