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Best cities beyond Amsterdam

Will have 3 nights in Amsterdam with 3 full days to explore the city. Will have 5-6 nights to see other places on way to Paris. Any suggestions. Have looked @ Delft, Ghent & Brughes but am open to other suggestions. Will be traveling by train to each destination. Thought staying at least 2 nights per stop & looking at day trips to minamalize number of hotels. Main interest is the culture, not too heavy on museums as some tours seem to be. We love to live like locals while in other countries but also love to see as much as possible.

Posted by
8051 posts

Not sure if you want to keep checking in and out of hotels while in Belgium
You may want to use Ghent as a base to Explore Brugges and Antwerp as day trips since they are short train rides away.
I found I like Ghent the best. Brugges is overrun in the day with large tour groups blocking the narrow medieval streets taking selfies and stuff.
There are some great views from the top of the Belfry
in Brugges though if you like the exhilaration of climbing about 300 stairs to the top.
Delft (birthplace of the famous blue and white pottery ware) is charming
Utrecht is cool if you get a chance. It is smaller Amsterdam without the red light but some good coffee shops where you can gets some good weed. They also have some of the best live music festivals anywhere
I called in sick and went to these two less year:

http://leguesswho.nl/editions/2016/
http://festivals.tivolivredenburg.nl/transition/2017/

Posted by
2487 posts

For the Netherlands consider Dordrecht as a second base. The oldest city of Holland (as the western part of the country), nicely situated on a crossroads of rivers, and less touristy than Delft (which is only 30 mins away on very frequent trains). Take the ferry (»Waterbus«) to visit the windmill complex of Kinderdijk. Use this real-time public transport planner: http://9292.nl/en#
In Belgium I found Gent one of the best places to stay. Nice, lively city. Half an hour from both Brugge and Brussel (which you need for getting to Paris), and one hour from Antwerpen. Brugge can't be missed, but I find it too much an open-air museum. Use www.belgianrail.be/jp/sncb-nmbs-routeplanner/query.exe/en for planning your trains in Belgium.

Posted by
15673 posts

Delft is nice, but for me a half-day trip from The Hague was enough. I did like visiting The Hague - not the charming canals and bridges of the other Dutch and Belgian towns, but Madurodam is fun, and the Mesdag and the Escher Museums were well worth visiting. There's more, but I didn't have time. I haven't been to Haarlem or Utrecht, wish I had.

I agree with the others, Ghent is the best base for Belgium and better to day-trip than change hotels.