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thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

Sheboygan, WI
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thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

We have started planning our 2nd trip to the Netherlands and would like to explore beyond Amsterdam. Plan is to go April 2014 so we can see the tulips. On our first visit last year we stayed 3.5 days in Amsterdam, seeing the Anne Frank House, Dutch Resistance Museum, countryside bike tour, Vondel Park, & Albert Cuyp market to name a few sights.

This time around, our priorities in Amsterdam are: Van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum and a canal tour.

The rest of the time we were thinking of taking daytrips to see the following (in random order):

1. bike Waterland (up to Edam and back)

2. Alkmaar, Schermerhorn to see windmills

3. Haarlem

4. Keukenhoff, bike around the countryside

5. Delft

6. Den Haag/beach?

7. Utrecht

If we were to stick to the plan above (with 1 day for each), would you base out of Amsterdam the entire time? I thought with so many trips to the east and south, maybe we should consider staying outside Amsterdam for the trips to Delft/Keukenhof/Den Haag. If we did that, which city would you recommend? Or maybe base out of Harrlem?

Also, should we combine any of those daytrips into 1 day, or keep as is? We don't want to feel rushed.

This is a rough idea to start, and I'm open to suggestions. I have also considered visits to Hoge Veluwe NP, Kinderdijk, or Friesland area, but don't want to constantly be on the move and changing hotels. Not really interested in Rotterdam. If it helps, we like history, photographing scenery, and I am currently obsessed with biking (even bought a Dutch style bike after our last trip).

Thanks in advance.

Rotterdam, The...
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1. Re: thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

Sounds like a good itinerary to me, although I think a full day in Delft may be a bit too much. Perhaps you can combine it with Leiden, another small but charming city that's on the Amsterdam-Delft train route anyway, so you can hop on/off for no extra charge.

For your bike trip in Waterland, this may be a nice route: landschapwaterland.nl/documents/recreatienoo… You can also use part of this route for a trip to Edam, although I personally think Edam is a bit far if you take a scenic route. But it's up to you of course, and I tend to be a bit lazy anyway ;)

See also landschapwaterland.nl/v_zoeken/…

Sheboygan, WI
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2. Re: thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

Thanks for the links!

Would combining Den Haag and Delft be reasonable?

Beach recommendations besides Scheveningen? Really what we are interested in is dunes, picturesque view, not crowds. Would Haarlem and Zuid Kennemerland be too much for 1 day?

Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

<Would combining Den Haag and Delft be reasonable?>

Yes.

<Would Haarlem and Zuid Kennemerland be too much for 1 day?>

No, would be fine for one day. I did that this spring. Really nice dunes. And Haarlem is a lovely city. We took our bikes on a train to (not far from) the dunes, then biked through the dunes, then to Haarlem and back to Amsterdam.

Scheveningen is crowded although the northern part and very southern part can be nice. Noorderstrand (north beach) also has some okay dunes. Crowdedness also depends very much on the weather.

Meijendel near Wassenaar and The Hague is another beautiful dune area which is a bit like Zuid Kennemerland only smaller, with a pancake restaurant in the middle.

As for the rest of the itinerary: looks really nice and I always love when people take the time to see more than just Amsterdam (much as I love the city).

You probably won't need to go to Schermerhorn especially to see windmills. You can see various windmills in Amsterdam proper (the nicest in my opinion is the one over Brouwerij 't IJ beer brewery & bar). iamsterdam.com/en-GB/…windmills

I'm pretty sure you'll also see some on your bike rides in Waterland and in the Keukenhof area, although I never pay particular attention myself.

As for that bike ride in Waterland: there is a ferry between Marken and Volendam which you may want to incorporate in your bike ride. And if you also involve Broek in Waterland on the one hand, and Durgerdam on the other, you can make it a circular ride without much backtrekking the same way.

Amsterdam being an expensive city to stay in, you could indeed consider staying overnight in another city for some of the other daytrips. If you choose The Hague you really need to pick the right area; some are very nice, some are terrible. Delft or Leiden are probably safer options when it comes to being in a picturesque, calm place (without worrying too much about the area, so long as you choose something central) which is still convenient.

Nice to hear you got bitten by the biking virus! If you need any help on scenic bike routes, signposting systems and planning, just give a shout. I do lots of scenic riding and sometimes multiple day bike holidays, so far in the Netherlands and Belgium (and a bit of Germany just across the border). Some beautiful biking can be done in the Veluwe area and past the Hanze cities... and in many other areas.

Cecilia

Amsterdam

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/amsterdam_tips.htm

The Hague, The...
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4. Re: thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

I can highly recommend The Hague. There's lots to do and it's worth renting a bike (for eg from Den Haag station), then cycling to the beach (Scheveningen). I wouldn't bother with Madurodam, it's very interesting but it'll take up a good few hours, and it would be better to see the real things in real size, in real time.

From Den Haag you can easily take a tram no.1 to Delft (20 min by tram), so based on those few things, perhaps worth basing yourself in The Hague for at least 1 but preferably 2 nights. There really is a tonne of things to do here. You could also visit Leiden which is only 15 min by train, so it's a great place to base yourself. And I agree about Rotterdam... Not worth bothering.

5. Re: thoughts on exploring beyond Amsterdam

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