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 automobile, visiting numerous thrilling locations throughout the nation however skipping Amsterdam (it’s higher to not go to Amsterdam by automobile, and it undoubtedly deserves 3 days alone). I’ll deal with the most effective and most stunning 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 Could, 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 an alternative. On day three, we explored Leiden, De Haar Citadel and Utrecht.

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

Right here’s a brief overview of the itinerary for Netherlands by automobile 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 Lodge de Pergola Giethoorn

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

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

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

Helpful hyperlinks for this itinerary:

Should you don’t have your individual automobile, I like to recommend hiring one on

You can even go to most of those locations with out a automobile, nonetheless, you may have to trim this itinerary down and go to fewer locations.

Tickets for Keukenhof – guide right here

Tickets for De Haar Citadel – guide right here

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

The itinerary for 4-days within the Netherlands by automobile: 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 had been already in Novotel Breda, the place we stayed for the night time! 

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


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

I like to recommend spending a few hours in Breda, exploring the Previous City full of historic buildings, picturesque squares, and nice cafes and eating places. You possibly can wander via the streets, go to the Grote Kerk (Nice Church), and take a look at the fortress as properly. 

We had breakfast in Breda in a spot referred to as Sip First. It was beautiful, 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. Nevertheless, the centre of the city seems to be charming and really picturesque. The 2 windmills of Heusden are probably the most picturesque spot within the metropolis. In whole, 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 following vacation spot of this Netherlands highway journey, S-Hertogenbosch or the way it’s typically referred to – den Bosch, is the capital of the North Brabant area of the Netherlands. Regardless of being the capital, it’s hardly bigger than Breda. Nonetheless, for my part, there have been extra issues to do in s-Hertogenbosch than in Breda. It’s additionally a really quirky metropolis – and we completely beloved it for that! 

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

Apart from searching 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 be taught extra concerning the historical past of the province of North Brabant. It homes an enchanting assortment of work, sculptures, and artefacts, together with works by well-known Dutch painters corresponding to Van Gogh, Jan Sluijters, and Piet Mondrian. You possibly can pre-book tickets prematurely right here.

– Lastly, go to the Jheronimus Bosch Artwork Middle. The museum homes a set of reproductions of his work and in addition presents 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 the 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 far-off 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 out there. We had been reserving on the final minute, only a few days prematurely; therefore, numerous locations had been already totally booked. Should you’re reserving prematurely, it’s simpler to remain nearer to Giethoorn in locations like Lodge de Pergola or Lodge Giethoorn.

Dwingeloo is definitely a stunning place. It’s a small village positioned within the coronary heart of the Dwingelderveld Nationwide Park. In case you have time or arrive early sufficient, you possibly can go for a stroll within the Nationwide Park; it’s very stunning. 

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

Since we had been staying in Dwingeloo, we needed to drive to Giethoorn. We reached it in half-hour and arrived there by 10:15 am. Nevertheless, 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 stunning villages and one of the vital widespread vacationer areas. Most individuals come there on a day journey from Amsterdam – it’s lower than 1.5 hours away!

Nevertheless, on the weekends or in the course of the excessive season, Giethoorn will get extremely busy – it’s doable that you simply gained’t discover a parking spot if you happen to arrive after 11 am. Additionally, the queue for the boat journey will get extremely lengthy! After we arrived, there was no queue, however once we had been leaving, there have been already greater than 50 folks within the queue! 

Why is Giethoorn so widespread?

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

Among the best methods to discover Giethoorn is by taking a ship journey! You possibly can see the most effective views from the water and admire the thatched-roof homes and tranquil waterways.

You possibly can both arrive there and queue to guide 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 referred to as Hoorn. Hoorn is a historic city positioned not too far-off from Amsterdam. A number of folks stay in Hoorn and commute to Amsterdam for work. Hoorn was once an important 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 possibly can see it in all of the images of the town. Hoofdtoren is a fortified half-tower that used to guard the town, however now there’s a beautiful 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 beautiful espresso retailers, cafes and eating places.

Hoorn, the Netherlands

Discover Edam

The following 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 folks, and you’ll discover the city centre in lower than an hour. Edam can also be house to one of the vital well-known Cheese markets within the Netherlands. It takes place on Wednesday morning each week in July and August. Nevertheless, that may change sooner or later, so it’s finest to substantiate the opening occasions earlier than your journey! 

You possibly can, nonetheless, go to Edam on any day of the week – you possibly can nonetheless purchase cheese in one in all its two cheese retailers! 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 succeed in our subsequent vacation spot, Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a pretend 18th-century village with stunning windmills, fairytale homes and beautiful cafes. Zaanse Schans is completely free to go to. Nevertheless, it’s fairly onerous to search out parking on a busy day. The parking space is comparatively small and will get full tremendous quick. We had been fortunate to search out on-street parking 400 metres away. Nevertheless, it could be the case that that you must park even additional (that’s a draw back of visiting Zaanse Schans by automobile). 

Total, it’s a stunning space to stroll round, take some images and be taught extra about life in Dutch villages within the 18th and Nineteenth centuries. There are additionally good cafes and retailers, the place you should purchase some meals and souvenirs and some small museums as properly. 


We determined to go to Haarlem because it was on the way in which to our closing vacation spot for the day, Leiden. Haarlem, similar to Hoorn, is a commuter city. Nevertheless, it’s larger than Hoorn and has extra issues to do. When it comes to structure, for my part, Hoorn is extra attention-grabbing, however Haarlem is significantly 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 value visiting. Lastly, Haarlem was voted the most effective buying vacation spot within the Netherlands on a number of events. 

Haarlem, 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, one in all 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 a number of the most stunning canals within the nation – having visited many of the prettiest cities within the nation, I need to say that the canals in Leiden had been amongst my absolute favourites!

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

Leiden, Netherlands

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


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

Keukenhof may be very well-known. Nevertheless, it will get extremely crowded. It’s important to guide tickets prematurely; I like to recommend reserving a minimum of 3 days prematurely if you wish to go to on a weekend (or perhaps even sooner than 3 days). You possibly can guide 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 perhaps as a result of only a few flowers had been blooming firstly of April (particularly as a result of this 12 months was a really chilly one). A few of my buddies who managed to go to Keukenhof on the finish of April – the start of Could, stated that it was incredible, so perhaps it’s simply our poor luck!

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

Lisse flower fields

After visiting Keukenhof, we determined to observe the “flower route” and see a number of the flower fields in Lisse. A few of the flower fields are proper subsequent to Keukenhof, so there isn’t a have to drive quite a bit. Totally different flowers bloom at completely different occasions – in early April, you will discover numerous daffodils and hyacinths, whereas tulips you possibly can solely discover between mid-to-end April and the start of Could. 

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

The best method to take images within the tulip fields is by reserving a go to to a personal farm. There are a couple of of them close to Lisse and Haarlem! Some of the well-known ones is the Tulip Barn.

De Haar Citadel 

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

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

You possibly can pre-book tickets for De Haar Citadel on-line right here.

An evening outdoors Utrecht 

De Haar Citadel 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 properly. Once more, we stayed simply outdoors the town, as inns with parking heaps inside the town cost from 30 euros to 60 euros per night time for parking. We picked Lodge Van Der Valk Vianen Utrecht, which was positioned lower than quarter-hour drive from the 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 the town and see it within the daylight. 

Utrecht was based by the Romans round 47 AD and have become an necessary buying and selling and spiritual centre. Certainly one of its well-known landmarks is the Dom Tower, a tall church tower that gives gorgeous views of the town. Utrecht is usually referred to 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, similar to Leiden, and its college can also be one of many oldest. Additionally, for my part, Utrecht has a number of the most stunning canals and in addition a lot of streets within the metropolis centre space are equally fairly! 

Some attention-grabbing issues to do in Utrecht embrace: 
  1. Go to the Dom Tower – The Dom Tower is the tallest church tower within the Netherlands, and climbing to the highest presents gorgeous views of the town. 
  2. Take a canal cruise and see Utrecht from the water! You possibly can pre-book a ship tour on-line right here.
  3. Stroll alongside the Oudegracht – The Oudegracht is a picturesque canal that runs via the center of Utrecht. It’s lined with charming cafes, eating places, and retailers, and taking a stroll alongside its banks is an effective way to take in the 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 possibly can 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 presents 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. Regardless that the climate wasn’t nice and it began raining, we determined to go for a brief stroll in Gouda, and it was value it. Gouda, similar to Edam, is likely one of the most well-known cheese cities. And, similar to Edam, it additionally hosts a cheese market. 

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

Should you aren’t visiting Gouda on a market day, you possibly can nonetheless get pleasure from what the town has to supply – there are many cheese retailers the place you possibly can strive 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 principle sq., the place you possibly can strive 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 be taught extra concerning 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 enchanting historical past. It started as a small fishing village within the thirteenth century and regularly grew in significance. At this time, it is named the political centre of the Netherlands and homes the nation’s authorities and royal household.

The Hague just isn’t a really fairly metropolis like Utrecht or Hoorn, nevertheless it’s an important 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 identified for its cultural choices. 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 possibly can 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 placing). Delft is a comparatively small metropolis, however nonetheless, it was filled with landmarks! Town is known for its affiliation with the famend painter Johannes Vermeer and the long-lasting blue and white pottery referred to as Delftware. Within the seventeenth century, Delft was a hub for the Dutch East India Firm, and the town’s canals, historic buildings, and charming streets replicate its wealthy heritage.

Delft is especially well-known for its stunning medieval Previous City, the spectacular New Church, and the historic Previous Church, the place members of the Dutch royal household are buried. Should you nonetheless have time left, I like to recommend visiting both the Royal Delft Manufacturing facility (Delft is known 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 (guide on-line right here). Delft was the birthplace of the well-known Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and the Vermeer Centre presents an enchanting perception into his life and work. You possibly can see reproductions of his work, find out about his strategies and influences, and acquire a deeper understanding of his artwork.

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

To summarise, 4 days within the Netherlands just isn’t an excessive amount of – you possibly can simply spend 4 days in Amsterdam alone. That’s the reason this itinerary for the Netherlands by automobile in 4 days solely consists of the most effective locations to see in The Netherlands apart from Amsterdam. This itinerary for a highway 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 depart 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!

Listed here are another articles you may discover helpful

Essentially the most Instagrammable locations in Amsterdam

One of the best issues to do in Amsterdam’s Oud-West space

Lengthy weekend in France & Belgium by automobile

Austria & South Germany by automobile

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