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Help with Itinerary - Amsterdam & Belgium

Seeking help (please!) on itinerary for seven day trip to Amsterdam and Belgium in early, mid January. Traveling with my 18 year old daughter - interests include art and history.

We fly in and out of Amsterdam. Nothing seems to be open on Monday in Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp, so I figured we would arrange the trip to be back in Amsterdam for Sunday.

I would love to get out into the countryside at some point (Ypres from Bruges, although sadly, the In Flanders Field Museum will not be open during our stay). I chose Antwerp over Brussels because I figured we would already be staying 4 days in a large city (Amsterdam) and one passes through on the way to Bruges, and Bruges over Ghent for no good reason.

I realize that I'm bypassing many other wonderful small towns and major cities in the Netherlands (Delft, Hague?). I figured we could visit on a return trip when weather is better (Spring!). Lastly, does it make sense to do a canal tour in the winter?

I'd very much appreciate any suggestions and thoughts! Many thanks!

Day 1 (Wednesday) - Arrive Amsterdam (overnight flight from US in coach so jet lagged), 9:30 am, travel to Antwerp. Afternoon and overnight Antwerp. Afternoon – Self guided walking tour, 1 museum

Day 2 (Thursday) – Antwerp/Bruges - Morning, afternoon in Antwerp (museum, wondering, shopping), late afternoon train to Bruges, arrive @ 4 – 5 pm. Walking tour in evening, time, weather permitting. Overnight Bruges.

Day 3 (Friday) - Bruges, overnight Bruges

Day 4 (Saturday) - Bruges (or Ghent/Flanders) in morning, early afternoon, train to Amsterdam in afternoon, evening (3 hours, change in Antwerp). Overnight Amsterdam

Day 5 (Sunday) – Amsterdam – City walking tour or canal tour (what is this like during the winter?), Amsterdam museum, Ann Frank House, Jordaan neighborhood, etc.

Day 6 (Monday) - Amsterdam – Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, Stedelijk modern art museum

Day 7 (Tuesday) – Amsterdam - Reimbrandt House or Willet – Holthuysen House, or Resistance Museum or Maritime Museum or Tropic Museum.

Day 8 (Wednesday) – Amsterdam, flight 11am to home

Posted by
1976 posts

You have 3 museums scheduled for Day 6. I love museums too but 3 in one day is a lot, especially because the Rijksmuseum is so big. Can you switch a couple of activities on Day 5 with a museum on Day 6?

And on Day 7, do you want to see as many of these as possible, or just a couple? If just a couple, can you fit in something from Day 6 there?

Posted by
1005 posts

I strongly agree with Sarah about not visiting three art museums in one day. Please just do the Rijks on Monday and the Van Gogh on another day. I'd skip the Stedelijk because you can see great modern art in the States--whereas you will be seeing the best collections of Rembrandts, Vermeers, and Van Goghs in the world in Amsterdam. If you are interested in history, the Dutch Resistance Museum is an excellent complement to visiting the Anne Frank House. I love Antwerp, but you don't say what museums you are planning to visit--Ruben's House? MAS? Red Star Museum? ModeMuseum? If I had an 18-year-old daughter, I'd do the ModeMuseum and window shopping in the Sint-Andries neighborhood. Weather could be a problem on your trip, so be sure to be flexible about city walks and had indoor alternatives. If the weather is OK, I'd do Flanders Fields on a guided tour from Bruges--Quasimodo gets good reviews and is recommended by Rick.

Posted by
2000 posts

What you also can do is staying day 2 in Amsterdam and get so a better idea what to do there and how to arrange the other two days at the end of your trip. For instance visit the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House at day 2. Once on the move to Belgium you can discuss the other visits when back in Amsterdam. This way you give yourself a break as three days on a row visiting museums in one place will be a bit too much I guess.

Ideal is being flexible about where and when to stay during the trip if you want to change plans. As January is very low season the hotel/B&B keepers are likely more willing to discuss that.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for your help! I'll move around the museums visits. I'm finding that the tours to Flanders are not operating during this time unfortunately.