Netherlands, Amsterdam Tour Surrounding Towns

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If you only have a day or two to spend in Amsterdam, it's preferable to stay in the city and avail yourself of all there is to see and do. On the other hand, it can be wonderful to take a day trip outside the city and experience a bit more than Amsterdam ; the Netherlands awaits!

It's easy to escape the city on an organized bus tour; information is available in Centraal train station through the city's tourist board, the Vereniging voor Vreemdelingenverkeer or VVV. If you prefer to do it yourself, grab a train schedule or a cycle and read on for some suggested day trips:

Groot Waterland is home to a number of quaint country towns only 30 km away from the city. Known for maintaining the traditional Dutch cultures of maritime life and cheese making, the Groot Waterland area has a number of giant wooden windmills and drawbridges.

Amsterdam, Netherlands and beyond: day trips from the capital

Marken is an island town in Groot Waterland where you'll find elderly locals wearing traditional Dutch clothing. Usually skipped over by tourists from the city, Marken is accessible via organized bus tour; consult the VVV for schedules.

The flower region is located 30 km southwest of the city; the towns of Hillegom, Keukenhof, Langevelderslag, Lisse and Noordwijkerhout are all famed for their Dutch tulips. If you time your holiday right and visit between late March and June, you can take advantage of tulip season. The annual Dutch flower show is held in Keukenhof.

Alkmaar is famous for its cheese market; stall holders wear traditional costume as the cheese is auctioned off and sold. A close 35 km northwest of Amsterdam.

Zandvoort an Zee is a small beach town packed with bars and cafes only a one hour train ride from the city. Bustling with tourists in the summer time, the Zandvoort beach is topless and there is a fully nude location 2 km south.

Haarlem is a gorgeous little town only 20 minutes via train from the city. With flowers galore, the city is defined by its gardens and manicured public beds. Be sure to visit St Bavo's cathedral and the Frans Hals museum.

Texel is one of the smaller Frisian Islands located between the North and Wadden Seas. Hop on the train to Den Helder (45 km from Amsterdam) and then take the ferry out to the island. The small towns on the island allow visitors to experience an almost tourist free Dutch retreat. Visit the beach, cycle or hike.

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