The Netherlands is a beautiful, quaint country full of history, excitement and tons of things to do. There are so many unique cities, towns, and villages in the Netherlands all well worth exploring; however, when travelling with a limited amount of time you must choose which ones are the most worth visiting. This 7 day Netherlands itinerary will give you the best taste of Holland you could ask for in the limited time you have.
This 7 day Netherlands itinerary is a guest post written by Sam from Sam Sees World.
The best thing about travelling around the Netherlands is that it is a very small country and getting from city to the city takes only around one hour. Plus, along the way you can stop at many other little places for a quick look around without any major detours to the route. With a week in Holland, you are able to see various different places and spend enough time in each to get a feel for Dutch life.
This itinerary hits some of the major cities and top villages in the Netherlands to give you a complete tour of the country’s bests. However, this is not an exhaustive itinerary. The Netherlands could easily be travelled for months to see everything there is to be seen and explore each city to the fullest. But we often aren’t blessed with a month’s worth of time to do all of this and have to fit it in one week.
If you are a slower traveller take a few places off this itinerary and spend more in the ones that interest you. There is no winner or loser so travel how you prefer.
Table of Contents
- 1 7 Day Netherlands Itinerary
- 1.1 Days 1-2: Amsterdam
- 1.2 Day 3: Haarlem
- 1.3 Day 4: Den Haag
- 1.4 Day 5: Rotterdam
- 1.5 Day 6: Gouda and Utrecht
- 1.6 Day 7: Giethoorn
- 2 How to get around the Netherlands
- 3 About the Author of this 7 day Netherland Itinerary
- 4 Some last tips for your 7 Day Netherlands Itinerary
- 5 Liked this 7 Day Netherlands Itinerary? Pin it for later on Pinterest!
7 Day Netherlands Itinerary
Days 1-2: Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and a city full of excitement. The city has developed quite a shady reputation over the years, but this reputation is not at all what Amsterdam is about. The city is historic beyond belief with beauty around every corner. Of course, there is the Red Light Distract, various smoke shops, and a decent amount of bars and clubs, but the captivating beauty and charm of Amsterdam overpowers this all.
With only 2 days in Amsterdam, you have just enough time to see the main sights of the city and get a taste of what Amsterdam is all about. The first day in Amsterdam is fully dedicated to the main attractions and hot spots you must see.
Day one will surly include going to least one museum in Amsterdam, the top picks would be the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, or Van Gogh museum. Just be sure to get tickets in advance and avoid spending too much time inside. In addition to a museum, you will want to view the city centre, walk around the beautiful Jordaan area of Amsterdam, see the Royal Palace, and go shopping on the nine streets.
While day two in Amsterdam is for getting a nice brunch in the city and then going to a nearby must-see attraction. Just a short 20-minute bus ride from Amsterdam is an area full of authentic Dutch windmills called Zaanse Schans.
This is a magical little spot that is open to the public to walk around and see the old windmills and even get a tour inside. Plus, in Zaanse Schans you can find a chocolate shop, cheese shops and clog making shops. After spending your afternoon here, you can head back to Amsterdam for an evening canal cruise and dinner in the city.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
Super stylish and comfortable CitizenM. Check out the prices on Booking.com.
Pro tip: Hotels in Amsterdam can be quite pricey. Stay like a local with Airbnb. Remember to get your 32 euro off the first booking using this link.
Day 3: Haarlem
Haarlem is a small city that is also called a mini Amsterdam. It is located a quick 20 minutes from Amsterdam by train and is a charming Dutch place well worth exploring. People often skip Haarlem due to its small size and since it is a lesser-known city in the Netherlands, but this is a huge mistake!
What makes Haarlem so special is that it is not very touristy, unlike Amsterdam which you will find often flooded with tourists. As a result of the lower levels of tourism in Haarlem, you are really able to enjoy an authentic Dutch experience. Such that you can walk the streets without being crowded by others and enjoy attractions in a more calm and intimate way.
Some of the main things you have to do in Haarlem:
- visit the towering St. Bravo church
- spend some time in the oldest museum in the Netherlands called the Teylers museum
- go shopping at Grote Market
- explore the city streets.
Where to stay in Haarlem, Netherlands
Yellow, blue and very modern: the niu Dairy. Check out the price and availability here.
Day 4: Den Haag
The Hague is the political capital of the Netherlands and is where you can find all types of embassies and important buildings. This city is also called the royal city because of the palaces and the Gothic-style Binnenhof it is home to. It is a very interesting city located in South Holland along the North Sea and it offers more than just pretty buildings.
The most interesting part of The Hague is that it’s home to a giant sandy beach called Scheveningen beach. This is – arguably – the best beach in the Netherlands and is great to visit both in the summer and during the off-season.
In the summer months, you will find this beach packed with people. Sun in The Netherlands is quite rare, and on those rare sunny days, you will find ½ of the population at Scheveningen beach. This is the perfect place to relax, bring some snacks and drinks, and explore. Plus, the beach has a pier with a Ferris wheel which is very fun.
Where to stay in Den Haag
The classiest Hotel Indigo The Hague – Palace Noordeinde. Check prices and availability here on Booking.com.
Day 5: Rotterdam
Rotterdam is a city like no other in the Netherlands. During World War 2 it was completely destroyed by bombings and was left in ruins. However, when the city was rebuilt it was reconstructed completely differently than how it had previously looked. Now the city is full of new and modern buildings and looks like a misplaced city in the Netherlands amongst the old, historic buildings in the other cities.
It is quite refreshing heading to Rotterdam and seeing such a different and unique place. Here you understand Hollands past and can see the prosperous future that is only getting better. Plus, Rotterdam is full of interesting things to do and see. Some of the highlights I urge you to explore are the cube houses, the Erasmus bridge, the marina, and the Market Hall.
Where to stay in Rotterdam
For a stay to remember, try Hotel James. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com.
Day 6: Gouda and Utrecht
Gouda is located very close to Rotterdam and Utrecht is only a short distance from Gouda which makes hitting both of these cities in one day more than doable. More so, both these cities are relatively small so exploring them in half a day will give you a good idea of what it is about. But to get enough time in each I recommend you leave Rotterdam early to maximize your time.
The first city is Gouda which is famous for its namesake cheese Gouda! It is a city almost fully dedicated to gouda cheese and even has a seasonal cheese market and a Gouda Cheese Museum. In case you didn’t know, the Dutch love their cheese! Cheese is one of their traditional foods and you will find cheese shops all around the country. However, tasting Gouda cheese in Gouda is a must.
After spending a few hours in Gouda, you will head to Utrecht to enjoy a stunning city full of excitement. Utrecht is full of medieval canals, captivating streets, and various religious monuments. The city is a religious centre and it has been a place for religion for centuries. The best thing about visiting Utrecht is eating at one of the many restaurants that line the canal. They have a unique main canal that has lower seating which results in a very unique dining experience.
Where to stay in Utrecht
Star Lodge Hotels are located just five minutes by bus from the city centre. But you can relax and enjoy a breakfast in the garden and let your kids play in the playground. Check prices and availability here.
Day 7: Giethoorn
Giethoorn is a small, fairy tale town that is located in the North East of Holland. It is a little bit of a pain to get to if you are travelling by train, but it is completely worth the journey. The town is almost completely car-free and is explored either by foot or by boat. The canals are constantly full of boats and people admiring the thatched-roof houses that are centuries old.
A day here is just enough time to explore the unique city and rent a boat to experience the towns interesting waterways. Giethoorn is also called the Venice of the North due to the number of canals and over 170 bridges that connect them. After a week of exploring the Netherlands spending a day in Giethoorn’s peaceful and magical atmosphere will be very welcomed.
Where to stay in Giethoorn
Hotel Giethoorn is situated in a picturesque countryside setting, along the water, so you can start exploring the canals right after stepping outside. Check out prices and availability here.
How to get around the Netherlands
Getting to and from all these different cities can be done in two ways. The main way people get around in the Netherlands is by train. The country has an amazing train system with stations all around – and it is very easy to navigate. Since the trains are so plentiful, clean, and easy to ride they do come at a pretty high price.
Which leads to the second option for getting around which is by renting a car. Renting a car is a great option because you can leave and go wherever you want with ease. Plus, it will end up being significantly cheaper than taking trains for the week. My suggestion is to rent a car on the morning of day three (after your two days in Amsterdam) and get going from there.
About the Author of this 7 day Netherland Itinerary
Samantha Karen is the founder of the travel blog Sam Sees World. She is a millennial traveller on a mission to seek the new and unknown so she can document her experiences and inspire others to explore this wondrous world. Her objective is to provide valuable information on the best things to do, see, eat, and experience while travelling and getting some good Instagram photos along the way.
Some last tips for your 7 Day Netherlands Itinerary
Flying to the Netherlands
There are many airports to chose from in the Netherlands. Amsterdam has the biggest one, but you might also find some very good deals to Rotterdam or Eindhoven. The train and bus connections are usually fast and easy, and the distances not too big. Keep this in mind when planning your trip.
If you fly not during the summer months and national holidays, you’ll probably be able to get some good deals.
Try looking for some deals on Skyscanner. You can choose “any airport” option for any city on this itinerary and look for some good deals. Here are more tips on getting cheap flights with Skyscanner.
Accommodation in the Netherlands
My to-go website for finding accommodation is booking.com. Keep in mind that recently it started raising the price of the hotel if you keep coming back to it several times. If you notice this, I would recommend deleting cache and/or checking the price in the incognito window. Here are some more tips on getting the best deals on Booking.
If you prefer more independence than by all means go for Airbnb. There you will find apartments, villas or even rooms in the houses of the local’s. Remember to get your 35 euro off the first booking, if you haven’t tried it yet.
What to pack for the Netherlands?
It all depends on the season of course. Keep in mind though that both in winter and in summer the weather can change very quickly from sunny to rainy and back again. So layers layers layers! Check out some more tips on packing for Europe here.