netherlands itinerary for 7 days

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Best 7-day itinerary for the Netherlands.

Everybody has heard about Amsterdam. But did you know that the Netherlands offers many more things? I know, this country isn’t famous for its natural beauty. However, the Netherlands has many beautiful cities, unique sights, and crazy history! On this 7-day itinerary through the Netherlands, you will learn much about this small but fascinating country!

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7 days in the netherlands

Netherlands itinerary 7 days in short

  • Day 1: Arrival – Amsterdam
  • Day 2: Amsterdam – Zaanse Schans
  • Day 3: Leiden
  • Day 4: Den Haag – Scheveningen / Rotterdam
  • Day 5: Haarlem
  • Day 6: Volendam – Hoorn
  • Day 7: Giethoorn – Amsterdam – Departure
  • Practical guide for visiting the Netherlands

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

Day 1: Arrival – Amsterdam

Of course, your journey will start in the world-famous capital; Amsterdam.

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

As one of the most culturally significant cities in Europe, you will be able to fill your 2 days here quite well. And don’t forget about the vibrant nightlife in this awesome city!

You have to make sure to arrive in the morning, so you’ve got the entire day to explore Amsterdam!

First time visiting Amsterdam? Read this guide to prepare yourself!

There are too many activities in Amsterdam to write down, but here are some unmissable spots:

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Anne Frank House (book in advance!)
  • Dam Square
  • The Royal Palace
  • Van Gogh Museum

This is but a fraction of things to do in Amsterdam. Read about all the best activities in Amsterdam here.

holland itinerary

Where to stay in Amsterdam

The best hotel to stay at is Mr. Jordaan. With its great location and characteristic rooms, this hotel is very worth the price (from €182,- per night)

The best budget hotel in Amsterdam is NL Hotel District Leidseplein. With prices from €90,- per night, this is a great hotel for its amazing location!

Day 2: Amsterdam – Zaanse Schans

On your second day in Amsterdam, you should consider going on a canal cruise. Whether this is a regular informative cruise or a trip on the Pannenkoekenboot (pancake boat), you have to go out on the water!

best things to do in amsterdam

I recommend getting some breakfast on the Pannenkoekenboot, so after, you have all the time in the world to explore more of Amsterdam or take a short day trip to Zaanse Schans.

Zaanse Schans day trip

There are many day trips from Amsterdam, but in only 2 days in the city, you shouldn’t stray too far. This makes Zaanse Schans the perfect short-day trip! It’s only a 20-minute drive from Amsterdam, but I recommend you book a guided tour!

On GetYourGuide, you will find many combined day trips, but you should only visit Zaanse Schans, in my opinion, because the other places are in or near the rest of this itinerary. This 3-hour trip to Zaanse Schans is perfect for you!

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

Amsterdam

After getting back from Zaandam, you should check out the food scene in Amsterdam. There are many places to explore food, like De Hallen, where you can find a cozy food hall.

Another place where you can find the best Dutch delicacies and more, is by visiting a food market! There are many markets in Amsterdam, all in different places on different days. Check this post to find the best food markets in Amsterdam!

Tasty foods you will find on the markets are:

  • Gouda cheese
  • Stroopwafels
  • Poffertjes (mini pancakes)
  • Oliebollen (in season from October til NYE)
  • Herring

And so much more! You’ll be drawn to different stands by the taste coming from it! Make sure not to miss this Dutch activity!

Day 3: Leiden

visit leiden

Most people visiting the Netherlands, don’t leave Amsterdam. And I don’t want you to make the same mistake. There are so many other cities out there, that you simply can’t miss! Take Leiden for example.

Leiden is the town where I was born, and I still live 5 kilometers from it. Every time I go into the city, it still amazes me. Even after years of exploring, I keep finding the cutest alleys and hidden gems!

Leiden is a city filled with history. This charming city is filled with activities for everyone! Let me mention some:

  • Enjoy the views in the Burcht van Leiden
  • Visit Molen de Valk (windmill and museum)
  • Get lost at the Wereldmuseum
  • Stroll by the Saturday Market

Just by walking the gorgeous old streets, you will stumble upon interesting sights, like big churches, wall poems, courtyards, and so much more.

Believe me when I say, the churches may be a bit hidden and just appear out of nowhere, in my opinion. Suddenly you find yourself in a cute street, with a towering church at the end, it’s always a nice surprise!

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

Where to stay in Leiden

The best hotel to stay at in Leiden is Boutique Hotel Steenhof Suites. With only €125,- for a premium suite per night, this hotel is very cheap. It’s located near the city center, with a 3-minute walk you’re in one of the biggest shopping streets.

Where to eat in Leiden

My absolute favorite restaurant in Leiden is La Bota. With a big menu, delicious wines, special beers, and cozy vibes, I would recommend this to everyone!

You can’t make a reservation (unless it’s for more than 6 people), so you’ll just have to arrive around 6 pm, to make sure they can seat you.

Other unique restaurants I love in Leiden are:

  • Het Prentenkabinet
  • Tabu
  • Paco Ciao

Day 4: Den haag – Scheveningen / Rotterdam

On the fourth day of this itinerary, I’m leaving the choice to you. Unfortunately in 7 days, you can’t see everything, so you should choose between visiting 2 big cities.

things to do in den haag

Den Haag and Scheveningen

Another one of the most interesting cities in the Netherlands is Den Haag (also known as The Hague). This city is famous for being home to the Dutch government, the king’s working palace, and many art exhibits.

Den Haag is also wonderfully centrally located, so you can easily hop on the train (or tram) to Delft, Scheveningen, or Rotterdam.

Read about the best things to do in Den Haag!

Pro tip: You have to visit Madurodam in Den Haag! This is an open-air museum where the Netherlands is completely showcased in a smaller size. You’ll get to see all of the Netherlands in just a few hours!

Netherlands itinerary 7 days
This is Madurodam

If you choose to visit Den Haag, I highly recommend to also visit Scheveningen! This is a coastal town that’s quite impressive, here are some reasons to visit Scheveningen:

  • There’s a beautiful beach with perfect surfing waves, even in winter! (rent your surfing gear at Aloha)
  • From the Pier, you can admire awesome views, and even go on a Ferris wheel!
  • You can find some of the best fish restaurants, that are open all year round!
  • On the boulevard, you will find some other unique places, like Sea Life and Legoland
Netherlands itinerary 7 days

I always enjoy visiting Scheveningen, and highly recommend you go there too! In summer you can take a nice beach break, and in winter you’ll get to enjoy the coziest restaurants and gluhwein stands!

Where to stay in Den Haag/Scheveningen

The best hotel in Den Haag is The Collector, with characteristic rooms starting from €114,-. This 4-star hotel is perfect for you!

The best hotel in Scheveningen is the Ramada Hotel, which is perfect to stay for one night, at €68,-.

Rotterdam

visit rotterdam

This is a slightly more popular city to visit, with a lot of things to do and see! Rotterdam is the second biggest city in the Netherlands, mostly known for its quirky architecture and interesting museums. Rotterdam will surely blow your mind!

Here’s a quick list of things to do in Rotterdam:

  • Admire crazy views at the Euromast tower (book in advance!)
  • Taste some amazing foods at Markthal
  • Find the Cube Houses (kijk-kubus)
  • Wander down the Old Harbor
  • Visit the windmills at Kinderdijk
rotterdam things to do

Among these activities, there is so much more to do in Rotterdam! This city is worth a visit, but so are Den Haag and Scheveningen. So choose whatever pulls you in more, and enjoy!

Where to stay in Rotterdam

The best hotel in Rotterdam is The James. With prices from €109,- per night, this amazingly located 3-star hotel is perfect for you!

Day 5: Haarlem

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

So now that you’ve explored the province of South Holland a bit, it’s time to head back to North Holland. Only half an hour from Amsterdam, you’ll find another gem; Haarlem!

Haarlem is another amazing historical city you must see! With interesting museums, the tastiest restaurants, lots of shopping opportunities, and so much more, Haarlem will take your breath away!

activities in haarlem

There are several activities in Haarlem you shouldn’t miss, like:

  • Take a look at St. Elisabeth Gasthuis
  • Admire City Hall
  • Visit the Frans Hals Museum
  • Tour the Corrie ten Boom House
  • Taste some of the best beers in a church! (Jopenkerk)

Haarlem is also a great place to find tulip fields in April. You should rent a bike and just follow the colors south!

Where to stay in Haarlem

The hotel I love and recommend is Hotel Lion D’Or. The prices start from €114,- per night, and it’s located in the middle of the city center!

Day 6: Volendam – Hoorn 

On day 6 it’s time to head to some of the most Dutch towns in the Netherlands.

Volendam

Netherlands itinerary 5 days

Volendam is the most famous fishing town in the Netherlands, known for its colorful houses, Dutch architecture, and scenic harbor. This town is a very enjoyable place that will give you a serious impression of how people used to live here.

Make sure you:

  • Take a stroll through the historic village
  • Eat some smoked eel (local specialty)
  • Visit the Volendam museum
  • Take a photo in traditional Dutch costumes
  • Admire the Volendam Harbor
  • Go on a scenic boat tour on the Volendam Marken Express

Volendam is such a cozy town with many more activities than just the ones above. Make sure to visit this town for at least half a day!

Because for the other half, I recommend you visit Hoorn.

Hoorn

Hoorn is a versatile historical city, that’s widely considered one of the cutest cities in Holland. With an interesting history of the Golden Age and wonderfully preserved Dutch Renaissance revival architecture, you won’t be disappointed, when visiting Hoorn.

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

Here are some activities in Hoorn that you shouldn’t miss out on:

  • Learn how Dutch people used to live in the Museum of the 20th century
  • Go back to the golden age at the Westfries Museum
  • Take a historic steam train to Enkhuizen and back
  • Have a coffee at The Waag
  • Explore the Marina

At the end of the day, I recommend you go back to Amsterdam for the night. Tomorrow’s activity is much more accessible from there.

Day 7: Giethoorn – Amsterdam – Departure

On the last day of your trip, it’s time to visit the Venice of the Netherlands. A town without streets. Only one way to get around; by boat.

visit giethoorn

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about Giethoorn. This super picturesque village will allow you to feel like you’ve entered a fairytale!

So get ready to hop on a boat and explore this majestic little town!

To get to Giethoorn, you should book a tour.

This highly-rated tour will take you to Giethoorn and show and tell you about the village while touring it on a small boat (while eating a cheese platter). I highly recommend booking this tour in advance, it’s very popular!

Netherlands itinerary 7 days

After seeing Giethoorn, you may have some time left in Amsterdam, so if you didn’t have time for some activities before, you should do them now!

More time left in the Netherlands?

If you have a bit more time to explore the Netherlands, there are tons of places you can visit. I’ve written several posts on places to visit in the Netherlands, of which many are off-the-beathen-path.

If you’re tired of tourists and crowds, make sure to read all about these hidden gems in the Netherlands!

Are you visiting in Spring? Make sure to read about the best activities in the Netherlands in Spring.

If you love flowers, read this Netherlands flower guide. You will find out about flower fields in the Netherlands all year round. So even if you’re visiting in summer, reading this post is a must.

Netherlands itinerary 7 days end

Netherlands itinerary

A practical guide for visiting the Netherlands on a 7-day itinerary

The Netherlands is a country like no other. It’s smart to read this guide before visiting; to get a little taste of what the Netherlands is like.

Getting to the Netherlands

If you’re from a neighboring country, it’s easiest to go to the Netherlands by train or car. This is cheap and shouldn’t take too long. However, most people are gonna have to fly to the Netherlands. We do have 2 airports, but you will probably (and should!) land at Schiphol, located near Amsterdam.

From Schiphol, many trains and buses will take you to the city center of Amsterdam (or other cities).

netherlands 7 day itinerary

How to get around

Getting around in the Netherlands isn’t hard at all. With an amazing train network, rental bikes everywhere, and car rental, the options are endless!

Car

Many people visiting from Belgium, Germany, or France, choose to drive to the Netherlands, which instantly gives you complete freedom to explore the entire country. As I live in the Netherlands, I go everywhere by car, which is in my opinion the best way to get around.

We have incredibly good highways, that will direct you to your destination fast.

Cycling

Did you know that in the Netherlands, there are more bikes than people? It’s not because every person owns 2 bikes (some do though…), I presume it’s because of rentals.

In the Netherlands, you can always find trusty bike rental services, but you can also get an OV-chipkaart (more about this below). With this card, you can ‘’rent’’ a bike to get from one place to the other.

OV (public transport)

OV means public transport. Many Dutchies own an OV-chipkaart, which is a card you can use to check in and out of buses and trains. But as I’ve told you above, you can also use this card to rent a bike.

On a week’s trip to the Netherlands, you don’t really need an OV-chipkaart, because you can pay with your debit card in buses and just buy train tickets at the station. However, if you’re in the Netherlands for longer than a month, and using public transport a lot, you should get one (most Albert Heijn supermarkets sell them at the service desk, for €7,50).

Money

The local currency of the Netherlands is the Euro. This is the easiest currency in all of Europe, as many other EU countries also use it. The Euro is very similar to US dollars, in worth, which also makes it easy to use for Americans.

Language

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. But this country has one of the highest rates of English proficiency in the world, even when you include English-speaking countries. So speaking English in the Netherlands is no problem at all, most Dutch citizens speak English fluently.

Weather

The most used small talk topic in the Netherlands is the weather. But why do people talk about it all the time?

Because it’s unpredictable.

But having lived in this country my whole life, I’m pretty used to it. It’s not that unpredictable when you live here. It’s unpredictable when you want to book your trip, because you may think it’s safe to come in summer, but then it’s raining all the time.

You just need to be lucky.

We’ve had 20°C and sun in February. We’ve had loads of rain, even storms, in July and August. The weather never does what it’s supposed to, so you just need to pray for good weather and maybe you’re in luck.

Click here to check out the current weather in the Netherlands.

Best time of year to visit the Netherlands

There is no best time weather-wise. There is bad and worse, though.

But the best time to visit is between June and September. Temperatures will be very hot on a good day and there are tons of possibilities to avoid the heat (like floating in the sea).

Summer is a wonderful time in the Netherlands, however, my favorite time has to be Spring. This season is when the Netherlands welcomes the most tourists, because of the world-famous flower fields. April and May are incredible months to visit.

Read this flower fields guide, to find the best dates for your trip.

Dutch delicacies

I’m so lucky to live in the Netherlands. Because some of our delicacies are the best in the world. In this country, we have so many unique foods that you simply have to try. You shouldn’t be allowed on the plane back without having tasted:

  • Stroopwafels
  • Hollands nieuwe haring (by the sea)
  • Kroket
  • Oliebollen (in season from October til NYE)
  • Gouda cheese
  • Poffertjes
  • Snert (pea soup)

This is just a fraction of our local foods, but the most delicious ones. Make sure to try every one of them. You’ll thank me later.

Final thoughts on this Netherlands itinerary for 7 days

This itinerary will take you by the most important cities and landmarks in the Netherlands. I can guarantee that you will enjoy this itinerary!

Happy travels!

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