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This vibrant city in The Netherlands has enough nightlife, art galleries and cafes to keep you entertained for days, but if you want more from your trip then get a hire car in Amsterdam and head just outside the city. If you are travelling in springtime then the famous Dutch bulb fields are an easy drive away. The rainbow coloured Flower Strip (known as the Bollenstreek) is an hour from Amsterdam and stretches 20 miles between Haarlem and Leiden. The Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse are also open every growing season, usually from March to May. If you fancy some beach time then drive 45 minutes (25 miles) west to the Dutch coast and the coastal towns of Bloemendaal and Zandvoort, which have seafood cafes, surfing spots and a lively beachfront bar scene. Or visit the historic town of Volendam less than half an hour from Amsterdam, with a quiet harbour and a cheese factory that opens for visitors.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a 25-minute drive of 14 miles into the city centre. The Schiphol Airport train station is directly below the airport and takes about 15 minutes into Amsterdam Central. There are also regular buses that leave from outside Schiphol Plaza.
You could also collect your rental car in Amsterdam city centre. Many of the big Amsterdam car hire companies are based near Overtoom, which is close to the main ring road and the connecting motorways. Car parking is well signposted with an electronic system that directs you to the nearest available spaces.
Dollar, Alamo, Hertz and Thrifty are among the brands offering cheap car hire at Amsterdam Airport.
The Hague, home to the International Court of Justice, royal palaces and numerous embassies, is a simple hour-long journey of 40 miles along the A4. Visit the Peace Palace, which is home to the famous court and has the Eternal Peace Flame burning next to the entrance. The visitors centre has an interactive exhibition on war and peace and explains the court’s history. For a change in tone you could head to the city's two beach resorts - Scheveningen and Kijkduin. Otherwise try the city of Rotterdam, which is half an hour from The Hague by car. Break up the 16-mile journey with a quick stop at Delft, home of the famous blue and white pottery, before heading on to this laidback city. Modern architecture, food markets and shopping are all here in abundance. The Museum Bojimans Van Beuningen has a number of contemporary installations, and the Markthal is an impressive-looking market that houses 100 food stalls and restaurants.
Rent a car in Amsterdam and you could drive all the way to the Belgian border and beyond. Antwerp is just over two hours from Amsterdam, a drive of 100 miles. Visit the home of Peter Paul Rubens, the famous Baroque painter, or head to the botanical gardens for some peace and quiet before hitting the stylish shops in the fashion district. Then try the picturesque city Ghent, which is an hour from Antwerp. Medieval spires and towers pepper the skyline, while the bustling port area of Graslei is the spot for cafes and people watching.
Driving in Amsterdam city centre is difficult due mainly to the huge number of cyclists who rule the road. Try one of the many park and ride systems, which are cheap and tickets can be bought in batches.
Use the Expedia search tool to help you plan your trip to Amsterdam and other parts of The Netherlands. We can help you find the best deals on car hire, flights and hotels, as well as researching the best attractions and activities in the area.