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Ideas for Netherlands & Belgium trip...but not Amsterdam, Brussels & Bruges

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Oct 3rd, 2012, 10:07 AM
  #1
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Ideas for Netherlands & Belgium trip...but not Amsterdam, Brussels & Bruges

Hi everyone! My husband and I are planning a 9 day trip to the Netherlands and Belgium in April 2013, but we are not planning on going to Amsterdam, Brussels or Bruges, since we have already visited those cities. We are very open to any and all itinerary suggestions. The only thing we have as a requirement is that we are planning on going to Bastogne to watch the Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycling race.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed - I feel like there's so much to do & see that I need a little help narrowing things down, and most itineraries I've seen involve several days in the aforementioned cities. Things we have looked at doing include visiting tulip fields and doing some cycling in the Netherlands. We love food (cheese especially!), beer, museums, small towns/villages, walks in parks/farms/fields, and things along those lines. We'll likely have a car, and we're more than open to taking public transport/cycling to sights.

Any ideas/suggestions on stops or where to base ourselves would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 10:13 AM
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I was there in July for ten days and I had also visited those three cities previously. I based in Antwerp for the Belgium portion and visited Ghent and then I did re-visit Brugge, which in the end I was very happy I did. For me it had been ten years and I found I really enjoyed a repeat visit. Then in the Netherlands I based in Haalem and visited Delft, Leiden, and Gouda. I also re-visited Amsterdam a couple of days. Maybe you can get some ideas from my trio report. I enjoyed all the places I went, really liked Delft and Leiden and also enjoyed Antwerp more than I expected to.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...etherlands.cfm
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 10:20 AM
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We spent several days in eastern Belgium (Spa) at the beginning of a trip a couple of years ago. Visited Liege as a day trip as well as one to Aachen (German border) - Charlegmagne's capital. We then drove south from Spa through lots of cute small towns and quaint interesting museums, though Luxembourg and ended up at Trier in Germany (fascinating).

The good news is that the food there is as wonderful as in the rest of Belgium.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Utrecht, Utrecht, Utrecht
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 12:40 PM
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You might consider Maastricht. Or indeed Antwerp. Groningen might be interesting too, but it's a lot of travel to Belgium, on the other hand you could visit the Wadden Islands, which are then not too busy: the closest to Scandinavia you can get in The Netherlands.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 12:45 PM
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If you are there for L-B-L then I would suggest Maastricht and Limburg in general, with maybe Arnhem and or Nijmegen, or even Den Bosch or Breda.
Lots of lovely small towns and villages and wonderful countryside. A couple of breweries in the area too.
No bulb fields there but still lovely.
In Belgium head for the Ardennes.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:00 PM
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we just came back from 22 days Netherlands and Belgium. Loved Ghent, Deft, Antwerp. Maastricht was Ok. We just did a day trip. i was not crazy about Arnheim. If you are an art lover go to Otterlo and do the Kroeller Museum and enjoy the National Park.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:00 PM
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You may like to look at this site http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/North_Sea_Guide.php
I really like Zeeland (the island areas south of Rotterdam. Loads of canals, old towns cut off from major developments and the chance to meet island inhabitants.

The ideas above are also good, there is so much to do in Holland
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 06:21 PM
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Marking for myself...eager for this very trip for the same reasons! (I also love Haarlem...)
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Oct 4th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Wow...thanks so much everyone! Lots of food for thought here - so much sounds so good.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Dinant!
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Oct 4th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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Rotterdam is one of the world's top three harbours, with tours and a museum of nautical affairs. Also a centre for astonishing urban renewal projects. Good beer too of course.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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Try not to miss Ghent. It is charming and very easy to see. Go in St Bavo's.

Antwerp is great, and has great beer and chocolate just as good as Brussels. Not an easy car town, though.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 11:29 PM
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Distances in Belgium are ridiculously short, and the next thousand year-old town is never more than half an hour away. You could consider moving around by car or train, and visit two to four towns per day. For a list of tourist towns beyond Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges and Ghent:
http://list.ly/list/1HU-tourist-cities-in-belgium
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Oct 7th, 2012, 04:55 PM
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I love Utrecht, and enjoy Leiden. Haarlem is fine but the centre is kind of small. In Belgium, I enjoyed visiting Namur this past summer, thought Leuven was also very nice, found Mechelen o.k. (especially the Gouden Carolus brewery), and did not enjoy Liege. Ghent is always fine too.
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Oct 16th, 2012, 04:22 AM
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Antwerp would be a good place to visit for several days. I would also recommend the Kroeller Mueller Museum in the Netherlands. Details about both and about Mechelen and Leuven
in my TR from last year.
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Oct 16th, 2012, 04:33 AM
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We loved Antwerp! If you are interesed in WWI lots of battlfields and easily accessible with a car. Ypres is a good placeto base, The old town was destroyed and completelt rebuilt in replica.The Menin gate is of interedst and last post is played each evenuing.They have an exxcellent museum
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Oct 18th, 2012, 02:30 PM
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Sounds like you like nature and small towns, and since you'll be not far from Liege you could also check out Spa. It's a small place famous for its thermal bath and casino, and there is wonderful nature in the surrounding area ideal for hikes, bicycle rides, etc.
A wonderful place to stay in town is Hotel Spa Balmoral:
http://www.hotelspabalmoral.be/
It's a relaxing place with swimming pool and all that extras, but the great thing is its location near a lake and next to a forest.
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Oct 18th, 2012, 02:45 PM
  #20
TC
 
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I agree with others...Utrecht is charming. If you base yourself just outside Amsterdam with a car, you can easily see all of the aforementioned small cities. You could also base just inside Amsterdam, near the Central Station, and use trains to get to any of the above. I must say that I go to Amsterdam regularly. I've been twice just this month and never get tired of it. So many wonderful places to dine and so many small museums to try once you've seen the big ones. Its an ever changing city.
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