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itinerary/transportation advice

Here I am again... For some reason, Amsterdam is so hard for me to plan (especially whether to get a transportation pass, or not. It's my understanding that it's a very compact city.) Would love advice on itinerary (bare bones). Here is what I have so far:

arrive on a Saturday afternoon at 4:20 (Eurostar from Brussels) and staying at Hotel Okura (our Sunday - Wednesday hotel was not available) - planning on having dinner in the de Pijp area and then???

Sunday - breakfast in de Pijp area, walking tour at 10:30 with Sandeman, Van Gogh museum in the afternoon, check in to Hotel Estherea

Monday - Volendam, Marken area (transport on our own)

Tuesday - Rijksmuseum

Wednesday - Anne Frank House, Jordaan area, then Wednesday night at hotel near airport for early morning Thursday flight

Other place I might try to see: Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, Coster Diamonds, Vondelpark, Oude Kerk, Museum Van Loon, Museum Willet-Holthuysen, Albert Cuypmarket

Do you think we should get a transportation pass? I'm considering the iAmsterdam card for myself, but my kids are free for Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh, so I won't get it for them.

There are 3 of us - me and my 2 daughters (12 and 15). This is the end of a 34-night trip (Paris, Switzerland and Belgium before Amsterdam)

Posted by
950 posts

I would price the iAmsterdam card against individual prices. Google Tram prices (when I was there two years ago tickets were 1.80 for, if I remember, 2 hours?). Also, obv, price your travel to Voldenham and Marken. I have got a pass once and I think it just barely made sense (like, I was trying to go to more places to make it worth the cost), but, I always rent bikes so don't use the tram much (except to get to and from Centraal station upon arrival and departure). Once you move hotels, you will find most things you want to do very walkable, except for things in the center if town like the Oude Kerk (which I would skip in favor of the Old Church in the Attic, right near the Oude Kerk).
For breakfast in De Pijp, I would choose Bakers and Roasters, although it looks like a tram ride would be needed, and Omelegg is closer and also good.
So are you leaving luggage at the first hotel during the walking tour and Van Gogh museum, and then returning the the first hotel for luggage and taking it to the second hotel?
Albert Cuypmarket is between your first hotel and Bakers and Roasters, so you could walk through it to or from (its a street market like most you've seen). I would add something to your Rijks day. It won't take ALL day. The street just north of the museum (goes under the museum and then north) is closed to cars and fun to stroll.
On that first night after dinner you could walk over to the park that sits between all the museums (Van Gogh, Rijks, stedelijk). It would give you a good overview of that area of town (De Pijp) as you won't head back that way after moving hotels.
But in answer to your question, it does sound like the amsterdam card makes sense for you but I would run some numbers to compare.
Sounds like an awesome trip.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks RJean & Jessica! Here's a fuller itinerary - thoughts? The things in bold are must sees, but the rest I'm really flexible. The kids are in charge :-) I've added Zaanss Schans because I think they will enjoy it.

Saturday
arrive at hotel, eat dinner in de Pijp area and play it by ear (girls might want to swim at hotel)

Sunday
breakfast in de Pijp area (Bakers and Roaster or CT Coffee and Coconuts)
Walking tour with Sandeman
Van Gogh museum

Coster Diamonds
Museum Van Loon
Museum Willet-Holthuysen
Dam square

Monday
Volendam, Marken

Tuesday
Zaan Schanse
Rijksmuseum
Canal boat tour
Wednesday
Begijnhof, Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder
Anne Frank House
Jordaan area
Westerkerk

Yes, the plan is the leave the luggage at the hotel on Sunday, go to Van Gogh museum, get our luggage and check in to Hotel Estherea and then do a walking tour (this is all very flexible at this point)

Posted by
1514 posts

The kids might enjoy a visit to the Kukenhof Gardens too. Perhaps you might add it on to itinerary. It is the sanctuary of Tulips. Consider taking a day trip to Haarlem if you have time. Haarlem is 25 minutes from Amsterdam by train or visit the Hague 50 minutes by train from Amsterdam. The kids will surely love this http://www.netherlands-tourism.com/madurodam-a-miniature-park-worth-visiting/

https://www.wanderlustingk.com/travel-blog/one-day-haarlem-day-trip

https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/more-destinations/haarlem.htm

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks, again - couple clarifications..

I think Albert Cuypmarket is closed on Sunday? website was in Dutch, but I could kind of figure the days out...

Isn't the Keukenhof closed in June (I thought it was only in spring...)

With Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, Museum Van Loon, and Museum Willet-Holthuysen, how would you visit these? How much time is realistic to plan for each one? Could any be visited on the same day?

Posted by
1514 posts

My aplogies, the Kukenhof gardens are open from March 21st until May 19th. For the museums you've listed, You can use the Holland Pass. You can visit 2 on same day but 3 might be tiring for the kids. The Holland pass also would cover Madurodam in The Hague.

https://www.madurodam.nl/en

Posted by
2487 posts

With regard to the Van Gogh Museum:
You need a timed reservation. Another thread, posted today, mentions the difficulties of getting that when you have an IAmsterdam City Card. (Not for your children. The »Book your tickets« page provides for free reservations for the under-18s.) A trick could be to pretend you have a Museumkaart (under »Other options« on the »Book your tickets« page), holders of which also can get a free reservation. I don't see what the problem could be when entering the museum: you have an entry ticket (in the form of the IAmsterdam card) and a timed reservation. And you can also perfectly explain that this was the only way of getting a reservation.

Posted by
61 posts

Wow - I love your idea. After researching all day, I decided to get the 5 day Iamsterdam for me and a transportation pass for my kids (I'll have to look into that.) Then, I saw the post you are talking about, so I decided to just pay 19 euro extra for the Van Gogh ticket (even though I will have the Iamsterdam card). I don't see why what you're proposing wouldn't work. But, then again, I'm not familiar with the entrance policies at the museum. Thanks for the advice...

Posted by
61 posts

Any thoughts about visiting Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken and Edam on one day (not a tour)? I could do that on Monday and then I'd have all day Tuesday to visit other places at a more leisurely pace. (I'm also thinking about moving Rijksmuseum to Sunday.)

thanks!

Posted by
2487 posts

I'm not such a fan of MarkenEdamVolendam. It is such a tourist cliche and it can be unpleasantly crowded when some buses are unloaded. The same is for the Zaanse Schans. Too popular for its proximity to Amsterdam.
Go a little bit further to Hoorn and/or Enkhuizen. Both beautiful former port cities with loads of history. Not undiscovered by foreign tourists, but still manageable. Hoorn is the more monumental of the two and Enkhuizen the more atmospheric and quiet. Easily reached from Amsterdam on half-hourly direct trains: 30 mins to Hoorn and another 30 mins on the same line to Enkhuizen.

Posted by
61 posts

I completely agree with you - I actually went to Volendam and Marken years ago.

However... i feel that my 12 and 15 year old will love the touristy kitsch (take a picture in wooden clogs, visit windmills, etc) - if it were only me travelling, I would totally skip it :-)

Posted by
2487 posts

All on one day can be done, but their is a limit of touristy stuff one can handle on one day. Make a compromise with the dear ladies: morning Zaanse Schans, afternoon Hoorn. Easily done on one day: after the Zaanse Schans go back direction Amsterdam, get off at station Zaandam and change to Hoorn.

Posted by
950 posts

I like Tom's advice for the out-of-town excursion. My 13yo daughter was underwhelmed by Volendam/Marken, but it depends on the kid. We are very outdoorsy, and big bicyclists, so love bicycling in Holland, and at Zaans -Schans you could get a taste of this, which I think is such an essential and super fun part of being in Holland (being on bikes, that is). And then Hoorn... I don't know if I would make this the day I plan on also visiting the Rijks though ...

As for your post about hotels, sounds like the one you are considering is closer to the center of town? I prefer the outer rings, but different strokes. I find the center of the city to have a slightly grittier party atmosphere. Sure, some people come for that reason, but the center of the city is where I really get a sense of it (and some in the Leidseplein area, but less)

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks everyone - great advice - now I’m looking at visiting on separate days. Maybe just z. Schans - we went on a California/Oregon coast trip last summer and they said their favorite part was riding bikes. I’ll decide on Volendam and Marken when I get there... thanks!

Posted by
950 posts

If you have the nerve, you could try renting bikes in the city (gasp). You could do a trial by renting at the MacBike near the north entrance to Vondelpark, and then ride around the park for an hour. It has very wide walk/ride-ways and there are crowds of people there. Riding in the city proper is exhilarating and scary, and my kids love it, and cycling makes getting around so easy and fast, but again, we have a lot of experience so maybe just the park would be a dose of that fun for your girls

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks, Jessica - I think they would love cycling around a park. (Not sure I want to try a city after our experience crossing the Golden Gate Bridge!)