Trains to Holland
Of course, there’s much more than ooey gooey delicious stroopwafels to entice you to say ‘hello’ to Holland, and thanks to great Netherland trains, it’s easy to discover them all for yourself. Naturally, we recommend taking a train to make the most of your trip, plus who doesn’t want to enjoy the cross-channel magic that is the Eurostar?
Eurostar to Holland
More than just a shuttle to Disneyland Paris, the Eurostar travels well beyond the French capital, and we implore you to make the most of the many routes and trains in Europe it opens up. The train from London to Holland can get your there in just under 4 hours if you take the London to Amsterdam train direct.
You shouldn’t turn your nose up at the ideal of a fractured journey, though, there’s plenty to see and do outside of the canal city, not to mention that a few stop off points can be the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam compared to a direct train. We’ve rounded up some of the best spots to visit along the way.
You may find that your Eurostar train from London to Holland makes a call in France, and you should definitely take advantage of it if it does. Lille is a likely stop and this chic city in northern France is a great place to start your getaway. With plenty of museums, a grand palace and Europe’s largest flea market all calling the city home, your inner culture vulture, shopaholic and foodie will all be catered to – the moules frites are a must-eat. Taking a train from Lille to Amsterdam will take about 2.5 hours at an affordable price if booked in advance, which all bodes well for your spirit of adventure as it points you right towards Belgium.
The Eurostar to Amsterdam commonly has stop-off points at various Belgian cities, so it’s a great way to make your Holland holiday into a European mini-tour. As the capital, Brussels is likely to be a stop-off point for any train from London to Holland that comes with a change or two, and it has plenty to keep you busy while you wait for your transfer or treat yourself to an overnight stay. The Atomium sculpture is an icon of the city, so we recommend you grab yourself a holiday snap in front of it, even if your time in Brussels is narrowed down to a few hours. Plus, who needs an excuse to indulge in some delicious Belgian French fries?
Antwerp is another common port of call, and while you may not be ready to actually buy any of the famous diamonds (hardly the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam, after all), you can still admire them in the dedicated district, the oldest centre of trade for these precious stones in Europe. Or you can just settle for diamond-shaped chocolates – diamonds are forever, unless they’re made of chocolate, then we give them three minutes tops, but if you can make them last an hour, they can tide you over on the train from Antwerp to Amsterdam!
Once you’re arrived in the Netherlands you’ll have plenty of adventure to choose from. Amsterdam certainly isn’t short of attractions, whether that’s taking in its fantastic museums, enjoying the sights from the water on a canal cruise, or experiencing the unique vibes of its red light district, plus we promised you stroopwafels right? Albert Cuyp Markt is the place to head for fresh baked deliciousness, you can even cover it in chocolate!
While we fully support your decision to stay here and ride the sugar high (you can buy them in stacks of ten so you’ll not have to worry about running out) it would be plain irresponsible of us to suggest your journey should stop here.
A train from Amsterdam-Centraal can connect you to some of the best places to visit in the Netherlands, here are just a few places you can reach in no time.
Also known as Den Haag, The Hague is the political heart of the Netherlands and plays no small part on the global stage as the International Court of Justice is also based here. While the city may not have its youthful finger on the pulse quite like Amsterdam, we think that’s what makes it such a great destination after a foray in the capital. Set on the seafront, The Hague offers coastal charm (catch the sunset from Scheveningen Pier for a sort of romance even the capital can’t offer), modern marvels in its business centre and plenty of history in its town squares. So even if there is a notable lack of neon lights and tourist traps, there is plenty of charm to this city, as well as a few coffee shops if you acquired a taste for them back in Amsterdam.
The train from Amsterdam to The Hague takes between 40 – 50 minutes and passes through Leiden which is a detour we highly recommend.
If the capital is all a bit too buzzy for you, try Leiden, a city with all the canal-side charm on a more intimate scale. Bursting with historical beauty, things to do in Leiden centre around the stunning architecture that dates back centuries. Start at the Hortus Botanicus Leiden, the city’s botanical gardens and one of the oldest in the world. If you took the train from London to Holland via King’s Cross St. Pancras, you might want to visit the fifteenth-century Hooglandse Kerk in the knowledge that it was built in honour of St Pancras (and as train geeks we thought that was cool). Despite its many aged attractions, Leiden is actually a fairly youthful city, with a thriving student population that gives it a lively atmosphere at night so you can end your day of history with a bit of modern clubbing.
Get to Leiden from Amsterdam by train, an easy 40-minute ride.
After you’ve taken in Leiden and The Hague, what’s one more stop on your Holland holiday? The Hague to Rotterdam by train takes just half an hour, so there’s no reason to skip it if you wanting to take in the best of the Netherlands.
Contrary to popular belief, Rotterdam couldn’t just be anywhere (but belting out the tune as you disembark your train is forgivable), it’s much too unique for that – as proven the second you arrive by the ultra-cool design of the station. Keep on the theme of awe-inspiring architecture and head to the Cube Houses, a mind-bending development that looks like someone has wedged colourful toy blocks between apartment buildings and a photographer’s delight. Take in the views from the Euromast, an observation tower that stands at 185 metres tall, but don’t worry about climbing up endless stairs, the lift can get you to the top in a mere 30 seconds. If you want a more adventurous route back, you can try abseiling down!
You can take the Eurostar from London to Rotterdam direct if you want to start your journey up towards Amsterdam rather than working your way down, or if you just (gasp) want to visit the one city alone, it’ll take a little over 3 hours.
Windmills and tulips, Holland's timeless icons, are an essential sight for any visitor to the Netherlands. For this, we recommend Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts not one, not two, but nineteen charming windmills to admire, all in easy reach of Rotterdam too. These amazing structures have been spinning away for over 1000 years, making the landscape a uniquely beautiful sight and making the area one of the most photographed spots in the country. A waterbus will carry you to Kinderdijk from Rotterdam for a picturesque way to reach the area.
Well, we’re pretty sure it’s a done deal after that round-up of awesome destinations, but if you’re still not all booked up for an awesome Amsterdam city break or an all-out rail tour of the country, head to our booking pages and secure yourself a European adventure!