Windmills at Kinderdijk, Netherlands

Netherlands Itinerary: How to Spend 4 Days in the Netherlands

March 8, 2024

The Netherlands is a popular travel destination in Europe, known for its interesting architecture, rich culture, and vibrant city life.

In this itinerary, we’ll introduce a 4-day route to help you get the most out of your time in Holland. From the bustling canals of Amsterdam to the peaceful countryside filled with windmills and tulips, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

As you explore, you’ll have the chance to experience Dutch traditions, taste delicious food, and admire historic buildings. Whether you’re wandering through charming towns or visiting iconic landmarks, each day promises exciting adventures.

We’ll also provide practical tips to ensure your trip goes smoothly, from transportation advice to accommodation recommendations.

Whether you’re an experienced traveler or a first-time visitor to the Netherlands, this itinerary will guide you through an unforgettable journey in this magical country.

First, let’s look at some common questions about traveling to Holland, then you can read the detailed 4-day itinerary listed day by day.

Questions about a trip to the Netherlands

How many days is ideal for a trip to the Netherlands

Many people only visit the Netherlands for a few days, so this itinerary is mainly for them.

In 2–3 days, you can usually only see Amsterdam, with few opportunities for countryside trips.

Our 4-day itinerary provides a good overview of the main attractions in the Netherlands, allowing you to experience the country’s best places.

Therefore, if you want to see the best of the Netherlands, we recommend spending at least 4 days, but a week can also be pleasantly spent in the country.

Best time to visit Holland

Spring is highly recommended, especially April, as this is when tulips bloom in the Netherlands.

However, the period from spring to late autumn is generally a good choice.

Even in summer, the Netherlands is not as hot as southern countries, making it an excellent summer destination.

In autumn, the vibrant colors of the trees make it worthwhile to travel as well.

Best things to do on this trip

  • Enjoy boating on Amsterdam’s canals
  • Explore Dutch tulip fields in spring
  • Walk among windmills
  • Taste Dutch cheeses and pancakes

Where to start a Netherlands road trip

Start your trip in Amsterdam, since most international flights land at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

How to get around the country

We primarily recommend using a car, especially for rural destinations. In Amsterdam, public transportation or renting a bicycle is excellent for getting around, but reaching rural destinations without a car can be challenging.

Where to stay in the Netherlands

The best option is to book accommodation in Amsterdam and use it as a base for day trips to the countryside.

We recommend the following hotels in Amsterdam:

4-day Netherlands itinerary: How to spend 4 days in the Netherlands

Day 1: Amsterdam

On the first day, when you arrive, start your itinerary by exploring the capital, Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a lively and picturesque city with a rich cultural and historical background.

How to get around Amsterdam

  • Walking: The downtown area is easiest to explore on foot for tourists.
  • By bike: Amsterdam is famous for its many bicycles. Indeed, this is entirely true, numerous people cycle around the city.
  • By car: Amsterdam allows newer cars into the city (meeting the required emission standards), and parking is not impossible in the downtown area. Therefore, it is worth considering driving into the city and then exploring the downtown area on foot.
  • By public transport: The city has an extensive metro, tram, and bus network, so this is also an option. However, you can reach most of the best spots in the downtown area only on foot.

The best things to see and do in Amsterdam include:

  • Amsterdam’s canals: Discover the city’s iconic canals on a boat cruise, providing relaxation and splendid views of buildings and landmarks.
  • Walking tour: Take a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown area, visiting Dam Square, the Royal Palace Amsterdam, and interesting churches like The New Church. Don’t forget to stop and admire the decorated bicycles placed along the streets.
  • Anne Frank House: Gain insight into the story of Anne Frank and her diary, providing a sensitive glimpse into the events of World War II.
  • Rijksmuseum: Explore the richness of Dutch art and history at the Rijksmuseum, home to a vast collection including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

These are just a few of the main attractions that allow you to experience the beauty and cultural values of Amsterdam in a day.

While you’re on your way, stop by a local pancake house or another street eatery where you can try Dutch dishes.

In the evening, if you feel like having some entertainment, visit the famous Red Light District, renowned for its lively nightlife.

Day 2: Amsterdam, Giethoorn

On the second day, if there’s anything left in Amsterdam that you’d like to see, here’s the chance.

When you’re done with the best places in Amsterdam, head to the Dutch countryside, specifically the charming village of Giethoorn.

Amsterdam – Giethoorn: 120 km (75 mi), 1 hour 20 min

Giethoorn is an amazing village located about an hour and a half drive from the capital, set in a secluded rural area. It’s a true hidden gem of Holland. Whether you spend a whole day or just half a day in Giethoorn, make sure it’s included in your itinerary.

Here are some attractions worth exploring in Giethoorn:

  • Canal Boat Cruise: Giethoorn is also famous for its canals, often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Rent a boat and enjoy a peaceful ride along the narrow waterways, admiring the picturesque cottages lining the shores.
  • Walking Tour: Take a leisurely stroll along the canals, wander through the footpaths, cross over scenic wooden bridges, and discover the beautiful landscape.
  • Local Cuisine: Sample traditional Dutch cuisine at one of the village’s cozy cafés or restaurants.

Giethoorn is a delightful destination, situated far from the cities, in an idyllic environment with charming streets and houses – a truly unmissable travel destination in the Netherlands.

Pro tip: If you still have time in the evening, especially if you travel with children, on the way back to Amsterdam, stop at Hans & Gretel pancake house, a fairytale style pancake house.

Day 3: Zaanse Schans, Castle De Haar

The third day’s itinerary depends on the season you’re traveling to the Netherlands.

Generally, in the morning, we planned a visit to Zaanse Schans, located north of Amsterdam, which can be visited year-round.

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is a picturesque open-air museum located just north of Amsterdam, offering a glimpse into the traditional Dutch way of life.

Here, you can explore historic windmills, wooden houses, and artisan workshops, providing insight into the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Take a leisurely stroll along the wooden pathways, watch craftsmen at work, and learn about the process of making traditional Dutch products such as cheese, clogs, and wooden barrels.

Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of a windmill for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Once you’re done exploring Zaanse Schans, it’s time for lunch, followed by exploring the rest of the Dutch countryside.

For the afternoon, there are two options:

  • If you’re visiting during other times of the year, visit the magnificent Castle De Haar, one of the most beautiful castles in the Netherlands with its huge gardens.
  • If you’re traveling in spring, head to the famous Dutch tulip fields and Keukenhof garden.

Castle De Haar

Castle De Haar is a lovely medieval castle near Utrecht, famous for its stunning architecture and huge gardens.

To enter the castle and its gardens, you’ll need tickets. You can buy combined tickets for both or separate ones just for the gardens.

Inside the castle, you can wander through luxurious rooms filled with beautiful furniture, tapestries, and artwork, while discovering the castle’s captivating history.

The well-kept gardens surrounding the castle boast intricate flowerbeds, serene ponds, and lush greenery, creating a picturesque setting.

Castle De Haar isn’t just one of the Netherlands’ most captivating castles, it’s also a fantastic spot for photography.

Keukenhof and other tulip fields

Spring in the Netherlands brings beautiful tulip fields, and Keukenhof is the top spot to see them.

Called the “Garden of Europe,” Keukenhof boasts millions of tulips, daffodils, and other flowers in its carefully planned gardens. You can stroll through themed displays, visit pavilions with floral arrangements, and capture stunning photos among the blooms.

Moreover, you can climb a windmill in the garden, which is simpler than those in Zaanse Schans.

Apart from Keukenhof, you’ll find many tulip fields throughout the Dutch countryside, offering breathtaking views and perfect photo opportunities.

For the best fields near Keukenhof, head north of Lisse towards Hillegom. Along Loosterweg Noord street and its surroundings, you’ll discover numerous fields.

Day 4: Kinderdijk windmills, Rotterdam

On our last day, we’ll also explore the countryside of the Netherlands. It’s worth taking a day trip from Amsterdam to these two places:

Kinderdijk windmills

Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its picturesque windmills symbolizing Dutch water management ingenuity.

During your visit, you can explore the historic windmills and learn about their role in regulating the region’s water levels. The windmills are lined up along a path, making for a pleasant stroll.

Parking and entrance fees apply, but walking between the windmills is free.


Rotterdam is a vibrant port city known for its modern architecture, dynamic cultural scene, and maritime heritage.

Highlights include the innovative Markthal, the iconic Erasmus Bridge, and the bustling Witte de Withstraat with its trendy cafes and galleries.

If you have extra time, take a stroll around the city and explore its top attractions.

On the fourth evening, return to Amsterdam, completing the 4-day road trip.

We hope we’ve provided plenty of ideas for your four-day journey around the Netherlands and inspired your future travels.

Optional extra activities

If you have more time to travel, here are some other destinations you can visit during a trip to the Netherlands:

Van Gogh Museum

Delve into the world of art at the Van Gogh Museum. This renowned museum houses the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, showcasing his masterpieces alongside works by his contemporaries.


Discover the picturesque city of Haarlem, famous for its well-preserved historic buildings, charming cobblestone streets, and rich cultural heritage. Take a leisurely stroll through the city center, visit the Grote Kerk (Great Church), and don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of Adriaan’s Windmill for panoramic views of Haarlem and its surroundings.


In the summer, go to Zandvoort for a relaxing day at the beach. It’s a short drive from Amsterdam and offers sandy shores and activities like swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball. Take a walk along the promenade, try some fresh seafood at a beachfront restaurant, and enjoy the beach atmosphere.

In summary, a 4-day trip to the Netherlands offers a perfect mix of city sightseeing, countryside excursions, and cultural experiences. From Amsterdam’s canals to Kinderdijk’s iconic windmills, there’s something for everyone.

By following this itinerary, you can make the most of your time and explore the highlights of the country. Whether cruising Amsterdam’s canals, strolling through small villages, or admiring Dutch architecture, each day promises new adventures.

With tips on transportation, accommodation, and must-see attractions, planning your trip is easy. So pack your bags, hit the road, and enjoy a week of unforgettable experiences in this beautiful European destination.

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