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Itinerary help

We're spending 8 days in Amsterdam and will visit museums, take a bike ride, photograph the canals, etc.

Then we have 5 days open before we plan to go to Ghent and are trying to decide how to the spend time
Right now: Amsterdam for 8 days
then Delft for 2 nights: Drive to Leiden and the Hague before getting to Delft. 2nd days see Delft -- Is Delft worth a day if you're not into their pottery?
Antwerp for 1 night - Would you spend a day in Antwerp?
Bruges for 2 nights Would you spend 2 nights in Bruges and 2 nights in Ghent? Is Ypres worth the journey
Ghent for 2 nights
Brussels for 2 nights - Would you spend 2 night in Brussels?
Back to Airport in Amsterdam

Sorry this is sketchy ... we just booked the flight today and I don't have guide books yet. Just reading on the internet. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks

Posted by
3551 posts

IMO, Delft Half day, Brussels 0, Ghent 1 day but stay in Brugge so adding an xtra nite in Brugge(a fabulous place), have u thought of Haarlem? Amsterdam lodging is very costly, Haarlem is a very nice small dutch town and alot more affordable and a good place to get over jetlag. I have down this twice with 3 day stay for Amsterdam.
Just a thought in case u get sticker shock.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks for your comments. We went to Ireland last year and certainly the prices were much lower in Ireland. I'll look at Haarlem.

Posted by
2487 posts

Drive to Leiden and the Hague...
You are not planning to use a car, I hope. It will be utterly useless in the city centres. The train services in the Netherlands and Belgium are excellent.
Is Delft worth a day?
It won't be a problem to spend the best part of a day. If you're out-Delft-ed, take the train to nearby Schiedam, if only for its huge windmills.
2 nights in Bruges and 2 nights in Ghent
Bruges and Ghent are only 30 mins apart on frequent trains, so there is no need to change accommodation. There are strong opinions on which city is the best. Personally I find Gent the more livelier of the two, but others prefer Bruges, especially for the evenings when all the day trippers are gone.
Would you spend 2 night in Brussels?
I wouldn't. It is not an agreeable city. It is only 1 hr from Bruges and 30 mins from Gent. Make it a day trip.
Back to airport in Amsterdam
I'd rather stay close to the airport. The slightest problem on the tracks or with the train, and you'll in deep trouble. Spend a night in Leiden, only 20 mins from Schiphol airport on very frequent trains, or in Haarlem, 30 mins by equally frequent bus.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you so much for your comments. We were not planning to have a car in Amsterdam, but thought we might want one to do the 2nd part of the trip. We enjoy stopping and taking photos of farmland, windmills, etc. Would you suggest doing the whole route by train?

Posted by
14245 posts

I think there's more to see and do in the Hague than in Delft, though Delft is quieter and Hague has a city-feel. It's about a 20-minute tram ride between them, so stay in one and day-trip to the other. Bruges is pretty but quite touristy, Ghent is quieter and is more convenient for day-tripping to Brussels. It's also cheaper.

One of my regrets is not going to Antwerp. You should also consider seeing more places in the Netherlands, Utrecht, Rotterdam . . .

Posted by
1606 posts

hey carol
yes amsterdam is expensive, been there twice. first was in an apartment on prinsengracht canal and amstel. really loved the area, near shops, restaurants, transportation. booked thru
second time we stayed on a houseboat in the jordaan area. that was fun, could sit outside watch the boats go by, feed the ducks and swans, shops, restaurants, and transportation near. check,, or
read the fine print, early checkin or luggage storage, share bathroom/kitchen, what floor (usually no lifts/elevators, steep stairs/steps to carry luggage up UGH!
maybe split your time between amsterdam and haarlem. we took a day trip to haarlem on the train.
we also did a day tour out to the countryside, fishing villages, windmills, cheese tasting, lunch at a restaurant, great day. he has since retired, you can email for info if interested. ultimate flight experience
tuktuk amsterdam (her husband also does a tour)
book anne franks house early and other museums
lots of walking, people watching, sitting at cafe/bistro for appetizer and glass of vino (loved rembrandt plaza), smell of pot in the air, (stop in a coffee shop), canal cruise, LOTS of bicycles here there and everywhere! when our "paws" were sore we found a pedicab for a ride around dam square. took the tram to albertcuyp market place, blocks and blocks of anything and everything on a pedestrian only street.
this will keep you busy doing research, lots of things to do and see, and keep your "amsterdam" folder full. you'll have a fabulous time, it's a gorgeous and busy city. enjoy

Posted by
306 posts

Consider staying in Ghent at the Carlton hotel.
Very reasonable and the proprietors are very informative and it is very close to the Sint-Peters station.
You might consider using Ghent as a base and visit Bruges from there - even perhaps Antwerp.
Have not been there but might skip Brussels..

Haarlem is a good choice for accommodations but might consider Zandaam; a 15 minute train ride into Amsterdam.
We also rented a house through VRBO which included bicycles; it was a good location and it sounds like most places you want to see can be done as day trips from one location.
no need to drive; the trains take you everywhere.

Have fun!

Posted by
2487 posts

Would you suggest doing the whole route by train?
Yes. Finding a parking lot near the centre is already a problem in these cities.
We enjoy stopping and taking photos of farmland, windmills, etc.
Rent a car for a day in Amsterdam and explore the area south-east: Naarden, Weesp, Abcoude and Ouderkerk are all nice places, unspoiled by tourism, and following the small country roads between them will find you in a very Dutch landscape.