The Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip

The Netherlands is known for its canals, tulip fields, windmills, cycling, and of course the vibrant capital city of Amsterdam. However, there is so much more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. I spent about 2 weeks touring the country by car and was blown away by how different each city was in the Netherlands. This ultimate Netherlands Road Trip itinerary goes into detail on what to do, where to stay, and the best places to stop along your journey. Read on and plan your perfect trip!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your supporting Mel’s Scene!



The best time to visit the Netherlands depends on your preferences and the activities you have planned. However, generally, the best time to visit the Netherlands is from mid-April to mid-October when the weather is mild and sunny, and many outdoor activities and festivals are happening.


If you’re interested in seeing the famous tulip fields, then the best time to visit is from mid-April to early May. During this time, you can visit the Keukenhof Gardens and attend other flower festivals.


If you want to avoid crowds and enjoy lower prices, then consider visiting during the shoulder season, which is from March to April and from September to November. However, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable during these months.


If you’re into winter sports or holiday events, then visit during December and January, when the country is covered in snow and there are several holiday markets and festivals.

The Netherlands in the Spring


Start your journey in Amsterdam! Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and is known for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful canals, historic architecture, and vibrant nightlife. There are so many things to see and do in Amsterdam.

Land at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and take the train to downtown Amsterdam. It is about a 10-minute train ride. You will not need a rental car while in the city, and honestly it is easier to get around without one. If you prefer having a rental car, make sure the hotel you are staying in offers parking. Parking is limited and can be very pricey.

The number of days to spend in Amsterdam depends on your interests, budget, and travel style. However, I would recommend spending at least 3 to 4 full days in Amsterdam to see the main attractions and get a feel for the city’s culture and atmosphere.

Read More: How to Spend 2 to 4 Days Touring Amsterdam

Must Stay Hotels in Amsterdam

Road trip through the Netherlands


After touring Amsterdam, it is now time to pick up your rental car. The rest of the itinerary is a road trip through the Netherlands. I found the most economical option was picking up and dropping off the rental car at the Airport Schiphol. There are also rental car locations in downtown Amsterdam. Check both options and see what is the most cost-effective. This itinerary will be starting and ending in Amsterdam for reference.

The Best Rental Car Deals

The Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip Itinerary Map

Below is a copy of the Netherlands Road Trip Itinerary Map. This will help give you a reference for the areas you will be seeing. I designed this itinerary to see as much of the Netherlands as possible but at a leisurely pace.

STOP IN KEUKENHOF (if visiting late March to mid-May)

After picking up your rental car, head to Keukenhof. Keukenhof is a world-famous flower garden in the Netherlands that is open from late March to mid-May. Keukenhof is known as the Garden of Europe. The park is home to over 7 million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and other flowers. It is a popular tourist destination, so try to arrive early if possible!

Read More: Spend a Day in Keukenhof

Want to spend more than a day in this area? Check out the prettiest hotels in Lisse!

Tulips in the netherlands


After touring the tulips, head to Delft. Delft is a scenic city in the Netherlands located between Rotterdam and The Hague. The city is famous for its traditional Dutch architecture, canals, and history of the Delft Blue ceramics production. It is a great escape after the craziness of Amsterdam. Overall, Delft is an inviting city that offers a glimpse into Dutch history and culture.

Read More: What to do in Delft

Check Out: Best Hotels in Delft


Your next stop will be a day trip to Gouda! Gouda is a beautiful historic city located in the western part of the Netherlands, famous for its cheese, stroopwafels, and beautiful architecture. Depending on the time of year and day you visit you can experience The Gouda Cheese Market, where you can see the traditional cheese market in action. Overall, Gouda is a charming and historic city that is well worth a stop.

Read More: Day Trip to Gouda

Want to spend more time in Gouda? Stay in one of the most spectacular hotels!


Regretfully, we skipped Rotterdam during our road trip. If you do have the time I suggest adding a night or two in this city. Rotterdam is a vibrant and exciting city that offers a unique blend of modern architecture, cultural attractions, and entertainment options. Its port is also one of the busiest in the world, and visitors can take boat tours to see the massive container ships and other vessels up close.

Best Hotels in Rotterdam


From Gouda or Rotterdam make your way to Dordrecht. Dordrecht is often referred to as the Venice of the Netherlands due to its whimsical canals. It is often overlooked by Rotterdam, but I truly fell in love with the quietness of the city. Plus one of the most famous hotels is located in Dordrecht, Villa Augustus. This quirky hotel is a former water tower located right outside of the city center. Villa Augustus is full of so much charm, and if you book early enough, you can stay in the lantern room located at the very top of the hotel!

Read More: Spend One Perfect Night in Dordrecht

Spend the Night in a Water Tower or check out even more hotel options downtown Dordrecht!


On your drive to Maastricht from Dordrecht, make a stop in one of the most charming villages, Thorn. It is known for its white picturesque houses and cobblestone streets, which give the town a romantic vibe. I promise you will fall in love with this place! If you can, I recommend staying the night in a historic Bed and Breakfast.

Read More: Spend a Day in Thorn Netherlands

Stay the night in a historic B&B or hotel.


After spending time in the quiet atmosphere of Thorn, it is now time to explore one of my favorite cities in the Netherlands, Maastricht. Maastricht is a vibrant, university city located in the very southern corner of the Netherlands. It is known for its medieval-era architecture and lively culture. Situated on the banks of the Meuse River, Maastricht has an airy, picturesque scenery. The city is full of charming squares, cobblestone streets, and green parks, which offer plenty of opportunities for leisurely walks and outdoor activities. One of the highlights of visiting Maastricht is touring historic caves!

Read More: What to do in Maastricht

The Most Beautiful Hotels in Maastricht

Netherlands Road Trip


Make the trek from Maastricht to the fairytale-like village of Giethoorn. Known for its boat-filled waterways, footpaths, and centuries-old thatched-roof homes, Giethoorn is a place you do not want to miss. It is also mostly a car-free town, making it that much more charming.

Read More: Tour Giethoorn Village

Where to stay in the Magical Village of Geithoorn

Netherlands Road Trip


Alkmaar is your quintessential hipster Dutch town. The area is known for its traditional music, modern art, boutique clothing shops, rustic pubs, and trendy restaurants. And of course, its famous Friday cheese market is a must-see!

Read More: Explore the Hispter Dutch Town of Alkmaar

Best Hotels in Alkmaar

EGMOND AAN ZEE (if visiting the warmer months)

If you are visiting during the summer or warmer months, I highly suggest stopping or spending the day on the beach town of Egmond aan Zee. It is a great way to end the trip by relaxing on the beach and enjoying the tranquility of nature. Egmond aan Zee used to be a fishing village, but now it is a quaint seaside town filled with cute beachy shops and delicious restaurants. If you are visiting in the cooler months then I would suggest making Haarlem your last stop before departing.

Read More: Explore the Beach town of Egmond aan Zee

Spend the Night Seaside in Egmond aan Zee


Drop off your rental car at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and sadly depart the Netherlands. If you have an early morning flight you can always stay the night directly at the airport making your travel day run smoothly. Here are some of the airport hotel options, I stayed in the Hilton and it made getting to my 7 a.m. flight so much easier!

If you need help planning or have questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. Did you follow my exact Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip? What was your favorite town you visited?

Looking for more European road trip destinations? Add Croatia to your next bucket list destination!

Meet Mel

I started Mel’s Scene to showcase my trips and offer my personalized itineraries to other global wanderers. I have never cared for material things, I care more so for the experiences and memories that each travel destination has given me.


Leave a Comment