We are planning to spend a week this October in Amsterdam and Haarlem. We like to go slowly and and have some relaxation time. But we are looking for ideas of places to visit, including off the beaten path places. Thanks for your suggestions. Also, if you have and restaurant or cafe recommendations that would be great.
Hi Becky. We really enjoyed Amsterdam.
1. If you like to bike, rent from MacBike and take bikes on the ferry behind Central station and bike the small towns and dikes.
2. Climb to top of NEMO for relaxing place to view / eat / hang out.
3. Anne Frank Haus - get tix online 60 days ahead.
Enjoy your trip!
IN Haarlem, Corrie Ten Boom museum, book ahead as it is very small.
In Amsterdam visit the hidden churches, especially Our Lord in the Attic (opsolder.nl) near the red light district. It is definitely an off the beaten track museum in my opinion. Wednesday is the cheese market in Edam. It is great local tradition to see. You can take the bus at central station. Get there early for a good seat.
We spent 9 full days in Amsterdam and still didn't see everything on our list. I have been there twice, DH only once but we plan to go back again in the near future.
We took the tram around the city, the bus to Edam and the train to Haarlem and delft. Very easy to get around.
In Haarlem we ate at the top floor cafe of the V&D dept store, great views. In Amsterdam we ate at The Pantry twice and I had poffertjes everyday - it is street food - small Dutch pancakes. I even found a website in the US that sells the mix and pan and now can enjoy them on holidays and my birthday.
Another vote for Corrie Ten Boom museum. I had read the book in advance and that helped give more meaning.
In Haarlem, I would recommend visiting Landgoed Elswout. Although the autumn colours peak a little later, usually in the first half of November, it's a wonderful place to go for a walk. One of the most beautiful forests/parks in Holland.
In Amsterdam you should visit some canal houses, such as the Cromhouthuis and the Museum Willet-Holthuysen.
Haarlem has the Teylers Museum, which is a museum piece in itself.
A much overlooked gem is Naarden, a wonderfully preserved late-seventeenth fortified town. It is a20-minute walk from the railway station Naarden-Bussum (OpenStreetMap will show you the way).
For getting around the public transport planner 9292 is a wonderful tool. It covers all public transport: trams, busses, trains and even river ferries.
I did That Dam Guide's Red Light District tour on Friday night. Our guide (Lee) was fantastic and gave us a gentle introduction to the RLD. It was really interesting (and fun) and the small group meant that we could ask questions. The whole tone of the tour was matter of fact and non-judgemental. We learned a lot about the sex industry in the city, and quite a bit about Amsterdam as a whole. Well worth an evening.