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considering Amsterdam - expanding travel horizons

Going beyond the border of the UK, I would like to explore Amsterdam. An art history lecturer I would like to visit the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. A comfy bed and breakfast for myself and my husband is what I am interested in.

Other sites to see, best way to get there from London, comfy b&b and how many days needed to do justice to our visit.

Thank you

Posted by
4246 posts

Train or plane. The Eurostar takes on average about 5 hours and is more expensive than flying. You can fly from any of the regional 'London' airports for very reasonable prices.

Personally I would fly.

Posted by
46 posts

The Rijksmuseum is enormous. I would advise going there a couple of times on your visit since trying to see it all in one day can be tiring. The Van Gogh Museum is a must see but don't forget the Rembrandt House Museum as well. I have not visited the Stedelijk Museum, but I hear it is more known for modern art. To appreciate the history of Amsterdam I would visit the Amsterdam Museum and the Dutch Resistance Museum. To not feel rushed and to appreciate everything, I would spend about one week. This way it gives you leeway if you want to see other attractions, take in a concert at the Concertgebouw or go on a side trip for the day to Delft, Volendam or Zaanse Schans.

I can't help you much on b&b lodging since my preference is to stay at chain hotels and then eat breakfast at nearby restaurants in the city center. So I am sure a Rick Steves guidebook would have great b&b recommendations.

As far as getting there from London, you can either take a quick non-stop flight to Schiphol or a train journey on the Eurostar connecting through Brussels and then on to the Thalys to Amsterdam Centraal. It all depends on how much time you want to spend getting there. If I lived in the UK, I probably would just fly to save time.

Posted by
1856 posts

Amsterdam has a plethora of museums to explore. There are also many museums outside of Amsterdam such as the Frans Hal museum in Haarlem. We spent 9 days in Amsterdam with a few day trips and still didn't get to everything on our list. Don't forget to preorder any tickets available before your trip so you do not waste time standing in lines. I don't know when you plan ongoing, but from what I read, lines at certain museums are year round.

Posted by
11230 posts

Since you're starting with general questions (what to see, where to stay, etc), you should first get a guidebook or two. I like Rick's Amsterdam And The Netherlands book, but if you can get several different ones out of your library, you'll get more than one perspective.

My big tip for accommodations is that demand outstrips supply, or putting it another way, it's a seller's market. Many of the places to stay are recommended in multiple guidebooks, and since they aren't that large, they book up early. Make reservations as soon as you know your plans, and be prepared to pay more, or get less, then you expected. And don't be surprised to find minimum stay requirements on weekends - year round - since Amsterdam is such a popular weekend getaway (from all over Europe, but particularly for people from the UK - expect to run into a lot of your countrymen!).

Here's a great list of tips for accommodations in Amsterdam from EuroCheapo, which is useful even if you aren't seeking "cheap" places to stay. Pay particular heed to their tip about stairs - they really are that steep. http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/amsterdam-hotel-advice.html

Posted by
2487 posts

There is no reason to stay in Amsterdam itself. The city being overwhelmed with visitors, many prefer to have accommodation in a nearby city, such as Haarlem (15 mins away on very frequent trains), Utrecht (30 mins) or Leiden (40 mins), all being agreeable historical cities.
For art, don't overlook what The Hague (Den Haag) has on offer with the Mauritshuis (specialized in 17th century) and the Gemeentemuseum (for Mondriaan).
If you intend to visit 4 museums (or more) the Museumkaart is at EUR 59,90 a good investment. It gives free access to more than 400 museums all over the Netherlands. It invites you to visit smaller museums and monuments which you otherwise would have skipped. It can be bought at almost all of the participating museums.
The suggested Volendam and Zaanse Schans are tourist traps with a lot of coach groups. With your interests you'll find Hoorn and Enkhuizen (40 resp. 60 mins from Amsterdam on half-hourly direct trains) much worthwhile destinations.

Posted by
2661 posts

As an art history fan (college major), I am returning to Amsterdam for 7 full days (9 total) for the purpose of seeing the Rijksmuseum...going until I've seen it all. I hope to hit a few others, but that is my priority. I'm traveling solo so no one will interfere with my goals. I am staying at the Hotel Fita near the museums and Vondelpark.

In previous trips I've stayed both in Amsterdam and in Harlem. The Frans Hals Museum in Harlem is a lovely small museum, but while we enjoyed the short stay in Harlem, I prefer Amsterdam, particularly if you want to see as many art museums as possible. You can easily visit the Frans Hals museum from Amsterdam.