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  • Writer's picturePaco

Day trips from Amsterdam, three cities you cannot miss!

While studying in Amsterdam, many people make the mistake of not exploring other areas besides the famous city of the canals. To make the most of your experience, take advantage of the large Dutch train system and discover new astonishing cities and villages that you simply cannot miss! Let me introduce you to three of those travel destinations you can visit within a day while living in Amsterdam: Leiden, Gouda and Zaandam.


Photo: W. Bulach

Leiden is a historic city full of rich architecture, home of the painter Rembrandt and the contemporaneous artist Armin Van Buuren. Leiden has a picturesque city centre with some postcardy windmills such as Molen De Punt and Molen de Valk. While visiting Leiden, the National Museum of Antiques is a must; it has one of the largest collections of Egyptian artefacts outside Egypt. Additionally, Leiden has one of the best Hortus Botanicus in the country, full of plants from all corners of the globe. After visiting the Hortus Botanicus, I had lunch with my friends at the Hortus Gran Café, a restaurant with delicious meals such as kroketten, sandwiches and salades.



Photo: Ralf Roletschek

Do you like cheese? Then, this is your place! In Gouda, you can visit Saint John church or the Molen De Roode Leeuw. But what definitely makes Gouda worth a visit is the awesome cheese market that operates from 10 am until 12.30 pm every Thursday from April until September. There you can not only buy delicious Gouda but also cheeses from all over the world, and prices are definitely cheaper than in Amsterdam.

After tasting a few of the free samples offered by the vendors, one of my friends returned to Amsterdam with a heavy bag full of different types of cheese!


Zaandam is one of the most famous day trips from Amsterdam. The Zaanse Schans offers a unique landscape full of beautiful windmills; there, you can find different souvenir shops and a great cheese shop where you can buy lots of different types of cheese! (From beer cheese to lavender cheese).

But don´t visit just the Zaanse Schans as everyone does; additionally, go to the city centre and pay a visit to the Tsar Peter House. What was a Russian Tsar doing in Zaandam? Discover it at the museum! Finally, it is worth visiting the Monet Atelier in Zaandam Centrum, you will be welcomed by very friendly staff who will tell you more about the life and paintings of Monet in Zaandam.

These are three great cities, but don´t stick only to them! The Netherlands has so much to offer; The Hague, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Delft or Hoorn are great destinations to immerse yourself completely into the Dutch culture and landscape.

Greetings from Amsterdam!

Paco Pérez



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