6 Day Trips from Rotterdam You Should Consider

day trips from Rotterdam

One of the big advantages of traveling within the Netherlands, outside massive amounts of cheese and overall awesomeness, is the proximity to, well, everything.

Because if you’ve looked at a European map, chances are you’ve either:

  • Noticed how small the Netherlands are, or…
  • That you just haven’t seen them at all (true story).

It’s always a weirdly fun feeling for me, a Canadian, to visit a country that’s precisely 240 times smaller than my own. The sheer idea of crossing an entire country in just a few hours is normally something I would snort at – but not in the Netherlands. If you plan on spending a fair amount of time in Rotterdam, it might be worth planning a few extra day trips. Not only because there are is a surprisingly large amount of things to see and do in such a tiny weeny country, but also because they are ALL easily accessible by rail, by car or even by bicycle if your calves can take it.

But as it turns out, mine can’t. I’m lazy like that.

So I opted to travel by rail. Again, thanks to the size of the country, traveling by train in the Netherlands is relatively cheap even with a Eurail pass when compared to other, larger countries like France or Germany, and also, incredibly easy and hassle-free. Most trains are of the fast Inter-City type, don’t require reservations and have FREE WIFI. I’m not sure what more a traveler can ask for.

Delft: 1 train ride – 15 minutes

photos of delft

I’ve talked quite extensively about Delft before, and I stand by what I said. If you only had one day trip to do, I strongly advise you pick Delft. The cobblestone alleys, the colorful facades, and the quaint, narrow canals are pretty much all the iconic sights of the Netherlands in a nutshell.

The Hague: 1 train ride – 20 minutes

The Netherlands’ very own seaside resort! But far from being labeled a party town, The Hague is actually dubbed the “judicial capital of the world” due to the many international courts located in the city. As opposed to Amsterdam where foreigners are most likely tourists, The Hague has a thriving expatriate community and a slight international feel, as it is the seat of many international organizations and institutions. It’s  also the seat of the Dutch government, despite not being the capital of the Netherlands. Between the business-y downtown area and the resort party-goers, it definitely makes for an original atmosphere!

Kinderdijk: 2 waterbus rides – 1 hour

day trips from Rotterdam

Can you say corny Holland? Corny, touristy, call it what you want, but few places in the world are as charming and picturesque as Kinderdijk. The journey itself isn’t fantastic but the reward is oh so worth it.  The 19 historic windmills date back to 1740 and have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997 – and consequently, are one of the most visited landmarks in all of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam: 1 train ride – 1h15

day trips from Rotterdam

Why the hell not? If you chose to spend more time in artsy and modern Rotterdam rather than in the capital, that doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. Amsterdam is very busy, and sometimes quite disturbing, but also undeniably beautiful in its own chaotic, maze-like way. Whether you opt to sin in the Red Light District or visit one of the world-class museums, there options are pretty much endless here.

Gouda: 1 train ride – 20 minutes

day trips from Rotterdam

Despite living in France, my absolute favorite cheese in the world in gouda (and I’m pretty sure I can be convicted of treason for writing that on the Interwebs). It was unthinkable for me to be so close to the town and not visit – and I’m very happy I did. Vaguely similar to Delft in terms of size and charm, it offers a wide array of shops where you can buy locally-made cheeses, available in a variety of flavors. Also, make sure to attend the hourly chimes concert at the Stadhuis in the main square.

Utrecht: 1 train ride – 1 hour

One of the Netherland’s busiest student city, Utrecht has an incredibly cool nightlife with many inexpensive dining or drinking options.  It also happens to be the country’s center of catholic religion, there are many exceptionally beautiful and ancient churches to visit. And lastly, with an exceptionally small yet fascinating city center, it’s one of the most walkable cities in the Netherlands and definitely make for a nice, laid-back day trip out of Rotterdam.

Have you visited the Netherlands outside the main cities?
What is your favorite day trip?

Disclaimer: my train pass was provided by Eurail.com, but as always, all opinions are my own. But you know how easy it is to win me over with free wifi…

23 Comments on 6 Day Trips from Rotterdam You Should Consider

  1. Angela
    June 19, 2013 at 9:02 am (4 years ago)

    What about Dordrecht? Only a 15 minute trainride! It is Holland’s oldest town and it has a pretty awesome city center (i’m not just saying this because I have lived there my whole life, it really is a nice city!)

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      June 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm (4 years ago)

      Ohhh I didn’t hear about Dordrecht! Sounds fabulous!

      • A
        August 10, 2016 at 9:50 am (1 year ago)

        Yes, Dodrecht is pretty close :)) Or Hoek van Holland – there is a beach and it is about 30 minutes by train from Rotterdam :) But I agree Delft is my favourite town too and then GOUDA!

      • Marie-Eve
        August 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm (1 year ago)

        Great minds think alike!

  2. Julika
    June 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm (4 years ago)

    Great recommendations! I visited Utrecht last month and just loved it — it was everything I imagined Holland to be like!

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      June 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm (4 years ago)

      Glad you liked Utrecht! Such a beautiful city :)

  3. Anita
    June 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Rotterdam is on the top of my travel wish-list. Thanks for the helpful tips :)

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      June 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm (4 years ago)

      You’re welcome! Such a big amount of things to do around there.

  4. Abby
    June 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Not sure if I should admit this, but I didn’t know Gouda was a town!

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      June 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm (4 years ago)

      To be honest I didn’t know either until I googled it!

  5. Maxine
    September 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm (4 years ago)

    Delft is OK for a day trip But I definitely wouldn’t rate it over Amsterdam and Utrecht!

  6. Stacey
    March 28, 2015 at 11:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh now you’ve just made my decisions harder! :-) I’ll be in Rotterdam on business this summer and was initially thinking of heading out of the city for the whole weekend but with our crazy travel schedule I’m thinking some day trips from Rotterdam with our home base hotel to come home to will be a little less tiring. I’ve been to Amsterdam a couple of times so that one is easy to take a pass on this trip but the others area all contenders now. The waterbuses sound interesting, especially as we’ll have likely had our fill of trains by this point in the trip. hmm…

    • Marie-Eve
      March 31, 2015 at 8:07 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, Rotterdam is the perfect base for daytrips around Holland. Delft was my favorite, and the windmills a close second.

    • Marie-Eve
      June 11, 2015 at 10:19 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks for suggesting this!

  7. Larry Regan
    February 14, 2016 at 5:51 pm (2 years ago)

    We will be in Rotterdam on a cruise stop in early May and would love to see the tulips. What/where is best place to go. Dock at 7am and depart at 5pm.

    • Marie-Eve
      February 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm (2 years ago)

      I think you will get to! It has to be as early as possible in May though; I was in Keukenhof on the last day (May 17th) and the fields around it were empty.

  8. Karin
    September 18, 2016 at 8:14 am (1 year ago)

    Great suggestions. Can I add one? Consider Leiden! Only 33 minutes by train, accessible old center with lots of canals (including boats to take a tour), small stronghold in the middle, many great museums, fine restaurants and not as many tourists as some of other options! I fell in love with it while I went to university here and have been living here ever since.

    • Marie-Eve
      September 19, 2016 at 6:40 pm (1 year ago)

      Very good to know, thanks! Will add to it my bucket lsit.

  9. Rene van der Aa
    April 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm (5 months ago)

    Every saturday at 11 am there is a free guided walkingtour from hostel Ani&Haakien in the Coolsestraat through the center of Rotterdam. You do not have to stay in the hostel if you want to join. The tours are led by volonteers of the Stadsambassadeurs Rotterdam (www.stadsambassadeursrotterdam.nl)

    • Marie-Eve
      April 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm (5 months ago)

      Very good to know, thanks Rene!


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  1. […] That’s why Rotterdam makes the perfect home base for seeing the Netherlands. Here are seven winning day trips to get you […]

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