The Netherlands is a great destination for a fun holiday in Europe. It is well suited to urban vacation or romantic recreation on the one hand and on the other is one of the top destinations for family vacations with kids.
The Netherlands has a relatively small area, most of it plain and you can enjoy a variety of attractions such as visiting cheese markets, theme parks, historical places, and museums – all within easy driving distance.
Each city in the Netherlands has a different and unique character and attractions, and they all create an entire complex that makes the trip to the Netherlands one of the most pleasant and popular for families.
We recommend that for this 10-days itinerary to the Netherlands you will rent a car as it will allow you to be more flexible. We are also taking into consideration that driving in the Netherlands is quite easy.
Driving in the Netherlands on inter-city roads is particularly convenient, but you should not go over the speed limit as there are lots of cameras on every corner and you will be asked to pay high fines. Inside the cities, driving is a little more complicated because of the bicyclists. We recommend using the Waze app and the Parkopedia parking app.
We recommend that for this 10-days itinerary to the Netherlands you will rent a car as it will allow you to be more flexible. We are also taking into consideration that driving in the Netherlands is quite easy.
Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, with a history dating back to the Roman Empire’s days. Here the Romans settled for the first time and the remains of their presence continue to this day thanks to ancient buildings, cathedrals, and churches. Today, Utrecht is undergoing extensive transformation and modern buildings are used by its residents, alongside the ancient ones.
The main sites worth visiting are the Cathedral of Doom, the Music Museum, the canal, which crosses the city, and also the University campus, where thousands of young people attend, giving the city a pleasant young atmosphere.
You can find more about Utrecht in our post: 5 Things To Do In Utrecht If You Only Have Half A Day
Day 2: Amsterdam
Of all the cities in the Netherlands, there is no doubt that Amsterdam is a must. Amsterdam, the official capital of the country, is small and very convenient for walking and the sites are a short walk from each other.
Optional parking near the center: Europarking, Marnixstraat 250, 1016 TL Amsterdam
De Dam Square
This is the main square in the city of Amsterdam and is located in the old and historic city center of Amsterdam, in the Nieuwezijds area.
What to see: The square is a hub for many attractions and activities including the Madame Tussauds Museum, the De Bijenkorf department store, which is considered one of the largest shopping malls in Amsterdam, and Kalverstraat street is recommended shopping street. Also, the Royal Palace proudly stands in the Dam Square, built between 1648 and 1655 and served as Amsterdam City Hall during these years.
Arriving at Dam Square is a must when visiting Amsterdam. This is not a long visit and you can see the square when strolling or crossing from one point to another.
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx
Not far from the Kalverstraat pedestrian street is one of the best dutch-fries in the Netherlands, Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx. The fries are excellent and crispy with many sauces to choose from. Sometimes there are long lines, but they move fast.
Royal Palace Amsterdam
The palace is located in Dam Square and cannot be missed. The palace, which was built in the 17th century, is one of the three palaces used today for the country’s royal events, Queen’s Day celebrations, and state receptions. You can only visit the palace on guided tours. The palace is open to visitors only when there are no state events. Check the palace website for guided tours, hours of operation, and more.
Madame Tussauds Museum
This museum is located in Dam Square and displays dozens of figures and events in wax sculpture. The first floor of the museum is dedicated to figures and events from all over the world, and on the second floor you can find more modern figures and events. For those who have not yet visited any of the wax museums around the world, it is highly recommended.
Opening hours – 10:00 am to 6:30 pm when admission is possible until 5:30 pm and throughout the week.
Day 3: Amsterdam
The Museum Square is located in the Museumkwartier in Amsterdam. It has a large lawn where people are cycling throughout the day, reading, or just relaxing. There you will find the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Vondelpark, and many restaurants.
The Van Gogh Museum
This museum is undoubtedly one of Amsterdam’s most recommended museums. Opened in 1973 the museum is of course dedicated to the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, who has drawn thousands of paintings and sold only one his entire life. The museum tour usually takes about 75 minutes. It presents the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works from different periods of his life, with over 200 paintings and 500 different drawings by the painter. A museum tour takes an average of about 75 minutes.
You can also find there a café, toilet, and free wireless network for museum visitors. We recommend arriving at the museum in the early morning as it is usually very busy afterward.
It is advisable to book tickets in advance and skip the queue at the museum entrance, during the summer days the queue may be particularly long. Holders of the Amsterdam Pass Card have a discount for visitors to this site.
The Rijksmuseum Museum
This is one of Amsterdam’s famous museums. It opened its doors in 1885 and displays at least a million items in over 250 different rooms! The Rijksmuseum presents works by artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and more. Among the items, you will find over 5,000 Artwork, charts, and a huge library with a collection of about 250,000 books. The museum exhibits items from various eras ranging from the period of medieval religious art to the Renaissance period.
Throughout the museum, you will be able to use the interactive computer positions that show a map of the museum and the various art objects it presents and of course where you are at the moment. You will also find a café and a souvenir shop. It is one of the most important museums in the city.
It is better to book tickets to the museum in advance, especially in the summer months. Holders of the Amsterdam Pass Card have a discount for visitors to this site.
The Singel Canal
The singal canal encompasses the inner part of Amsterdam in a kind of semi-circle. You can rent apartments along the canal or a houseboat on the canal itself which is a unique experience. You can also rent a pedal boat or go on an organized cruise.
Anne Frank Huis
Anna Frank’s house is located in the center of Amsterdam, a 15-minute walk from De Dam Square and the Royal Palace Amsterdam. It is the famous house where Anna and her family hid during World War II until they were captured by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps and later extermination camps. A visit to Anne Frank will give you a moment’s grasp of what happened there during those terrible years.
During her hiding, Anna wrote in her journal what happened there and what life looked like in the shadow of danger, a journal that over time became a successful and fascinating book. The Anne Frank House restores the front of the house where ordinary life was conducted and the hiding rooms in which Anne Frank and her family hid. On the tour, you will see the usual part of the house that was used by Otto Heinrich’s office and including the entrance to the hiding room itself, behind the huge library that was used as a secret door to hide. In the attic, you can see pictures and log clips pasted on the walls there. The place is kept in its most authentic form.
The museum presents various quotes from Anne Frank’s diary, original artifacts, documents, photographs, and some short explanatory films.
There is a complete ban on photography. The queues for Anne Frank House are usually long due to being one of the most popular sites in Amsterdam. We recommend arriving early in the morning or towards the end of the day.
Advance tickets can only be booked on the museum’s official website and only two months in advance. Please note that 80% of the ticket offer is available in advance, and 20% is available on the same day starting at 9 am (Amsterdam time). So even if you did not find tickets in advance, there is a last-minute chance to book a ticket.
It is important to know that during the year there are school tours, try to avoid arriving from 11 am to 3 pm. The place is not accessible for disabled people and involves climbing very steep stairs and relatively small spaces.
Floating Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt)
The market is currently only half floating and the merchandise is displayed in stores while only the back of it is in the canal. Originally, the merchandise was sold right out of boats in the canal, which is why the market is named so. The market was founded in 1862 and has lots of stalls filled with flowers, flower bulbs, potted plants, and souvenirs. The market is very colorful, a celebration of smells and colors, and attracts many tourists. The market is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays from 11 am.
Day 4: Den Haag
Although not the official capital of the Netherlands, Den Haag, the third largest city in the Netherlands, is the seat of the Dutch government institutions, including Parliament and the Supreme Court. It is also the city where members of the local royal family reside.
In The Hague, there are quite a few interesting tourist sites. The site most identified by the city is the International Court of Justice, which operates on behalf of the United Nations and serves as an arbitrator in international dispute resolution.
Another famous site is “Panorama of Sadach” – a panoramic mural, which rises to a height of 14 meters and 120 meters and describes the suburb of Scheveningen.
Anyone who comes to the Netherlands with children will not miss the Madurodam – Mini-Holland, where miniatures of famous sites in the country are displayed.
Apart from these, it is recommended to visit the city in Plein Square, in the Binnenhof building, a place of residence of the Dutch government and its knights’ hall. Notable museums in the city are the Museum de Gevangenpoort and the Mauritshuis Museum, which exhibits works by prominent Dutch artists.
The Escher Museum
This museum presents the famous Dutch artist who broke the laws of nature and gravity in his art works. The museum is interesting for children and adults alike, spans on three floors, and is not to be missed. The children receive a puzzle at the entrance which they need to solve based on the paintings and at the end they receive a nice souvenir. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. The nearest parking is called Parking Museumkwartier. Www.escherinhetpaleis.nl
Madurodam is one of Holland’s most popular attractions. A miniature city with accurate models of a typical Dutch city of 1:25 scale. Here you can visit all the attractions of the Netherlands such as Alkmaar Cheese Market, Royal Palace, Amsterdam canals, churches, waterways with ships, farms, windmills, amusement parks, airport, Delft, Mauden Castle, Amsterdam Central Station, The Hague, and more. The details of the buildings and monuments are amazing. We recommend visiting it at the end of your vacation after the children are already familiar with the sites. Children will receive passports at the entrance with puzzles, interesting facts and discounts for special activities on the site.
Day 5: Open Museum
Option one: The Arnhem Open Museum
This is an impressive park with more than 80 historic buildings and farms from various regions in the Netherlands. Throughout the museum, you can get an idea of daily life and work in the Netherlands for the last 250 years. Here you can experience the impressive power of the steam engine, and see how the family of fishermen used to live and eat with the family of ranchers. Apart from the park, the kids can spend time at the children’s mansion, where they can experiment with crafts.
The museum guarantees a taste of the best of Dutch living and lifestyle. The idea on which the museum is based is to present the Dutch heritage in an experiential and active way. From all over the Netherlands farms, windmills, and original and complete workshops were brought here, and all can be visited. In some of the houses, there are demos, and operators are dressed in traditional clothes. The museum covers a large area, and for your convenience and children’s enjoyment, a train stops at several stops on the museum grounds and you can use it during the day. Once you get the map at the entrance try to plan your tour. We recommend focusing mainly on two areas: the children’s area and Zanesa Square. The museum is open all year round.
Option two: Zuiderzeemuseum.
A beautiful drive east on 302N will take you to the lovely port city of Enkhuizen. The length of the road is about 30 kilometers and the ride is a unique experience, with both sides of the road only seeing sea and sea.
Beyond the beauty of the city, it has a number of great attractions. Immediately at the entrance to the city, there is parking and a ticket box for the open museum: Zuiderzeemuseum. The museum is actually a restored ancient village, which exemplifies the rural lifestyle in the old Netherlands, and you can be impressed here with ancient furniture, tools, and atmosphere.
In our opinion, this open museum is better, although both are really enjoyable.
Day 7: Hoge Veluwe National Park and Klimbos
Hoge Veluwe National Park is the largest nature park in the Netherlands, about 45 minutes drive from Utrecht. There you will find a huge area of woods, wildlife, and Bicycle trails.
The park offers several types of attractions and we spent a few hours there. The park has three entrances, the entrance fee includes free use of bicycles that are abundantly scattered there. The bicycles are of different sizes – for adults, children and some with basic children’s chairs. Special bicycles can be rented at an additional charge only at the center (near the Nature Museum).
The ride is relatively easy, some of the areas are wooded and some are open (called dunes). There are also lakes and ancient buildings and in the center, there is the Kröller-Müller Museum. At the entrance to the park, you can buy an integrated ticket for the park and the museum.
In conclusion, we highly recommend visiting the park. You can either bike or hike, you most definitely enjoy it either way.
This is an adventure park that offers 8 ropes and omega courses ranging in height from 2 meters to 18 meters. The park is designed for children starting at a height of 1.3 meters and is recommended over age 7. Anyone who does all the trails will spend 3.5 hours there.
There are also children’s playgrounds, nature walks, and bikes available. The three orange tracks are designed for younger people. Then come difficulty levels rising from green, blue, red to black. We are big fans of these kinds of parks so we had a great time there.
Day 8: Giethoorn & Lelystad
Giethoorn is also known as the Venice of the Netherlands because of its water canals and nice bridges over them. In Giethoorn you can feel the atmosphere of the village and a visit to this lovely town is highly recommended. Giethoorn is located about an hour and a quarter by car from Amsterdam, an hour from Utrecht, and about an hour and a half from Rotterdam. A canal cruise in Giethoorn is actually the main reason to visit this magical place.
When you arrive in the town, you can rent one of the boats that run on electricity. When you sail such a boat along the canals, you will hardly feel the noise of the engine. During the cruise, you can anchor near one of the piers scattered along the canals and get off to buy yourself a cold drink or another treat, and continue on your way. There is no need to worry about mistakes in navigating the canal network – the map of the canals will be given to you by the boat renter. There is no reason to fear sailing on the canals even with children since the depth of the water in the canals does not exceed one meter and you can of course get life jackets for them. There is also an option to join a canal cruise on one of the tourist boats. The cruise usually lasts about an hour and will take you through the intricacies of the Giethoorn.
Cycling is another way to enjoy the pastoral and peaceful lifestyle of Giethoorn. You can rent a bike and go on a tour through the streets of the town. You can pass between the houses and the charming courtyards, and cross the cute bridges over the canals.
In Lelystad, you can find Aviodrome, the civil aviation museum of the Netherlands. In the indoor museum, you can enjoy a guided tour that takes you through aviation history with exhibitions of old airplanes, movies, accessories, and costumes. The kids enjoyed sitting in the cockpit of the various planes. Outside there is a jumbo plane that can be accessed and see what is hidden in the business class, upstairs, and in the cockpit. Once every 30 minutes, you can enter the flight simulator at no additional charge. Outside there is also the structure of the old airport of Schiphol transferred here from Amsterdam with more civil aircraft and various automotive related.
National Aviation Museum (Aviodrome) Pelikaanweg 50, 8218 PG Lelystad,In the
town of Lelystad, there is a huge, cheap, pleasant, and extremely profitable outlet called Batavia Stad. There you can find over 250 brands with nice discounts. A variety of restaurants and cafes and a big parking lot. Address: Bataviaplein 60. Open Monday to Friday 10:00-18:00 and Saturday and Sunday until 20:00. Parking costs 3 euros.
Day 9: Castle Muiderslot and Amsterdam
the fortress or castle of Muiden is located not far from Amsterdam (about 30 minutes drive). It was built to protect the river leading to Utrecht, the most important city in the region. About 30 years ago, they began to renovate the castle and it is indeed beautiful and looks like a medieval residential fort. It is equipped and furnished with furniture from the 17th century. During the visit, you enter the various rooms and halls, like the armory room where you can put on a helmet and take a picture inside the armory. It is not possible to do the tour with strollers.
Address: Herengracht 1 Muiden. Open from April to October on Mondays to Fridays from 10:00-17:00 and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00. In winter it is open only on weekends from 12:00 to 17:00. Visiting time of an hour and a half.
Micropia is a museum that presents the invisible world of microorganisms and in my opinion, this museum is interesting, fascinating, and definitely worth a visit.
The place itself is quite small relative to other museums but there is plenty to see. It is the perfect place for the curious among us – children and adults, and it is recommended for all ages.
The museum is highly invested with microscopes and interactive presentations showing the world of bacteria.
It may cause trauma to obsessive cleaners – as it displays bacterial cultures taken from everyday objects such as a calculator, cell phone, keys, curtain and more. Anyone who complains that their child is not organized or hygienic enough this is the place to take him/her for a lesson.
This is a fun way to spend as a family. In these games, the players are locked in a room and are supposed to scan their surroundings in order to find tools and clues that will lead to escaping the room. The players have to use discernment and critical thinking, analytical abilities, and strategic skills to escape the room. Escape rooms are usually organized around a certain theme. The theme is the story within which the plot of the room takes place and the participants’ progress in it along with the progress of the game and the solving of the puzzles. Usually, before entering the room, a tutorial is given that aims to tell the game participants the story of the setting. The training can be by a guide or by a short video, and in advanced rooms by virtual reality glasses.
You can find different escape rooms in Amsterdam here
Day 10: Zaanse Schans & Harlem
An open museum that recreates life in the village 150 years ago. Authentic houses, historic shipyards, making Dutch wooden clogs, a cheese shop, and more. There are 6 windmills scattered along the river and each station demonstrates a different use (for example, dye production, wood processing, spice production). Entrance to some of the stations is free and others are not. Visit and production demonstration at the wooden clog factory, it is open free of charge from 08:00 to 18:00 and you can see the fascinating manual production process. When visiting the cheese factory called Kaasboerdeij you will see the mixing of milk and the production of cheese in a traditional process by a Dutch woman in traditional dress and of course, you will taste cheeses (Open free of charge).
Address: Schansend 7 Zaandam. Open at 09:00-17:00. The place has an app called Schans App.
Harlem is a picturesque city in an area surrounded by beautiful nature. The city has a number of interesting and enjoyable attractions to offer and it is worth stopping by if you have time. This small city is close to Amsterdam and has two good museums that hold collections of several famous artists. There is also a beautiful church where concerts are held in the summer.You can also find in Harlem great shopping centers, recommended restaurants and lively colorful markets. It is a good idea to plan in advance what will suit your specific trip before arriving, in order to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful city.
We hope this itinerary will help you plan your next vacation to The Netherlands!