Please help with Amsterdam itinerary!!

Apr 8th, 2006, 06:15 AM
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Please help with Amsterdam itinerary!!

I thought I would have lots of time to browse guide books to get ideas for my 4 nights/3days in Amsterdam. But I don't!!! I have had GREAT LUCK with ideas from these posts on other trips I have taken.

Soooo, my husband and I have 3 days/4nights in Amsterdam in May. We are at Maes B&B. We are 50ish, like to explore, but not super adventureous, casual, love to eat, want to see a few museums and just get what we can out of a short stay. Any suggestions on what you would do if you were us? Any tulips happening then? Thanks!!!!!
seeksocean is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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My trip report below is long, and maybe more than you need to know! Have fun in Amsterdam. We thought it was a wonderful place to visit.

Final stop: Amsterdam. Five nights’ stay, first visit for all of us (family of four).

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Amsterdam! You always hear of the Red Light district and the coffee shops and the laissez-faire attitude, but you don’t hear how open and friendly the people are, how lovely the canals and side streets, how wonderfully trendy the restaurants and cafes, how people are out strolling at all hours of the night and you feel safe everywhere. I think I’d expected it to be quaint and charming (which it is), but in a dark wood-paneled cliché way, not in the young and contemporary way it is.

The standard reply we were given in Amsterdam, when we asked for anything, was always “Of course!” How refreshing.

We stayed in a fabulous location, at The Hotel Residence le Coin, which was directly across a small street from the Hotel de l’Europe, down the street from the Hotel Doelan, on Nieuwe Doelenstraat (sp?). A great neighborhood in the heart of old Amsterdam.

The hotel has a lift and A/C, also free use of the hotel’s washing machine and clothes dryer in the basement (which was welcome as we’d been traveling over a week when we arrived there). Each room has a little kitchenette, a nice-sized bath, large rooms with wooden floors and a sitting area. It’s fairly new, so everything sparkles. Very friendly front desk, too.

Two cafes on the same block as the hotel were wonderful: Café Katoen for a university atmosphere, and Café de Jaren, for great table seating on the canal.

Amazing dinners at two restaurants in particular:
“Stout!”, at Haarlemmerstraat 73 ( Fabulous ‘foamy asparagus’ soup with shrimp, chateaubriande, fresh fish, dessert course, wine list. Very trendy lighting. Great service. We’d gone to the neighborhood in search of a restaurant called “Lof” which we’d seen written up. We didn’t like its atmosphere, but were lucky that Stout! was just across the street.

Also at “Restaurant Dining Eleven” we had a great dinner. It’s at Reestraat 11. Also trendy and contempory, well-presented and beautifully-served meal.

Another nice dinner at “frenzi”, at Swanenburgwal 232. Very simple and contemporary. We arrived shortly after 10:00p.m., when most restaurants close in Amsterdam, and persuaded the owner to sell us any left-overs they had in the kitchen! They put together a nice Caesar salad with cooked-in-the-shell shrimp and mango. Very nice.

Also a good brunch at a place across the street from frenzi—called “Puccini”. Creative salads and sandwiches. Very nice also.

We took a canal cruise one evening. Toured the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh Museum. Visited the Nieuwe Kerk (sp?) Our teens went to a concert at the Paradiso and loved it.

One afternoon we did the 2:30 “Best of Holland” excursion to Volendam and Marken, with a stop to see wooden clogs made, Gouda cheese created, and to visit windmills. It was by bus, with a boat from Volendam to Marken. A lot of fun. Even our two teens liked it.

Our teens also liked shopping at one street in particular, between our hotel and the museum district. Also a Zara shop there, and many others like it. They thought the selection and prices were better in Amsterdam than what they’d seen in London and Paris even.

A detail about Amsterdam if you go there-- carry enough Euros in cash, because many places won't accept a credit card for a 'small' purchase (i.e. under 25 EU).

The only unpleasantness we encountered in Amsterdam related to cab rides and inconsistent pricing. Especially when our two teens were grossly overcharged cabbing to the hotel from the concert. They were well aware of the route, having walked it already twice, but we'd wanted them to cab home late at night. They knew the cabbie took a very round-about way back in order to over-charge. Also, when we arrived at the taxi sand at Central Station, I was literally swarmed by rather aggressive cabbies and felt uncomfortably jostled by them all.

Apr 8th, 2006, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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My husband and I are going to Amsterdam for the first time later on this spring. At first I didn't know where to start with "what to see & do". With the help of this forum, I've really managed to focus. Perhaps these links will help you:
nevermind is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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hello, i've been to amsterdam three times, and would suggest:
1. West Church tour: great views from the top!!,
2. Koninklijk (Royal) palace is grand and beautiful, symbolizing the power of holland during its 17th century heyday
3. Grachtengordel (16th century canal belt) walking tour of canals west of dam square (the jordaan) is especially beautiful in morning or late afternoon
4. Museum area has a host of sites to see and the Concert building is there as well.
5. Oude Kerk (old church) is quite unique in terms of its architecture and lack of religious icons, but caution: avoid this area at night as it is the haunt of some of the city's most sleazy characters (heroin, cocaine addicts & dealers, etc. i grew up & still live in NYC, and i was still very leery in the area!)
6. Redlight district: if you're just curious to see it, it's quite unique at night - i've never seen anything like it, but very crowded with tourists staring at the hookers.

well, that's all, have a great trip!!!
BreukelenMan is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Thanks for all the great replies! I am curious however, what is enough to see or do in any one day without getting burned-out? Anyone know if there are tulips then? Where's the best place to see them? Thanks again!!
seeksocean is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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Depends when in May you will he there. Untill Mid-May yes, after that no.
Your best chances are in Keukenhof Lisse, check:
Open Till May 19.
In the fields flowers are "topped" very soon after blooming.After the 1st weeks of May, you chances of seeing fields in bllom are very small.

In Amsterdam donot forget to visit Ann Franks house, if you still have time take a train to Zaanse Schans and/or visit Volendam and marken.
Ida101 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Out of the blue, last year I won 2 flights from Dublin to Rotterdam. It was a free competition, & I hadn't even really wanted to go! My wife & I went in May, got a bus to Amsterdam & stayed there 5 days.
We loved it & crammed lots in. Spent a whole day at the Keukenhof gardens, it was the last day (20 May 2005) of the season, but plenty to do; although tulips had almost gone there were lilies & much else to see, some in HUGE greenhouses.
One day we hired push-bikes - it seems to be the best way to see the city.
It's a real bike-friendly city. (If you are walking, be careful!) We rode a few miles to a working windmill out on the west of the city (Molen van Sloten) & had both a pleasant ride & a very interesting tour of the windmill. I had never realised what wonderful pieces of engineering they are. (
Another highlight was the Albert Cuyp street market, where we even saw
herons trying to get fish from the fishmonger stalls!
And of course you have to go to the Rijksmuseum to see the Rembrandts, which even I enjoyed, despite being a Philistine, dragged in there kicking & screaming by my wife, no, really, you have to go. Enjoy! Danke wel
Ricardo_215 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Great! Now I am really excited since we are there well before May 19th. I love tulips!! Did you ever read 'Tulip Fever'? Great book. Okay, now talk me through best restaurants and dining experiences, on the street, restaurants, etc. Our place serves us breakfast, but I can eat the day away!!
seeksocean is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Only spent three days there and never had a bad meal. Visiting the Anne Frank house is a must. If you don't have time for many museums try to fit in at least two, you won't be disappointed no matter which two you select. The canal boat rides are a perfect way to relax, see the sity, and of course hear the tour guides view of the city as well. We are history buffs so were glad to hear about the strict rules on saving buildings. The previous comment about the bikes is very true! A preferred method of transport in the city but literally thousands! Have fun!
MargaretandTony is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Thanks. I have heard that there is a museum/transportation pass that you can buy that is really worth it. Do you know the name of it and can I get it at the train station when I get there?

I'll try to bike it, but the hubby ate it on a paragliding accident 1 1/2 years ago and his leg is part nuts and bolts. I have seen him get on a bike and he takes a challenge better than I...obviously!
seeksocean is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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When you exit the Centraal Station in A-dam look to your (sligt) left for the VVV (tourist) office.

They can sell you just about any pass available; whether or not it will be economical I am not certain. Probably depends on how many museums you can get to, etc.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 03:02 PM
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We enjoyed a city tour by canal. We did it as soon as we could so that we would have a sense of the city. We passed the Anne Frank House on the tour, so we got to see it, but the lines to get in were insane, so we contanted ourselves with that.
jtrandolph is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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I know I read of a 'Pass' that was a great deal for transportation and siteseeing in this forum, but when I do a search I can't find it. I guess I'll ask when I get to that place at the train station since English is so widely spoken there.

Now, back to FOOD!?
seeksocean is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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There is a church in the Red Light District called. St. Nicholas. I call it a little jewel box. A nice place to take a break during sightseeing.

Coffeeshops are interesting. You can just buy a coffee and check it out. You dont have to smoke. But you should...It is legal, safe and fun....
JandaO is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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The pass is called an i amsterdam card. See this website for more info:
nevermind is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Oops, forgot food...

See this thread:

I know the "tinyurl" address doesn't give a clue as to what is it about, but there are those among us who get very annoyed about long URLs. Just trying to keep the natives happy...
nevermind is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Double oops... WRONG LINK Sorry for shouting. The correct link is:
nevermind is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Thanks! I have been off the computer for a few days. I'll print all this and take it with me.
seeksocean is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 04:54 PM
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Hi! Since my last post I have learned plenty. The tulip season is extended due to a late Spring..YAY! I also am planning to get the I-Amsterdam pass, as there are enough features that make it worth it.

I have discovered Viator tours, and they seem to be fairly user friendly. Since I only really have three full days in Amsterdam I am thinking about taking their 1/2 day (4 1/2 hr. total)tour to the gardens. That means 2 1/2 hours at the gardens themselves. That's plenty I think since we have alot to see in Amsterdam.

My question is whether to take the 10:00am tour or the 2:30pm tour. Putting weather and crowds as considerations what do you think?

But wait there's more! Should I buy the tickets for the tour now...they include the transportation and guide from a central area in Amsterdam and Garden admission for $33.27 ea (not bad since the gardens themselves were about $15 ea.)? Thanks!!
seeksocean is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 05:54 PM
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Just returned from Amsterdam last week. We took the bus tour to the Keukenhof gardens. We went in the morning and our price was approximatley what you are stating. It was not hard to buy the tickets when we got to the information at the train station. You will find these people are very helpful. Be sure to get them to tell you exactly where to catch the bus. We found several hours at the gardens were plenty of time for us to wander and even order bulbs which they will ship to you postage free. The flowers are truly beautiful.
Eat at a rice table. One of the best known ones we enjoyed was Sam Sibo. Near the Van Gogh is another one called The Orient which is much less crowded,but very good. A small restaurant we enjoyed which is near the Anne Frank museum was Spanjer & Van Twist on Leliegracht 60. Several times we went into the grocery store near the Concert Hall( a tram stop near the Van Gogh museum) and found delicious salads made with many different things.
One of the museums other than the Anne Frank one my daughter enjoyed the most was the Willet Holthuysen which was a wealthy couple's home at one time.
You should not miss the Van Gogh museum and a canal boat ride in the beginning would help you get oriented to the city.
Amsterdam is a city to be enjoyed. Have a wonderful trip and hopefully there will still be some tulips for you.
maryanne1 is offline  

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