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The Netherlands cities, transport, mobile data?

The Netherlands cities, transport, mobile data?

Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 03:46 AM
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The Netherlands cities, transport, mobile data?

I made an ambitious plan – a 10-night adventure to explore the wonders of the Netherlands. Not sure if it’s not too ambitious, or not ambitious enough – looking for your thoughts on it.

I have made a lot of preparations, all around the transport, accommodation, the objects to visit, internet for data etc. Shortly, the plan is to use trains/buses (the system seems pretty good), stay in hostels (where possible, I’m traveling alone, so the cheaper, the better), and to use eSIM app called Saily for data (tried other providers previously and wasn’t happy, heard some good reviews about this one).

My schedule now is as follows:
  • Four nights in Amsterdam
  • Three nights in Utrecht
  • Three nights in the Gelderland
  • A final night in a hotel near Schiphol Airport, strategically positioned for our return flight home the following morning.
I am planning to go in June, hoping for some good weather. If you have any additional recommendations/things to think about/or a trip report, let me know!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 04:29 AM
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Your plan looks great. Staying multiple nights in one location like you are doing is far better than moving around too much.

I buy esims for many countries around the world at airalo dot com. A 15 day data esim costs about $10 and the whole process from purchase to activation takes all of about 5minutes. I set mine up before leaving the US as the activation date didn't start until I was on the local NL network. I believe the price is the same for a NL only or a regional (Europe) esim.

There are frequent direct trains to Schiphol from many different places all across the NL, including Utrecht and many other places like Rotterdam, Den Haag, Leiden. You can check if there is easy access from your last hotel in the Gelderland - you may be able to avoid that last night hostel/hotel change. Schiphol is a busy but efficient airport. If you can check-in online 24hrs ahead of time then that can speed up your time at the airport. Last fall, flying on United I think it took me all of about 15minutes for bag drop, (shorter line than check-in), emigration/passport check, and security. No guarantee it'd be that short, but I didn't need to be there 3 hours before departure. I'd be comfortable taking a direct or 1 stop train connection, and anything up to about 2hr ride myself. It also depends on your morning flight departure time.

I don't know if there is enough right in Utrecht for 3 days, but it has great train connections to many places as day trips - you can look at schedules for options to places like Den Haag, Haarlem, Leiden. The Dutch train system is excellent and easy to use. You can use the NL railroad app to buy tickets and track real time train schedules.

The NL has a great network of bike trails all over the country. If you are up to it, consider renting a bike or ebike for a day just to explore the countryside/canals. I love the seaside, so for me that would mean heading west.... but there are many places to ride - canals, windmills, or just past farms. Since the land is flat, a basic city bike will do just fine. There are bike network apps/maps available.

There are a few helpful regular Fodors posters who either frequently visit, or live in the NL - they can add other tips.

Last fall I had a free half day & stopped in Utrecht - it was rainy, and I wasn't in the mood for a museum. I spent the morning
a) shopping at the farmers market located in the square just to the East Northeast of the train station. I think that was a Saturday. Cheeses galore (samples, and small round souveniers), lots of other foods to eat, including sweet gooey carmelly gooey stroopwafels....
b) hanging out (drying out) in small bakery / coffee shop called KEEK - recovering from my stroopwafel sugar high with a chocolate croissant.....
c) buying another umbrella after another gust of wind
d) walking along the peaceful wooded green space along the old main canal.
e) ditching that cheapo umbrella & calling it a day....

Last edited by J62; Apr 3rd, 2024 at 04:41 AM.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 04:51 AM
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Where in Gelderland? It is a big province.
What are you hoping to see in the places you have chosen?
I assume you will be using Utrecht as a base for further visits. There isn't enough in the city to merit 3 nights imho. I used to live 25 minutes away from the city by train.
You could rent a bike to get out and explore the countryside from both Amsterdam and Utrecht.
You can use your normal credit or debit card for trains and buses if it has a chip. Remember to check in and out each time or things can get expensive!
You can find out how the system works with a quick online search.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 01:42 PM
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Utrecht and buses/trains

Just back from a week in the Netherlands.

I don't know your interests, but I can tell you we used Utrecht as base to visit the Kroller-Mueller Museum in De Hoge Veluwe National Park (my husband is big van Gogh fan). The walk through the sculpture park and around the area was a nice contrast to the busy cities we visited with crowds of pedestrians, bicycles, and cars. We took a train + 2 buses to get there and ended up on one wrong bus due to a driver pointing us in wrong direction, but the next driver was very helpful in ensuring we got to a train station where we could connect back. We walked all through the old town and along the canal park mentioned in Utrecht but it was not our favorite town in the NL--too crowded.

We were also in Den Bosch from Utrecht. Museums, old town, and bossche bols. If you like pastry, look it up. Amazing. Unfortunately, their town hall is under scaffolding.

On a previous trip I went from there to Apeldoorn and Amersfoort for more old towns and a palace with garden.

We had no trouble using American chip/tap credit cards to tap on/off buses; however we could not get them to work for trains. Not turnstiles, not posts. Multiple cards. Multiple stations. Worked fine in ticket machines.
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