No matter whether you need a light at the end of the dark third term tunnel or you have a bit of extra time at your hands (since the majority of us has ‘only’ one course for the next three weeks), it might be a nice idea to plan a day trip to some of the cities near Amsterdam. Especially when you come from somewhere further away than Germany it is easy to plan all these amazing trips to Spain, Norway, France, and so on without realising how many great cities the northern part of Holland actually has to offer. So today I am going to share with you some of my favourite cities with serious daytrip potential.
Winter in Leiden
Starting with my all-time favourite city: Leiden. It is a gorgeous little town with all things Dutch such as the traditional Dutch houses and grachten but so much quieter and idyllic than the chronically overcrowded Amsterdam. On top of its beautiful layout, Leiden also has a great floating Christmas market which you just missed and extremely adorable cafés that are spread all over the city. The Volkenkunde Museum is also located in Leiden and definitely worth a visit. You can take the intercity from Amsterdam Centraal station either to Vlissingen or to Den Haag Centraal. If you have an OV chipkaart one trip costs 9,10€ and it takes about 37 minutes.
Now I do not really think I have to say too much about Den Haag but just know that especially for museum lovers this city is an absolute dream. Juan has written an amazing blogpost about the international court of justice which you can check out here. A little not so secret secret tip is the city beach in Scheveningen which is great for long walks by the water (probably not when it is -10 degrees though so just keep this spot in mind for July). From Amsterdam Centraal you can take the train heading to Den Haag Centraal which takes about 52 minutes and costs 11,70€ for one way.
Moving on, I feel like it is just fair to mention Utrecht. The city is basically a smaller and less touristy version of Amsterdam but still has a lot more to offer than Leiden. No matter if you prefer to do a bit of museum-hopping or just want to shop around, Utrecht is the all-rounder of the four cities. If you take the train from Amsterdam Centraal heading to Nijmegen it takes about 27 minutes and the trains heading to Maastricht and Heerlen both take 26 minutes. A one-way ticket, if you have an OV chipkaart, costs 7,60 €.
Lastly, in case you have to do some serious New year New me shopping or want to reward yourself for surviving the first two out of six (I know, I know, not very encouraging) terms, Amersfoort is the place to go. While I personally think it is definitely not as pretty as Leiden, for an extensive shopping spree it is an absolute dream. In addition to shopping centres, the shopping streets on the Sint Jorisplein or the smaller Krommestraat are perfect for a shop till you drop tour as well. Useful to know might also be that on Thursdays the shops are open until 9pm. More information can be found here.You can take the intercity from Amsterdam Centraal to Deventer or Amersfoort. Both take 34 minutes and one trip costs 8,60€.
I hope this blog post was helpful to you and motivated you to venture out and explore Noord-Holland a bit (more). While these are some of my favourite cities I have been to, I have not visited every city in the Amsterdam area just yet, so this list may grow in the coming months.
Gelukkig nieuwjaar to you all and good luck with your new year’s resolutions.