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Amsterdam--how many days & what area? NEW QUESTION

I'm in the "entertaining options" mind-set just now, looking ahead to next year's trip, and Amsterdam keeps floating to the top of the list. I'm thinking 4 days (other threads on this forum and my own knowledge will take care of what I want to see besides Anne Frank Huis and various art museums), and I like to stay fairly close to attractions, in an area I'd enjoy wandering in, always use public transit--is the canal ring best? Museum quarter?

I'd either go April, May or Sept, maybe even Oct--any thoughts re best time to visit?

Posted by
2487 posts

Weatherwise May and September have the best chances of agreeable temperatures and less rainfall, but in a maritime climate one never can tell.
For accommodation, about everything within the canal ring will suit you. The historical centre is relatively small (30 mins from Centraal Station to the Rijksmuseum), so public transport is hardly necessary.
Have a normal ho(s)tel and be very careful with using Airbnb. At the moment the City government is active with enforcing the regulations, with the result that some users have found themselves on the street with their luggage as their Airbnb accommodation was found to be illegal.

Posted by
6951 posts

We usually go in April, but May, Sept. and Oct. are also great months to go--no losers.
I would tell you to save a minimum of 4 days for Amsterdam, but there's enough around there to take a week
Amsterdam's not that large of a city, as you can get anywhere in town in 15 minutes on trams. We used to stay out by the football (soccer) stadium as a train stop close by takes you to the airport in just a few minutes. Unfortunately many of the B&B's in the area were worth a fortune broken up into condominiums. The trick is finding accommodations for a fair price.
The museum district is also a fine place to stay.

Posted by
2330 posts

I'm not inclined to do AirBnB or hostels, had checked a few hotels and they do seem pricey and some had rooms listed at 88 sq feet--that seems alarmingly small! More research is needed.

Perhaps 5 nights then, to allow 4 full days--and I can get a direct flight from SFO and arrive before noon.

My favorite thing is going to an antique/collectible market--any suggestions?

Posted by
1976 posts

I think 5 nights / 4 full days is a good length of time for a visit. I like the Jordaan neighborhood. In October I stayed at Hotel Brouwer on the Singel Canal, a five- or ten-minute walk from Centraal Station. I like being near the train station because all of the trams stop there so it's very easy to catch the one you want.

I like the hotel because breakfast is included and the rooms have private bathrooms. The only downside for me is that the rooms that face the canal catch all the noise from the street, even 4 floors up! There may be some rooms on the tiny side street. If noise is a problem for you, it's worth e-mailing the hotel and asking. I would gladly have traded the canal view for a quieter room! But I wore earplugs at night and those worked well.

Posted by
15072 posts

Friends of mine recently spent a week in the Netherlands, their first time there. They caught the height of tulip season at Keukenhof, around May 1. It varies from year to year- tulips obey the weather, not the calendar.

They chose to stay at a hotel near the airport/train station. That saved them money on hotels and made it easier to day trip. They spent their first day at Keukenhof, 3 days in Amsterdam, 1 in The Hague, 1 in Haarlem, and 1 in Alkmaar.

If you stay in the city, consider renting a bike for 2-3 days. You won't have to wait for trams and you'll feel like a local.

Posted by
513 posts

I spent several days in Amsterdam every July for more than ten years - both before and after participating in the 4 Daagse 200 kilometer marches at Nijmegen. I tried a variety of hotels from the city center, canal ring and museum quarter. I finally found one across from Vondel Park that had large clean, air conditioned rooms, an excellent buffet breakfast, and a nice in-house bar. I loved it! I can heartily recommend the Hotel Piet Hein. In addition, it is walking distance to the Liedseplein entertainment, restaurant, bar district and to the major art museums in the city. Public transportation - trams - to the Centraal Station/Dam Square area is just a short walk away.

Posted by
1256 posts

Christa - We were in Amsterdam in mid June and stayed at Aemstelhuys B&B(www.aemstelhuys.nl/en). It was wonderful and easy walking distance to Museums and public transportation.

Posted by
5570 posts

Another vote for the Vondel Park, Museum Area for a good location to stay. We enjoyed the Hotel Vondel.

Posted by
2330 posts

So much great advice, thank you all! More is always welcome...I may consider late April since the tulips would be something I'd love to see. My job is insane from June through mid-Sept (and just slightly less insane the rest of the year) so my respite in the months of crazy is doing research and pre-planning for next year's trip.

Posted by
2330 posts

I just made my reservations--flying direct to Amsterdam from SFO on 4/19, staying 5 nights. I have a feeling it's best to get out of there before King's Day on the 27th! I thought it was too early to start booking but glad I did because much of the mid-range hotels in the canal and museum areas were getting full--after much dithering I ended up taking Jack's advice and chose the Hotel Piet Hein in the museum district. Now for the fun part--research and planning.

Only one concern: how miserable am I likely to be without A/C in the last part of April?

Posted by
15072 posts

If the hotel doesn't have AC, they probably have fans. Ask for one.

Posted by
228 posts

As Chani said already : You could ask for a fan if you are lucky enough to have warm weather . Most of the time there is no need for A/C in the Netherlands , it rarely gets that warm .

Posted by
28145 posts

Only one concern: how miserable am I likely to be without A/C in the last part of April?

A more likely question is how miserable will you be without the right layers of clothing. April is still tulip season and Amsterdam is on the North Sea.

Posted by
1690 posts

I wouldn‘t be too concerned about hot weather in April and even May. You only have to think about A/C during the occasional heatwaves (for us around and above 30 °C) we can have here in June, more likely in July and August. The hot weather of a few weeks (September though) ago is very exceptional, but for the peace of mind you can always look for a place with A/C.

Posted by
2330 posts

Nance--Thank you so much for those links! The Antique Center sounds wonderful, like there's a range of fancy antiques as well as collectibles from the more recent past, and I'll be checking the flea market one as the time gets closer.

I had a feeling the lack of A/C wouldn't be too worrisome as it seemed many hotels didn't have it, and I'll pack layers and my hooded jacket so I'll be ready for whatever weather variations may occur.

The bookends of the summer are best in terms of weather; winter can be absolutely dreadful. The canal ring is very beautiful, I'd suggest taking a look at Jordaan area. It's located Northwest area in the canal ring.

Posted by
1806 posts

Trust me, you won't be miserable without A/C in your hotel room in April. I went in May. Over a 2 week period, I turned on the heat in my hotel room more often than not. On the few sunny "warm" spring days, I opened a window, but certainly never felt the need for even a fan.

Most days I ended up wearing a long sleeve shirt with a lightweight fleece over it, covered with a suede jacket. A few days were actually cold enough that I needed to also wear a scarf and gloves. Although I had packed a pair of capri pants in the event it was warm enough, I never wore them. I wore jeans daily.

Posted by
11292 posts

As everyone is saying, in April in Amsterdam, don't worry about the lack of air conditioning; worry about how cold you will feel. If you want warmth in April, try Spain, not the Netherlands.

Ceidleh's weather and clothing story is similar to mine. I brought one rather heavy cotton sweater - and ended up wearing it every single day of my 10 day Netherlands trip, whether it matched my clothes or not. This was in addition to my jacket with liner, scarf, and sometimes gloves. However, I had also brought a cashmere sweater, and found it unwearable, as it was too hot.

"Maritime climate" is a euphemism for 1000% humidity, so no matter what the actual temperature, you will FREEZE without lots of layers. However, since it really isn't that cold in April (it only feels that way), you can't wear a wool sweater, or you'll roast. The thermometer will say 50 F or thereabouts, but it will feel much colder.

I know San Francisco has some similar issues with humidity affecting how one has to dress, but I found Amsterdam to have them far more intensely. My payoff from my packing mishap on that trip was that on my September 2016 trip to Scotland and northern England, I knew exactly what to bring (one light cotton sweater that matched all my shirts, and no wool or cashmere), and it worked perfectly.

Posted by
2330 posts

Harold--yes, I'm close to SF, live on an island in the bay, and we actually don't have much humidity here. Based on your thoughts and others' plus the fact that I can overheat easily I will bring cotton blend light sweaters, long sleeve Ts, jeans, walking boots and a lined hooded jacket--I also find wearing a cotton/wool blend scarf helps when it's chilly. These are all part of my regular casual wardrobe anyway, glad I won't need to buy anything.