There are several wonderful options for day trips from Amsterdam by train. Discover the most popular options and why a day trip from Amsterdam to The Hague and Delft was my top pick! I'll also take you through how to get there and what to do.
Amsterdam is the first city tourists flock to when visiting the Netherlands. It's home to the main international airport in the Netherlands (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol), is the capital, hosts enough museums and tourist sights to keep visitors busy for days, offers those picture perfect water canals, and seems to have more bikes than humans.
Amsterdam also makes for a wonderful home base for a number of worthwhile day trips.
On my last trip I only had two days in Amsterdam, and while I loved exploring the city, I really wanted to see a side of the Netherlands that wasn't quite as touristy or hectic. Thankfully there are plenty of awesome day trips from Amsterdam by train to choose from.
The Netherlands is quite small and the trains make for very affordable and quick trips. I debated between Zaanse Shans, Rotterdam, Gouda, Haarlem, The Hague, Delft, Utrecht, and Leiden.
Before I take you through why I chose a day trip from Amsterdam to The Hague and Delft, let’s take a look at the most popular day trip options.
day trips from AMsterdam - 8 popular options
Zaanse Shans: a 15 minute train ride plus a 20 minute walk to the village. The main attraction is the windmills. The village is small and gives a look at what 18th - 19th century Holland looked like.
Rotterdam: the modern and vibrant sister city of Amsterdam that's 35 minutes by train.
The Hague (Den Haag): it's a 50 minute train from Amsterdam to The Hague. This "new meets old" city offers museums, is home to the Dutch royalty and government, has plenty of shopping, and feels more like a working, living city that just happens to be beautiful and chic.
Gouda: a 55 minute train ride from Amsterdam famous for…you guessed it…Gouda cheese! The famous cheese market is every Thursday morning in spring and summer.
Utrecht: the largest University town in the Netherlands (and fourth largest city in the country). It's 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Known as a “mini Amsterdam” that is less touristy with plenty of shopping and canal side cafes. Utrecht has a distinct medieval feel to it and is home to the tallest belfry (tower) in the Netherlands.
Haarlem: 15 minutes by train and one of the quickest and easiest Amsterdam day trips. A smaller and low-key version of Amsterdam known for it's narrow cobblestoned streets, unique little shops, laidback vibes, the Molen De Adriaan windmill (which you can tour),
Leiden: another University town 30 minutes away by train that has the character of Amsterdam without all the tourists.
Delft: picturesque and postcard worthy town filled with canals and cobblestone streets. It's a 1 hour train from Amsterdam to Delft and 10 minutes from the Hague.
Why I chose a day trip from Amsterdam to Delft and The Hague
You probably noticed a theme among these Amsterdam day trips. Most descriptions include "a smaller, less touristy version of Amsterdam". Many visitors aren't prepared for how hectic and crowded Amsterdam is and quickly look for a day trip to experience a "real Dutch town".
A place to really enjoy the charm, architecture, cute cafes, and a chance to get photos without a million people in them or the risk of being run over by a bike while you take that photo.
Doing my research, it seemed that many of these towns were fairly similar. Each would get you that escape from busy Amsterdam and the chance to experience a smaller Dutch town.
Because I only had time for one day trip, I wanted to make sure I got the most out of that day. I decided that a day trip from Amsterdam to The Hague and Delft made the most sense.
Why see one town when you could easily see two? Delft and The Hague are only 10 minutes apart by train and you actually stop at The Hague on your way to Delft from Amsterdam.
After experiencing how touristy, crowded, and busy Amsterdam was, I really wanted to experience a Dutch town without all the above. Delft was quiet, quaint as can be, and picture perfect. The Hague felt like a city where people worked and lived that offered beautiful architecture, great shopping, and chic sidewalk cafes.
Amsterdam to Delft by train
Take an early train from Amsterdam to Delft. 7:00 or 8:00 am would be ideal to get the most out of your day trip. It's a 55 minute journey and the Delft train station is located right by the city center (less than 10 minutes by foot).
You can buy tickets online via the official Netherlands train service website. You select what day you are traveling and the ticket is good for that entire day. This is nice as you aren't committed to a specific time. It works the same way if you buy your ticket at the train station. The ticket machines are extremely easy to use and in english.
Another option is to buy your tickets through Trainline, but then you are given a specific time. If you purchase on Trainline, make sure you select a route with zero stops.
Tickets from Amsterdam to Delft cost between $15 and $20 as long as you buy in advance.
What to do in Delft
To be honest, there isn't a whole lot to do in Delft in terms of museums and attractions. This is more a place to wander, get some amazing photos, enjoy a cafe break or two, and take in how charming a small Dutch town can be.
Delft is the perfect change of pace from hectic Amsterdam. It's peaceful, charming, and provides more than enough picture opportunities where you don't have to constantly deal with photo bombers or the threat of being run over by a cyclist.
Many shops sell the famous white and blue pottery that Delft is known for. Stop at the Royal Delft Porcelain Factory if you'd like to purchase some.
The city also has boutique shops and a number of incredible cafes. I discovered one of my favorite cafes ever in this unassuming town; Kek.
Consider joining a quick 1.5 hour walking tour to learn the history of the city and make sure you see all musts.
Delft is the perfect place to slow down and get the feel of a traditional Dutch town, so wander the streets, fill your camera with charming canal shots, stop at a cafe or two, grab a gelato at Chocolaterie De Lelie and enjoy the scenery.
Delft to The Hague by Train
It's quick, easy, and cheap to travel from Delft to The Hague via train. It's a 15 minute train ride and less than $5. You can buy your ticket at the train station or on the official Netherlands train website. If you buy your ticket in advance, it will be good for that day. Departures run about every 10 to 30 minutes.
It's a 15 minute walk from the train station to the city center.
What to do in The Hague (Den Haage)
Where Delft is quaint, The Hague is glamorous and full of history and politics. The palace and government buildings are grandiose and the high-end shopping streets are chic.
Shop the popular Prinsestraat Street, complete a guided tour (options below), and visit the famous Mauritshuis museum (home to Girl with the Pearl Earring).
If you're interested in the political history of the Netherlands, Den Haage (or The Hague) should definitely be at the top of your list for day trips from Amsterdam. Visit the Inner Court (Binnenhof) where the Netherlands most important events in history took place. This has been the location for meetings of the Dutch parliament since 1446. Consider taking a tour to see the House of Representatives, Hall of Knights, and royal throne.
Don't miss a visit to the Peace Palace, a stunning Neo-Renaissance style building that houses the International Court of Justice. The Hague was named the City of Peace and Justice because of the Peace Palace and the organizations within.
Consider having lunch, dinner, or cocktails at one of the many restaurants and cafes surrounding Het Plein. It's a large square and many of the restaurants have cute outdoor patios. We ate at Luden, and enjoyed the atmosphere and food.
The Hague to Amsterdam
Trains run about every 30 minutes all the way to 11:00 pm or 11:30 pm, so there's no rush to head back to Amsterdam. Again, you can buy your tickets online via the official Netherlands train website, at the station, or via Trainline.
Just remember when you purchase on sites like Trainline, you select your exact train time and route, and usually the station makes you stick with that departure time.
Your ride back to Amsterdam will be 50 minutes to an hour.
Out of all the day trips from Amsterdam, I was happy with my choice to visit both Delft and The Hague. Not only do you get to see a charming Dutch town, you also get to visit a lively city with several worthwhile tours, museums, and other attractions.
Traveling between Delft and The Hague was a breeze as was to and from Amsterdam. It was an easy day trip logistically and neither city felt overwhelming (i.e., you could wing it if you needed to).