Stately homes and gardens near Amsterdam

The landscape along the banks of the winding River Vecht makes for a beautiful day trip from Amsterdam. Dotted along the river bank, you’ll get a glimpse of ambitious country estates. Some of these magnificent houses date back from the Dutch Golden Age when Amsterdam’s wealthy merchants would retreat to rural locations to relax in the summertime.

Idyllic villages with ancient churches and red brick houses are interspersed by grand estates that will cause you to take a second look. Pass through the peaceful farmlands and see the occasional windmill. Towards the north of the Vecht is Nigtevecht, a charming historic village that is well worth a visit.

Visit castles and historic fortresses

On this journey you will encounter some extraordinary castles. Nyenrode Castle in Breukelen dates back to the 13th century when it was built for Knight Gerard Splinter van Ruwiel. The majestic building is now the location of Nyenrode University. Castle Muiderslot is similarly positioned on the banks of the River Vecht. The exquisite castle (complete with turrets straight out of a fairytale) is open to the public. It hosts guided tours and regular activities for families and children.

The star-shaped town of Naarden is another fascinating example of this region’s rich history. This fortified town is encased in moats and stone walls, which were once used as military defence.  

Take a day trip from Amsterdam

The Historical River Estates are best explored by bicycle or boat. Whichever you choose, follow the meandering river and take in the scenery. Along with plenty of picturesque picnic spots, you will encounter a selections of cafés and eateries along the way.