10 days in Amsterdam!

May 16th, 2006, 06:07 PM
  #1  
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10 days in Amsterdam!

We are taking a trip to Amsterdam for 9 days. Does anyone have a suggested itenerary for someone who has NEVER been to Europe before? We have reservations in Hotel Estheria for all nights but are definitely open to day trips to countryside, nearby countries, etc. I hope 9 days is not too much, but we really wanted to relax and take it slow. We are both 40 year old teachers but love to bike and explore and have fun. Also, if you have another hotel or rental suggestion for 9 days, we have the option to cancel hotel. Thanks for your help everyone.
genie777 is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 10:53 PM
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Pulbic transport (Trains, trams. buses etc.) are plenty all over NL.
It is easy to travel within Amsterdam, but also to The Hague, Delft (very nice old city), Zaanse Schans, Rotterdam, Gouda, Arnhem, Alkmaar etc.
Also very good connections with Antwerp, Brussels etc.
In this forum many info has been given about various cities, please search around.
Ida101 is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 11:10 PM
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When are you going? I don't know how the long the flowers in the bulb fields will be there for. But if you go while they're still there, you may want to consider cycling around the Leiden-Sassenheim-Lisse area.

We hired bikes at the shop right at the Leiden train station for 7.50 Euro per bike. Took us 1.5 hours to Sassenheim but this is with at least 8-10 photograph stops every 10 mins as the place was beautiful. We cycled directly back to Leiden in under 45 minutes.
perth2europe is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 11:32 PM
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I think 9 days is a bit much for Amsterdam. My wife and I went there a few years back and we stayed 4 days and then we moved on to Paris Paris is only a few hours away by train and there are more to see there. Here is a trip report from Amsterdam http://gardkarlsen.com/amsterdam.htm. My wife and I returned to Paris this April and I'm working on that trip report at the moment Have a great trip.

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 11:37 PM
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My daughter and I stayed for five nights last summer, and had lots of things left to do. A daytrip to Antwerp is quite possible (you mentioned other countries). Otherwise, I would go to Rotterdam, den Haag, Leiden, Haarlem, and Delft for daytrips. We only got to Rotterdam.

Nine days sounds like a very pleasant relaxed trip.
WillTravel is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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My wife and I were in Amsterdam for a week last December. Actually we were staying in Zandvoort using a timeshare, but took the train in every day. We found so much to do even in a cold, rainy month that we are planning to go back next May when the nicer weather will allow us to do even more, i.e. biking, tulips, outdoor cafes. I don't think 9 days is overdoing it. And if you do get bored after a few days,hop on a train and in a couple hours you're in a different country for an overnight ot two. Go for it.
tallboy is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 10:26 AM
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I can't imagine that 9 days would be too much in Amsterdam. Was there for 9 myself last Sept. and will be going back for 9 more this year to catch some of the things I missed. (Not that I have a lack of imagination but my husband does a trade show there, so it makes a cheaper vacation for us - plus we're staying for another week and going to Belgium this Sept.) Admittedly, we weren't actually in Amsterdam the entire time and won't be this year, either. A lot of remarkable places are 20-60 min. by train.

Just the museums alone could take up much of your time, despite the fact that the collections on view at the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk are limited due to renovations scheduled for completion in maybe a couple more years. Even allowing that the Scheepvaartmuseum might not be to everyone's taste - including mine - and those who can't wait to see one of the sex museums and/or the torture museum might not be interested in the Bible museum or vice versa, there are plenty of museums left from Amstelkring, Anne Frank, Kattenkabinet, Van Gogh, Rembrandthuis, Allard Pierson - and on and on. In an hour or less you can be in Utrecht, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, countless more destinations. Trains run frequently. Antwerp is do-able as a day trip. You can spend most of a day in Haarlem, 20 min. by train. Though some people have disparaged Zaanse Schans as being too touristy, my husband and I enjoyed a couple of hours there in "postcard Holland" and it's only 20 min. by train, another 20 on foot. I think the Zuiderzeemuseum would probably also be worth a couple of hours or more and I might go this year myself. You can probably search a thread on this forum about picking up a bike at one station, taking it on the train to the next, and biking back along the sea - another thing we didn't have time for last year.

Wish I had been as wise about the "relaxing and taking it slow" stuff when I was your age. I'm only discovering now the roses that are out there for the smelling if only you're not rushing so fast you fail to notice them - and only because my body refuses to act like it's 30 or 40 or even 50 anymore. Too bad I didn't come to it sooner. Amsterdam is a wonderful walking city (as long as you don't get run over by a bike) and some of the most pleasant times my husband and I have had were walking along the canals (maybe with EyeWitness Amsterdam for a self-guided tour), wandering through one of the parks, browsing the Albert Cuypmarkt or Bloemenmarkt. Buy yourself some fresh fruit or unusual cheese, get a bunch of beautiful - and cheap - Dutch flowers to take back to your hotel room. Visit the very nice Artis Zoo. When your feet get tired, hop into a canal boat. There are roses everywhere in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, if you ask me, is a great introduction to European travel. Kind of "Europe lite". I felt at ease there on my first visit in '71 and again 30 some years later when I returned. The culture shock isn't so great, English is widely spoken, all kinds of food is widely available (and Dutch food isn't so different from traditional US if you're not adventuresome), transportation is good and easy to use. What's not to like? (Well, I find the Red Light District to be sad as I am no longer so sure prostitution is a victimless crime, but it's easy to avoid.) Being a pedestrian there isn't a cup of tea since everything else - trams, cars, buses, and bikes - seems to have the right-of-way and zebra crossings are more on the order of suggestions, not the semi-safe crossing sanctuary you may be used to at home. But once you you develop a moderate case of paranoia, you can get around safely.

You'll have a wonderful trip and I know you'll love it. Just the things I mentioned could use more than 9 days - the parts before the "etc." - and others will tell you still more.
polly229 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 11:09 AM
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If they still have the day passes on the trains you can go wherever you want in a day and cover a lot of territory. So easy too. I think it was only 2-2 hours to Arnhem. We also visited Delft and the miniature world of Madurodam... and wished we'd had more than six days in the Netherlands.
April is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 11:18 AM
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I think 9 days will be wonderful! Not too long by any means. I was there for 5 days (first stop, last trip, mostly to get over my jet lag before moving on) and the time passed so quickly and I didn't even do any of the usual tourist activities. Point being, you won't find a shortage of interesting things to see and do.
suze is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 11:32 AM
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As much as I like A-Dam I think it would be a big mistake the spend the entire time in the city without at least doing some of the day trips proposed earlier.

Yes, you could spend the whole time there but unless your sole objective is to see that city and nothing else in The Netherlands I would look to vary my experience a bit.
Intrepid1 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 11:35 AM
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Marking
Byrd is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Intrepid1- I didn't mean to discourage them from day trips... definitely do some of those!!

I was only attempting to contradict the many posters here who seem to feel a couple days is more than enough for Amsterdam.
suze is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 02:23 PM
  #13  
 
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Do some day-trips outside of A-Dam. Holland is small and the rail service is excellent. Try the city of utrecht, just 25 min by train (Old & new canals, dom church, netherlands railway museum) excellent food & drink. Haarlem is another nice choice, and if you like history go to Naarden-Vesting (Naarden Fortress) a double walled, double moated town of some beauty. Delft is great too (see film: Girl with Pearl Earing). If you like the sea, seafood & casino, go to Scheveningen) My point is: you cannot get a balanced Nederland experience by just staying in Amsterdam, but if you do, you'll have a great time nonetheless. Have a great trip!!
BreukelenMan is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 06:37 PM
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We always go to Amsterdam for a least 10 days, but alway take day trips..Alkmaar, Zaanse Schans (sp), Haarlem, Marken, Utrecht, Zandvoort...just to name a few. We have stayed at the Estheria hotel before, and really liked it..But last time we visited Amsterdam, last year, we stayed at the Hotel Agora....which is just across the canal from the Estherea. One thing i can suggest if u like biking is http://www.letsgo-amsterdam.com/ for day biking trips..We took one last April and had an excellent time...

But i would have no problem staying the whole 9 days in Amsterdam!! It is a great city with tons of things to do..
TracyB is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 09:27 PM
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Post from Polly 229....
"Wish I had been as wise about the "relaxing and taking it slow" stuff when I was your age. I'm only discovering now the roses that are out there for the smelling if only you're not rushing so fast you fail to notice them - and only because my body refuses to act like it's 30 or 40 or even 50 anymore. Too bad I didn't come to it sooner. Amsterdam is a wonderful walking city (as long as you don't get run over by a bike) and some of the most pleasant times my husband and I have had were walking along the canals (maybe with EyeWitness Amsterdam for a self-guided tour), wandering through one of the parks, browsing the Albert Cuypmarkt or Bloemenmarkt. Buy yourself some fresh fruit or unusual cheese, get a bunch of beautiful - and cheap - Dutch flowers to take back to your hotel room. Visit the very nice Artis Zoo. When your feet get tired, hop into a canal boat. There are roses everywhere in Amsterdam."

Beautiful reflection.
JandaO is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 09:36 PM
  #16  
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Thank you so much everyone for the great feedback/suggestions about Amsterdam. We are really looking forward to the trip.
Does anyone know if there is a YMCA in Amsterdam? We would like to work out at the YMCA if we could while we are there.
Also we are staying at Hotel Estheria... does anyone have a suggestion on a particular room to ask for or to avoid?
genie777 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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genie 777,
First call the Estherea and ask if all their major renovating is done. I was there in 2004, they were in the first stages of a long-range re-do of a neighboring building. The construction noise drove me crazy - it was a good thing that I was leaving for a few days in Germany. My room at the Estherea was rather dark and poky, but overall acceptable. The housekeepers are very hard working, and everything was cleaner than clean. The best rooms are on the top floor of their original building, with "period" Dutch furnishings (heavy dark furniture and brass chandelier, etc.). The other rooms are all acceptable but more mundane. The location of the Estherea can't be beat, and I found the staff very accommodating.
dovima is offline  
Jun 19th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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RE: Alternatives to your chosen hotel.

I love, love, love the Ambassade, but it is a bit more expensive than the Estherea. Even if you don't stay there, you can book a massage at their spa, the Koan Float.

I also really like the B&B called t'Hotel on the Leliegracht. Small place, former apartment type residence, location is terrific on a very small canal on the edge of the Jordaan. NO elevator - if that is a deal-breaker for you. There was a nice, buffed young receptionist who carried my bag upstairs, so it was not a problem (in fact it was a pleasure!) for me.

The major piece of advice I'd have about hotels in A'dam (having stayed in 4 different ones) is to not go below the price point of the Estherea. Any cheaper and I think you would end up unhappy - there is a real dearth of decent mid-range places.
dovima is offline  

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