Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Itinerary For 4 days in Netherlands By Automotive (excl. Amsterdam)

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On this article, I’ll share our itinerary for 4 days within the Netherlands by automotive, visiting a whole lot of thrilling locations throughout the nation however skipping Amsterdam (it’s higher to not go to Amsterdam by automotive, and it undoubtedly deserves 3 days alone). I’ll give attention to the very best and most lovely locations to go to within the Netherlands apart from Amsterdam, from Giethoorn to Delft! 

On day one, we visited Breda, Heusden, and S-Hertogenbosch, three charming locations that boast a wealthy cultural heritage. Day two was all about exploring the well-known Dutch countryside – Giethoorn, Edam, Hoorn and the well-known Keukenhof flower backyard close to Lisse. Keukenhof and the flower fields can solely be visited from March to Might, so if you happen to’re planning to go to the Netherlands outdoors this timeframe, I like to recommend skipping it and visiting Haarlem as a substitute. On day three, we explored Leiden, De Haar Fort and Utrecht.

Lastly, on day 4, we visited Gouda, Delft, and The Hague and skilled among the nation’s most iconic landmarks.

Right here’s a brief overview of the itinerary for Netherlands by automotive in 4 days:

Day 0: driving to the Netherlands within the night, staying at Novotel Breda

Day 1: Breda, Heusden, S-Hertogenbosch, driving to Giethoorn, staying at Resort de Pergola Giethoorn

Day 2: Giethoorn, Edam, Hoorn, Zaanse Schans, Haarlem & Leiden, staying at Fields 1216

Day 3: Keukenhof, Lisse, De Haar Fort, staying at Van Der Valk Vianen Utrecht

Day 4: Utrecht, Gouda, Delft, The Hague and driving again 

Helpful hyperlinks for this itinerary:

When you don’t have your personal automotive, I like to recommend hiring one on Rentalcars.com

You may also go to most of those locations with out a automotive, nonetheless, you would possibly must trim this itinerary down and go to fewer locations.

Tickets for Keukenhof – e book right here

Tickets for De Haar Fort – e book right here

With out additional ado, let’s get began with the detailed itinerary for 4 days within the Netherlands by automotive (skipping Amsterdam)!

The itinerary for 4-days within the Netherlands by automotive: Utrecht, Delft, Giethoorn and extra

Day 0:

I don’t rely the day of attending to the Netherlands as a separate day of this journey. In our case, we left work a bit earlier and drove to the Eurotunnel terminal for the 18:45 crossing. We had a fast dinner in Dunkirk in France after which drove all the way in which to Breda in a single go (it took round 1 hour 45 minutes). By midnight, we have been already in Novotel Breda, the place we stayed for the evening! 

Day 1: Breda, Heusden, S-Hertogenbosch, driving to Dwingeloo


We began our day by exploring the charming metropolis of Breda. I have to admit that I had by no means heard of Breda earlier than planning the journey, however it didn’t disappoint. Breda is a really small metropolis; it’s solely the 4th largest metropolis in its province, North Brabant, and its inhabitants is lower than 200,000 individuals. 

I like to recommend spending a few hours in Breda, exploring the Previous City crammed with historic buildings, picturesque squares, and nice cafes and eating places. You’ll be able to wander by means of the streets, go to the Grote Kerk (Nice Church), and take a look at the citadel as nicely. 

We had breakfast in Breda in a spot known as Sip First. It was pretty, and the espresso was nice. 


Our subsequent vacation spot, Heusden, was only a quick drive away from Breda. Heusden is a small fortified city surrounded by historic partitions and dotted with windmills and small canals. Once more, Heusden is a really quick cease, particularly if you happen to’re visiting on a chilly day. Nonetheless, the centre of the city appears charming and really picturesque. The 2 windmills of Heusden are essentially the most picturesque spot within the metropolis. In complete, we spent about an hour in Heusden and left for s-Hertogenbosch, which was lower than half-hour away.

S-Hertogenbosch (or just den Bosch)

The subsequent vacation spot of this Netherlands street journey, S-Hertogenbosch or the way it’s usually referred to – den Bosch, is the capital of the North Brabant area of the Netherlands. Despite being the capital, it’s hardly bigger than Breda. Nonetheless, in my view, there have been extra issues to do in s-Hertogenbosch than in Breda. It’s additionally a really quirky metropolis – and we completely liked it for that! 

Why quirky? Effectively, den Bosch is the hometown of one of many Netherlands’ most well-known painters, Jheronimus Bosch. There’s a whole lot of artwork throughout town devoted to Jheronimus Bosch – yow will discover road artwork in small alleyways or statues within the park – looking for them throughout Den Bosch was like a quest! 

Moreover on the lookout for artwork devoted to Jheronimus Bosch and simply strolling across the metropolis and having fun with the Previous City, listed below are another issues you are able to do in Den Bosch:

Issues to do in Den Bosch:

– Go to the gorgeous St. John’s Cathedral (free). It is likely one of the nation’s most spectacular church buildings, with gorgeous stained-glass home windows, intricate carvings, and a wide ranging inside.

– Go to the Noordbrabants Museum to study extra in regards to the historical past of the province of North Brabant. It homes an interesting assortment of work, sculptures, and artefacts, together with works by well-known Dutch painters resembling Van Gogh, Jan Sluijters, and Piet Mondrian. You’ll be able to pre-book tickets prematurely right here.

– Lastly, go to the Jheronimus Bosch Artwork Heart. The museum homes a group of reproductions of his work and in addition provides an immersive multimedia expertise that brings Bosch’s surreal and fantastical world to life. 


We left den Bosch round 6 pm and began driving in direction of Dwingeloo, the place we booked a lodge to remain in a single day, Fletcher Landhotel de Borken. Dwingeloo is positioned within the North of the nation, fairly distant from Brabant. We drove for round 2 hours to get there.

The rationale we picked Dwingeloo was as a result of it was the closest place to Giethoorn that was nonetheless obtainable. We have been reserving on the final minute, only a few days prematurely; therefore, a whole lot of locations have been already totally booked. When you’re reserving prematurely, it’s simpler to remain nearer to Giethoorn in locations like Resort de Pergola or Resort Giethoorn.

Dwingeloo is definitely a stunning place. It’s a small village positioned within the coronary heart of the Dwingelderveld Nationwide Park. When you’ve got time or arrive early sufficient, you’ll be able to go for a stroll within the Nationwide Park; it’s very lovely. 

Day 2: Giethoorn, Edam, Hoorn, Haarlem, Leiden

Since we have been staying in Dwingeloo, we needed to drive to Giethoorn. We reached it in half-hour and arrived there by 10:15 am. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re staying in Giethoorn or in a more in-depth village, it is possible for you to to keep away from further driving within the morning!

Exploring Giethoorn

Giethoorn is likely one of the Netherlands’ most lovely villages and probably the most in style vacationer areas. Most individuals come there on a day journey from Amsterdam – it’s lower than 1.5 hours away!

Nonetheless, on the weekends or throughout the excessive season, Giethoorn will get extremely busy – it’s potential that you just received’t discover a parking spot if you happen to arrive after 11 am. Additionally, the queue for the boat journey will get extremely lengthy! Once we arrived, there was no queue, however after we have been leaving, there have been already greater than 50 individuals within the queue! 

Why is Giethoorn so in style?

Effectively, Giethoorn is a captivating village with nearly no roads! Within the coronary heart of the village, there are solely canals and wood bridges. Locals, who dwell there, have to depart their automotive at a parking zone after which change to both a motorcycle or stroll all the way in which till they attain their house!

Top-of-the-line methods to discover Giethoorn is by taking a ship journey! You’ll be able to see the very best views from the water and admire the thatched-roof homes and tranquil waterways.

You’ll be able to both arrive there and queue to e book a personal boat or pre-book area in a big boat prematurely right here.


After visiting Giethoorn, we drove for about 1.5 hours to reach on the city known as Hoorn. Hoorn is a historic city positioned not too distant from Amsterdam. A lot of individuals dwell in Hoorn and commute to Amsterdam for work. Hoorn was once a vital and well-known port, and it was additionally the place of residence of the Dutch East India Firm. The signature constructing in Hoorn is Hoofdtoren – you’ll be able to see it in all of the photographs of town. Hoofdtoren is a fortified half-tower that used to guard town, however now there’s a pretty restaurant positioned within the tower.

Hoorn has loads of buildings constructed within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and most of them are concentrated within the metropolis centre space. There are additionally loads of pretty espresso outlets, cafes and eating places.

Hoorn, the NetherlandsHoorn, the Netherlands

Discover Edam

The subsequent cease was Edam – one of many well-known cheese cities. It took us round 25 minutes to get there from Hoorn! Edam is a tiny city – its inhabitants is lower than 10,000 individuals, and you may discover the city centre in lower than an hour. Edam can also be house to probably the most well-known Cheese markets within the Netherlands. It takes place on Wednesday morning each week in July and August. Nonetheless, that may change sooner or later, so it’s finest to substantiate the opening instances earlier than your journey! 

You’ll be able to, nonetheless, go to Edam on any day of the week – you’ll be able to nonetheless purchase cheese in considered one of its two cheese outlets! Edam can also be very fairly – it’s one of many prettiest little cities within the Netherlands.

Zaanse Schans

From Edam, it took us lower than 20 minutes to achieve our subsequent vacation spot, Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a faux 18th-century village with lovely windmills, fairytale homes and beautiful cafes. Zaanse Schans is completely free to go to. Nonetheless, it’s fairly exhausting to search out parking on a busy day. The parking space is comparatively small and will get full tremendous quick. We have been fortunate to search out on-street parking 400 metres away. Nonetheless, it may be the case that you should park even additional (that’s a draw back of visiting Zaanse Schans by automotive). 

General, it’s a stunning space to stroll round, take some photographs and study extra about life in Dutch villages within the 18th and Nineteenth centuries. There are additionally good cafes and outlets, the place you should purchase some meals and souvenirs and some small museums as nicely. 


We determined to go to Haarlem because it was on the way in which to our closing vacation spot for the day, Leiden. Haarlem, identical to Hoorn, is a commuter city. Nonetheless, it’s greater than Hoorn and has extra issues to do. When it comes to structure, in my view, Hoorn is extra attention-grabbing, however Haarlem is a lot better for residing. The primary landmark of Haarlem is the Grote Markt Sq..

Haarlem can also be house to the Netherlands’ first and oldest museum, Teyler’s Museum. One other museum, Frans Hals Museum, can also be price visiting. Lastly, Haarlem was voted the very best buying vacation spot within the Netherlands on a number of events. 

Haarlem, NetherlandsHaarlem, Netherlands

Finish the night in Leiden

Our closing vacation spot for the day was the harming college city with a wealthy cultural heritage, Leiden. We arrived at Leiden at twilight and went to have dinner in Waag, considered one of Leiden’s most iconic eating places (not due to the meals, however due to the constructing the place the restaurant is positioned).

Leiden is house to the oldest College within the Netherlands. It additionally has among the most lovely canals within the nation – having visited many of the prettiest cities within the nation, I have to say that the canals in Leiden have been amongst my absolute favourites!

In a single day, we stayed barely outdoors Leiden simply because it’s fairly exhausting and costly to park within the metropolis. Some nice choices embody B&B Pergamo and Fields 1216.

Leiden, NetherlandsLeiden, Netherlands

Day 3: Keukenhof and the flower fields, De Haar Fort, Utrecht


Since we have been within the Netherlands in April, we determined to go to its most well-known flower backyard, Keukenhof, which is just open for lower than 2 months yearly! 

Keukenhof may be very well-known. Nonetheless, it will get extremely crowded. It’s important to e book tickets prematurely; I like to recommend reserving at the very least 3 days prematurely if you wish to go to on a weekend (or possibly even sooner than 3 days). You’ll be able to e book the tickets on-line right here.

Keukenhof has gorgeous shows of tulips, daffodils, and different spring flowers. I wasn’t overly impressed by the exhibit, however possibly as a result of only a few flowers have been blooming at first of April (particularly as a result of this yr was a really chilly one). A few of my associates who managed to go to Keukenhof on the finish of April – the start of Might, mentioned that it was incredible, so possibly it’s simply our poor luck!

We additionally had difficulties exiting the parking of Keukenhof – we even needed to go away our automotive and go for a stroll as after we initially tried to exit, it took us half-hour to maneuver 2 automotive lengths due to the chaos within the parking zone. Once we got here again, we exited comparatively quick! 

Lisse flower fields

After visiting Keukenhof, we determined to observe the “flower route” and see among the flower fields in Lisse. A few of the flower fields are proper subsequent to Keukenhof, so there isn’t a must drive loads. Totally different flowers bloom at totally different instances – in early April, yow will discover a whole lot of daffodils and hyacinths, whereas tulips you’ll be able to solely discover between mid-to-end April and the start of Might. 

Please needless to say all of the fields are personal, and it’s not allowed to trespass. Some daffodil fields will not be fenced, so it’s potential to take a photograph in entrance of the fields, however please be conscious and don’t go deep into the fields as it might harm the flowers.

The simplest option to take photographs within the tulip fields is by reserving a go to to a personal farm. There are a number of of them close to Lisse and Haarlem! One of the vital well-known ones is the Tulip Barn.

De Haar Fort 

Our subsequent cease was one of many Netherland’s most iconic castles – De Haar Fort. We drove to the citadel from Lisse, and it took us round 45 minutes. There’s a giant parking in entrance of the citadel. Nonetheless, it’s paid individually and prices 6 EUR.

De Haar Fort is a shocking medieval citadel with lovely gardens and a wealthy historical past. It’s the most important citadel within the Netherlands. Initially constructed within the 14th century, it underwent intensive renovations within the late Nineteenth century below the supervision of famend architect Pierre Cuypers. The citadel showcases a novel mix of medieval structure and splendid Nineteenth-century design. The citadel has a formidable assortment of artwork, furnishings, and historic artefacts, offering insights into the lives of its former inhabitants, the noble Van Zuylen household.

You’ll be able to pre-book tickets for De Haar Fort on-line right here.

An evening outdoors Utrecht 

De Haar Fort is positioned simply outdoors Utrecht, so it was pure to go to Utrecht subsequent. That’s the place I made a decision to remain in a single day, as nicely. Once more, we stayed simply outdoors town, as motels with parking tons inside town cost from 30 euros to 60 euros per evening for parking. We picked Resort Van Der Valk Vianen Utrecht, which was positioned lower than quarter-hour drive from town centre of Utrecht. 

Day 4: Utrecht, Gouda, The Hague, Delft and driving again


As our lodge was simply outdoors Utrecht, we determined to go to town and see it within the daylight. 

Utrecht was based by the Romans round 47 AD and have become an essential buying and selling and non secular centre. One in every of its well-known landmarks is the Dom Tower, a tall church tower that gives gorgeous views of town. Utrecht is usually known as the “Domstad” due to this tower.

We actually loved the environment in Utrecht – it was very laid-back and stress-free. Perhaps it’s as a result of Utrecht can also be a college city, identical to Leiden, and its college can also be one of many oldest. Additionally, in my view, Utrecht has among the most lovely canals and in addition a lot of streets within the metropolis centre space are equally fairly! 

Some attention-grabbing issues to do in Utrecht embody: 
  1. Go to the Dom Tower – The Dom Tower is the tallest church tower within the Netherlands, and climbing to the highest provides gorgeous views of town. 
  2. Take a canal cruise and see Utrecht from the water! You’ll be able to pre-book a ship tour on-line right here.
  3. Stroll alongside the Oudegracht – The Oudegracht is a picturesque canal that runs by means of the guts of Utrecht. It’s lined with charming cafes, eating places, and outlets, and taking a stroll alongside its banks is an effective way to take in town’s environment.
  4. Discover the Museum Quarter – Utrecht has a wealthy cultural heritage, and its Museum Quarter is house to a number of fascinating museums. You’ll be able to go to the Centraal Museum, which homes a various assortment of artwork and artefacts, the Museum Catharijneconvent, which showcases the historical past of Dutch spiritual artwork, or the Railway Museum, which provides a enjoyable and interactive expertise for all ages.


We reached Gouda in lower than 40 minutes from Utrecht, and it was on the way in which to our subsequent vacation spot. Despite the fact that the climate wasn’t nice and it began raining, we determined to go for a brief stroll in Gouda, and it was price it. Gouda, identical to Edam, is likely one of the most well-known cheese cities. And, identical to Edam, it additionally hosts a cheese market. 

The cheese market in Gouda historically takes place from April to August, with particular dates various every year. It’s held on Thursday mornings, sometimes beginning round 10 am and lasting till midday. Nonetheless, it’s all the time a good suggestion to double-check the precise dates and instances nearer to your go to.

When you aren’t visiting Gouda on a market day, you’ll be able to nonetheless get pleasure from what town has to supply – there are many cheese outlets the place you’ll be able to attempt little items of cheese, too. Additionally, Gouda is the place the place the well-known Dutch waffles – Stroopwafel or Stroopwafel. There’s a retailer, proper on the primary sq., the place you’ll be able to attempt the unique Stroopwafel (disclaimer – they’re superb and also you wouldn’t wish to eat the grocery store Stroopwafel anymore) and in addition go on a tour to study extra in regards to the well-known Dutch waffles!

The Hague

Our subsequent cease, The Hague, was positioned simply half an hour away from Gouda. The Hague has an interesting historical past. It started as a small fishing village within the thirteenth century and steadily grew in significance. Right now, it is called the political centre of the Netherlands and homes the nation’s authorities and royal household.

The Hague will not be a really fairly metropolis like Utrecht or Hoorn, however it’s a vital metropolis for the Netherlands – it’s a hub for worldwide conferences and negotiations, attracting diplomats and politicians from all over the world. 

Along with its political significance, The Hague can also be recognized for its cultural choices. The town is house to quite a few artwork museums, together with the well-known Mauritshuis, which homes iconic masterpieces like Vermeer’s “Woman with a Pearl Earring.” You’ll be able to pre-book tickets for the Mauritshuis Museum right here.


Our closing vacation spot was Delft – one other attractive metropolis within the Netherlands (the distinction with the Hague was hanging). Delft is a comparatively small metropolis, however nonetheless, it was filled with landmarks! The town is legendary for its affiliation with the famend painter Johannes Vermeer and the long-lasting blue and white pottery known as Delftware. Within the seventeenth century, Delft was a hub for the Dutch East India Firm, and town’s canals, historic buildings, and charming streets mirror its wealthy heritage.

Delft is especially well-known for its lovely medieval Previous City, the spectacular New Church, and the historic Previous Church, the place members of the Dutch royal household are buried. When you nonetheless have time left, I like to recommend visiting both the Royal Delft Manufacturing facility (Delft is legendary for its blue and white pottery, and the Royal Delft Manufacturing facility is the one remaining manufacturing unit that also produces Delft Blue pottery) or the Vermeer Centre (e book on-line right here). Delft was the birthplace of the well-known Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and the Vermeer Centre provides an interesting perception into his life and work. You’ll be able to see reproductions of his work, study his methods and influences, and achieve a deeper understanding of his artwork.

Abstract of 4 days within the Netherlands by automotive: the optimum itinerary for a protracted weekend within the Netherlands excluding Amsterdam

To summarise, 4 days within the Netherlands will not be an excessive amount of – you’ll be able to simply spend 4 days in Amsterdam alone. That’s the reason this itinerary for the Netherlands by automotive in 4 days solely consists of the very best locations to see in The Netherlands apart from Amsterdam. This itinerary for a street journey within the Netherlands is fairly exhausting and jam-packed with locations, so if you happen to ask me to take away half of the locations from this itinerary, that would go away us with the next locations (which might be my must-visit locations within the Netherlands):

  • Giethoorn
  • Hoorn
  • Zaanse Schans
  • Delft
  • Utrecht
  • Edam
  • Lisse flower fields
  • Leiden
  • s-Hertogenbosch

I hope you loved this text and located this itinerary helpful!

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