There's so much to see in Europe, and it can be a big challenge to decide where to go on your European vacation. This is why so many people choose to hop from one country to the next, taking in the sights and sounds of multiple locations over the course of their trip.
Whether you're heading to Europe for a few days or a few weeks, you can fit a lot in with proper planning and preparation, and the continent mostly features very strong road and rail links, so traveling long distances and getting from one city or country to the next isn't always as difficult or time-consuming as it may first appear.
In fact, in almost any major European city, it’s possible to do day trips to other big cities and fun locations quite easily. Amsterdam is a fine example. The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is famed for its winding waterways, fascinating museums, and charming city streets.
Amsterdam is also nicely situated for all kinds of day trips, both within the Netherlands and beyond the country's borders. You can do day trips from Amsterdam down south into Belgium, or east into Germany to several different cities. Here are just some of the best day trips from Amsterdam to Germany.
Day Trip to Dortmund from Amsterdam
Situated in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, Dortmund is the biggest city in the Ruhr area and has a lot of history behind it, as well as being a vibrant and fast-growing city in the modern era too. You can get to Dortmund from Amsterdam by train in about two and a half hours straight from Amsterdam Central, or you can drive in a rental vehicle and be there in about the same amount of time by following the A3.
Whichever way you choose to get to Dortmund, you'll be greeted with a beautiful city and lots of things to do. Some of the top landmarks in Dortmund include the Westfalenstadion, home of the successful Borussia Dortmund soccer team, and the associated German Football Museum. Westfalenpark is an expansive green area to explore, along with Botanishcer Garten Rombergpark. Animal lovers, meanwhile, should head to Dortmund Zoo, and those interested in seeing tall towers can check out the Florian Tower and U-Tower.
Day Trip to Cologne from Amsterdam
A city founded on the banks of the iconic Rhine River, Cologne is one of the main cultural, touristic, and economic hubs for western Germany. It's a city with thousands of years of history to experience and admire, and it's only three hours away from Amsterdam by car or about two hours and 40 minutes away by train on an ICE International service. It’s quite a long journey either way, but if you set off early enough, you can get a full day in the city.
Cologne is famous for its medieval architecture, breathtaking cathedral, and unique attractions like the Phantasialand theme park and the Cologne Chocolate Museum. Other key landmarks and sites of interest in the city include the Museum Ludwig art gallery and the historic buildings of the Old Town area. While visiting Cologne, be sure to taste some of the local delicacies and famous beers.
Day Trip to Düsseldorf from Amsterdam
Also located on the Rhine River, Düsseldorf is another west German city you could try to explore on a day trip from Amsterdam. It's a little closer to the Dutch capital than Cologne, so the journey is significantly shorter. Those who choose to take the train will be able to get to Düsseldorf from Amsterdam Central in about two hours on an ICE International service. Those who drive, meanwhile, can make the journey in about two hours and 20 minutes by following the A3.
When you get to Düsseldorf, it's important to note that the city, like many major locations around Germany, is divided into Altstadt (Old Town) and Neustadt (New Town) areas. The Altstadt is the best place for tourists and is located on the eastern side of the Rhine. There, you'll find the Schloss Benrath palace, the St Lambertus Church, and many other buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.
Day Trip to Münster from Amsterdam
Last but not least, another day trip you might like to consider from Amsterdam will take you to the rustic city of Münster. If you're planning to make the journey by car, it should take about two and a half hours from Amsterdam to Münster. Meanwhile, if you choose to take the train, you'll need to make a couple of changes and the trip will take over three hours, so the best option is to get a rental car and drive.
Münster isn't the biggest city and doesn't have a long list of monuments and sites of interest, but it's a very charming place with quite a romantic atmosphere, so it's a good location for couples looking for somewhere special to explore. You'll find plenty of 13th century buildings here, with the likes of the St Paulus Dom cathedral standing out as a key example. There are also some lovely botanical gardens and a nicely-kept zoo as well, plus a Picasso Art Museum.