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Netherlands and Belgium

Old Apr 25th, 2009, 10:40 PM
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Netherlands and Belgium

Hi - I am spending one week in Belgium and the Netherlands. I am spending time in Bruges and Amsterdam. I will be using only public transportation. I am having a difficult time trying to decide on day trips outside these places.

The towns I am considering our ones that are close by or are on the way to larger cities we are visiting. For Belgium, I was thinking Lueven or Ghent in Belgium. But are these cities much like Bruges. Any opinions?

I also wanted to take day trips outside Amsterdam. I am trying to decide between Apeldoorn, Alkmaar, Muiden, Zutphen. I would like to get away from the larger touristy areas but still be in a place where there are things to do (landmarks, great scenary, etc.). Any advice on these areas would be great!
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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I much preferred Gent to Brugge, both architecturally and because Brugge has really become a tourist preserve at its core. (My favorite part of Brugge is away from the Grotemarkt, nearer the river, in the 19th c. part of town). I've never been Llueven.

If you go to Ghent, be sure to visit St Bavo's to see the Van Eyck altarpiece.

I am an enormous fan of Antwerp, which is really quite an unusual mix of the modern and the old, and has excellent food and drink. It's a great way to see marvelous sights and not be in a tourist horde. You might consider basing there and daytripping to Brugge.

I've not been to the Dutch towns you mentioned. I enjoyed my trip to Den Haag for its museums.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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I highly recommend Antwerp.

Ghent, Alkmaar, and Haarlem are also very nice towns.

When you are in Amsterdam, go to the tourist office near the Central train station. They offer information on daytrips you could take from Amsterdam. The trips are guided in tour buses and departs from the central train station in the morning and arrives back in Amsterdam later in the afternoon. They do day trips to the cheese market, to Delft (where you can buy handmade pottery that is unique to the NL), and if you like the beach -- Scheveningen.

http://www2.holland.com/denhaag/gb/d.../scheveningen/
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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If you go to Apledoorn, don't miss the Hoge Veluwe park, which has many (flat) walking trails, and an art museum where there are lots of Van Gogh paintings (or were when we were there). We liked Utrecht, and also Maastricht, which is near the German border, and which has a huge salt dome by the town that is riddled with tunnels where many art works and allied soldiers were hidden from the Germans during WWII. Maastricht has a HUGE art show and auction in the spring that is known worldwide.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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There are lots of great places to visit in the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam. We particularly like Delft, Haarlem, and Leiden. Den Haag is wonderful too but, like Amsterdam, is a city. Amsterdam is terrific but it's too bad it is all most visitors to the NL see. Have a great trip.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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ruechapon - which cities out of the ones you mentioned - Delft, Haarlem, and Leiden - did you like the most, and which ones were less crowded?
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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spidey, that's a hard question to answer. I think if you were to just visit one of those cities then I'd recommend Delft. It is very cute, scenic, home of Vermeer, porcelain, two very neat churches and the prinsenhof.

Leiden, Utrecht and Haarlem are very typical Dutch towns in the way Amsterdam is not. Both Leiden and Utrecht are university towns. Haarlem has the great Franz Hals museum to see (among other things).

If you have 7 days in the Netherlands then I'd suggest spending 5 of them in Amsterdam and then taking two day trips.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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I loved Ghent, and the Altarpiece was amazing. I have a trip report that includes my time spent in Ghent here: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-11-days.cfm. It's Day 8 of the trip, so it's down near the bottom. Hope this helps!
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