7 Day Trips from Amsterdam by Train: Volendam, Weesp, & More

Ready to venture beyond Amsterdam’s iconic canals, cobblestoned squares, diverse districts, and artsy bohemian areas? There’s a whole lot more to explore within an hour from Amsterdam if you have the time. We’ve come up with a list of the best day trips by train from Amsterdam to embark on if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the Dutch capital.

Enjoy sun and sand at the seaside 

Enjoy a sunny day at the seaside at Zandvoort Beach, just 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal Station, where you’ll find:

  • Over 9 km of sandy beach with hip beach clubs like Tijn Akersloot and Hippie Fish, safe swimming areas, seafood stalls, and salty sea air.
  • Dedicated water sports zones so you can safely practice beach and water sports such as diving, surfing, SUPing, and kite surfing.
  • The Waterleidingduinen Nature Reserve, ideal for hiking or cycling while admiring the local wildlife including Konik ponies, Highland cattle, deer, and foxes.
  • The charming village of Zandvoort, where you’ll find everything from trendy boutiques and artisanal food shops to pretty outdoor patios at the Kerkplein and Raadhuisplein.
  • Sports events and activities at the Circuit Zandvoort motorsport race track.
Spending the day at Zandvoort Beach is a wonderful way to enjoy a break from exploring the city. Photo credit: zandvoort-urlaub

Visit a medieval castle

Travel back in time to experience a slice of Dutch life in the Middle Ages by hopping on the train from Amsterdam to Weesp and then taking a short bus ride to the charming fortress town of Muiden. From here, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Muiderslot Castle, which is worth visiting for its:

  • Fascinating history dating back to 1285.
  • Beautiful setting at the mouth of the River Vecht.
  • Impressive tour of the knight’s hall, towers, dungeon, and armoury.
  • Fun activities, which include dressing up like a knight and trying your hand at jousting.
The Muiderslot Castle makes up just one part of a larger area made up of several interesting sights. Photo credit: Martin Vmorris

Explore fortified towns and historical forts

Feel like wandering through unique UNESCO-listed villages, bastions and fortresses? The Muiderslot Castle is just one part of the 135 km UNESCO-listed Stelling van Amsterdam (a ringed defence line), which also includes fascinating sights such as:

  • Naarden, one of the most remarkable examples of a fortified town remaining in Europe, was established in 1350 and boasts two elaborate star-shaped moats and stonewalls surrounding a well-preserved centre – all within a 50-minute journey from Amsterdam by train and bus.
  • The 700-year-old Weesp (officially part of Amsterdam since 2022), is an easy 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam Centraal Station and worth seeing for its pretty canal-crossed old centre and historic sights, such as the Uitermeer fort, the Wispe Brewery situated in the old Sint Laurentiuskerk church, three windmills and Museum Weesp, located on the top floor of the former town hall from 1776, dedicated to 18th-century porcelain crafts.
  • Fortress Island Pampus, which was built in the 1880s to defend the surrounding area and restrict shipping traffic to Amsterdam and later used by the Germans in WWII as part of their Atlantic Wall, is a short ferry ride from Amsterdam.

Insider’s Tip: If you’re fit and really want to work those legs, the Fortress Stretch cycling route allows you to discover Naarden, Weesp, and Muiden all in one day.

Weesp is a picturesque canal town that is definitely worth a visit. Photo credit: Marcel Plaatsman

Experience traditional Dutch life on the shores of the Zuiderzee

Get a taste of the simple life a century ago around the shores of the Zuiderzee – a former inland sea which was transformed into polders and the much-reduced Ijsselmeer and Markermeer lakes – by hopping on a train from Amsterdam to the picturesque town of Enkhuizen and then taking a short ferry ride to the Zuiderzeemuseum, where you’ll find:  

  • An outdoor museum featuring a complete village recreated with over 140 historic buildings from around the former Zuiderzee, with fishing boats, old-fashioned games, and traditional handicrafts that allow you to experience everyday life as it once was in this area.
  • An indoor museum dedicated to themes such as water management, crafts, and community.
  • Delicious smoked herring to try and buy at the fish smokehouse.
Visiting the Zuiderzeemuseum is like stepping back in time. Photo credit: Malis

Explore ancient fishing villages

Discover the Netherlands’ most famous still-operating fishing village, Volendam, on the banks of the Markermeer, a short ride from Amsterdam. Here, you can find:

  • The old fish auction, situated at the harbour, along with fish stalls with herring, smoked eel and kibbeling (beer-battered fried fish).
  • The Doolhof, the oldest part of the village with quaint houses, narrow maze-like streets, canals and drawbridges.
  • The Volendams Museum, focusing on traditional clothing and interiors from the area.
  • Shops where you can try on a traditional costume and pose for a picture on the dyke.
  • The Marken Express ferry to Marken, where you can visit an authentic Marker fisherman’s home, enjoy freshly caught seafood at one of its restaurants or learn all about island life through the ages at the Marker Museum.
A quaint fishing village, Volendam Harbour is a beautiful area to explore. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Wonder at windmills in the Dutch countryside

Immerse yourself in Dutch culture and history at the Zaanse Schans, a half hour from Amsterdam Centraal Station, where you’ll find:

  • An open-air museum and 19th-century village with charming wooden houses and picturesque windmills.
  • Clog-making and weaving workshops, windmill access and the Zaans Museum covering local art, history and industry, including a 20th-century chocolate and biscuit factory.
  • Scenic pathways along the Zaan River, bordered by vibrant tulip fields (in early spring).

Admire the world’s largest flower garden

Located near Lisse, 45 minutes from Amsterdam and only open from 20 March to 11 May, Keukenhof is worth a visit because it is:

  • The world’s largest flower garden with over 32 hectares of parkland. 
  • A veritable paradise for flower aficionados, with 7 million flower bulbs including vibrant tulips and daffodils and fragrant hyacinths and crocuses.
  • An immersive and sensory-rich experience that celebrates the marvels of horticulture with themed pavilions, captivating flower shows, scenic boat rides and colourful performances and parades.
  • Easily accessible through various tour operators.

Visiting out of season but still eager to explore the flower region? Visit the 400-year-old turreted Keukenhof Castle with its sculpture collection and hidden gardens (located opposite Keukenhof) or Museum De Zwarte Tulp, which delves into the history of Dutch bulb culture, the world’s largest flower auction at Royal FloraHolland in Aalsmeer or the thought-provoking Flower Art Museum.

If you can time your visit accordingly, a trip to Keukenhof is amazing! Photo credit: Luu

No matter what day trip from Amsterdam you decide to take, this entire region is so strikingly beautiful, you really can’t go wrong. And if you don’t have the time for a quick escape, there are plenty of remarkable things to do in Amsterdam. From a local food tour highlighting Amsterdam’s gastronomical legacy to a tour of the Van Gogh Museum, our expert tour guides will show you the best Amsterdam has to offer.

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About the author

Originally from South Africa, Karin Engelbrecht has spent the last 28 years living in Amsterdam. With her extensive knowledge of the best local eateries, attractions and shopping destinations across the seven boroughs, Karin is the go-to gal for all things Mokum (an affectionate local nickname for the city). As a food and lifestyle writer, you’ll find her work in magazines, travel guide books and websites by publishers such as Time Out, I Amsterdam and Fodor’s Travel. Or follow her on Instagram and Facebook, where she regularly shares her latest discoveries as @mokumista.

More by Karin Engelbrecht

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