The formation of blood vessels within the vascular system entails a variety of cellular processes, including proliferation, migration and differentiation. In many cases, these diverse processes need to be finely coordinated among neighbouring endothelial cells in order to establish a functional vascular network. For instance, during angiogenic sprouting specialized endothelial tip cells follow guidance cues and migrate extensively into avascular tissues while trailing stalk cells must stay connected to the patent blood vessel. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Notch signalling pathways have emerged as the major players in governing these different cellular behaviours. In particular, recent work indicates an important role for Notch signalling in determining how an endothelial cell responds to VEGF. In this review, we provide an overview of these biochemically distinct pathways and discuss how they may interact during endothelial cell differentiation and angiogenesis.