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Sleeping Delft and / or Leiden ?? Must I choose?

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/first-draft-itinerary-netherlands-and-belgium-april-2024

Above is my first draft itinerary post from last week, and I appreciate all the input. I'm now looking at hotels and trying to pull that trigger, (even tho I'm only booking refundable.) We're flying into /out of Amsterdam, next April.

My first draft itinerary has us staying in Leiden two nights ( jet lagged) then moving to Delft for two nights, ( before going to Belgium, then back up to Haarlem, for Amsterdam and the Tulip/ Fields/ Festival/Parade) .

As I'm looking at transportation, I see that Delft and Leiden are only a 20 minute train ride apart. Reading about Leiden has me falling in love with that location. But do we choose one OR the other, and stay in ONE place for four days? We are carry-on only, and don't spread out much in a hotel room. Hmmmmm.....

Is the walk from the train stations to the city centers close in both towns? Seems to be 10-15 minutes in each area, as far as I can determine.

Thanks for all your help, as your on-the- ground experience has been priceless. Thanks so much!

Posted by
186 posts

We walked into central Leiden easily from the train station, in about 10 minutes. There was a tourist information shop on the road in.

Posted by
335 posts

We got a really good deal for a hotel in Voorburg called Central Park Voorburg. I found it on Booking.com, but you can also book on their website. (https://www.centralparkvoorburg.com/en/) It was a 5 min walk (15 if you tripped in Amsterdam, and hurt your knee the day before and were hobbling - lol) to the train station with an easy train to den Haag, a quick train change, then we were off to Delft. Delft center was maybe about 10 mins (again 20 for me because I was hobbling) We didn't go to Leiden. But I can't imagine it would be too crazy to do via train.

The Hotel was super nice and had a Michelin Star restaurant. I didn't realize it when I booked it, the hotel and food was amazing. What drew me to the hotel was its park setting. It is in a quiet neighborhood, and it was so pretty. Breakfast was great too.

Posted by
11368 posts

We spent a week in Leiden and were very happy we chose this lovely city. We visited Delft but were glad we had choosen Leiden. Leiden is an energy filled university town which includes John Quincy Adams and Albert Einstein among its former students. And you have the Pilgrim history in Leiden too. When the Pilgrims fled England, they spent ten years in Leiden before sailing to the New World. Easy train rides to Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, Haarlem.

Posted by
7011 posts

Pat, I would vote for the whole time in Leiden. It's just so charming and has a wonderful vibe. The train station is an easy walk from the center of town, and it's a nice walk. Definitely no more than 10 minutes.

You will have a wonderful trip - I love that city and there are some nice themed walks you can take, like the Pilgrim's walk, Rembrandt's route, and so on. https://www.visitleiden.nl/en/culture/city-walks

Posted by
7551 posts

I have visited Leiden twice, during two different multi-night stays in Amsterdam. Our travel style is to stay in the same hotel as much as possible. Your plan is not a mistake for YOU. I would not stay in Haarlem to visit Amsterdam, for instance. I grew up in a big city, and consider that a form of "living local."

Leiden is an attractive place, with more to do than Delft. However, it seems odd to talk about Delft without mentioning larger and abutting, den Haag. That also has lots to do.

I think when you write city center, you mean "old town." AFAIR, the Leiden rail station is right in the thick of things.

Posted by
3992 posts

Having just come back from Leiden I would vote for your longer stay in Leiden and use it for day trips prior to your stay in nearby Haarlem at the end. Over 3 recent trips to the Netherlands we’ve visited many towns and cities easily by train. To me one of the most convenient train to city center stations is Leiden. Leiden beats Delft, den Haag and Haarlem in distance and interesting walkability to their city centers. Another bonus is that there are very frequent trains to and from AMS (airport), just 15 minutes.

Posted by
5128 posts

Hmmm, sounds like four days in Leiden then. I'm looking at hotels now, doing research via Booking.com. I will book directly with the hotel. As we all know, the RS guide favors Sleeping in Delft, as there's no section on sleeping in Leiden. Any hotel recommendations? I have been looking at Steenhof and B&B Hart van Leiden. I want to be on a canal. That's for the wealth on info that's come in during the past few hours. Safe travels!

Posted by
3992 posts

We looked at a lot of hotels before we went and walked by many that we’d researched in the 6 nights we were there. We opted for one we were familiar with from a previous stay that wasn’t on a canal but very close to the train station, the Golden Tulip. We had also looked at Boutique Hotel Oeude Morsch https://www.boutiquehoteldeoudemorsch.nl/. I also noticed the City Hotel Niue’s Minerva https://www.nieuwminerva.nl/nl/ and the Steenhof Suites that you mention. All of these look good and are a 5, 10 and 15 minute walk from the station and on canals. There was another cluster of independent hotels I’d looked at prior to going last week but I would eliminate all of them around the Beestenmarkt fountain canal corner as too noisy. Just my 2¢ worth.

Posted by
5128 posts

Yes, Mona, I agree that quiet is preferable. I found that out in Varenna, Lake Como last May when the restaurant we were above didn't settle down until 1:00 am. We then moved to the tranquil Hotel Du Luc.
Thanks again.

Posted by
5128 posts

Mardee, thx for the link, I always enjoy following your travels.

Posted by
7011 posts

Thanks, Pat - and I can say the same of you! I will definitely look forward to your trip report (I'll be in England right around the same time)!

Posted by
5128 posts

Mardee, so many decisions right now to make! But I'm doing it in the air conditioning and it's distracting me from the summer heat. Safe travels to you!

Posted by
795 posts

Hey thanks so much, @Pam, @Pat, @Susan M, @Suki, @Mardee, @Tim, @Mona! I've bookmarked thread of a future visit to The Netherlands, Leiden sounds like a good alternative to Amsterdam. I did stay in tiny Delft, and loved it, but reading this pushed me over to staying in Leiden next time.