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draft itinerary in Sept 10-14

Draft plan, please suggest if my daily trip sounds reasonable and easy to explore. I am open to make change, go to one place before or after, or add other options.

Sunday- Sept 9: departing from YVR-AMS

Monday- Sept 10: Arrive AMS before noon. Plan to stay at Hotel NH AMS Centre.

1) Lunch (plz suggest)

2) Museumplein –Vondelpark

3) Van Gogh Museum ( option)

4) Museum Quarter (option)

5) Jordaan walking around this area

Plan on trying Michilin restaurant for dinner, there are A LOT, perhaps you can recommend few closely or short train ride to where we stay.

Tuesday- Sept 11

1) De Kat Windmill – Zaanse Schan“ Wooden shoe Workshop ’de Zaanse Schans (what bus/train can we take from Hotel NH AMS Centre to there, is this place worth visiting )

2) Begijnhof

3) Flower Market/Bloemenmarkt ( option, might not go)

4) Anne Frank House

Wed- Sept 12

Shopping at De Kalvertoren, De Bijenkorf.

What about one shopping street – PC Hooftstraat , compares to De Bijenkorf ?

Albert Cuyp Market (sells souvenir ? how many hour usually recommend to spend )

Canal cruise for dinner for 2, is it worth $$ and view ? I rode gondola in Venice, how different from the experience ? We are going to Canals area in Utrecht, shall we save it for next day instead of going on canal cruise ?

Thursday Sept 13

Train to Utrecht, staying 1N. What else worth seeing or just wandering around the city for another night ?

1) Miffy Museum

2) Canals area

3) Vredenburg market

4) Anything worth exploring, or walking around the city.

Friday Sept 14

Train from Utrecht –Burggs ( regarding the train system, I post separate forum for question)


Posted by
17968 posts

Just a couple of comments.

You should arrange to buy tickets for Anne Frank House as soon as they become available on-line.

De Bijenkorf is just a building with many independent shops on the various floors. Worth stopping in, its a nice building.
P.C. Hoofstraat runs parallel to the Vondelpark just a block off and a couple of blocks from the Museumplein. Its got all the requisite high-end shops. Gucci, Tiffany, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, etc. Might as well hit that while you're in the neighborhood.

Yes, take a evening dinner cruise. Nice time.

Posted by
107 posts

1). Right now, I plan for 2 N in Utrecht Sept 13-14 ( since half day will spend on train transfer), what else we shall not miss in 2 N stay ? Can you suggest accommodation for 2 N stay ?

2) correction:
Sept 15 train from Utrecht- Ghent (base city to stay). Sept 15-16 staying at Ghent (2 N)
Sept 16 a day trip to Bruges
Sept 17 train Ghent to Brussels

Question: we will fly from Brussels - Venice, Italy. In this case, shall we visit Brussels last and staying at Brussels for 1 N, then catch plane follow day ?

I entered May 24 train from Utrecht CS to Gent Sint Pieters for one day trip to Bruges, it shows only one schedule once a day, depart at 17:44, arrival at 21:00, “ Eindhoven Bus JF Kennedylaan/Limbopad - Gent-Dampoort (Bus) so 2nd part to change to bus ? ” change 1, fare for 2 adults is $ 74.2. I travel with my mom although she is senior, I guess her price fare shows the same as adult ?

Posted by
17968 posts

There are direct trains from Ghent to Brugge (Bruges) 5 times every hour and takes about 25 minutes, so I don't see what the problem is.

There are direct trains from Gent St Pieters to Brussels airport every hour and taking 56 to 57 minutes, and trains with connections at other times. So if you want to skip Brussels, you can. Otherwise you can stay a night in Brussels if you want.

The thing to keep in mind is that trains are frequent in Belgium, like city buses in Vancouver. Nobody books in advance, they just go to the station and get on the next train. Locals will likely have some sort of pass or discount card.

Posted by
107 posts

Are you refer to goeuro website to book direct trains from Ghent to Brugge (Bruges).

Because from Utrecht to Gent centre, I have to use b-Europe. com

May I ask is there plane fly from Ghent to Vience ? Then I could also visit Brussels as day trip. Initially, I thought I could only catch fly from Brussels- Vience.

Shall I stay on original plan to stay at Brussels 1 N then fly to Vience or Ghent to Brussels by plane ?


Posted by
17968 posts

Forget goeuro. The domestic site for Belgian National Railway (SNCB).

Your mom should be able to to get a senior discount. and as Ton from Leiden explained on the other post, these trains are unreserved, you can ride any train that day on the ticket, and there is no advantage to advance booking, except maybe the day before if you are at a station the day before.

What I am saying that Brussels airport is only 1 hour away from Ghent. You may be able to get to it quicker than getting from New Westminster to Vancouver airport on the Expo and Canada lines.

Posted by
107 posts

Thanks, Sam.

Good usage of metaphors here. Sounds like you know Vancouver inside out. Lol

Posted by
809 posts

We enjoyed a night in Utrecht at the Mary K Hotel, about a mile from Utrecht Centraal train station. We paid for breakfast as well; it was delicious and enormous! We couldn't really do it justice since we were still full from the night before; we ate at De Zwarte Vosch, very close to the hotel.

Just across from the Miffy Museum is the Catharijneconvent Museum; the exhibit we saw [illuminated manuscripts] will have closed by the time of your visit, but there is a permanent collection that looks interesting as well. We decided not to climb the hundreds of steps to the top of the Dom tower, but enjoyed a look inside the cathedral.

Utrecht also has two botanical gardens, one close to the center of town and the other out in the Utrecht Science Park. Mid-March was a bit early to visit gardens, as we found at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, but there should be lots of nice flowers when you are there in September. The RS book lists a few sights in Utrecht, but I got more information from Rough Guide and Lonely Planet, as well as the TripAdvisor Utrecht forum.

In Amsterdam, we ate lunch twice at a small place near the Flower Market, called LunchCafe Studio 2; a nice mix of breakfast and lunch dishes. However, I didn't find the Flower Market itself worth a stop; it was just a bunch of stall selling bulbs and some cut flowers, when we were there in March. So I'd save your time for other sights - the Begijnhof is very close to the Amsterdam city museum, which we spent several enjoyable hours visiting.

Since your hotel is close to the Vondelpark, you might consider either a picnic in the park or lunch at the cafe in the park, Groot Melkhuis [The Big Milk House]. Food was perfectly okay; the best part was sitting outside while we ate.

Happy planning, and have a great trip!

Posted by
17968 posts

The direct train at 1 or 2 past the hour is fastest. Skip the direct train at 12 past the hour, as if you wait a few minutes, the next train to Brussels Midi and changing there will get you to the airport quicker. There are several trains after that with a change at Brussels Midi as well until you come around the next 1 or 2 past the hour train.

I do have a friend in Surrey (aka West White Rock) who manages just fine without a car, using buses and trains.

Posted by
107 posts

Hello Sam,

I hope you don't mind perhaps I still don't understand your response. " The direct train at 1 or 2 past the hour is fastest" - what is the direct train you refer to in the quote, " at 1 or 2 past the hour" do you mean after 1 or 2 pm ? What is the name of the train I should keep eyes on when arrive at train station ?

Back to my original question which option is better ?

1) stay at Ghent ( 2 nights) as my base city, spend a day trip to Bruges, another day in Ghent. Then, train from Ghent to Brussels ( 1 N), then next day fly to Venice.

2) Ghent (3 nights), a day trip to Bruges, another day trip to Brussels. On day 4, Ghent-Brussel ( train), then Brussel-Venice by plane. and please specify the detail if possible. Here is a link of how schedule looks, correct ?

once this part is finalized, I can book hotel, and look into Italy portion then.
Many thanks.

Posted by
107 posts

Hello Kathleen, Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, there is still a lot to plan on my end since we are traveling to 3 more places ( AMS-Belgium- Italy). Which canal cruise dinner you have good review ?


Posted by
809 posts

Helenli, we did not do a canal cruise in Amsterdam or Utrecht, so I can’t give any recommendations.

In response to your other question, “1 or 2 past the hour” means 12:01 or 12:02, 1:01 or 1:02, etc. - one or two minutes after every hour.

Posted by
17968 posts

Don't over think it. Canal dinner cruises are pretty much the same as far as quality goes. Good simple food, a few drinks, and the beautiful canals of Amsterdam with the facades of the houses lit. Ain't no Michelin stars here.

Posted by
2487 posts

To make it all as simple as possible: if you can find a nice hotel in Utrecht, why not stay there for your whole visit in the Netherlands? Have first afternoon for some easy things in Utrecht, jet-leg permitting, and second and third day for day-trips to Amsterdam. The morning of the fourth day you can do one of two more things in Utrecht, if you like, before setting off to Gent.
Utrecht is only 35 mins from Schiphol airport with 4 direct trains per hour, and 25 mins from Amsterdam Centraal, also with 4 direct trains per hour, from early morning to late in the evening. Saves you checking in and out of hotels, hassle with luggage, and all that.

Posted by
2487 posts

I forgot you wanted to have a Michelin restaurant experience. Utrecht gives you also this opportunity: Michelin restaurants in Utrecht.
It is so much nicer to stay outside Amsterdam! I come there frequenty, and every year the tourist masses get bigger and bigger, making it less attractive.