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 automotive, visiting plenty of thrilling locations throughout the nation however skipping Amsterdam (it’s higher to not go to Amsterdam by automotive, and it undoubtedly deserves 3 days alone). I’ll deal with one of the best and most lovely locations to go to within the Netherlands moreover 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 Might, so when you’re planning to go to the Netherlands exterior this timeframe, I like to recommend skipping it and visiting Haarlem as a substitute. On day three, we explored Leiden, De Haar Fort and Utrecht.

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

Right here’s a brief overview of the itinerary for Netherlands by automotive 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 Fort, staying at Van Der Valk Vianen Utrecht

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

Helpful hyperlinks for this itinerary:

If you happen to don’t have your individual automotive, I like to recommend hiring one on

You may as well go to most of those locations with no automotive, nonetheless, you may have to trim this itinerary down and go to fewer locations.

Tickets for Keukenhof – ebook right here

Tickets for De Haar Fort – ebook right here

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

The itinerary for 4-days within the Netherlands by automotive: 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 have been already in Novotel Breda, the place we stayed for the evening! 

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


We began our day by exploring the charming metropolis of Breda. I have to admit that I had by no means heard of Breda earlier than planning the journey, but it surely 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 Outdated City full of historic buildings, picturesque squares, and nice cafes and eating places. You may wander via the streets, go to the Grote Kerk (Nice Church), and take a look at the fort as effectively. 

We had breakfast in Breda in a spot known as Sip First. It was beautiful, and the espresso was nice. 


Our subsequent vacation spot, Heusden, was only a brief drive away from Breda. Heusden is a small fortified city surrounded by historical partitions and dotted with windmills and small canals. Once more, Heusden is a really brief cease, particularly when you’re visiting on a chilly day. Nonetheless, 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 complete, 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 usually 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, in my view, there have been extra issues to do in s-Hertogenbosch than in Breda. It’s additionally a really quirky metropolis – and we completely cherished it for that! 

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

Moreover on the lookout for artwork devoted to Jheronimus Bosch and simply strolling across the metropolis and having fun with the Outdated City, listed below are another issues you are able to do in Den Bosch:

Issues to do in Den Bosch:

– Go to the beautiful St. John’s Cathedral (free). It is likely one of the nation’s most spectacular church buildings, with beautiful stained-glass home windows, intricate carvings, and a wide ranging inside.

– Go to the Noordbrabants Museum to study 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 similar to Van Gogh, Jan Sluijters, and Piet Mondrian. You may 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 likewise affords 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 situated within the North of the nation, fairly far-off from Brabant. We drove for round 2 hours to get there.

The explanation we picked Dwingeloo was as a result of it was the closest place to Giethoorn that was nonetheless out there. We have been reserving on the final minute, just some days prematurely; therefore, plenty of locations have been already totally booked. If you happen to’re reserving prematurely, it’s simpler to remain nearer to Giethoorn in locations like Lodge de Pergola or Lodge Giethoorn.

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

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

Since we have been staying in Dwingeloo, we needed to drive to Giethoorn. We reached it in half-hour and arrived there by 10:15 am. Nonetheless, when you’re staying in Giethoorn or in a more in-depth village, it is possible for you to to keep away from additional driving within the morning!

Exploring Giethoorn

Giethoorn is likely one of the Netherlands’ most lovely villages and one of the crucial widespread vacationer places. Most individuals come there on a day journey from Amsterdam – it’s lower than 1.5 hours away!

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

Why is Giethoorn so widespread?

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

Probably the greatest methods to discover Giethoorn is by taking a ship trip! You may see one of the best views from the water and admire the thatched-roof homes and tranquil waterways.

You may both arrive there and queue to ebook a personal boat or pre-book house in a big boat prematurely right here.


After visiting Giethoorn, we drove for about 1.5 hours to reach on the city known as Hoorn. Hoorn is a historic city situated not too far-off from Amsterdam. Numerous folks stay in Hoorn and commute to Amsterdam for work. Hoorn was once a vital 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 may see it in all of the photographs of the town. Hoofdtoren is a fortified half-tower that used to guard the town, however now there’s a beautiful restaurant situated 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 dwelling to one of the crucial well-known Cheese markets within the Netherlands. It takes place on Wednesday morning each week in July and August. Nonetheless, which may change sooner or later, so it’s greatest to verify the opening instances earlier than your journey! 

You may, nonetheless, go to Edam on any day of the week – you may nonetheless purchase cheese in considered one of 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 lovely windmills, fairytale homes and beautiful cafes. Zaanse Schans is totally free to go to. Nonetheless, 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 have been fortunate to search out on-street parking 400 metres away. Nonetheless, it may be the case that you could park even additional (that’s a draw back of visiting Zaanse Schans by automotive). 

General, it’s a beautiful space to stroll round, take some photographs and study 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 effectively. 


We determined to go to Haarlem because it was on the way in which to our ultimate vacation spot for the day, Leiden. Haarlem, similar to Hoorn, is a commuter city. Nonetheless, it’s greater than Hoorn and has extra issues to do. By way of structure, in my view, Hoorn is extra attention-grabbing, however Haarlem is significantly better for dwelling. The principle landmark of Haarlem is the Grote Markt Sq..

Haarlem can also be dwelling to the Netherlands’ first and oldest museum, Teyler’s Museum. One other museum, Frans Hals Museum, can also be price visiting. Lastly, Haarlem was voted one of the best purchasing vacation spot within the Netherlands on a number of events. 

Haarlem, Netherlands

Finish the night in Leiden

Our ultimate 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, considered one of Leiden’s most iconic eating places (not due to the meals, however due to the constructing the place the restaurant is situated).

Leiden is dwelling to the oldest College within the Netherlands. It additionally has among the most lovely canals within the nation – having visited a lot of the prettiest cities within the nation, I have to say that the canals in Leiden have been amongst my absolute favourites!

In a single day, we stayed barely exterior 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 Fort, Utrecht


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

Keukenhof could be very well-known. Nonetheless, it will get extremely crowded. It’s important to ebook tickets prematurely; I like to recommend reserving at the least 3 days prematurely if you wish to go to on a weekend (or possibly even sooner than 3 days). You may ebook the tickets on-line right here.

Keukenhof has beautiful shows of tulips, daffodils, and different spring flowers. I wasn’t overly impressed by the exhibit, however possibly as a result of only a few flowers have been blooming in the beginning of April (particularly as a result of this yr was a really chilly one). A few of my pals who managed to go to Keukenhof on the finish of April – the start of Might, mentioned that it was improbable, so possibly it’s simply our poor luck!

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

Lisse flower fields

After visiting Keukenhof, we determined to comply with the “flower route” and see among the flower fields in Lisse. Among the flower fields are proper subsequent to Keukenhof, so there isn’t a have to drive loads. Completely different flowers bloom at totally different instances – in early April, you’ll find plenty of daffodils and hyacinths, whereas tulips you may solely discover between mid-to-end April and the start of Might. 

Please needless to say all of the fields are personal, and it’s not allowed to trespass. Some daffodil fields should 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 might injury the flowers.

The best approach to take photographs 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! One of the crucial well-known ones is the Tulip Barn.

De Haar Fort 

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

De Haar Fort is a surprising medieval fort with lovely gardens and a wealthy historical past. It’s the biggest fort within the Netherlands. Initially constructed within the 14th century, it underwent intensive renovations within the late Nineteenth century below the supervision of famend architect Pierre Cuypers. The fort showcases a singular mix of medieval structure and opulent Nineteenth-century design. The fort 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 may pre-book tickets for De Haar Fort on-line right here.

An evening exterior Utrecht 

De Haar Fort is situated simply exterior 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 effectively. Once more, we stayed simply exterior the town, as motels with parking tons inside the town cost from 30 euros to 60 euros per evening for parking. We picked Lodge Van Der Valk Vianen Utrecht, which was situated 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 exterior 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 vital buying and selling and spiritual centre. Certainly one of its well-known landmarks is the Dom Tower, a tall church tower that provides beautiful views of the town. Utrecht is commonly known 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, in my view, Utrecht has among the most lovely canals and likewise a number 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 affords beautiful views of the town. 
  2. Take a canal cruise and see Utrecht from the water! You may 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 a good way to take in the town’s environment.
  4. Discover the Museum Quarter – Utrecht has a wealthy cultural heritage, and its Museum Quarter is dwelling to a number of fascinating museums. You may 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 affords 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. Despite the fact that the climate wasn’t nice and it began raining, we determined to go for a brief stroll in Gouda, and it was price 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 every year. It’s held on Thursday mornings, usually beginning round 10 am and lasting till midday. Nonetheless, it’s at all times a good suggestion to double-check the precise dates and instances nearer to your go to.

If you happen to aren’t visiting Gouda on a market day, you may nonetheless get pleasure from what the town has to supply – there are many cheese retailers the place you may attempt 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 primary sq., the place you may attempt the unique Stroopwafel (disclaimer – they’re wonderful and also you wouldn’t wish to eat the grocery store Stroopwafel anymore) and likewise go on a tour to study extra concerning the well-known Dutch waffles!

The Hague

Our subsequent cease, The Hague, was situated 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 progressively grew in significance. Right now, it is named the political centre of the Netherlands and homes the nation’s authorities and royal household.

The Hague is just not a really fairly metropolis like Utrecht or Hoorn, but it surely’s a vital metropolis for the Netherlands – it’s a hub for worldwide conferences and negotiations, attracting diplomats and politicians from around the globe. 

Along with its political significance, The Hague can also be recognized for its cultural choices. The town is dwelling to quite a few artwork museums, together with the well-known Mauritshuis, which homes iconic masterpieces like Vermeer’s “Lady with a Pearl Earring.” You may pre-book tickets for the Mauritshuis Museum right here.


Our ultimate vacation spot was Delft – one other beautiful metropolis within the Netherlands (the distinction with the Hague was putting). Delft is a comparatively small metropolis, however nonetheless, it was full of landmarks! The town is legendary for its affiliation with the famend painter Johannes Vermeer and the long-lasting blue and white pottery known 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 mirror its wealthy heritage.

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

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

To summarise, 4 days within the Netherlands is just not an excessive amount of – you may simply spend 4 days in Amsterdam alone. That’s the reason this itinerary for the Netherlands by automotive in 4 days solely consists of one of the best locations to see in The Netherlands moreover Amsterdam. This itinerary for a highway journey within the Netherlands is fairly exhausting and jam-packed with locations, so when you ask me to take away half of the locations from this itinerary, that would go away 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!

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