Day trips from Amsterdam (Zaandam, Zaanse Schans & Rotterdam)
The good thing about Holland is that you are able to catch a train ride from anywhere and feel as though you have entered a different world.
While in Amsterdam we took 2 day trips and visited Zaandam, Zaanse Schans and Rotterdam.
The little town of Zaandam is colourful with unique and obscure architecture. It is well known for one particular building called the Inntel Hotel. The Inntel Hotel is made from 70 different coloured stacked houses and is only a 2-minute walk from the Zaandam train station. Zaandam is a cozy town to grab a coffee or walk around the small, open air farmers market.
*Farmers market hours: Thursday-Saturday 8:30am-4pm*
If you are looking to have a good meal here are some recommended restaurants:
Porto Fino- Italian Food
Pancho’s Cantina- Mexican Food
Zaandam is a small town but so unique. Little things like walking to get a coffee in its local coffee shop can be an experience. One of the places where we enjoyed the coffee and atmosphere is at Novels.
GETTING TO ZAANDAM
Travelling from Amsterdam to Zaandam is a short 12-minute train ride or a 31-minute bus ride. The train and bus tickets are inexpensive. We took the bus because we were in no rush to get there and the price weighed out our traveling time.
Zaanse Schans is a very small town that is located in the area of Zaandam or a 17-minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station.
If you want to step out of the 21st century then Zaanse Schans is the place for you. Zaanse Schans is small enough to only dedicate a few hours to but we enjoyed walking around and browsing all the small shops.
Zaanse Schans is well known for its windmill spectacle and its chocolate. Yes... CHOCOLATE! Any type of traveller would enjoy the little town of Zaanse Schans. It is surrounded by dirt and gravel pathways that are lined with small, gorgeous green cottages with animals roaming free.
Things to do
This might be a small town but you can find many things to do and learn from.
In Zaanse Schans you will find the historical Windmills. These windmills are very functional and work everyday to make things from oil to spices. To see the windmills it is FREE of charge. Some of them you are able to climb up and view the town of Zaanse Schans.
Learning how things are made:
In Zaanse Schans they don’t only bring you the picturesque scenery, it also gives you the chance to learn about the Deutsch (Dutch) culture.
Clog making: There is a store that shows you the history of clog making and clog wearing while also turning into a clog shop where you can buy your own. Admission FREE
Chocolate production: You will be able to see the traditional way of how they make chocolate and you will be able to buy your own one of a kind dutch chocolate bar. Admission FREE
Cheese Farm: Here you are able to fill yourself on the sampling of Cheese. The amount of free samples was crazy. You can try as much cheese as you like and the variety of cheese is extensive. You can also find some very delicious coffee, where I found an infusion of chocolate. Besides the cheese you can purchase, the admission is FREE
Liquor Distillery: You can visit a liquor distillery where you can learn about the traditional alcohol. Click here for more info.
Besides the clog store, cheese and chocolate shop there are other stores you can go where you can find handcrafted items, soap factory, souvenirs and food options.
You can also find many vintage shops to walk in and look around. I can tell you for sure that things you will find in these shops are like no other.
Remember to take it all in and collect the memories as you go:)
TIP: There are animals walking around, PLEASE DO NOT FEED THEM. It is asked by the people of the town because the food we give them is not good for the animals.
GETTING TO ZAANSE SCHANS
Zaanse Schans is easy enough to get on a bus or train.
Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans:
Zaanse Schans to Zaandam:
TIP: I suggest if you plan on visiting Zaanse Schans go to Zaandam first, then take the bus from there to Zaanse Schans or vice-versa. This is only because they are very close to each other and you may as well get the most from your day trip (as shown in the maps above)
If you are looking for a “city like” atmosphere then Rotterdam is the spot for you. Here you get the city environment with remarkable architecture, shops and restaurants.
Things to do
We only had a few hours in Rotterdam so we decided to pick the spots we were most interested in seeing.
The Cube Houses are the most iconic attraction in Rotterdam and after seeing it in person I now know why. It was designed by a Deutsch (Dutch) architect named Piet Blom in the 1970s. He designed the building with bright yellow cubes stacked on top one another with a 45-degree angle.
Visiting the Cube House is FREE and you are free to take as many pictures you like. Although for only 3 Euros you can take a peek inside. Opening hours 10am-6pm daily.
This is one of the newer installations in Rotterdam. The Market Hall (Markthal) is a place where you can find a variety of food vendors, shops and restaurants. The food vendors consist of many different cultures and all sell at a reasonable price. Not only is there an abundance of food options you will get to witness the largest painting. It is apparently nicknamed the ‘Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam’. To understand the size of the mural you have to witness it in person.
TIP: You have to pay 1 Euro to go to the bathroom in the Market Hall (Markthal). Keep your ticket just in case you need to go again.
If you are looking for a nice walk and some greenery then The Park is for you. This park is without a name and is simply called by locals Het Park meaning The Park.
4. Street Art
Rotterdam is known for its street art so keep your eyes peeled on cool art installations or murals
5. Grab a bite to eat
There is this one place where you can find items on the menu that are healthy or not so healthy. This place is called Lilith, it is an amazing spot for all day breakfast and their pancakes are DELICIOUS. They also have great coffee, smoothie bowls and they are most famous for their eggs benedict. You will also be surrounded by a cute atmosphere both inside and outside (if you sit on their patio).
GETTING TO ROTTERDAM
Getting to Rotterdam from Amsterdam is accessible by bus or train and both are inexpensive. We took the bus because again time was not an issue and we were able to get a roundtrip ticket the same day.