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Amsterdam or Madrid with children in July?

Amsterdam or Madrid with children in July?

Apr 28th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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Amsterdam or Madrid with children in July?

I'm considering taking the kiddies to Europe this summer, and want to go to the Prado or Amsterdam. I've never been to either. I'd like to take 2 weeks, as we'll be coming all the way from CA. Is Madrid going to be scorching? Is Amsterdam going to be dull for an 8 and 12 year old boys? They're good, polite travelers, but have their limits! Is either destination going to fill up 2 weeks? We like day trips from central locations, but aren't crazy about hotel-hopping.
mamazebra is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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really depends on their interests. We took our boys to both places but they were a bit older. Amsterdam will have the canals, bikes, windmills, in addition to the museums, churches, etc. Vondelpark was a bit hit for us; I just found Amsterdam to be a bit more of a destination than Madrid which for us was more of another big city. Yes, they enjoyed Prado and the palace but Van Gogh, Rijks, Anne Frank, Our Lord in the Attic, Dutch Resistance, and so on was more fun.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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I agree with the above posting, Amsterdam may hold the kids' attention a bit more. Yet, two weeks is way too long for either city, unless you plan on studying there.

I was in Madrid for July and August years ago and, yes, it is very hot. However, there are a number of hotels, in both mid and luxe price ranges with pools. If you opt for Madrid then absolutely opt for a hotel with a pool too. The kids will need it, as will you.

I love Madrid and there are a number of good day trips to nearby cities and castles. Yet, there is also much to see near to Amsterdam. The choice might depend on where else you want to spend the next the rest of the two weeks. Also, the cultures are very different; take that into account, as is the food (the food in Madrid is excellent). Which are you more interested in?

We took our similarly aged kids to Barcelona last year and there is also much to see and do there. It can be combined easily with Madrid. You can also head north a bit from Barcelona to some very nice small beach towns on the Costa Brava, within 90 minutes of Barcelona. Avoid the built-up package tourist towns. Girona is also a great one day excursion from Barcelona which the kids will like, with much to see there too. Have fun.
tengohambre is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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I would think kids would enjoy Amsterdam much more than Madrid (which resembles noting so much as Chicago - lots of grey stone high rise ofice buildings - very big city) and will be VERY hot. Also - meal times are very late for kids used to having dinner at 7pm. (Few places open before 9, most people dine at 10 esp in the summer). And it's hard to do much in the middle of the day due to the heat.

I think kids would enjoy Amsterdam much more - canals, boat trips, cute little houses, bike riding and trips into the countryside to see windmills, legoland, etc.

Are you planning on doing 2 weeks in one place? If not - you could see some nifty kid stuff in Holland and Belgium - castles, WWII museums with tanks, armor etc.,
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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This thread is somewhat similar. I argue for Amsterdam.

WillTravel is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:44 PM
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I would agree with Amsterdam, but not for the whole two weeks. Why not see if you can stay elsewhere in Holland, or Belgium for part of the time. There is plenty to do which kids would enjoy. If you sail you can hire a small sailing dinghy for a day or two up in Friesland and explore the lakes, or go to the Weeribben NP and hire canoes for a trip there. Both can be done as a day trip from Amsterdam, or you could choose a hotel up there to explore that region further for a few days. For sailing closer to Amsterdam you could try the Loosdrechtse plassen. Or try http://www.wetlandssafari.nl/ closer to Amsterdam.
NEMO science museum is good in Amsterdam. For a theme park try Walibi :
http://tinyurl.com/oywn6. These trips will involve hiring a car (except the safari which meets you at the station in Amsterdam.
The Dutch Airforce museum at Soesterberg is interesting, and after that you could head for the woods and have a long walk. If you go to Soesterberg then go to Soest, and have pancakes at De Smikkel! Also you can drive past Soestdijk Palace, home of the late queen Juliana. It is open to the public, but tickets can only be booked online and wouldn't be of much interest to your children I think.
Apenheul in Apeldoorn (http://tinyurl.com/2aq8wu) could be fun amd you could combine it with Het Loo Palace. There are other good zoos around too, includin Artis in Amsterdam.
hetismij is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 12:00 AM
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Oh and nytraveller there is no Legoland in Holland!
hetismij is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 12:24 AM
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I would choose Amsterdam. When I took my daughter there at age 10 she enjoyed:
Madurodam, The Hague. Holland in miniature.
Duinrell, Wassenaar. Water amusement park.
Linnaeushof, south of Haarlem. Amusement park.
Zandvoort, The beach.
Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem. Challenge your boys to find their favorite painting.
Tylers Museum, Haarlem. Interactive science displays and eclectic natural history collection.
Zaanse Schans, north of Amsterdam. Old Dutch village with windmills you can climb around in. Wooden shoe factory.
Cruquius Expo, Haarlem. Huge old steam engine and working hydo map of Holland.
Bicycling around Haarlem.

Two weeks might be enough to see all these plus the attractions normally listed in travel guides. I recommend Michelin and Fodors. All of the sites can be reached by train, tram, and/or bus.

For family accommodations you might like to stay outside Amsterdam. In Zandvoort there are plenty of Zimmer frei, "room available," signs. It's in German because there are so many German families who visit the beach for a few weeks in the summer. These are very cheap but normally do not offer breakfast. There are several B+B, "bed and breakfast," places in Haarlem which offer excellent value. Haarlem is a beautiful strolling city. I used to live there.

Use Google.com to learn more.

hopscotch is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 12:35 AM
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Another thought for a day out is Muiderslot, not far from Amsterdam. It is a 13th century castle, which you can either explore for your self or have a guided tour around.
It is covered by the Museumjaar Kaart (the annual museum pass) which would be well worth you buying!
hetismij is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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Two weeks? You could go to both places and fly a budget airline in between. I like vacations that sample two very different cultures.

Vueling flies between Amsterdam and Madrid, a good Spanish budget airline that I took last summer. www.vueling.com.

For other airlines, you can check www.whichbudget.com.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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I haven't been to either city since having kids but would agree with those who think Amsterdam would probably be best especially in summer weather.
This link looks good for ideas in either city:
Vttraveler is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 02:30 PM
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Wow! What great responses! Thank you all! I think we'll stick with northern Europe and try Spain in the winter some day. The boys LOVED the Imperial War museum in London, and my eldest has studied Anne Frank, so it sounds like Amsterdam is the winner this time. We'll plan some of day trips as per your recommendations, and maybe spend a week in Germany or Prague. Wow! Thanks again!
mamazebra is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 02:39 PM
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hi, mama,

think your choice of amsterdam is a very good one.

there is an excellent website for holland - think it's www.holland.com - or similar.

If you wanted some activity [a good idea in 2 weeks with kids] there are a number of companies who organise cycling holidays - you cycle, they take your luggage for you.

good luck

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
May 13th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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You mention Germany as a possible choice for your second week. We spent time in southern Germany a few years ago with our son who was then 9.
He enjoyed various castles (many to choose from), the Deutsches museum in Munich, the salt mines, Schloss Hellbrun with its water tricks outside Salzburg and a trip up the Wendelstein.
We also played a lot of miniature golf...
Vttraveler is offline  

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