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4 nights in Amsterdam/Netherlands in July

I am stopping off in the Netherlands on my way home from Rwanda for 4 nights in July. I've been reading the boards but I would particularly appreciate any suggestions regarding hotels and day trips from Amsterdam. Trying to keep the budget $125 or less daily, but feeling good about where I am staying trumps price. I will be using public transport.

If you have ever taken a good day tour while in the Netherlands, I'd love to hear about that too.

Posted by
1976 posts

Hi Carol. Amsterdam is an expensive city for hotels. In October stayed at Hotel Brouwer on the Singel canal, a 5- to 10-minute walk from Centraal Station. They have single rooms for around 78 euros per night and breakfast is included, which is a great deal. I like that neighborhood. And all the trams stop at Centraal Station so you can catch one and go anywhere in the city.

Posted by
941 posts

Carol - we did the Amsterdam city walking tour with Mark of ThatDamGuide last fall and absolutely loved it! I would highly recommend it. I see the price has risen by 5e but I would still take the tour at 25e.

Posted by
251 posts

Last summer I took a free 2-3 hour walking tour of Amsterdam and loved it!! Our tour guide was Michael and he took us through the city of Amsterdam, which really isn't that big and very easy to get around. I tipped him 10 euros at the end because he was such a great guide, but this is optional. The link is attached below.

You could make a day trip to Geithoorn (which I recommend!!), Keukenof Gardens, or Zaanse Schans.

http://www.newamsterdamtours.com/

Posted by
227 posts

About Keukenhof : May 16 is the LAST day that it is open. So in July it's closed.

Posted by
2487 posts

»Geithoorn« is Giethoorn and quite a distance from Amsterdam. Nowadays it seems to be very busy with Chinese tourists who somehow have discovered this as the »essential« Netherlands.
Closer by you've got some nice historical harbour cities and towns, like Hoorn (train from Amsterdam Centraal) and the much smaller Monnickendam (bus from bus station at Amsterdam Centraal).
An interesting and easy day trip is Haarlem, if only for the superb Frans Hals Museum and the Market Square (max 20 mins by train from Amsterdam Centraal).

Posted by
2487 posts

The Market in Haarlem is one of the better squares in the Netherlands, with or without a market.
And it's a pity about the bus. I checked: the 8.29 is indeed the first direct bus from Schiphol airport. Earlier buses involve a 20-minute walk from the nearest bus stop. (Some 20 years ago, in season the train between Haarlem and Leiden had a stop at the old Lisse railway station, from which it was a 5- to 10-minute walk. It was ended with the usual story of »too expensive«.)

Posted by
2487 posts

I live more or less around the corner, but I've never been to the Keukenhof and can't inform you about the crowds you might or might not encounter. If you want to be on the safe side and don't mind a walk, you can take an earlier bus from Schiphol airport. This public transport planner http://9292.nl/en# shows you the schedules for train and bus, and a small map for the bus stop.
A possible alternative is to visit around 12.00, when the tour groups are herded back to the bus to get feeded somewhere.

Posted by
3653 posts

I am always quite surprised by tourists who want to go somewhere there are no tourists. How is it that everyone else is a tourist...

Posted by
8293 posts

Yes, Carol, my thoughts exactly. " Tons of tourists". "hordes of tourists" of which the complainer is also one, like it or not.

Posted by
1816 posts

Carol, here are three ideas for enjoyable, low cost experiences in Amsterdam:

1 -- There are public buses that you can catch from a platform behind the train station, which operate almost like "hop-on, hop-off" buses for the Netherlands countryside. They offer several routes. We chose the Waterlands. Cost 10 euros per person for the day. It took us to Edam, where we got off and spent some time, then we caught a bus to Volendam, had lunch along the harbor, then took a ferry (extra fee) to Marken, then a bus back to Amsterdam. Spectacular day.

2 -- We did a cheese & wine tasting at Reypenauer (15 euros in 2014) and for an extra 5 euros, we got tickets for a canal boat tour. Delicious cheese ... we are now addicted to aged goudas! And you have to take a canal boat tour in Amsterdam.

3 -- There was a free lunch-time concert every week at the concert hall in the museumplein (just past the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh museum). Normally it's on Wednesdays, but the week we were there it was Thursday. So if you're there mid-week, find out if they're still doing these. And get there early. We saw two amazing pianists.

Posted by
3653 posts

I just wanted to thank all of you who have been kind enough to respond to the post. You've given me some good ideas.
I'm also going to attend the Amsterdam and Dutch Day Trips class held at the travel center this weekend. I should get ideas there as well.

Posted by
3653 posts

The travel class was fun. There were about 100 people. The presenter asked for a show of hands of how many people had been to Amsterdam before and about 1/3 of the crowd raised their hands. Then he asked how many were planning to go to Amsterdam this year, and almost everyone raised their hands. Finally he asked, "How many of you are going there on a Rick Steves Tour?" I didn't see one hand raised. He seemed surprised and his response was, "We do offer tours if you are interested....."

He made only two comments about Keukenhof. The first was to try not to visit on a weekend. The second was to get there as soon as it opened in the morning. The advantage of the early arrival is that you will beat tour buses there.

He had some very practical helps such as a photograph of a Dutch train ticket machine and described where to put the coins in. He also talked about the various museums and a little bit about the more famous painters.

His tips for getting in to the Anne Frank House without standing in a huge line were as follows:
1. Check the internet frequently and buy online tickets as soon as they become available.
2. Arrive after dinner in the summer time when the crowds have thinned.
3. Pay to go on a tour. While this is more expensive, it fits in with the "time is money" thinking and getting the most value from your trip.

Posted by
4 posts

Charlene,
What are the hop on/off bus for 10 Euro you mention?? I find similar listing for $50 which sounds more like a guided tour, something I want no part of. Your description sounded like a bus into the country with flexibility which is attractive.
But the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Alkmaar is only 7.50 E and to Haarlem for only 4.20 E, to Hoorn for 8.20E. Harder to do a loop on the train however.

Posted by
3653 posts

Mrs. EB, I am lucky enough to live 1 hour plus a 30 minute ferry ride away from the Rick Steves Travel Center. As an added plus, my daughter lives nearby so a trip to a travel class doubles as a visit to my daughter.
The classes are usually very good. The travel center also has a huge selections of guidebooks and a cozy section with fireplace for sitting down and reading.

The website often has these same classes available online and I think the day long travel festival on April 2nd will probably be streamed live.

Posted by
227 posts

It's not a hop on hop off bus but a bus that works very similar to a hoho bus. It's the WATERLAND bus . Situated behind the Central Station . From the front of C .S. , go through its long corridor ( you may see a sign stating " to busses ") . At the end of the long corridor , leaving C.S. , all the busses are there . Look or ask for Waterland bus.

Posted by
1786 posts

The Waterland bus was one of the best day trips anywhere. A great deal for the money, you set your own pace and go wherever you want. Easy and frequent connections made it possible for us to just wing it, change in midcourse, etc. Towns, countryside whatever you fancy. Safe travels.

Posted by
5 posts

We were in Amsterdam in April 2016 for 4 days and enjoyed the "Magic Triangle" Hoorn-Medemblik-Enkhuizen excursion featuring a narrow gauge steam train segment (about 1 hour) and Medemblik-Enkhuizen cruise (about 90 minutes) on a small ship on the IJselmeer that put in at the Zuiderzee Museum. Best bargan feature was that the entire trip (except for public train fare) was covered by our museumkaart-- a bargain if you get one to cover your visits to Amsterdam museums. Easy access from Amsterdam via train to Hoorn, about 30 minutes from Amsterdam. We booked a day return to Enkhuizen and got off the train en route at the steam station in Hoorn. After our visit to the Zuiderzee Museum we got on the train back to Amsterdam at the Enkhuizen station. We had a nice lunch and walkabout in Medemblik and dinner in lovely Enkhuizen. A very full day that covered a lot of territory and varied experiences. Here are links: http://www.stoomtram.nl/en and http://www.zuiderzeemuseum.nl/en/10/home/

P.S. We also had a lovely day trip to Keukenhof which was at its peak the last week of April. It closes in mid-May, however. A note about Keukenhof: our strategy was to go late in the day, arriving around 3. (We were staying in Leiden and took the bus direct from Leiden Centraal.) The gardens were open till 7:30--which gave us more than 4 hours to explore. Even though it was a peak time and good weather, we did not encounter "hoardes" of tourists at that time and did not feel rushed or crowded. Sunset that day was after 8:30.

Posted by
6158 posts

Amsterdam is one city where you can often get bargains for central hotels on priceline; you might see if you can bit in your range and get something for your time there. They tend to be corporate type hotels. You can check better bidding to see what the pattern of 'winning' bids has been in the areas you are interested in to see if it is feasible.