Towns outside of Amsterdam worth visiting
Most tourists visiting the Netherlands head directly to Amsterdam. And why wouldn't you? It's a picturesque, historic city that offers some of the best museums and amazing restaurants, bars and clubs. And your family and friends back home will probably ask you about it.
There are however many other beautiful towns that are worth a visit. Just a 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam, there is Zaandam with the world famous Zaanse Schans, a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses nearby.
Also quite close to Amsterdam you find the historic towns of Utrecht and Haarlem. Despite being the fourth largest city in the country, Utrecht has - more than Amsterdam - retained a small town feel. In terms of its style it's very different from Amsterdam. And if you like to go out for drinks or a bite, the range of options is almost as big as in Amsterdam. Haarlem is beautiful in its own way and it offers access to the beach and the dunes. Both can be reached by train in less than 30 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station.
If you wanna go to the beach, you can also head to The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch). It is also a beautiful, historic city and also the seat of the government. Nearby you get beautiful towns like Delft and Leiden, that are also worth visiting.
Want see something a bit more modern? Rotterdam and Eindhoven have just the modern feel that you're looking for. Rotterdam is the bigger one of the two with amazing nightlife and good restaurants and bars.