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1 week in the Netherlands

A week long adventure in the Low Lands

1 week in the Netherlands is the perfect time frame for you to cover the highlights of this little country! Arm yourself with a Eurail Pass and get ready to explore the land of windmills, tulips, and more.

 

Itinerary highlights

Canals and world-famous art in Amsterdam, picturesque windmills in Zaanse Schans, castles in Utrecht, and authentic Dutch gezelligheid in Maastricht!

 

With the first rays of sunshine, the Dutch come out of their hibernation. Events and festivals pop up all over the country, so make sure you include some of our suggestions below in your trip.

ER 1 week Netherlands itinerary map

Day 1 // Amsterdam

netherlands-amsterdam-canal-view-with-bikes

From Amsterdam Central Station, walk straight ahead to Dam square and the Royal Palace. Circle round to find yourself on Amsterdam's 400-year old Canal Ring. It'll be hard not to fall in love with the crooked buildings.

Visit the Anne Frank House on the Prinsengracht, and hop on a canal cruise to explore the city from a different view. At night, have a bite to eat on the lively Zeedijk street and venture out into Amsterdam's Red Light District.

tip-image Flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport? Central Station is less than 20 minutes away by train.
netherlands-amsterdam-arena-footbal-uefa

2020 tip: Join the orange madness

From June 12 2020, football will be taking over Europe. The Dutch squad has qualified for the European Championships and will play their group matches in the Amsterdam Arena.

 

Give your visit to the Netherlands a boost and cheer along with the orange crowds everywhere!

 

Dates to remember

Group matches: 14, 18, and 22 June

Day 2 // Amsterdam

netherlands-amsterdam-museumplein-rijksmuseum

Start your day at the Rijksmuseum, and let its beautiful collection guide you through Dutch history. Next door is the Van Gogh museum, housing the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world.

Nearby you'll find the trendy De Pijp neighborhood. Wind up your day in the buzzing cafés and restaurants, and take a walk through the Albert Cuyp Market. If you like your beers, check out the Heineken Experience!

tip-image Amsterdam is easily explored by foot or by tram. If you want to blend in with the Dutchies, rent a bicycle!
netherlands-amsterdam-kings-day

2020 tip: King's Day

One of the things to do on King's Day is to spot the king and queen in one of the cities of the Netherlands. Each year the royal family visits diferent region, where they talk to locals, play silly Dutch games and tour around specific places of importance.

 

If that's not your cup of tea, go shopping on one of the many flea markets or visit a music festival - make sure to dress in orange!

 

Dates to remember

King's Day: 27 April

Day 3 // Zaanse Schans

cycling-in-the-netherlands-zaanse-schans-windmills

You can't get more Dutch than the Zaanse Schans! With beautiful old windmills from the 18th and 19th century, as well as picture-perfect wooden houses, it makes for a fantastic day trip from Amsterdam.

You can sample local cheese and chocolate, and see how clogs are made in various shops and museums. Treat yourself to a plate of traditional Dutch pancakes, or the sweet bread known as Duivekater.

tip-image From Amsterdam Central, take a train to station Koog-Zaandijk. It's only a 16-minute journey!

Day 4 // Groningen

netherlands-groningen-wadden-sea-beach

Located in the far north of the Netherlands, Groningen is an old trade city with a large student population. Climb the Martini tower for the best views, and have a drink or two at the Grote Markt below.

Spend your afternoon at the dynamic Wadden Sea, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can walk the mud flats (wadden) during low tide, and take a boat to the Frisian Islands to spot seals and a wide variety of birds.

tip-image The train will take you from Amsterdam to Groningen in only 2 hours. You'll have to switch trains in Almere.

Day 5 // Utrecht

netherlands-utrecht-castle-de-haar-sunset

Utrecht is a lively student town, with at its center the majestic Dom Tower. Climb to the top for a spectacular view of the Old Canal, lined with bars and restaurants right at water level. Go to Tivoli for a fun night out!

The area around Utrecht is perfect for cycling. You'll find the recreational lakes Loosdrechtse plassen to the north and the woods of the Utrecht Hill Ridge to the east. Don't forget to check out the magnificent De Haar Castle!

tip-image Take a direct train from Groningen to Utrecht. The journey will take you less than 2 hours.
general-music-festival-celebrations

2020 tip: Liberation Day

Liberation Day, or 'Bevrijdingsdag', is the day on which the Dutch celebrate freedom after being liberated from the Nazis on 5 May, 1945. It will be the 75th anniversary in 2020. They celebrate each year by having music festivals all over the country, with performances by Dutch and international artists. The best of all: you can enter these festivals for free!

 

Dates to remember

Liberation Day: 5 May

Day 6 // Rotterdam

netherlands-rotterdam-by-night-view-on-erasmus-bridge

Skyscrapers welcome you as you arrive at Rotterdam's brand new station, giving the city a modern and 'un-Dutch' appearance. The Market Hall and the Cube Houses are some examples of the city's remarkable architecture.

Rotterdam is hip and happening these days, with many cool bars and music venues. Walk through Delfshaven to see what the city used to look like - it's one of the few areas that survived the bombings of World War II.

tip-image The train will get you from Utrecht to Rotterdam in only 38 minutes. Stop halfway in Gouda for some cheese!
people-at-concert-hands-in-the-air

2020 tip: The Eurovision Song Contest 

Rotterdam will be the place to be during the Eurovision Song Contest (12 - 16 May). The city will be alive and hosting people from all over Europe, hoping to see their country win this year's Song Contest. Whether you're a fan or not, Rotterdam is where the party happens.

 

Dates to remember

First semi-final: 12 May

Second semi-final: 14 May

Final: 16 May

Day 7 // Maastricht

netherlands-maastricht-view-on-bridge-during-sunset

The city of Maastricht dates back to Roman times, and offers history around every corner. Check out the country's oldest church, the Saint Servatius, and the so-called Hell's Gate (Helpoort) in the medieval city walls.

Charming Maastricht is a great place for shopping, eating and drinking. Have a beer on the Vrijthof square, stroll along the Meuse river, and visit bookstore Dominicanen, located beautifully in a 700-year old church.

tip-image Travel by train to Maastricht in 2 hours and 16 minutes. You'll have to switch trains in Eindhoven.
Carnaval in Maastricht

2020 tip: Carnaval

The end of February shows an interesting division between the northern and southern provinces. While it's just business as usual in the north, there's an all-out street party happening in the south that lasts for 3 days.

 

Colorful Maastricht is one of the best places to join in the festivities, but you can have a wonderful time in any place 'below the rivers'.

 

Dates to remember

23-24-25 February

What Pass should I get?

The ideal rail pass for this trip is the Eurail Benelux Pass. With this Eurail Pass, you can travel in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. 

Plan your journey

Start planning your trip with the Eurail timetable. You can use it to find the departure and arrival times of European trains. You can also check if your trains require an advance reservation.