I often see people asking about what to do on the way to or from Amsterdam so I wanted to share our travel itinerary for drive to or from Amsterdam that can easily be modified to fit your family.
Zaanse Shans is 3 hours 50 mins from Spang and can easily be done in a half a day. It could be added to either your heading to trip or leaving from trip. You can read more about it on the link above. There is also another windmill village called Kinderdijk, we did not visit it. Choose which is a best fit for your family and the area your staying in. Zaanse Shans was only 15 mins from where we were staying.
Our Itinerary for the drive home:
Haarlem, Netherlands to see-
Corrie Ten Boom House
Grote Kerk/St. Bavo’s Church
Clara Maria’s Cheese Farm and Clog Factory
Noah’s Ark life sized replica
While we chose not to do Keukenhof you could easily add it after Clara Maria’s. Know that if you add Keukenhof it does take up several hours and could be a large portion of your day.
From Haarlem you can also drive the tulip routes to see the tulips in the fields, however you must time this right! They normally don’t bloom until the last week of April or early May, so it was too early while we were there. Here is some more info if your wanting to add that to your trip. National Geographic has some great info on the flower route here and more great info can be found at Reidsguides.
Also from Haarlem you can also go see the beach as well! We were going to try but had a later start leaving the city since we had to wait for the 2nd tour at the Corrie Ten Boom house, and it was still a bit chilly so it wasn’t really ‘beach’ weather so it was not a must. You can ride bikes from Haarlem to the beach or drive, either works. You can find more info here. Zandvoort is also only a 20 minute drive away from Haarlem.
A must visit is Clara Maria’s Cheese Farm and Clog factory! It is only a 30 minute drive from Haarlem, and a 30 minute drive from Amsterdam. Some people visit here from Keukenhof, which is a 27 minute drive. She’s an American married to a Dutch guy and they run a neat farm. You can see a wooden shoe demo as well as a cheese demo. There are also some cows and chickens you can hang out with as well. You’ll want to stock up on some of the yummy cheese, try the Italian herb, it is AMAZING in quesadillas! More info in a separate post.
We then drove an hour to see the life sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Also unless you HAVE to see the life sized replica of Noah’s Ark it could wait until your over that way, it was something I wanted to get off our list though. While we found the outside of the boat impressive, the experience inside was a little underwhelming, it is probably better if you have little kids. I’ll have more info on a separate post. It is about 3.5 hours from here back to Spang.
We stopped in Aachen both headed to the Netherlands at the Esso for gas. On the way there we just topped off and on the way back since we drove to Noah’s Ark we had to stop off the autobahn and get €10 to get back to Aachen, this was in our car.
Possible Drive Itinerary Suggestions:
(the ones with an * we have visited and you’ll find more info on the blog)
*Zaanes Shans (allow 1/2 to 3/4 day)
Kinderdijk (allow 1/2 to 3/4 day)
*Haarlem (allow 2-3 hours)
*Corrie Ten Boom House (1 hour tour)
*Grote Kerk/St. Bavo (30-45 mins)
Red light district
Beach area (allow 1-2+ hours)
Bloemendaal beach 10 km from Haarlem
Zandvoort 20 min drive from Haarlem area
Tulip Routes – note these are time sensitive to then the tulips are in bloom which is a fairly short window of 2-3 weeks.
*Clara Maria’s (allow 1-2 hours, takes about 1 hour to see both demos, animals, & shop)
Keukenhof (allow 1/2 day to full day)
*Noah’s Ark (allow 1-2 hours)
There are many more possibilities but I just wanted to list a few to get you started if your looking for some fillers on your route there or back 🙂
I highly suggest adding some of these to your drive to make the most out of your day 🙂 If you follow my posts you know I’m all about getting as much in and possible on our adventures.
Any other great ideas to add to the drive to or from the Netherlands?!