Hi all, I know there are both the Belgium and the Netherlands forum. For the sake of this forum, please focus on my time in the Netherlands (although if you have an opinion and/or insights on my time in Belgium, I would love to hear it!)
My wife and I will be heading to Belgium and the Netherlands for 2 weeks (12 nights on the ground) from June 18 to July 1st. We were able to get a great deal flying in and out of Amsterdam. Our tentative itinerary is to immediately train to Ghent, Belgium upon landing and spend a few days in and around Ghent (3 nights). From there the plan is to train to Bruges for a few days (3 nights). After Bruges, we plan to train to Amsterdam, where we plan to base ourselves for 6 nights and doing day trips from there. Here is a more detailed outline of our itinerary
- Mon, June 19th - Arrive in Amsterdam at 8 AM. Train to Ghent (Sleep in Ghent)
- Tues. June 20th - Day in Ghent (Sleep in Ghent)
- Weds. June 21st - Train to Brussels, Day in Brussels, Train to Ghent (Sleep in Ghent)
- Thurs. June 22nd - Train to Bruges, Day in Bruges (Sleep in Bruges)
- Fri. June 23rd - Day in Bruges (Sleep in Bruges)
- Sat. June 24th - Day Trip, TBD (Sleep in Bruges)
- Sun. June 25th: - Train to Amsterdam (Sleep in Amsterdam)
- Mon. June 26th – Day in Amsterdam (Sleep in Amsterdam)
- Tues. June 27th – Train to Delft, Day in Delft, Train to Amsterdam (Sleep in Amsterdam)
- Weds. June 28th – Train to Leiden, Day in Leiden, Train to Amsterdam (Sleep in Amsterdam)
- Thurs. June 29th – Train to Haarlem, Day in Haarlem, Train to Amsterdam (Sleep in Amsterdam)
- Fri. June 30th – Day in Amsterdam (Sleep in Amsterdam) Fly home at Noon on Saturday July 1
This is our tentative outline. Nothing has been booked except for our flights, so the itinerary can be adapted. We are fairly sure we want to go to all of these places, but number of nights in each place it up in the air. Also, we don’t want to change hotels every night. My biggest concern is in which town to stay and for how many days. We are active, in our early 30s, like to visit sites (museums, etc.), but we also really like to relax, drink beer/wine, and eat. We really enjoy sitting in cafes/squares/parks and just relaxing.
Questions about time in Netherlands:
1) Should we base ourselves in Amsterdam for 6 nights and do daytrips? Or should we split up our time in the Netherlands between two places? One thought was to spend 2 nights in Delft on our way up from Belgium and the other 4 nights in Amsterdam.
2) We would like to spend 3 full days exploring Amsterdam. Is this enough (too much) time? Is there some sort of museum pass (like the Paris pass) that we should purchase to see museums and skip lines?
3) Aside from Amsterdam, what other cities/towns/places should we see with our day trips. I like what we have read about Delft and Haarlem, but we are open to suggestions. Leiden? Utrecht? Other places?
4) Is there a Netherlands train pass we should get, or is it easy/cheap enough to buy train tickets daily (I prefer this route if it isn’t too expensive because it maximizes our flexibility)
5) We would like to see some of the countryside and windmills. Is it possible to do that close to one of the city/towns that I have listed? perhaps via bike rentals?
As always, any help/comments on the itinerary as whole would be great. We are getting ready to start booking accommodations, but want to make sure that we have a good itins outlined before we do.