Traveling to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and hoping to see a bit of the Dutch countryside but are not sure where to go or how to visit?
In this guide, we share the nicest villages and places in the countryside near Amsterdam, a map, and information on how to visit. You’ll also find our hand-picked recommendations for the best Dutch countryside tours from Amsterdam. Take a look!
The Netherlands is known for its picturesque windmills, dikes, and charming villages. While most tourists just visit Amsterdam, the Dutch countryside offers a totally different experience that will make your trip to Holland even more memorable.
Visiting the countryside in the Netherlands is like taking a trip back in time. It’s a unique opportunity to take a glimpse into the country’s past and visit some incredibly picturesque areas where time seems to stand still.
In this article, we highlight some of the most popular places near Amsterdam where you can immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the Dutch countryside.
Good to know: Please note that in this guide we only feature the nicest places in the countryside that are really easy to visit from Amsterdam. They are all located not more than 30-45 minutes drive from the city and some can even be visited by bike. If you are looking for more recommendations further away, you may want to also check our guide to the best day trips from Amsterdam.
TIP: If you want to see several of the nicest places in the Dutch countryside in a short time, consider going on an organized tour.
This is the most popular half-day tour that visits the 3 top sites, and this is the most popular full-day tour that visits 4 places. You can find more information and additional tour suggestions further below.
If you rather explore the Amsterdam countryside on your own, consider this Amsterdam region transport ticket. It includes most public transport options in and around the city. This ticket includes pretty much all public buses and trains to the places described in our article.
Here are the most popular places to visit in the countryside near Amsterdam:
1. Zaanse Schans
Located just a short distance from Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans is the best place to see traditional Dutch windmills near Amsterdam.
This is one of the most picturesque places in the Dutch countryside and is worth a visit no matter how much time you have or in which season you travel.
Nowadays, Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum that showcases what life was like in the Netherlands in the 19th century. Here, you can step back in time and explore a traditional village with wooden houses, windmills, and artisanal workshops. You can taste and buy all kinds of Dutch cheese, attend a clog-making workshop, visit a weaver’s house, or learn more about the old craft of making barrels.
Depending on your interests, you can just walk around a bit, take some pictures and move on, or you can spend half a day at Zaanse Schans and you won’t get bored.
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Zaanse Schans
Distance from Amsterdam: 15 km/ 30 minutes drive.
- Bike tour.
- Electric scooter tour.
- Zaanse Schans & Cheese Tasting tour by bus.
- Here you can find a complete overview of countryside tours that include Zaanse Schans together with other popular places nearby.
TIP: If you are visiting Zaanse Schans on your own, consider getting the Zaanse Schans Card. It includes entry to all the attractions at the open-air museum. If you have the iAmsterdam City Card, it’s also valid here (great value, especially for a longer stay).
2. Lisse Tulip Fields & Keukenhof Gardens
ONLY IN THE EARLY SPRING
If you are traveling to Amsterdam in early spring, a visit to Lisse tulip fields and Keukenhof Gardens is an absolute must. The tulip season in the Netherlands typically lasts between late March to early May.
The area around Lisse, just a short drive from Amsterdam, is known as the best place to see flower fields in the Netherlands. Depending on the weather in the spring when you visit, you may see colorful fields of tulips, daffodils, and/or hyacinths.
Lisse is also home to Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s largest flower garden.
There are many ways to visit the tulip fields around Lisse: by car, by bike, or even by helicopter. Depending on your interests and what you decide to do, you can spend a couple of hours here or an entire day. Most people, however, only visit Keukenhof Gardens and just see some of the tulip fields through a car/bus window on the way there.
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Lisse
Distance from Amsterdam: 40km/ 45 minutes drive.
How to get there from Amsterdam: By bus transfer (includes park ticket) or with a guided tour.
TIP: We have very thorough guides to this area where you can find all the practical information and useful tips for your visit. Check them out via the links below!
Located along the shores of the Markemeer and Gouwzee Lakes (part of the Ijsselmeer Lake), Volendam is a postcard-perfect fishing village that offers a glimpse into traditional Dutch life. However, the main waterfront area is nowadays extremely touristy. It’s far from what it used to look like in the past, especially in the summer season.
Colorful wooden fishermen’s houses now serve as restaurants, souvenir stores, and photography shops where you can take pictures with traditional costumes. The best thing to do here is take a leisurely stroll along the dike and indulge in delicious fresh seafood.
There are tons of restaurants and street food stands in Volendam. Just keep an eye on the seagulls if you decide to eat outside or they’ll be gone with your herring or shrimp sandwich before you know it… This almost happened to my friend, but luckily her reaction was quick.
If you have more time, check out Volendams Museum, 5 minutes walk from the dike. It’s a good place to learn more about what life was like in this area in the past and see traditional Dutch clothing.
TIP: You can also rent a bike and explore more of the countryside around Volendam. Most bike rentals provide you with a suggested route itinerary, and if you have a couple of hours, you can easily visit Edam and Marken (more information on both places further below).
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Volendam
Distance from Amsterdam: 20km/ 25-40 minutes drive.
How to get there from Amsterdam: By bus #316 (+-30 minutes), by bike (1-1.5 hours), or with guided tours.
Recommended tours: Most tours that visit Volendam, also visit Zaanse Schans and several other popular places like Edam and Marken. See here for the full selection. If you also want to see Giethoorn (further away), check out this highly-rated tour.
TIP: Simonehoeve on the outskirts of Volendam organizes cheesemaking and clogmaking workshops and also has traditional costumes for photos. Many tours that come to Volendam also stop here for a short clogmaking demonstration and cheese tasting. If you come from Amsterdam by public bus, there is a bus stop right at the farm. In that case, you may want to book one of their experiences in advance.
The picturesque island of Marken sits in the middle of the lake not far from Volendam. In the past, the island could only be reached by boat. Nowadays, there is a road that connects Marken to the mainland, but the nicest way to arrive is by ferry from Volendam.
This traditional fishing village with its green and black wooden houses and quaint streets exudes an old-world charm. It is the most picturesque and authentic-feeling place that you can visit in the countryside near Amsterdam. Marken is incredibly charming!
Just keep in mind that the island is not a museum and people actually live here, so be respectful of private property. Needless to say that this counts for all the other places too.
The best way to explore the island is on foot or by bike. You can also visit the tiny Marken Museum, where you can learn about the island’s history and discover its unique cultural heritage. In the village, you’ll also find a place where you can see clogmaking demonstrations.
There are also a couple of nice restaurants and cafes where you can have lunch.
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Marken
Distance from Amsterdam: 22 km/ 30 minutes drive.
How to get there: You can reach Marken by bus, but we recommend going to Volendam first (see above) and then taking a ferry. You can also rent a bike in Volendam and explore this beautiful area by bike.
Recommended tours: Most tours that go to Zaanse Schans and Volendam also visit Marken, but it’s not always the case. This is the most popular day tour and this private tour also takes a ferry ride to Marken (in season). Here you can find an overview of all Dutch countryside tours that include Marken in their itinerary.
Best known for its homonymous cheese, the town of Edam is located just north of Volendam. The two villages are literally adjacent and the distance between the centers is just 3 km (2 miles). You could even walk from Volendam to Edam, but it’s much faster and more convenient by bike (about 10 minutes).
Edam is very small and you can walk through the entire center in 10-15 minutes. Its narrow streets and picturesque canals are surrounded by beautifully preserved traditional architecture and a visit here gives you a good idea of what a typical town in the Dutch countryside looks like.
Edam also has several museums. The best one to visit is Edams Museum and it’s quite different from the ones in Volendam or Marken. To start with, it’s set inside an old house dating from the Dutch Golden Age, with many artifacts and paintings from that period. The floating cellar is really unique and it’s worth coming here even just for that.
Edam Cheese Museum is a much more touristy experience but can be nice if you like to learn more about the town and its cheese.
TIP: The highlight of a visit to Edam is undoubtedly its weekly Cheese Market, where you can witness the age-old tradition of weighing and trading cheese wheels. This market takes place on Wednesday mornings in July and August. You can find more info here.
However, the market is small and not nearly as impressive as the famous Alkmaar Cheese Market, so don’t change all your plans just for this. But if you are visiting the Netherlands in the summer and are planning a day trip to the countryside, you can as well come here on Wednesday. It will definitely make your visit more special (but it will also be a lot busier than otherwise).
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Edam
Distance from Amsterdam: 20 km/ 30 minutes drive.
How to get there: By bus #314 (+-30 minutes), by bike (1.5 hours), or with guided tours. If you rent a bike in Volendam, Edam is a must-see!
Recommended tours: Most tours that visit Volendam also visit Edam. See here for the full selection.
Now that we covered the most famous and most popular places in the Amsterdam countryside, let’s take a look at a couple of smaller and less-known villages that are also worth considering.
If you want to see the more authentic side of the countryside in the Netherlands without busloads of tourists, then you may want to check these out as well.
6. Broek in Waterland
Nestled just a few kilometers north of Amsterdam, Broek in Waterland is a hidden gem in Amsterdam’s countryside.
It’s a charming village with well-preserved traditional houses, set against a backdrop of scenic canals, bridges, and historical farms.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Broek was a thriving trading center focused on grain imports from the Baltic Sea region, herring fishing, and whaling. Nowadays, it’s a small sleepy village with a tranquil atmosphere that offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Broek
Distance from Amsterdam: 10km/ 15-20 minutes drive.
How to get there: By bus #316 or #314, by bike (30-40 minutes), or with a guided Amsterdam countryside bike tour.
Recommended tours: The best way to visit Broek is with this bike tour (it also visits more places in the Amsterdam countryside). Here you can find an overview of tours that visit this picturesque village.
Located just 5 km northeast of Broek and 6 km south of Volendam, you’ll find Monnickendam, a picturesque fishermen’s town on the shores of Gouwzee. This is another charming place to visit in the Amsterdam countryside.
Monnickendam has a beautiful Marina and several small beaches and is popular with the locals. It really comes to life on sunny weekends in the summer.
Practical Info & Tips for Visiting Monnickendam
Distance from Amsterdam: 14 km, 20 minutes drive.
How to get there: By bus #316 or #314, by bike (45 minutes from Amsterdam or 25 minutes from Volendam).
Map of the Best Places in Amsterdam’s Countryside
Here is the map indicating all the places mentioned in this guide. As you can see, most of them are located really close to Amsterdam.
Once again, there are many other charming areas in the countryside all over the Netherlands. But if you simply want to see some Dutch windmills and charming traditional villages, then you’ll find plenty of choices close to Amsterdam.
Further below, you can find our hand-picked recommendations for the best tours to the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam. Read on!
How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.
Best Amsterdam Countryside Tours
If you wonder how to see as many of the nicest places in the shortest time possible, we recommend the following countryside tours from Amsterdam:
- 5.5 hours tour – this is the most popular half-day tour that visits 3 of the best places in the countryside near Amsterdam. You can choose a morning or an afternoon tour which makes it very easy to add this to any itinerary.
- 6.5 hours tour – this is the shortest ‘complete’ Amsterdam countryside tour. It leaves the city early in the morning and gets back before 3 pm, allowing you to quickly see 4 top places and make the most of your day. Plus, you can upgrade this tour with a 1-hour canal cruise in Amsterdam.
- 8 hours tour – this is the most popular Dutch countryside tour. It visits the same places as the tour mentioned above, but you have more time to explore deeper. Because it leaves later and lasts longer, you’ll need to foresee the entire day for this tour.
- 8 hours private tour – the most popular and best-rated private tour. It covers all the best places but in a more special way. For example, in the summer, this itinerary also includes a short boat trip.
- 9 hours early spring tour – this is one of the best countryside tours if you are visiting during the tulip season and only have time to do one excursion outside Amsterdam.
- 4-5 hours bike tours. Bike tours are great if you have little time and/or want to visit less touristy places in the countryside. Most of these tours bring you to the Waterland District just north of Amsterdam, including Broek. You also pass a traditional windmill, and some tours also include cheese tasting or other experiences.
READ ALSO: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam
So, this is our guide to some of the best places to explore in the Dutch countryside near Amsterdam.
From the traditional windmills of Zaanse Schans to the idyllic villages of Marken, Edam, and Volendam, a visit to any of these places offer a unique opportunity to experience the more authentic, traditional side of the Netherlands.
And because many of these places are so close by and only require a couple of hours to visit, it’s really simple to add a countryside tour into pretty much any Amsterdam itinerary.
Have a great trip!
More travel inspiration for Amsterdam & beyond:
- What to see & do:
- More itineraries:
- Seasonal guides:
- More of the Netherlands:
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