10 Day Itinerary The Netherlands | Written By Locals
So, The Netherlands is your next destination, and your planning to stay 10 days? Good for you! With this 10 day itinerary, I’ll help you fill in your day to day schedule.
10 Day Itinerary The Netherlands, day to day schedule:
- Day 1: Amsterdam Sightseeing & Canal Tour
- Day 2: Amsterdam Bicycle & Museum Tour
- Day 3: Zaanse Schans / Volendam
- Day 4: Keukenhof / Leiden
- Day 5: The Hague
- Day 6 & 7: Rotterdam
- Day 8: Breda
- Day 9: Optional Activities
- Day 10: Utrecht
Let’s find out the best activities per day, the best places to stay in each city, and the different highlights!
10 Day Itinerary The Netherlands
A visit to The Netherlands for 10 days might sound long for many, but there’s a lot to explore in this small country. I traveled throughout the country a lot, and as a Dutchie, I can tell you all the best places to visit, and I know many local things to do in different cities.
Before we dive into this 10-day itinerary for my home country, I want to tell you about a few other articles about The Netherlands. When you plan a shorter trip for like a week, you might want to read our One Week Itinerary to The Netherlands first. Which is, you probably can guess it, an itinerary for 7 days ;). If you still doubt how long your trip to The Netherlands should be, you can read our article How Many Days Do You Need in The Netherlands and also read this definitely helpful itinerary.
Day 1: Amsterdam Sightseeing & Canal Tour
Let’s start this 10 day trip to The Netherlands in Amsterdam. Maybe you wonder why almost every itinerary starts in Amsterdam? That’s because most people arrive in Amsterdam when traveling to The Netherlands. Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, the largest international airport in the country, is located in Amsterdam. So it is just the most convenient to start in our capital.
Amsterdam is the largest city of The Netherlands, it is the capital of the country, but it is not where our government resides. That’s the city The Hague, but later more on The Hague when we’re reaching day 5 in this itinerary.
In Amsterdam, you can easily spend like 5 or 7 days if you like. There’s much to see and explore in Amsterdam, it is just fun to hang around, and experience life as a local. However, for this itinerary, we stay in Amsterdam for two days. One the first day we planned a sightseeing tour, so you directly get the hang of the city. Get off with a good start and learn the local vibe.
Amsterdam is perfect for walking around and exploring the old historic center. You can, of course, book a guided tour, but it is also fun to go exploring yourself.
When you’re going to walk around yourself, make sure to visit areas like Jordaan, De Pijp, Albert Cuyp Market, Dam. In our article; How Many Days in Amsterdam, you’ll find more detailed information about these neighborhoods.
Canal Belt Tour
The Amsterdam Canal Belt is probably one of the most famous canal belts in the world. It is a Unesco World Heritage site, and during the 17th century, it was the most important ‘road network’ in the city. It was during the heydays of the Dutch Eastern Company, at that time, the most important maritime trade company in the world. The canal belt was connected to the Amsterdam Port, and with the canal boats, it was easy to transfer products and goods from the port to the city. Also, it was the fastest way for the working class to reach the port and go to work every day.
Today the canal belt is still important in Amsterdam, but its mainly used by the locals for leisure activities. And for tourists to go around the city and get to know Amsterdam from a different perspective. Everything is different from the water! You don’t need to back your tour in advance. The tour boats leave from many different locations throughout the city, and most of them are guided tours, offered in all kinds of languages.
Day 2: Amsterdam Bicycle & Museum Tour
Let’s get around the city in the Dutch way, on a bicycle!
Fun Fact Alert! Did you know there are more bicycles in The Netherlands then citizens? Read more fun facts in our article The Fun Facts of The Netherlands.
Cycling around Amsterdam is straightforward, convenient, and safe. Make sure to follow the designated bicycle paths, and always follow the traffic lights, and you’ll be okay. The best place to rent a bicycle in Amsterdam is via MacBike; with over 30 years of experience, they were probably one of the first commercially bike rentals in the city. They have several locations throughout the city, which makes it convenient to drop off your bike.
An excellent bicycle tour in Amsterdam, which will take around half-day, is to follow the canal belt, go around de Pijp area, Jordaan, and end up in Vondelpark. Vondelpark is the largest city park in Amsterdam and probably the most beautifully designed city park in The Netherlands. It is great to drop off your bike close to the park, and then head inside to park to hang out and enjoy some lunch. A lunch which you can easily buy at one of the many take away food stands in the city!
We recommend to ask at the rental company for a roadmap and ask if they can select the route via the different areas. Due to road works, the traffic situation in Amsterdam changes a lot, so it is better to ask for the most recent situation at the rental shop.
Places To Stay In Amsterdam
Booking a hotel or apartment in Amsterdam is overwhelming. There are more than 2000 listings on Booking.com alone! So to help you choose, we selected a few hotels and apartments. We didn’t stay at any of them, but when we saw the customer reviews, we felt it was safe to recommend these. We always check the customer reviews on Booking.com and the only book I place for ourselves when the listing gets a recent (reviews not older than 2 months) review score of 9+.
Recommended places to stay in Amsterdam are:
- Heritage Canal House
- Apartments De Hallen
- Hostel The Flying Pig Downtown (Budget Choice)
- Hotel The Toren
Day 3: Zaanse Schans / Volendam
Let’s get more cultural. The Netherlands is known for its small fisherman villages and unique historical windmills. You can capture both in just one day by visiting Zaanse Schans and Volendam. Both areas are easy to reach, traveling from Amsterdam. You’ll get there within an hour. It is recommended to choose a place to stay in Amsterdam or close to Amsterdam for the first 3 days. On day 4 we recommend traveling with public transport to a different city.
Famous for its historic windmills. During its heydays, you could find hundreds of active windmills in this area. Zaanse Schans was the first industrial area of Western Europe. After the Dutch invention of the crankshaft, the production snowballed. The crankshaft made a vertical saw movement possible, allowing the windmills to saw much more wood in the same amount of time.
Most wood sawing was used for shipbuilding in that day because the Dutch Eastern Company needed seaworthy ships for their trade routes in Southeast Asia.
Today only a handful of windmills are still located at Zaanse Schans, but it is a unique place to visit. You’re literally stepping back in time. A place you can’t find somewhere else.
Zaanse Schans is also perfect for a half-day cycling tour through the Dutch countryside, exploring more of the windmills that are a bit further away. You can read more about this area, and other unique historic windmills in our article Where Can You Find The Best Windmills in The Netherlands.
The fisherman’s village Volendam is probably the best-known fisherman village in The Netherlands. It is not the most authentic. To visit the more authentic and less touristy fisherman village, you probably want to go to Edam. However, Volendam is also great for a visit, and easy to reach coming from Zaanse Schans.
Volendam is known for people still walking in traditional clothing, the large dike, and daily freshly caught seafood. It is probably the best place to taste typical Dutch Food, raw herring. Which is a delicacy according to many Dutch people, I’m not a fan, but you need to try it once! (In our article Typical Dutch Food, you can find more information about raw herring and other unique Dutch dishes)
Day 4: Keukenhof / Leiden
Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in the world. It is a must-visit while you’re in The Netherlands. However, it is seasonal. The Keukenhof only opens for roughly 8 weeks a year. In 2020 they open between March 21 and May 10.
Every year their opening weeks are around these dates, you can find the most recent information on their website.
Keukenhof is located close to Leiden in a small village Lisse. So when the Keukenhof is closed, you might want to visit Leiden, which is a lovely medieval city to visit. Or you can spend an extra day in Amsterdam or The Hague.
Annually the Keukenhof gardeners plant over 8 million flower bulbs. And because of the warm winters, they need to plant even more flower bulbs because the flowers grow to fast. So with stacking the different flower bulbs, they assure perfectly blossoming flowers during their opening weeks.
The area is part of what we call in The Netherlands, the Bulb Region, an area where you can visit the famous flower fields and walk around a sea of colors during the blossoming period.
Fact Alert! The Netherlands is the biggest flower-bulb exporter in the world! Read more about this interesting fact in our article Why is The Netherlands Famous For Tulips?
When you’re interested in spending more time around the Dutch flower fields, you might be interested in reading the article ‘Where Are The Tulip Fields in The Netherlands?‘, where we describe the best places and best time to visit the tulip and flower fields.
Day 5: The Hague
Best city in the country! Okay, I’m not objective. I lived in The Hague almost my whole life, so I’m what we say in The Netherlands, Hagenaar (A citizen from The Hague). Anyway, today I live in a suburb close to The Hague. A small city on its own, but more in the countryside. My roots are still in the government city, so I’m always getting enthusiastic when I’m writing about The Hague.
The Hague is known as the government city and the city where the Royal Family lives. It is the third-largest city of The Netherlands, and walking around the historic city centers feels like you’re walking around in a large village. The city is located very close to the beach. Scheveningen Beach, the most famous beach in the country, which is an official part of The Hague, is like 15 minutes away from the city center.
The Hague Highlights
Spending a day in The Hague can be a bit busy, there’s much to explore. We wrote the article One Day In The Hague, a complete itinerary, which we recommend reading. In that article, we cover all the highlights like visiting Binnenhof (Government building), Mauritshuis (unique museum), Royal Palace Noordeinde, Scheveningen Beach, and many more.
Places To Stay in The Hague
Spending a night in The Hague is lovely. You can sleep in the building next to the Royal Palace Noordeinde, and feel a bit like a Dutch Royal for one night. Or you might stay at Hotel Des Indes, which is one of the oldest hotels in the country. We selected a few hotels, which are all linking to the Booking.com page so you can check them out for yourself. Don’t forget to check the recent customer reviews before booking your stay!
- Hotel Des Indes (It’s one of the oldest hotels in The Netherlands!)
- The Penthouse The Hague Tower
- Hotel Indigo – Palace Noordeinde (Located next to the Royal Palace)
- Kingkool City Hostel (Budget Choice)
Day 6 & 7: Rotterdam
Traveling from The Hague to Rotterdam is like 40 minutes, tops. When you hop on the intercity train (the fast train in The Netherlands), you can reach Rotterdam in like 25 minutes.
Rotterdam is the most modern city in The Netherlands. It is known for its unique and bright architecture. It is a unique city to visit. When you’re staying in Rotterdam for only one day, you’ll definitely have a great time, but I feel you need to hurry a bit and miss out on some unique things to visit.
Of course, you can decide to visit Rotterdam for one day (you can find a one day Rotterdam itinerary in this article I wrote), but staying two days, you can enjoy the city even more. One the first day, I would recommend following the one-day itinerary, which takes you along all the city highlights and is perfect for your first day.
Second day in Rotterdam
On the second day in Rotterdam, I would recommend visiting Kinderdijk, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. Kinderdijk is famous as one of the first large water management systems in The Netherlands.
After visiting Kinderdijk, you can either hang out in one of the large city parks and relax for a bit. Or visit Port of Rotterdam, which is the largest container port of Europe. When you’re interested in this form of industry, it is recommended to book a guided tour in advance.
Als, this second day is perfect for spending some more time in one of the areas you liked, and enjoy life as a local.
Places To Stay in Rotterdam
There are many places to stay in Rotterdam, so I made a small selection of some unique places which are not your everyday hotels. Like we said, Rotterdam is known for its unique architecture, so why not stay in a unique building for a night.
- Euromast – Romantic Getaway, with a unique city view
- Hotel New York – Sleep in the old office of the Hotel America Line
- SS Rotterdam – One of the old cruise ships of the Holland America Line
- Wikkelboats – A tiny house in the old harbor, a home made of cardboard! Fun and unique place to stay
- Cube Houses Hostel – You can sleep in one of the unique cube houses, it will be a budget choice because they only offer dormitory rooms.
- Cube House Apartment – Want to have a cube house for yourself for a few nights? You can book an apartment to stay overnight.
Day 8: Breda
The province of North Brabant (Noord Brabant in Dutch, and often referred to as Brabant) is known for its Burgundian Lifestyle. The vibe is different in Brabant. Life is a bit slower, things are not rushed like in Amsterdam or The Hague.
Breda is one of the unique cities to visit in Brabant, and while you are there make sure to visit the following highlights;
Castle of Breda
An important building in Dutch history. It was the castle where Hendrik van Nassau the 3rd lived and stayed in the Nassau family (Dutch Royal Family) for many generations. The castle is located on a military academy, and you can only visit it via a guided tour, which you can book on the website of the local tourism office.
This city park is known for its many fountains and a perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon.
This inner square in the middle of the city center is a unique place to visit. It is a peaceful and quiet place to walk around, away from the bustling city. This historic inner square was used as a shelter for homeless and poor people.
Places to Stay in Breda
Breda has many places where you can stay. When you take a look at the listings on Booking.com, you’ll notice that many accommodations are highly ranked. Which confirms the fact that Breda is known for its Burgundian Lifestyle. Hospitality is one of the most important factors of this lifestyle.
We recommend taking a look at the different accommodations and choose something you like. You can’t hardly go wrong while booking a place to stay in Breda.
Day 9: Optional Activities – Own Interpretation
This is probably something you’re not used too when reading a travel itinerary. However, there are many things to explore while visiting The Netherlands, I felt it was essential to leave at least one day open for your own interpretation.
You might want to stay longer in one of the cities we mentioned earlier, which you can do more relaxed when you don’t have a tight schedule. Or maybe you have a city in mind you absolutely want to visit while you’re in The Netherlands, and we didn’t mention before. It is all possible, either way, we selected this day for you, so you can choose the things you like to do in The Netherlands.
Recommended cities to visit
Here are some cities you might find inspiring to visit.
- Gouda: which is famous for its traditional cheese market and unique historical center
- Den Bosch: A unique Medieval center. In Den Bosch, you can also experience the truly Burgundian lifestyle
- Giethoorn: a small village in the northern part of The Netherlands, known as Venice of the North. The city consists entirely of canals, there are no roads inside the village!
- Groningen, a vibrant student city, located in the North of The Netherlands. Groningen is known for its natural park Lauwerslake, which is the park with the most unique biodiversity in The Netherlands.
In our article Best Cities in The Netherlands, you can read much more information about 26 unique cities to visit.
Day 10: Utrecht
On the last day of this itinerary, before you leave the country and head back home, or maybe travel a different country in Europe, it is time to visit Utrecht.
Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in The Netherlands and was once the economic heart of the country. During Roman times, Utrecht was an important settlement for the Romans to cross the rivers. You can still visit a Roman archaeological site under the Dom Tower in Utrecht.
The most famous highlight of Utrecht, and maybe the most famous tower of The Netherlands, is the belltower Dom Tower (Domtoren in Dutch). The church tower was built in the 14th century, and since then, it is a significant landmark in the region. It is the only bell tower in The Netherlands where the unique church bells are still rung by hand. A heavy job, because some of the bells weigh 32000 kilograms! The bells are set in motion by the expert of the Bellringers Guild. They use a unique hanging technique on ropes, using their full body weight to get the bells in motion.
It is possible to visit the belltower, but only via a guided tour. I highly recommend this tour, because you learn a lot of the Dutch history and the unique tower. The only downside is that the tower is not accessible for people with mobility issues. The stairs to the tower are very small, so they can’t build an elevator inside.
Utrecht Canal Belt
The canal belt of Utrecht is not a large as the Amsterdam Canal Belt, but it also played an essential role in the development of the city. Before Amsterdam was a thriving city, Utrecht was the economic heart of The Netherlands, and that’s mainly because of the unique location of the city, and its canal belt. Almost the same story as in Amsterdam, only Utrecht was further away from the sea. Which is why Amsterdam had more of an advantage over time.
It is unique to take a tour around the Utrecht canal belt and explore the city from the water.
Read more about Utrecht in our article, What Is Utrecht Famous For?
Places to Stay in Utrecht
There are many places you to stay in Utrecht, we selected three accommodations which got good customer reviews on Booking.com.
- Hotel Beijers
- Loft 188 Apartments
- Bunk Hotel Utrecht (Budget Option)
Read More About The Netherlands
You probably want to learn more about The Netherlands before your trip starts. We wrote many articles about our home country you might find interesting, you can see the full list of articles following this link.
Some articles you might find interesting are;
- Best Things to Do in The Hague
- What is Rotterdam Famous For?
- Typical Dutch Food Guide
- Weird Things About Dutch People
- Is The Netherlands Worth Visiting (Recommend read for when you’re still deciding if you should go)
The Netherlands – European Hub
Traveling from The Netherlands to other countries in Europe is straightforward. You can easily catch a direct train from Amsterdam to Paris, which also stops in large cities in Belgium. Or catch a European flight to one of the many countries. A flight from Amsterdam to Greece takes only a few hours. And within 3 hours you can reach Lisbon, Portugal! There are many possibilities to choose from if you want to extend your flight. You might want to read our booking recommendations, which can be helpful when booking your next trip.
Some exciting countries to visit in Europe are:
We spent almost 3 months traveling around Greece during 2019 and had a great time. The country is beautiful. Of course, you can visit the mainland and go to Athens, which is a unique city to visit. Or you can go island hopping and visit one of the many islands in Greece. It is al possible!
The weather in Greece is almost always sunny and warm. And the prices are low, especially when you visiting one of the lesser-known islands. When you visit some popular destinations, prices can be though.
We wrote several articles about Greece with you might find interesting to read. An interesting article for when you want to go island hopping in Greece is our 10 Day Island Itinerary For Greece Islands.
A road trip through Italy is like the romantic getaway everyone is dreaming of. When you’re traveling to The Netherlands, it is easy to make this dream come true. You can just hop on a flight and fly in a few hours to every major city in Italy. You can find all our articles about Italy on the Italy category page.
We also traveled through Italy last, and I love the country. Perfect Food, lovely people, beautiful cities, and almost always perfect weather. I especially love the Tuscany region, you might want to read our article What is Tuscany Best Known For, where we describe the best highlights of the area. One of our favorite cities to visit in Italy is Rome, make sure to read our article What is Rome Known For?