Amsterdam Day Trips

Mar 6th, 2016, 01:35 PM
  #1  
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Amsterdam Day Trips

I have been fortunate to glean lots of great information and ideas from previous posts, but am now looking for some specific guidance regarding potential day trips for our upcoming Amsterdam trip in May. We will have 8 full days in Amsterdam (this is not including travel days, and we have an apartment booked for the entire trip in the de Pijp neighborhood), and based on our preferred activities have allotted three days for what we want to see and do in Amsterdam (these activities include the museums we are interested in visiting, flower market, walking tours and canal tours, photography tours). Each of the following areas/towns listed below interest us, but I am now considering if we should/can combine a couple in one day, and/or renting a car for one or more of the days would be more beneficial than the train (we are comfortable with both options).
- Leiden
- Den Haag
- Gouda
- Utrecht
- Edam
- Delft
- Kinderdijk
- Zaanse Schans

These are in no particular order, and other than Leiden (which looks really lovely) we are not pressed to see one more than the other, and don't necessarily expect to see them all (but wouldn't it be great if we did!) We are arriving May 20, so will miss the chance to see Keukenhof Gardens. Also Rotterdam did not grab us when doing some initial research. So, a long winded way to ask - is 5 days sufficient to do the bulk of these trips, should we combine a few in one day, and is renting a car a better (more efficient, or more scenic) option?
Appreciate and love to hear your thoughts and opinions as always!
Jenn_Mitch is offline  
Mar 6th, 2016, 03:46 PM
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Well Edam can be combined with Zaanse Schanse and Gouda and Kinderdijk too - from Gouda lovely little trafficked back roads go the fairly short distance to Kinderdijk. Den Haag and Delft could be combined depending on what you want to see in Den Haag, a BIG city more like Rotterdam than those other dreamy Dutch regional towns. But if you just want to see the Mauritshuis and the old Royal Palace area that would only take 2-3 hours with easy parking it seems.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 6th, 2016, 03:52 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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It's been a LONG while ago now, but I joined a group tour out of Amsterdam that included Edam, the Zaanse Schans, and several other sites, including Volendam and Marken. I'm not generally overly fond of group tours, but this one worked for me! Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make it to the other places on your wishlist....

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Mar 6th, 2016, 06:27 PM
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we spent 2 weeks touring denmark some time ago. all of your choices are great... but if you are able to bike (slowly and at a flat level)... it is a bike tour to several small cheese farms that i remember best. so different biking along those canals from driving them. we bought some cheese that was just remarkable. (ok... maybe it's the cheese that we really remember...) just a thought for one of your days.
kawh is offline  
Mar 6th, 2016, 07:06 PM
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Amsterdam Day Trips
Posted by: Jenn_Mitch on Mar 6, 16 at 4:35pm


The best and most convenient is Haarlem.
spaarne is offline  
Mar 7th, 2016, 07:22 AM
  #6  
 
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Each of the following areas/towns listed below interest us, but I am now considering if we should/can combine a couple in one day, and/or renting a car for one or more of the days would be more beneficial than the train (we are comfortable with both options).>

Well for cities even like those trains are the best way of going between them - parking in these old cities can be expensive and a long walk from the city centres at times. Dutch trains are fantastic - going twice an hour or more usually anywhere - even Kinderdijk can be reached buy public transport - the nicest way by boat from central Rotterdam (which I find a fascinating foil to the older looking Dutch regional towns) - for lots on trains check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

There are no real railpasses I think that would be cost-effective for those rather close cities. And I agree with spaarne - Haarlem to me is as nice as any of the others and makes a great base due to its great rail links besides being so so gorgeous.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 7th, 2016, 02:35 PM
  #7  
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Thanks very much-I actually "forgot" about Haarlem...will definitely consider that!
Jenn_Mitch is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 11:11 PM
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Oh good, don't go to Rotterdam! (just kidding, now that we're suddenly the darling of Lonely Planets, people are already complaining about "tourists")

Anyway,

I'll do a plug for two open air museums. One in Enkhuizen, which is a beautiful town: the Zuiderzee Museum. It focuses on life pre-1930 around the old Zuiderzee, now IJsselmeer and is a village with different areas: fishing villages, the nineteenth century, Frisian city life, etc.

Grander in its ambitions is the Openlucht Museum in Arnhem (in the East and a beautiful green city with many parks. Also it's the scene of Operation Market Garden and has moving memorials to that time in history)

Leiden, Delft and The Hague can be done in a day, Utrecht is a twenty minute train ride from Amsterdam and a wonderful city to spend a day in.

Edam and Zaanse Schans are a waste of time imo, they're more a name and reputation thing. Zaanse Schans especially is a bit of a tourist trap.

Gouda is beautiful and easily reached via Leiden by train, so you could combine those too.

For Kinderdijk (which is just the amazing mills, and a shack for coffee by the way) you could book a bustour, or diy, but it would require going through Rotterdam to get there. ... (and no, don't even think about it, we like to have our dear city to ourselves )
menachem is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 11:12 PM
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what is that remark about "denmark" doing here? haha!
menachem is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 01:17 AM
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menachem... eeeeeekkk... huge apologies. netherlands. yikes! but the cheese was right on!
kawh is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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Agree about Enkhuizen - a neat town and a stellar indoor and open-air museum.

There is not much in Edam but a row of old warehouses along the main canal - impressive to me but besides that.

Zaanse Schanse may seem a tourist rip-off to Dutch folk like menachem but to tourists who have never seen one of those behemoth wooden Dutch windmills at full tilt and to be able to go inside one is neat - yes Kinderdijk is better but much harder to get to if you don't have a car or bicycle - Kinderdijk windmills were always there I think - Zaanse Schanse windmills were I think brought there from around the old Zuider Zee area.

The indoor museum at Zaanse Schanse is neat but the blatant souvenir gift shop next to it which attracts a parade of bus tour folks wanting to buy wooden shoes, flower bulbs, lace, etc yes is a blight on the area.

But Zaanse Schanse is so so close to Amsterdam and Haarlem it is easy to fit and in the opinion of this veteran traveler in a really scenic location:

https://www.google.com/search?q=zaan...HTwPC-AQsAQIHQ
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 12:57 PM
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I immensely enjoyed my day in beautiful Leiden. I was there on market day and also visited the botanical garden. There are several museums, but I was jet lagged and the one I wanted to see was closed. Just saying it could possibly fill a whole day based on your interests. The train was so convenient I cannot imagine not using it.
yorkshire is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 01:04 PM
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Bruxelles (even Brugge) are easily reachable.
They are great cities, located in a, er, hem, civilized country. Would make a break from the Netherlands...
Whathello is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 11:24 PM
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About getting to Kinderdijk: there now is a direct waterbus from Rotterdam Erasmusbrug. Couldn't be easier, no car necessary. Getting there takes about 30 minutes from the Rotterdam waterbus stop. And while you're there you could do worse than have lunch at the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum: the building used to be the old royal yacht club and it's gorgeous. Beautiful views of the river.
menachem is offline  
Mar 10th, 2016, 05:28 AM
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Yes Leiden is a real sleeper - off most folks' radars but is a sweet Dutch regional town.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2016, 01:12 PM
  #16  
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Thanks to your great feedback, and some more reading, I've crossed Zaanse Schanse and Edam off, and added Haarlem. Will most probably just use public transport, except maybe one day rent a car. I'll do some more research on market days and see what will align best for those. And while while we'd love to dip our toes into Belgium soil, we want to save that for a trip all on it's own in the near future. Looks like we'll get a glimpse of Rotterdam too! Thanks again for your kindness, suggestions, and sharing your experiences ��
Jenn_Mitch is offline  
Mar 10th, 2016, 01:42 PM
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I'll do some more research on market days and see what will align best for those.>

Alkmaar is yet another cute Dutch regional town and is famous for its old-fashioned cheese market on Friday mornings Apr-Sep I think.

If going to Kinderdijk then yes skip Zaanse Schanse. Edam is a long way by train for very little.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2016, 02:07 PM
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Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Alkmaar, all beautiful towns. That's where the real Dutch heritage is. Leiden too, The Hague.

Another tip, the De Rijp village.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Rijp

Google it for images: it's amazing. Such an interesting history too.
menachem is offline  
Mar 10th, 2016, 02:42 PM
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So many neat Dutch towns so little time - been to all mentioned above except De Rijp which I never heard of - on the bucket list - do trains go there.

Another day trip from Amsterdam for art lovers goes by train and bus to Kroller Muller Museum and open-air statue park - loads of Van Goghs inside. About 2 hours each way and you go thru Hooge Veluwe national park - an old sand dune - can get free bikes at entrance and ride thru the lovely wild park to the museum.

Hoorn is neat because it is a port with all kinds of waterways in it.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2016, 02:49 PM
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De Rijp by train?

The 301 bus from Amsterdam Central: takes 40 minutes
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