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Comments please on Netherlands Driving Itinerary

Comments please on Netherlands Driving Itinerary

May 7th, 2013, 01:42 AM
  #1  
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Comments please on Netherlands Driving Itinerary

Hi

We are driving across to the Netherlands at the end of May. My husband will be driving and I am navigating (although we have Sat Nav in the car). and he loves driving in mainland Europe. We are looking for areas of natural beauty, interesting insights into the country's history and (when not driving) some tasty beer! Any comments and advice are welcome!

Day 1 Ferry crossing Dover – Calais. Drive to near Leper, stay overnight at Kasteelhof 'T Hooghe. (3 hours to Dover plus another couple of hours in France/Belgium)

Day 2 Drive to Nieuwersluis (between Utrecht and Amsterdam) stay 4 nights at Landhuis Logies Ouderhoek. Best route for a pleasant drive of up to 8 hours including stops?

Day 3 Amsterdam. We will drive 15/20 min. to one of the Park and Rides on the outskirts – either ArenA or Gaasperplas(does anyone have any advice as to which is the better?). Walking tour of the canals, boat trip and maybe a visit to the Rijksmuseum.

Day 4 Car tour around the former Zuiderzee, crossing over the Afsluitdijk. Would the Zuiderzee Museum be worth the time and cost, or is it too child orientated? We will probably stop in Edam, Workum and possibly visit The Batavia and the Nieuw Land Museum at Lelystad.

Day 5 very open. Choice depends on weather, inclination or just what is open on a Sunday! Could be another day in Amsterdam (depends on how much M enjoys it on the Friday!) or just explore locally or drive along the flower route. Alternatively we could go to Het Lo and/or the Kroller Muller Museum and Arnhem. Any comments on these alternatives?

Day 6 drive back to Calais to catch ferry at 18.00. This will probably be a drive straight down to France so we can spend a little time south of Calais as we love the coast around there.

Thanks

Spiral
spiral is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 02:48 AM
  #2  
 
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From Ieper you could visit Brugge (though that perhaps makes more sense on your return journey - the toll free route goes past Brugge) or Antwerp, or maybe Breda would appeal. Difficult for me to suggest a scenic route I'm afraid, as I hit the motorway at Utrecht and fall off it at Calais when I'm heading back to the UK.

If you are crossing the Afsluitdijk, and have the time then consider a visit to Harlingen and maybe to Franeker too before heading back down.
Harlingen would be a good place to stop for lunch actually. I can recommend Eetcafe Nooitgedagt on the Grote Bredeplaats!

Franeker has a wooden planetarium which is interesting to see.
http://www.planetarium-friesland.nl/en
Both are interesting old towns.

Also do visit Hindeloopen, Urk and maybe Schokland on your trip around.

It will be a long day. Not sure if you will have time for everything you are wanting to see in a single day tbh.

I doubt there will be many flowers left at the end of May. Though spring was late it has arrived now and everything is in bloom. Het Loo has lovely gardens so you may enjoy those, and Hoge Veluwe offers some hills and woods as a change from the flatness of your previous day.

Alternatively continuing the old Zuiderzee theme you could visit Elburg, Spakenburg, Naarden and Muiden on your way back from het Loo.

It takes about 4 hours, with a stop, from where I live to Calais, so it will be about the same for you from where you are staying. Do avoid rush hours! Antwerp is a nightmare at rush hour, around Utrecht not much better.

Have a great trip. Good to see someone breaking out of the Amsterdam mould .

Hopefully your taster of the Netherlands will have you coming back for more.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 02:54 AM
  #3  
 
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Between Utrecht and Amsterdam, the area along the Vecht river is lovely. Breukelen, Loenen, and visit the castle in Haarzuilens.

Amsterdam is certainly worth an extra day, though the Veluwe, het Loo are nice too.

For something unusual, if you drive south towards Belgium on your last day, there's an amazing church in the small village of Oudenbosch, that is a smaller copy of St Peter's basilica. It's between Breda and Roosendaal.
Tulips is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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Yes, avoid rush hour in Antwerp. Took us 3 hours from Antwerp to Calais recently. It's normally 2 hours.
Tulips is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for the feedback.

Hetismij- Hindeloopen is definitely on the list now and we'll see about Harlingen but time is the problem! There is far too much to do for the time available but we can always return another year.

Tulips - thanks for the advice re Oudenbosch. I will look into that.

Can anyone comment on the Zuiderzee Museum as I would hate to waste our time if it is too focused on children or if it requires a whole day to do it justice?
spiral is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Sorry, don't know the Zuiderzee museum.

You're doing a lovely driving tour of the Netherlands. I must say, a lot of places that I have not visited!

The Betuwe area is very nice too, but particularly now, when the fruit trees are blooming. Don't know about the end of May. If you find yourself in that area, stop in Buren, an old walled town (looks like a village, but is officially a 'stad').
Tulips is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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I haven't been to the Zuiderzee Museum for years. I can't remember too much about it tbh.
Coincidentally I have a couple of free tickets for it, so I'll be going sometime before the end of May. Not that that is any help to you, sorry!
hetismij2 is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Comments please on Netherlands Driving Itinerary
Posted by: spiral on May 7, 13
We are looking for areas of natural beauty, interesting insights into the country's history and (when not driving) some tasty beer!


I think you have to get out of the car to see the natural beauty. I suggest a bike trip from Haarlem to Zandvoort and then south behind the dunes along the sea.

Perhaps http://www.zaanseschans.nl/ would satisfy some of your need for the country's history. Having a car makes this a snap trip.

Beer? Whoever heard of such stuff in Holland? I suggest that you ask for a glass of pils. It's everywhere. Delicious.
spaarne is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 11:50 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for your comments Spaarne.

We agree that to get the best we will have to get out of the car. One reason we are staying at Landhuis Logies Ouderhoekhttp www.ouderhoek.nl is so we can walk along the Vetch in the evenings.

Believe it or not, my 55 year old husband never learnt to ride a bike so regretfully we cannot take your advice re Haarlem to Zandevoot.

Thanks for suggesting Zaanse Schans which seems as though it might fit better timewise than the Zuiderzee Museum (which looks more and more like it is worth a whole day out!) Please, Hetismij, let us know how you enjoy your trip there.
spiral is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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From Amsterdam we did a day trip to Zaanse Schans to see the wind mills, which I highly recommend.

Brugge is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen, and you can walk it all, including some wind mills in the peripheries. I can recommend a great little family run hotel right on a canal, let me know if you want me to look for it in my "travel memories" from last year.
Olgavictoria is offline  
May 9th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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Zuiderzeemuseum is nice, but opt for the Buitenmuseum: it gives an impression of the world that vanished when the Afsluitdijk was built, then drive across it to Friesland. Franeker is nice, the planetarium worth a visit. I'd always chose the Zuiderzeemuseum over the Zaanse Schans. The latter is a tourist trap, the Zuiderzeemuseum has a collection with a respectable pedigree and has an interesting story to tell about how the Dutch dealt with the threat of the sea. Zaanse Schans tells you next to nothing about Dutch History.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkJIz4V1GX0
menachem is offline  
May 9th, 2013, 01:19 PM
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I too would avoid Zaanse Schans. If you want to see windmills go to Kinderdijk instead.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 9th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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menachem and hetismij2 may be jaded on their local sites. The Zaanse Schans is convenient to Amsterdam. There are several windmills, one of which is almost always open. As an engineer I found it fascinating as the wind ran the sails and the gears spun while we climbed around inside. I also had a pair of wooden shoes made there and have worn them at times. They are surprisingly comfortable with a pair of heavy woolen socks, and very warm.

The rebuilt windmill De Adriaan in Haarlem is interesting but a bit too sanitized.
spaarne is offline  
May 9th, 2013, 01:39 PM
  #14  
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Thanks for the warning about Zaanse Schans and the suggestion of Kinderdijk.

I have just been planning our drive north from Ieper. We visited Brugge in the recent past and so will not go this time. We want to enjoy our drive rather than visit any towns this time.

I am considering going through the Westerschelde tunnel, across Zeeland and then to Kinderdijk and driving up the banks of the Lek to Utrecht. Is this a reasonable plan? We would intend to take the entire day.
spiral is offline  
May 10th, 2013, 02:43 AM
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You mean, like this => http://goo.gl/maps/uNq5P (highways included as much as possible). That is a 4 hour drive at least, without stopping to see anything.

I guess you want a couple of hours in Kinderdijk, have lunch and just enjoy the ride. If you want to avoid highways hat would be more than just a long trip: http://goo.gl/maps/eUq7M, over 7 hours!

I would suggest something not over 250km /150 miles (that is what we usually do when planning a tour with our local carclub).
The_lonely_traveler is offline  
May 10th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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@spiral Sounds lovely. Make sure you stroll around the beautiful town of Schoonhoven. Just take the ferry boats a couple of time to switch banks. You drive on top of the dyke to Utrecht. Vianen is nice too. Lunch in Kinderdijk, I wouldn't do it: there's a souvenir shop, a cafe that does pancakes and a place that's overrun by coach tourists. Better to drive on and have lunch at Schoonhoven, which is 30 minutes from Kinderdijk.
menachem is offline  
May 10th, 2013, 10:20 AM
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a couple of hours in Kinderdijk is really overdoing it. The watergang is nice to look at, and you can visit one mill, get an explanation on how the entire set up works and that's it. But the area along Lek to Utrecht is really the quintessentially Dutch river landscape. Really special. I go cycling there a lot and I love it dearly.
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