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Paris-Amsterdam combo trip in April - help me plan!

Paris-Amsterdam combo trip in April - help me plan!

Old Oct 30th, 2018, 01:06 PM
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Paris-Amsterdam combo trip in April - help me plan!

Last year, April in Paris was simply fabulous. I combined it with a London trip. Total time = about one week.

I'd like to return but I've never been to Amsterdam. I want to go to the Anne Frank house. I want to see the tulips in bloom and windmills.

I want to do this as simply as possible. Given that, would you recommend staying in Amsterdam and taking tours out to see Keukenhoff, Volendam, etc.?

Would you fly or take the train to/from Paris?

In Paris, I mostly want to walk and revisit favorites. No big plans. Okay, maybe a trip out to Giverny.

But how to fit it in with only taking a week off from work? Should I just wait to take this trip when I have more vacation time?

Last year's April trip was simply lovely and easy. I'd like to have another similar April trip, but not sure how to fit it all in and if I'd be rushing to try to fit it all in about 8 or 9 days. Flying out on Friday afternoon/ evening, arriving on Saturday and returning the following Sunday.

Would greatly appreciate any help, ideas, suggestions.
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Old Oct 30th, 2018, 01:38 PM
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Skip Volendam for a start.
Book mid to late April to have the best chance of tulips if you can. Book Anne Frankhuis online as soon as you have your dates fixed. It sells out fast, especially in the spring.
Are you visiting Paris or Amsterdam first? Allow a minimum of three days for Amsterdam. I would forget about windmills this trip - Zaanse Schans will be over run and Kinderdijk (far superior) will be busy too, and would take too much time from your stay.
If you only want to visit Anne Frankhuis and wander around Amsterdam for a day this trip then perhaps you would prefer to stay in Haarlem, which is an easy train ride from Amsterdam, and closer to the tulips and Keukenhof.

Hopefully you will come again when you have more tiime! Let's hope April proves to be a lovely monnth.
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Old Oct 30th, 2018, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Are you visiting Paris or Amsterdam first? Allow a minimum of three days for Amsterdam.
Thanks for the tips! No particular order at this point. Just starting to think about it. I had another week trip planned that I think I am going to cancel so I can return to see Paris again and see something new.

Okay, 4 days in Amsterdam or Haarlem.
Maybe - leave on Friday afternoon, land in Paris on Saturday. Sat, Sun and Mon in Paris. Train (or flight) to Amsterdam on Tuesday and Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat exploring. Fly back on Sunday.

I am excited about the possibilities! How far away do you live, heti?
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Old Oct 30th, 2018, 02:19 PM
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I'm about an hour away by road, considerably longer by train due to having to round the Ijsselmeer. By car I can go over the Afsluitdijk.

Take the train between the two, easier and if you book it right cheaper.

Have a look at the Amsterdam in 3.5 days thread for more ideas. 3.5 days in Amsterdam, what to do :0)

Have fun planning!

Last edited by hetismij2; Oct 30th, 2018 at 02:20 PM. Reason: link added
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Old Oct 30th, 2018, 02:30 PM
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Definitely the train. It takes a little over 3 hours, and it's a terrific (and to me scenic) ride. Yes, check the prices, book as early as possible for the best fares. And there's a ton of trains (every 1 to 2 hours apart), making travel arrangements all that easier.
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Old Oct 30th, 2018, 03:46 PM
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I would fly into Amsterdam (i had to go thru Heathrow). I would get a hotel located within the "canal rings" in Amsterdam (3-4 days). I would then take the train to Paris (there goes half a day). And fly home from Paris (after 2-3 days). Sure more time would be better, but since you're leaving from east coast USA, I think this is do-able.
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Old Oct 30th, 2018, 04:11 PM
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Yes train Paris-Amsterdam - book tickets up to 120 days or so - not sure - in advance at www.thalys.com. Check first class as well as 2nd class as sometimes the cheapest 2nd class ticket available may not be that much less than 1st - but booking as early as possible can yield huge discounts over full fare. - I'd stay in Amsterdam for sure - really nice at night when canals and bridges are illuminated and streets are full of strollers - be sure to take a canal boat tour and nightlife for everyone. The Red-light district is safe and one of the most popular things for tourists to do in Amsterdam.

If into religion check, out the Bible Museum and the unique Lord in the attic Church - extant from a time when their religion was banned so they carried out clandestine services in the attic of a building.

8-9 days is perfect for this - 5 nights in Paris and 4 nights in Amsterdam so you have time for those day trips - do the Keukenhof Gardens; spectacular flower and horticultural extravaganza that showcases products of the Dutch Flower Industry. Easy to do on your own - take train to Leiden and frequent shuttles buses from Leiden station to the gardens. Miles of tulips surround the gardens so you can tiptoe thru the tulips! Leiden itself is one of the nicest of Dutch regional towns. Or take the bus from the Keukenhof to Haarlem that goes thru the heart of the flower fields - Haarlem too is a really sweet Dutch regional town and is only about 20 minutes from Amsterdam by train.
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Old Oct 31st, 2018, 06:19 AM
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If you can squeeze in the time for it, take the train to Rotterdam for a day. If I recall correctly, it was about 1/2 hour train ride. Rotterdam is like nothing you've ever seen before, having been bombed to smithereens in WWII and totally rebuilt by some very clever, artistic people.

And a trip out to the Krüller-Müller Museum in the Hoge Veluwe Park was a highlight of our last trip to Amsterdam. In fact, the trips we took outside the city are far more memorable than the days we actually spent in Amsterdam, which we found expensive and insanely congested and scary to walk around because of the incessant trams and throngs of bicycles and masses of tourists (this was in September, not prime tourist season).
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Old Oct 31st, 2018, 07:08 AM
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Love the ideas!
I've booked 3 nights in Paris and 5 in Amsterdam, using hotel points. That may change but wanted to grab rooms when they are available. I'm getting very excited about the possibilities! Thanks for sharing suggestions!
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Old Oct 31st, 2018, 07:56 AM
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Sorry, that should have been Kröller-Müller.
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Old Oct 31st, 2018, 10:54 AM
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Delft is a favorite regional Dutch town for folks to visit and for good reason but it can easily be twinned with a look at central Rotterdam and all the neat architecture St-Cirq talks about. The two are just a few minutes apart by train.
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Old Nov 1st, 2018, 02:02 PM
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Why only 3 days in Paris -if that includes landing day really two full days - even though you were in Paris recently if taking a day trip to Giverny that leaves just one day. Amsterdam itself for 5 days may be a bit too much but with the surfeit of day trips possible from it could be sweet! Keukenhof would be at top of my list - no need to pre-book anything - train, bus to gardens or gardens entry but try to avoid weekends when locals flock there and IME make it more crowded.
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Old Nov 1st, 2018, 03:25 PM
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How dare the locals visit Keukenhof and make it even more crowded. Inconsiderate of them.
Actually the locals enjoy the fields for free and don't pay for Keukenhof. They are Dutch after all.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 03:20 AM
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Try not to be in Amsterdam on the weekend. Massively crowded-- weekdays are busy enough. Also, book Anne Frank online as soon as tickets are released--we tried two months out and they were sold out. Their website says they release more tickets day of, but we were still out of luck with both our hotel and me trying. I highly recommend Ambassade Hotel. Beautiful hotel and location with an excellent restaurant.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cilburke View Post
I highly recommend Ambassade Hotel. Beautiful hotel and location with an excellent restaurant.
Oh, that is gorgeous! It reminds me of the hotel I love in Paris, that I won't be staying in on this trip.

Okay, I released the Hilton hotel (using points) for five nights. Maybe 2 nights in Amsterdam and moving on. Rotterdam? Delft? Then a hotel near the airport before the flight out on Sunday.

Thanks for such great ideas!

Last edited by starrs; Nov 2nd, 2018 at 04:51 AM.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 05:02 AM
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Harlingen?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 06:38 AM
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Well the Sunday I was there several years ago most of folks inside were Dutch - maybe climbed in so did not have to pay?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 07:37 AM
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They may have been Dutch but they weren't locals. Bus tours are organised from other parts of the country to Keukenhof, any day of the week. They may even have been Belgians. It is good that Dutch people manage to visit such things without being trampled underfoot by hordes of tourists.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 08:29 AM
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Harlingen?
Maybe! Tell me how to get there!
Public transportation? Rental car? I've driven in Ireland, England, Scotland, France and Italy.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 08:32 AM
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Car, drive up through bulb fields and over the Afsluitdijk which closes off the old Zuiderzee from the sea to make the Ijsselmeer, a huge sweetwater lake in the middle of theountry. Then back down round the old coastline, and more bulbfields, back to Amsterdam/Schiphol. Bits of the country few tourists visit.
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