Around 20 million people visit Amsterdam yearly to see popular cultural attractions, pedal across scenic bridges and take in that feeling which the Dutch people call gezellig. Many cities are situated on the outskirts of Amsterdam, and there are various transport options to reach these places. So you can easily take private day tours from Amsterdam, meaning you can go to these places and come back home on the same day.
This is one of the biggest cities in the Netherlands and seems like a small version of Amsterdam. It is home to the namesake Utrecht University and has one of the vibrant student populations in Europe. In the three seasons except for winter, Utrecht’s cafes and squares fill with locals, who take in the sun and watch the world go by.
The train trip from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Utrecht Centraal takes about half an hour. When you exit the station, it is a short walk through shop-lined avenues to the heart of Utrecht and the Oudegracht canal.
Things to See in Utrecht
A pleasant town for bicycling and strolling, Utrecht’s cafes, parks and shops are best explored by bicycle or on foot. This is a residential city where you should experience the rhythm of local life without keeping any schedule.
Climb the 465 stairs of the Dom Tower, Holland’s tallest church tower at 112.5 meters, to get your adrenaline going. From the top of the tower, you will get the best views of Utrecht, and if you are lucky, you will hear its peal of ringing bells. A traditional way to see the city is to take a boat tour, much like in Amsterdam.
The Restaurant Blauw here serves tasty rice dishes, side dishes and condiments. Another popular Utrecht restaurant is The Seafood Bar, where you can have platters of French oysters, grilled octopus, Dutch shrimp, and a snack called kibbeling.
The appeal of Rotterdam comes in its modern architecture and outward-looking, raffish port-city nature. Getting here is a matter of a 40-minute-long train trip from Amsterdam Central to Rotterdam Central. Come here as part of your private day tours from Amsterdam program and you will be surprised at each turn.
Things to See in Rotterdam
Start your Rotterdam trip by taking a look at the yellow Cube Houses, designed by architect Piet Blom to look like an abstract forest. The residences sit on top of a bridge that you can stroll across.
To experience something of what prewar Rotterdam was like, go to Delfshaven, where you will find terrace houses like those in Amsterdam. The Kunsthal Rotterdam museum, designed by architect Remment Lucas Koolhaas, is the main cultural spot in the city. The museum has no permanent artwork collection, but it hosts up to 20 rotating exhibitions a year. The Pelgrim Vaders Kerk (Pilgrim Fathers’ Church) is the historical highlight of Delfshaven. Pilgrims were thought to have arrived here in 1620 before they left for the US across the Atlantic Ocean.
In the Pelgrim Brewery, seasonal beers are available on tap and the fare is Belgian. The artisan brewery has a terrace where you will get to sit outside and soak up the sun.
Visit Fenix Food Factory, which is home to a brewery, food trucks, food stalls, and a sidewalk restaurant with tables that overlook the Meuse River.
Maastricht situated in Limburg is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. It is known for its stunning canals, squares, riverside setting and the pre-Lenten carnival celebrations held every March.
It takes around 180 minutes by train from Amsterdam to Maastricht Centraal. An interesting fact is that it is quicker to reach Maastricht from adjacent cities in Germany and Belgium.
What to See in Maastricht
Maastricht is best explored on foot, so strap on your shoes for an amble in the city. Start your walk in the Vrijthof square where people meet up with their friends during festivals or get together in a café. The Basilica of Saint Servatius houses religious relics, making it a significant pilgrimage site in an event known as Heiligdomsvaart. The body of Saint Servatius is laid to rest at the Noodkist shine in the Basilica.
To see art made by Dutch artists, visit the Bonnefantenmuseum. The museum is home to artworks by modern artists from greater Holland and Limburg as well as the old masters.
Wyck is the most charming neighborhood in Maastricht. In Wiek, both old and modern architecture blends, plus the boutiques and cafes bustle with a large population of students.
For something different, visit St. Peter’s Caves, where you will get to hear tales of life underground in the Second World War. Then, St. Peter’s Caves were used to give shelter and served as a place to hide the “Night Watch” painting.