Hi - I am planning a 12 day trip with my family (kids are 19 and 17) for this August. I'm trying to avoid anyplace that is too warm, so I was thinking Amsterdam is a strong possibility. However, in reading Rick's travel guide, I wonder if we will be bored after just a few days. Bruges and Brussels sound ok, but with 12 full days, is there any other place to visit that would be "great" but not too hot/muggy? I know Paris isn't far, but Paris can be crowded and hot in August. Thoughts? Thanks!
I have a few suggestions, Ireland is a wonderful country, lots of scenery, pubs, hiking and it is never hot or muggy. Can be warm but that would be great in Ireland. Dublin is a great city and plenty to do outside of Dublin. Also Scotland, more scenery, pubs, hiking and sites to visit and a few days in Edinburgh which has the national gallery and the castle. You would not want to spend all 12 days in Amsterdam, but need to travel in Holland if you plan on going to Holland. Or you could do a beach vacation, go to the Amaifi coast in Italy or any place that has beach resorts in Italy. Or Switzerland, again, wonderful hiking and scenery and not hot or muggy in August. Also the Lake District in England is beautiful! And again none of these countries suffer from being too hot or muggy in August. Spain and the cities in Italy will be too hot in August.
Congratulations on traveling with your family and children! My wife and I spent 7 nights in Amsterdam in May and we had a great time. The weather was very tolerable - although rainy at times; not too sure if August is similar - check the climate charts for that time of year. Although we planned only 4-5 days in Amsterdam and day trips for the rest, we only had one day trip and spend the rest of our time in the city as we had so much fun. For us, we could have used a few more days to day trip, but were overall very satisified.. is 12 days your entire trip, or just Amsterdam? Check out the RS guide to Amsterdam, Brugge, and Brussels, and the RS website for some good ideas nearby. I found Amsterdam a very clean and friendly city, despite what people commonly think of when they think of tolerable marijuana and legal prostitution. We both walked the Red Light District at 9:30 PM and had zero concerns about safety or sleaziness. Not once did either of us feel threatened, or anything less then perfectly safe.
You may want to consider Belgium since you are so close. Our trip included Amsterdam, Delft (Netherlands), Brugge, Brussels, and Paris. I was in Paris at the end of June a few years back, and the weather was great, not too hot - perhaps august would be similar? If traveling Amsterdam - Brussels - Paris - London, the Eurostar train runs non-stop on that line in both directions. We booked early (about 80+ days in advance) and found really inexpensive one way tickets from Brussels to Paris (about $48 pp for 2nd class 1.25 hours).
I hope you enjoy your trip,
Thank you all, for helping me with this. I thought Amsterdam looked interesting for a few days but what I have read about Bruges, Brussels and other suggestions form RS books just won't hold our collective interests long.
I don't mind flying between Amsterdam and wherever we would spend the other 1/2 or 2/3 of our trip would be - I'm just having a hard time figuring out where to go. We have seen most of the UK except Ireland, so that is a possibility for weather purposes. I think Paris would be too hot/muggy in August.
I hadn't thought of the Lakes District in England, I will check that out as well. Is there anything worth seeing in Northern Germany?
If you're looking for someplace not too warm or muggy in August, try Scandinavia. A bonus is that it's never too crowded (not like Paris or Rome, at any rate), and summer is the most festive time. If you time your visit right, you will still be able to get the summer promotions for hotels that will make the visit less expensive (I don't know the current details, but when I went in 2003, some of the deals ended by mid-August). By using these deals, I found that Stockholm and Helsinki were no more expensive than many other places in Europe. However, Norway, even with hotel discounts, is very expensive.
I'll just second that there's lots of places to see in the Netherlands and Belgium besides Amsterdam, Brussels, and Bruges. Rick's book covers a number of the options, and then there are places that he doesn't mention (I enjoyed a day trip from Brussels to Tournai, for instance). But if you've read about them and don't find them alluring, do look at Scandinavia.
Thank you again - I will review the links recommend above and delve further into more of the Netherlands and Belgium - that would certainly be easy as far as not traveling too far - I just want to make sure the family felt like it got its "bang" for the time spent. I visited Scandinavia recently with my husband an we enjoyed it, but he always wants to go some place new. I greatly appreciate the thoughts and insight!
To my opinion you can certainly spend the twelve days in The Netherlands only, adding Belgium it makes it even more easy. Try to get enough information, buy/borrow a few decend guides (not only RS!) in the first place and see what will be of your interest. What are the things that interests your family and expect to find (only) here? Museums, cute little towns, castles, engineering feats, theme parcs, food, entertaining, outdoor activities, European cars, race tracks, sport (attending a soccer match?)............etc?
My first visit to Amsterdam was very hot and muggy, and the hostel management would not show us how to open the windows past a sliver. (I'll never know whether we just overlooked the correct way to do it, or whether other rooms had brazenly taken their windows off the hinges.)
Thanks again for the advice - I also am reminded that part of the point of the trip is to recharge our batteries, so slowing down a bit can't be a bad thing and we all really enjoy the coast, so that will be a sure win. What books do any of you recommend besides RS?
I would also encourage a look at the Lake District in England as well as up into Scotland. It can be hot in those places in the summer but chances are that the weather will be cool and beautiful!
You should also consider the Stockholm area and the Norwegian coastline. Stockholm is good for a few days and you can also travel out to the many islands in the archipelago. The coast of Norway is stunningly beautiful - many ferries go up and down the coast and up into the fjords. The villages and towns are just lovely and there are many hiking paths up into the mountains. Plus the long hours of daylight give you more time to spend out of doors exploring!
“What books do any of you recommend besides RS?”
Good question. I think the best way to start is getting a visual impression/overview what to find/expect here, before collecting more in depth information. Illustrated books can be very helpfull for that, but about The Netherlands in general hard to get in the US I guess. For that I suggests to buy or loan a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide The Netherlands, provided with loads of illustrations of all kind, maps and pleasant to read info. Is not that expensive and give a pretty well complete overview what our country has to offer and so a good impression if it will be worth to make a plan for visiting places besides the beaten track. The DK guides paying also attention to almost every corner of the nation, country-side, little towns and villages mainly overlooked by the more mainstream travel guides.
Once decided going more in depth the Michelin Green Guide is to my opinion a better source if you want to plan an itinerary covering the whole country. It offers a lot of practical information for staying, eating etc. RS guides and Lonely Planet guides provide solid information too, but are too much limited to popular places of general interest for the foreign visitor, nevertheless are worth to consult too.
Also for more info and help you can contact our national tourist organisation the ANWB. It has several shops in the country with well equiped travel departments, selling photobooks, guides, roadmaps etc. They sell also Capitool Guides, the Dutch version of the DK guides, with also versions of each province, only in Dutch language however.
www.anwb.nl (only in Dutch language) and for e-mailing: https://www.anwb.nl/formulier,/Contactformulier.html (if of interest pm me how to use it)
Before buying visit a library or a well equiped bookstore.
I have been to Amsterdam last August for a weekend and therefore I would like to share my experiences with you. After landing at Schiphol we went to our medium budget hotel in the neighbourhood of "Frankendaal". The trolley provides a perfect connection to the city center with good intervals. We were walking along the world famous Grachten and visited the Niewe Kirk as well as the "De Dam" the main square of the city.
I highly recommend you to visit the Vondelpark with the Rijskmuseum. Also the region in the Northwest has some very nice restaurants with typical Dutch food.