Countryside Get-away

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Oct 24th, 2015, 03:14 PM
  #1
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Countryside Get-away

We will be visiting Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussels in the spring and would like to spend a few relaxing days outside of the big cities. I would love to hear suggestions for a slow-paced town for our base. Delft? Edam? Leiden?. .???
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Oct 24th, 2015, 04:27 PM
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While Amsterdam and Brussels are sizable cities Bruges is quite small - only about 100K people - about the same size as Delft and Leiden. Of the ones you mention only Edam, with a pop of about 8K, is a very small village. Off hand I can't reco any other small villages - but unless they have something there not sure what you would do for the day.

Suggest you have a look at the Michelin green guide, which can provide info on small villages that have a castle of whatever for something to do.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 12:38 AM
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What about going north to Friesland, or to one of the islands?
Otherwise in Belgium head south to the Ardennes.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 12:45 AM
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Thinking about it more maybe Apeldoorn would appeal to you.
Delft and Leiden are small cities, not countryside breaks. Edam is touristy.
Somewhere like Middelburg may also appeal. There is a lot of countryside and hundreds of small towns with accommodation in the Netherlands. Same in Belgium. Maybe if you gave more idea of what you want to do in those few days we could offer more concrete suggestions.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:01 AM
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There is no need to stay in Amsterdam or Brussel. Distances in this part of the world are small and trains are frequent.
Last year I stayed in medium-sized Mechelen as a base for both Brussel and Antwerpen (and Gent as well). Mechelen has everything you expect from a city in Flanders, including a market place for your afternoon beer and dinner, and you're in central Antwerpen and Brussels within some 20 minutes on trains which run about every 10 minutes.
The same is true for Haarlem as a base in the Netherlands. Without all those tourist crowds much nicer than Amsterdam, and there are some eight trains an hour to bring you there in 15 minutes. Leiden is, of course, also a good base, but it's somewhat further from Amsterdam (35 to 45 minutes).
Another interesting place to stay is Dordrecht. More or less undiscovered, it's beautifully situated on a crossroads of waterways and it shows being one of the oldest cities of Holland. It's an ideal base for visiting the windmill complex of Kinderdijk: by bus, by ferry or even by bicycle if you should want to.
For a really relaxing stay in the countryside you could consider to stay on one of the islands: Texel is the most easily reached and will give you a totally different atmosphere.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:02 AM
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One of the most beautiful historic towns is Utrecht in the Netherlands. You will love it (although it is not countryside but a small town). We enjoyed this hotel (which has a nice park): http://www.karelv.nl/en/home/

If you really want to stay in the countryside I can recommend a most charming hotel in Belgium, close to Maastricht:

http://www.labutteauxbois.be/site/en/

A romantic place with rxcellent cuisine!
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:03 AM
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(I hadn't seen hetismij2's suggestion for one of the islands.)
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:05 AM
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(I hadn't seen hetismij2's suggestion for one of the islands.)
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:20 AM
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Spa is nice and full of restaurants (it a bath resort).
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:56 AM
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Living near Utrecht I wouldn't call this city (make a note of that - it is a city, 4th largest in the Netherlands, not a town!) a countryside break. Yes it has lovely areas, and countryside close by (including around where I live) but like Delft and Leiden it ain't countryside.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 02:39 AM
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»... like Delft and Leiden it ain't countryside«
No, not really, and the whole area is heavily urbanised.
But there are possibilities just around the corner. De Rijp (some 25 kilometers north of Amsterdam) has a good combination of history and very Dutch countryside. Other possibilities are around Gouda: Haastrecht and Oudewater are both attractive and within 10 minutes you're in the green. Www.viamichelin.com gives you an indication of accommodation. Www.9292.nl/en# is the tool how to reach all this by public transport.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 06:44 AM
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True, Tom, but Maggie says a countryside break. Staying in another city, which can be done as a day trip from Amsterdam is not my idea of a countryside break. I hope she will come back and define her needs more.
There is plenty of countryside easily accessible from any Dutch city, including the Groene Hart, so the question is does she just want day trips out or to stay in the countryside.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 07:51 AM
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You're right: I was mixing up two issues: an alternative for staying in the big cities, and having a break from city life. Both are possible. And I should of course have mentioned Utrecht as a good base.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 08:22 AM
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I would go with Hetismij's recommendation for Apeldoorn. Visit palace het Loo and/or the national park Hoge Veluwe and the Kroller Moller museum.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 08:28 AM
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I say Texel: easily reached from Amsterdam, lots of interesting places to stay (even yurts) glorious walking and cycling, and you'll be on an island. Travel to Terschelling, Vlieland and Ameland is too involved, with 5 hours needed to get there by public transport.

And near Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Rhenen is a nice spot. Also for bike touring and walks.

Or Zutphen, Deventer.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 08:58 AM
  #16
 
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We actually stayed in a lovely manor house near Spa and found it a good center for touring the area. We visited Liege, Aachen (Charlemagne's capital just over the border in Germany) and then headed south to visit a lot of countryside/small villages/castles, etc. But we were doing a road trip and could just follow our noses and stop whenever we were intruiged by a small museum or church or inn.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 03:46 PM
  #17
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Thank you for all the thoughtful suggestions. I hadn't even considered one of the islands. Texel looks very interesting. I'm also I interested in Appledoorn since it's close to the Kroller Moller. You all have given me lots to research.
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