Cities near Amsterdam
Most people visiting The Netherlands will visit Amsterdam, because of its well-known international status. But there is a lot more to do! There are many beautiful cities near Amsterdam. You think you don’t have enough time? Don’t worry, because The Netherlands is not that big.
Most cities are only about 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam. In this article I will describe to you a few amazing Dutch cities for you to visit starting with those nearest to Amsterdam: Haarlem, Utrecht, Leiden, The Hague and Delft. Above all I will give you some background information about these cities. If you would like to know more about how to actually get to these cities, read my blog about Trains In The Netherlands.
Haarlem (only 15 minutes by train)
In Haarlem they most refined form of Dutch: the type of Dutch you’ll hear on Dutch national TV. Haarlem is very close to Amsterdam, only 15 minutes by train. It is, like many Dutch cities, similar in architecture to Amsterdam, but is much smaller. Almost everything in the centre of Haarlem is within walking distance. It’s known for great shopping, but also for its many tales of the past: stories about the Dutch resistance movement during World War II or about famous Dutch painters. For a tourist it is recommended that you take a tour to explore the city or just have a glance at TripAdvisor.
Utrecht (27 minutes by train)
trecht looks very much like Amsterdam, but attracts fewer tourists. It is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. You could definitely state say this city is also the most central in The Netherlands. It is only 27 minutes by train from Amsterdam and has many beautiful old buildings. One of them is the famous Dom Tower, right in the middle of the city. It is the tallest church tower in the country (constructed in 1382). Furthermore, Utrecht also has many connections with the Dutch Royal Family. The present King Willem-Alexander (1967) was born there.
Leiden (36 minutes by train)
Leiden is known for housing members of the Dutch Royal Family during their university studies, but especially known as the home of the Pilgrim Fathers. They lived here in the early 17th century, in the years before they went to settle in North America. In recent centuries many American presidents, who trace their roots to the Pilgrim fathers, have visited Leiden to see where their ancestors lived before coming to America. Leiden is also the city where the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn was born. And it offers many canals and much old Dutch architecture. Absolutely a must-see! Leiden is near to Amsterdam, only 36 minutes away by train.
Biking Through Flower Bulb Area (about 30-36 minutes by train)
The Netherlands is famous for having many flowers, as it does bicycles. From March to May, each year, flowers dominate the country. Many visitors combine the two in a special area: the Flower Bulb region. It is situated right between three beautiful cities: Leiden (the Netherland’s flower capital), Haarlem and Amsterdam. An absolute must-see are the Flower Gardens (Keukenhof) in Lisse.
Want to experience the flower fields by bike? And also want to know more about the area? Join the guided Flowers and Castles cycle tour! You will not only see the flowers, but also some of the ancient castles in this area. Furthermore, you’ll visit an award winning Dutch cheese farm. The tour is available from March 22th – May 13th on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 – 17:00.
The Hague (50 minutes by train)
he Hague is the capital of the province of South Holland, the third biggest city in the Netherlands, and only 50 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Furthermore, it has been the seat of the Dutch government since 1588. Its official residence is called the “Binnenhof” and attracts many tourists every year. Besides this, the Netherlands Supreme Court and Council of State are situated here. What certainly will catch your eye is the Peace Palace, where the International Court of Justice is located. The palace also has on display a number of statues, busts and portraits of prominent peace campaigners from around the world and of all eras. To name some names: Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Jean Monnet and Jawaharlal Nehru. Last but not least, there is Madurodam, a theme park and miniature city with small scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large constructions in The Netherlands.
Delft (57 minutes by train)
Delft is the city of the Dutch Royal Family. This association started in 1572 when William of Orange, founding father of the Dutch Royal Family, took up residence here. William was the Dutch military leader during the first phase of the country’s War of Independence (1568-1648). In 1584 he was killed by 2 bullets at the Prinsenhof in Delft. The bullet holes are still visible in the Museum de Prinsenhof. William was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk (English: New Church) in Delft. Nowadays this contains the private burial crypt of the royal family. Delft, like many Dutch cities, has a beautiful old city centre.
Do you have questions? Or you want to know more about The Netherlands?