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Looking for help with Itinerary in Amsterdam and surrounding areas - 3 day trip (with teenager)

I will be in the Amsterdam area 3/24 - 3/27 (leaving in the morning of 3/27), traveling with my 13 year old daughter.

Originally I was planning to spend the entire time in Amsterdam until I was told by several travellers that I must spend some time outside of Amsterdam to see castles, windmills and tulips! I am looking for the following advice:

1) What can we do outside of Amsterdam for one day? (we can spend the first night outside of Amsterdam and then spend 2 nights in the city), and should I rent a car or use public transportation. I think I would prefer a car as we will have our luggage with us making it difficult to travel by train). Are there castles and windmills nearby? I was told by one person to go to Brugges, and then by several that it was too far...

2) In Amsterdam, we have plans to visit the anne frank house (have tickets for Tuesday morning 3/26), Van gogh and Rijks museums. Possibly the museum of bags and purses. Any tour recommendations, or other things to see or do that would be of interest to a 13 year old?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted by
85 posts

So happy for you to visit one of my favorite cities on the planet. We were there again back in December and had a marvelous time. I visited with my godson when he turned 16 a few years ago and he loved it. I'm cutting and pasting from an email to my sister-in-law who asked me for info as she is going soon, too. Here are a couple ideas:

This is a pretty great website for general info: https://www.holland.com/global/tourism.htm For specific Amsterdam info, this is a good site: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en Look for info on the trams - they are super easy and convenient way to get around town. The subway just opened but we've never used it - yet. As many times as I've been to Holland, I've never had to rent a car.

Anne Frank House is a must. The museums you've listed are very good but not too sure how much your teenager will enjoy them unless she is into art. On the flipside, my godson happens to like Von Gogh and thoroughly enjoyed the museum. I highly recommend the Verzetsmuseum (www.verzetsmuseum.org) or Dutch Resistance Museum. It is small but fascinating.

Have you been to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia? The equivalent in Holland is Zaans Schans (https://www.dezaanseschans.nl/en/). It is an interesting day outside the city. My godson still talks about it. You can easily reach it via train/tram from the city.

One of my favorite spots in the city is Vondel Park. Not sure about the weather when you'll be there, but during the summer it is full of people. Outside the park and 3-4 long blocks from the Museumplein is my favorite little local non-tourist cafe: Cafe Gruter (http://cafegruter.com/en/). I literally can't count the amount of time I've spent here. In the last 2 years, three other friends have also visited and loved it. There are two Dutch snacks that are to absolutely die for that are very good at Cafe Gruter: Bitterballen and Kaastangels. Trust me, your daughter will especially love the Kaastangels. One of my friends was there this past summer and his 15 year old son raved about the burger.

One of the awesome foods that you can get in Holland is Dover Sole and seems to be served in many places. It is much less expensive than in the US. It is one of our favorites. The most exclusive (and phenomenal) seafood restaurant is called Lucius Visrestaurant (https://lucius.nl/en/reservation/). If you decide to go, make sure you get a reservation. They have the most unique broth based lobster bisque that we've ever had. Amazing.

Literally down the street from Lucius, is a narrow bar that is owned by the next door restaurant. We found it by accident on our last trip. The name of the bar is Café De Koningshut (https://www.haesjeclaes.nl/koningshut/). They will bring the food from the restaurant to the bar. The Dover Sole there was incredible!

If you guys want a day "at the Shore", consider taking a day trip to The Hague (Den Haag) and go to Scheveningen Beach. We visited once in spring and always said we would go back if we were there in the summer. It is about a 50 minute train ride from Amsterdam and around 25 Euro for a round trip. If you want a "down" day on your trip, I'd totally spend a day here depending in the weather.

WATCH OUT FOR BIKES! They have the right of way!

Enjoy!!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so much for your detailed reply! Quick question regarding Zaans Schans - what is the best way to get there? By train?

Many thanks again!

Posted by
306 posts

Zaans Shans is a 15-30 minute trip from Amsterdam by train.
lots of fun, plenty to do and walk about in the fresh air, sample cheese, watch wooden shoes being made...

Would also consider Keukenhof Gardens or the Science museum (NEMO) Amsterdam.
Depending on her interests (and yours), you can never go wrong with a canal tour, maybe rent bikes for a trip through the countryside...

I would base in one place and take the day trips and rely on trains, trams and busses.
They are extremely reliable and easy to navigate.

Almost everything is easily accessible and there is no need to change accommodations.
Parking a car will be a challenge.

Bruges is about 3 1/2 hours by train suing Thalys; Ghent is about 3 hours. Both cities are doable but would be a long day of travel. Would consider Haarlem, Delft, Gouda, Utrecht - all are charming towns with a lot to offer.

Select what sounds good to the two of you and go for it!
Have fun!

Posted by
85 posts

If you can make it to Keukenhof (https://keukenhof.nl/en/), you won't regret it. It is early though so not sure how many tulips will be in bloom?

If you use Google Maps and select the train as method from your hotel or the GVB site (https://en.gvb.nl/), it will give you recommendations on how to get to Zaans Schans.

Posted by
793 posts

My 26-year-old daughter and I love the museum of bags and purses. We’ve been twice, and have enjoyed meals in their café in the period rooms. If you’re interested in that, I would recommend tea rather than lunch.

Since you are planning to go to the Anne Frank house, I would recommend skipping the resistance museum. That’s a lot of darkness for your short visit with your teenager. We enjoyed the Rembrandt house museum; it’s a good opportunity to see an old canal house, and they have some nice demonstrations and exhibits. I also really enjoyed the Church in the Attic. It’s in the red light district, but you should have no concerns about going there with your daughter. The tulips at Keukenhof could be lovely; check their opening dates, but my guess is that they will have been open about a week when you are there. I’ve never been to Zaanse Schans; it’s on my list for a future visit.

I don’t really associate castles with the Netherlands, and in late March I would not be trying to visit the beach. It is easy to get around on public transportation, trams in Amsterdam and trains to nearby cities are very reliable. And as others have said, you don’t need to change accommodations for one night.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
949 posts

You're only there for 2 days!!! Dont go on day trips. I could be in AMS happily for many days! Stick to activities in the city!