|Loenen aan de Vecht|
Even though Amsterdam is by far the most famous city in the Netherlands, it’s certainly not the only one worth visiting, especially if you’ve got a day or two extra. Fortunately, there are many good options that are each within an hour of Amsterdam by train, and an ambitious traveler might even try stopping in more than one in a day.
AlkmaarMany tourists from all over the world visit Alkmaar for its cheese market,a particular spectacle which includes a market filled with all kinds of Dutch cheese and hauling cheese carriers. In 1365 Alkmaar was granted weighing rights and a weighing scale, and in 1612 this numbr increased to four. Exactly when the first cheese market took place is shrouded in mystery. Old documents have been found that confirm the cheese market definately took place in 1622, but there is also evidence that the cheese bearer's guild was founded in 1593; we can therefore deduce that there must have been a cheese market at that time as well.
Volendam, Edam and Marken
Three picturesque Dutch villages; Edam, Volendam and Marken close to one another and only a short trip northeast of Amsterdam.
There are still many windmills around Amsterdam, it's absolutely worth to visit the old factories and some of them are still working. In Zaanse Schans for example, you can have a look inside.
The second largest city in the Netherlands is home to one of the world’s largest ports and a very pleasant center area that is almost all new, so it contrasts nicely with Amsterdam. There are some interesting things going on in the harbor, as well as some pretty good museums.
Den Haag/The Hague
Most of the government offices are in this somewhat sterile city on the coast, but it has a modern center and also some of the best museums outside the few famous ones in Amsterdam.
The famous blue and white pottery called Delftware is still made here in a few factories that love to show off the technique to visitors, especially those who might be interested in buying a piece or two. It’s in between Den Hague and Rotterdam, and a quick stop for those going from one to the other.
This is where you’ll find the largest university in the country, as well as a historic city center that beats Amsterdam in some ways. The Dom Tower of Utrecht is the city’s most famous sight, and probably worth a quick trip there by itself.
More information about Amsterdam:
How to explore Amsterdam
The most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam
Information about canal cruises in Amsterdam