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Holland Itinerary

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Aug 30th, 2016, 06:51 PM
  #1
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Holland Itinerary

We are traveling from Brittany to the Netherlands via train in September to visit my father-in-law's birthplace near Sneek. We will have 3-4 days in the Netherlands and would like to explore the surrounding area and places along the way as we head south to Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Any suggestions of stops to include would be appreciated.
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Aug 30th, 2016, 08:22 PM
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With a car you could drive over the Zuyderzee dike (E22) and visit Hoorn and Enkhuisen, the latter has an interesting outdoor and indoor museum.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7623082534450/ and subsequent pictures
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Aug 31st, 2016, 02:19 AM
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Go to Bruxelles.
Much better than anywhere in Netherlands ;-)
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Aug 31st, 2016, 05:11 AM
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Holland Itinerary
Posted by: avankampen on Aug 30, 16 at 9:51pm
Posted in: Europe
We will have 3-4 days in the Netherlands and would like to explore the surrounding area and places along the way as we head south to Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Any suggestions of stops to include would be appreciated.


Haarlem.
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Aug 31st, 2016, 07:32 AM
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So is this after you've visited your relatives and are then traveling south? Or on your way to them from the south?

(my family is from around Sneek, so I'm doubly curious)

Anyway, by train you're somewhat bound to the main train lines and then Amsterdam is a good hub from your journey to or from Sneek. (takes about 2.5 hours to Heerenveen, 3 to Leeuwarden with a change to the local train to Sneek (add another 30 minutes) There's also a bus across Afsluitdijk from Alkmaar (easy change at Zurich to a bus for Sneek) but it's somewhat of a public transport detour. Pretty fast journey though, considering the distance.

One thing you might want to do is leave Amsterdam and Rotterdam and instead opt for a short break on one of the Frisian islands, Terschelling will be the most convenient.
Also, I assume that your relatives will be able to collect you from the train station, in that case Heerenveen is the best stop.

Friesland of course has gorgeous mini-cities (of which Sneek is one): Stavoren, Workum, Sloten, Harlingen, Franeker, Leeuwarden etc. The Frisian Museum in Leeuwarden, now in a new building, is great.

You might also rent a launch and explore some of the waterways and lakes. A tour of 1 or 2 days will get you far, and september can have great weather for it. Rentals are easy from Sneek, Heeg, or Akkrum.
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Aug 31st, 2016, 08:08 PM
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First, thank you so much for your detailed reply. We don't actually know of any family in the Netherlands, though I'm certain there are some relatives. My husband simply wants to visit the town his dad was born in, Bolsward. We visited there, and Sneek, about 18 years ago, but he would like to return. We found it very charming and beautiful. Accordingly, since there will be no visiting with family, we could make other stops on our way north, or on our way back south. We are traveling from Brittany on Eurail, and they have us going via Paris through Rotterdam to Leeuwarden with a change to Sneek. We weren't planning on renting a car, but rather thought we could rely on trains and buses. We do own a boat, so my husband loved your idea of renting a launch for a day. We will be researching the options. Once again, many thanks!
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Aug 31st, 2016, 11:05 PM
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In that case, I'm going to make a bold suggestion: throw all that time into a boating adventure with a launch (Sloep) for 3 or 4 days. Friesland is prime yachting territory, with as its special feature that all of its cities, and many very charming villages can be reached by water and are connected to each other that way. In addition there are a large number of lakes, also all connected and all with different scenic characteristics. In september, the school holidays are over, but it's not yet the season's end, so it's not very busy anymore, but still lively and all amenities still open. Of course the weather needs to be good, but increasingly, rental outfits now have "bad weather" policies and many are small, family run operations, so there's always something to work out, especially as you're visiting from abroad. You can usually book online with them.

A few years ago my wife and I did exactly this, for 3 days. We rented a launch from De Drijfveer, in Akkrum, because that is village is on the main train line to Leeuwarden and is situated right in the middle of two lake systems that connect through it. We could collect our launch at the marina end of day before the rental period started, so we booked a hotel (Goerres, right on the waterway) for a night, collected the launch and set off the next morning (competent dinner at the hotel too, no hardship at all). We did a tour to Eernewoude (gorgeous B&B there, "Bij Baukje") and the beautiful Princenhof area. It's very beautiful there, a labyrinth of narrow waterways through wooded areas that are only accessible by boat. After Eernewoude we took our time touring to and exploring Grouw, one of those marina centered yet authentically preserved villages. We stayed at Hotel Oostergo (could park te launch right on their doorstep and went for a little sail of the lake and its surroundings in the early evening) Many dinner options in the village. Next day was the day we were to hand over the launch again, and we used Prinses Margriet Kanaal (a major inland shipping waterway, but perfectly doable) to reach Sneekermeer. We had lunch at the Paviljoen, on an island in Sneekermeer, then went back through Terkapler and Terhornster Poelen (as a child our family used to spend the majority of our holidays there and I wanted to show my wife where) Then we used waterways that once were in use by the local dairy farmers to get back to Akkrum. Cost of the launch that we used: about 350 euro, hotels per night per room were between 70 and 90 euro and all booked through booking.com

This is just one example: the cities of Sneek, Bolsward, Workum, Stavoren, Leeuwarden, Franeker with a little planning, all reachable by water. You won't really need "special yachting clothes" apart from a windbreaker/rain jacket. People in Friesland use boats like other Dutch people use bikes, so it's a relaxed, casual affair. It's certainly easier to reach most places in Friesland by water than by public transport. And more enjoyable than doing all this by car.

google: huur sloep friesland

An amazing number of options. There are very good rental places in Sneek, but we found Akkrum very convenient because of easy access by train. Grouw is also on the main trainline.

Can I just say, that for a public transport connection to Bolsward, also Heerenveen is the best option. Going through Sneek only loses you time. The bus line to Bolsward goes through Sneek, but starts in Heerenveen. Cuts an hour off your journey to get off at Heerenveen.
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Aug 31st, 2016, 11:12 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rLag14u44E
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Sep 1st, 2016, 07:29 AM
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We are traveling from Brittany to the Netherlands via train in September>

Have you booked tickets yet - www.capitainetrain.com or www.voyages-sncf.com for discounted tickets much cheaper than walk-up or full fares - but book ASAP if not already.

For Paris to Amsterdam (which you have to go thru by train to reach Sneek I think) take the Thalys train www.thalys.com - same nice discounts for early booking though you may be too late for the deepest discounted tickets.

For lots on trains check www.seat61.com- great info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Sep 1st, 2016, 07:38 AM
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A change to the northern mainline can already be made in Rotterdam, which again shaves about half an hour off the travel time.
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Sep 1st, 2016, 08:33 AM
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To: Menachem: Again, many thanks for all the information and suggestions. The launch idea is very appealing but I have some concerns.....One, getting lost. Does the renter provide maps of how to get from one destination to the next? Two, are there ample places to dock the boat once you reach your destination, and are there docking charges, particularly for overnight docking? Do you know of a link that would provide a map I could download showing the various routes you are mentioning?
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Sep 1st, 2016, 11:15 AM
  #12
 
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The launch we rented had maps, also the waterways themselves are well signposted at key locations, entrances to other waterways are marked etc. In Friesland, everything is geared to yachting, with many, many marinas, also in villages, it's customary and safe to moor right in the village. And everywhere there are the jetties and moorings maintained by the Marrekrite often in very scenic locations and free.

There are docking charges, that run from about 7.50 to 15 for a night. But at both of our hotels we moored at the hotel's jetty, which was free for guests, and the only place we where we paid was Eernewoude : 11.50 euro at the time and right in the village too.

here's a pdf with an overview in Dutch (pdf)

Middelsee Route

http://www.friesemeren.nl/assets/ima...eeroute-NL.pdf

Staandemastroute

http://www.friesemeren.nl/assets/ima...stroute-NL.pdf


If I had 3 or 4 days, I'd do a combination of these two, picking up a launch in Akkrum, which is on the Staandemastroute, then following it to Grouw, with a detour through Princenhof, then onto Leeuwarden to pick up the last part of the Middelsee route, via Deinum and Wommels to Bolsward (amazing stretch, all one canal with farms on either side)
Then via IJlst and Sneek, across Sneekermeer, back to Akkrum

Most of this is following canals, with the exception of Sneekermeer, which is a collection of smaller lakes connected to each other.

this is what you can expect, more or less

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seYPSLfKGWA&index=17

these people have rented a floating palace!
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Sep 1st, 2016, 02:39 PM
  #13
 
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A change to the northern mainline can already be made in Rotterdam, which again shaves about half an hour off the travel time.>
Ah yes just what I thought later - Rotterdam - Utrecht - up north.

Great no need to go thru Amsterdam that time.
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