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Need itinerary advice for Benelux area

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Nov 13th, 2010, 09:36 AM
  #1
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Need itinerary advice for Benelux area

My wife and I are heading to Amsterdam next year for the Queens birthday and would like to travel a bit to tour the Benelux region after her party. Although we have traveled many times in Europe this will be our first visit to this area and I would some advice as to where to go.

We'll arrive in Amsterdam on 4/28 and depart 5/7 (We'll fly back out of Amsterdam for the states) which gives us. . . .5-6 days to tour after seeing Amsterdam. Given this travel window, what would be a reasonable travel range. I plan on renting a car and would need some destination advice. I heard the Ardennes forest would be a nice travel route. .

Please advise.

Thanks!!!
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Nov 13th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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Given the size of the Benelux area and that most of its interesting elements are in cities, I would consider public transportation as an alternative to driving. Ghent, Brussels, Bruges come to mind, but also day trips to The Hague and some of the smaller towns on the Zuider Zee.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622957887247/
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Nov 13th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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We found some of the eastern areas of Belgium fascinating - esp some of the small towns that had local WWII museums and memorials. Also - if you head a few minutes into Germany Aachen is a great place to visit (Charlemagne's capital). We also enjoyed visiting Liege.

On earlier trips we have done Bruges and Ghetn which are mosr classics to visit - and they are wonderful - esp staying overnight in Bruges when it becomes much less touristy.

Also be prepared for fantastic food everywhere - I think Belgina food is the best in the world (as long as you avoid tourist traps) - even very modest places.

Finally, don;t ignore Luxembourg - which can be a great day or day/night trip.
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Nov 13th, 2010, 11:34 AM
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How long are you actually planning on being Amsterdam? You will be here at peak bulb time so a visit to Keukenhof would be a good idea. Plus all the usual things in Amsterdam, which you can't do on April 30th.
The Ardennes are lovely but given the length of your trip I think you should consider what it is you want to see. It is a full days drive to the Ardennes, and another one back again.
Maybe you should concentrate on the Netherlands, with possibly a side trip to Bruges.

If you want help with things to see in the Netherlands let me know, and give an idea of what you are interested in.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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A few years ago, we visited Vianden (stayed 2 nights) and Luxembourg City in Luxembourg; Brugge (3 nights) in Belgium (we planned other stops in Belgium, but I got food poisoning and was out of action for a few days); and Delft (2 nights) and Amesterdam (5 nights) in the Netherlands. We rented a car at Amsterdam airport, then drove to Cologne, Germany, to visit friends--then to Benelux. We turned the car in when we got back to Amsterdam.

We enjoyed each place and recommend all of them, though there are a lot of great options.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 11:25 AM
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Queen's Day is certainly a good choice for a lot of fun. Here is my photo log from 2008, http://tinyurl.com/yln3hrp. As hetismij says, Keukenhof would be a good idea. I think it is essential. See http://tinyurl.com/y8hltjl.

As mentioned you don't have enough time for your itinerary. I suggest Haarlem, Antwerp, and Brugge max. A car will be a millstone around your neck. Use public transport. You can also rent bikes for the trip to Keukenhof. Start in Haarlem or Leiden. Visit Keukenhof in mid to late afternoon to give the bulbs time to open. They close up during the night. Be flexible and choose a sunny day. Good luck. Since you are Queen's Day type people you would also like Zandvoort an Zee, if it is a really warm Sunday. The beach is bezonkers in August. We used to call it Newport Beach North.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 08:12 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone!

Yes, with only 5-6 days to travel once our Queens Birthday run from Thursday thru Sunday (we would leave Amsterdam on Monday morning and then have till the following Friday to explore Benelux.) I wonder just how far we could get. . . .with 4-5 days to travel on.

We depart for the USA on Saturday morning.

So. . just stay in Holland and tour or make a quick dash to Belgium to the Ardennes?

What say ye?
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Nov 19th, 2010, 09:26 PM
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The Ardennes will eat 2 days from your itinerary. So it's a a matter of weighing the options, as spaarne said. I think taking NL as a base to tour from is the most sensible. Remember that with Thalys, Antwerp is only an hour and a half away from Amsterdam. From Antwerp you have a good base to explore Flanders from.
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Nov 20th, 2010, 02:00 AM
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I have just been to Delft for the first time and I loved it, the main square with the church, the town hall and interesting shops. Also visited the Delft porcelain factory and that was a highlight. Stayed in a delightful hotel on the pretty canal called Hotel Leeuwenbrug, I would highly recommend an overnight there. There is a car park directly behind the hotel but I do not know the cost, the hotel would be able to advise. The church is where the members of the Dutch royal family are interred, therefore it is full of history. Enjoy your vacation.
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 05:32 PM
  #10
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I have come up with this and please, weigh in with your thoughts.

Arrive Amsterdam Thursday depart early Sunday morning by train to Ghent. At Ghent, rent a car and travel through the Ardenne to Spa. Stay overnight at Spa. Depart Monday morning for Diekirch near Lux(?) Stay overnight there. Depart Tuesday morning for Bruges. Stay 2 days. Depart Bruges Thursday/Friday morning for Ghent, return car, board train for Amsterdam. Stay overnight at Amsterdam. Fly out Amsterdam Saturday morning.

My only question is my travel on Sunday. Will I be able to rent a car on Sunday afternoon in Ghent? If not, maybe I should depart Amsterdam on Monday and push back the itinerary by one day.

Please advise.

Thanks!
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Nov 24th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Additionally Sunday May 1 is a holiday in Belgium. It is also your hangover day.
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Nov 24th, 2010, 07:27 PM
  #12
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Oh. . . . thnx Spaarne. That bit of information does make a difference.

Didn't think about that.
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