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2+ Weeks in The Netherlands and Belgium

Hello,
My wife and I are going to The Netherlands and Belgium for a little over 2 weeks this April/May. We would love anyone's input or advice on our initial plan. We are both mid-30's, and have traveled a good bit. My main interest are art and culture and hers are art and culture. We also love great beer, but are not aficionados by any sense. I have been to Amsterdam, but it was over 15 years ago, but that is the only 2 places in either country. She hasn't been to either.

At this point all we have booked so far are our flights. We would have preferred to have done an open-jawed flight, but we found round trip flights in and out of Brussels for basically half the price.

I wouldn't normally post the exact dates, but we are trying to do a couple of things that makes that necessary. Two of her bucket list items (and big reason she wanted to go to The Netherlands to begin with) are bike riding in the tulip gardens/fields and touring windmills. The tulips are seasonal, so I know that is somewhat of a gamble either way, but that is the primary reason we are doing the Netherlands’ part first. I have read a little about Keukenhof Garden and it seems as good as place as any for the tulip and bike riding. We haven't done any organized bus tours on our previous trips, but the tour offered by Viator seems to be a good option for the windmills. Does anyone have experience with either of these or better alternatives?

We will also be in Amsterdam for Koningsdag. While this wasn't our intention, it seems like a nice bonus. I have to assume that this will be a day of reveling city wide, and not much of what we would have done will be possible (other than Rick Walk type things).

Is this a good division of time? Is there something you would add, condense or remove? I would like to check out Haarlem while we are in Amsterdam, but we might run out of time. While in the Belgium portion of the trip, I would also like to visit some of the Waterloo, WW1, or WW2 sites, but we do not plan on renting a car.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 26
• Arrive in Brussels
• Train to Amsterdam (should be there by noon)
Saturday, April 27
• Koningsdag
Sunday, April 28
• Day trip to Keukenhof to bike ride through tulip gardens
Monday, April 29
• Viator tour->Zaanse Shans Windmill, Volendam, and Marken
Tuesday, April 30
• Amsterdam sights
Wednesday, May 01
• Amsterdam sights
Thursday, May 02
• Train to Delft
• Sights in Delft
Friday, May 03
• Day trip to the Hague, Rotterdam or Utrecht
Saturday, May 04
• Day trip to the Hague, Rotterdam or Utrecht
Sunday, May 05
• Train to Antwerp
• Sights in Antwerp
Monday, May 06
• Sights in Antwerp
Tuesday, May 07
• Train to Bruges
• Sights in Bruges
Wednesday, May 08
• Sights in Bruges
Thursday, May 09
• Sights in Bruges
Friday, May 10
• Train to Brussels
• Sights in Brussels
Saturday, May 11
• Sights in Brussels
Sunday, May 12
• Sights in Brussels
Monday, May 13
• Fly home

Posted by
667 posts

Briefly you have too much time in both Brussels and Bruges and not enough in Antwerp which merits 2 days and Gent which merits 1/2 day.
Study up on the Belgian beers beforehand and enjoy. I can no longer drink beer (gout), but I remember the trappist beers of Rochefort as among the best I ever tasted.

Posted by
11561 posts

If you are art lovers, you should plan a full day in The Hague. . . . Maurithuis, Escher, Mesdag, Gemeentemuseum

In Amsterdam, check for temporary exhibits at the Hermitage.