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Netherlands and London

I am planning a 9 or 10 night trip to the Netherlands and would like to add on some time in another country, since I don't get to Europe too often. Most of the flights I see that go back to LAX from the Netherlands stop first in London/Gatwick, so I thought London, or surrounding areas could be a good option. I still haven't been to the UK at all. Will I have enough time in the Netherlands, if I add on London? How many days would you advise for each? I will be there in April. It seems like every one adds on Brussels to their Netherlands trip. Is it a must-see? Thank you!

Posted by
4573 posts

Do you have 9-10 nights for your whole trip, or are you asking about adding some more time for a second country?

The fact that some flights stop or change in London shouldn't affect your plans. To spend time there, you'd have to book separate flights between your home and London and between London and Amsterdam, which would cost more than a single booking from home via London to Amsterdam.

Kayak.com shows three daily nonstops between LAX and Amsterdam, though there are much lower fares for a change at Gatwick or Heathrow.

Posted by
4808 posts

happytracks, I guess people add Brussels because it's in an adjacent country. Honestly, sometimes I suspect that a few people think Belgium and The Netherlands are still the same country! Before thinking about anything else, do you know what an Open-Jaw air ticket is? (I understand that LAX is a very different situation than NYC or Washington DC.) But you are wasting valuable touring time by assuming a round-trip to Amsterdam.

It also depends on your interests and the days you already have planned. If you are going to the eastern Netherlands, it would make much more sense to visit the rich, enjoyable, fun destination of Cologne, Germany, than to schlep over to Brussels and still have to spend the night in Amsterdam to fly out with safe time intervals. Because Lufthansa (and its Star Alliance partners) were part of one of our trips (from Newark, not LAX), we got a two-segment flight right to Cologne for virtually the same cost as a non-stop to Amsterdam or Brussels. Just an idea for you to consider.

I am prejudiced against the London airports, but there are so many discount airlines in Europe today that I think you should make a list of affordable LAX destinations, and see if you can get from Amsterdam to one of them - even if it's not as close by as Cologne.

You can't make your decisions based on one discussion (!), but please consider this nearby discussion that includes Brussels:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/belgium/dilema-amsterdam-brussels

Posted by
2487 posts

Putting in Belgium has the advantage you won't waste a lot of time with travelling and changing accommodation. It is only two hours from Amsterdam to Antwerpen (less on the high-speed Thalys) and another hour to places like Brussels and Gent.
Brussels is by far the least attractive of the major cities in this part of Belgium, having fallen victim to two curses of the 20th century: real estate development and cars. It is much better to stay in lively Gent or have Antwerpen as a base.

Posted by
3551 posts

London warrants a min of 3 to 4 days, it is a blockbuster of sights. But it is also very pricey for lodging. but why cut the Netherlands short when u could easily spend the entire 10 days seeing it?
If lodging costs are an issue stay fewer days in Amsterdam and opt for nrby Haarlem, a fun and interesting dutch town.

Posted by
897 posts

London is awesome and you should totally add it on. Maybe 4 days Netherlands, 6 England. Another option would be to do 3 Netherlands, 2 Belgium (Ghent/Bruges via Brussels) and 5 Paris.

Posted by
3168 posts

On a 9 or 10 day trip, consider that if you flew to London, you would be losing at least 1/2 of a day as you'd have to arrive at AMS 2 hours early and then fly to Gatwick which is at least a 1 hour commuter rail ride into Central London. Follow the advice given above whether it's visiting Cologne or Aachen in Germany by train or taking the train into Belgium to visit Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, etc. Rail is much more efficient & comfortable way to travel (especially Thalys trains) and you'll see the countryside as you move from one place to another. I love the UK yet I still recommend postponing the UK for another trip.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you all for the replies! Plans have changed and I would be traveling alone for the first time, if I decide to go. Airfare must be purchased, so I need to decide! I agree that adding Lobdon would take up time. Now I am thinking to stay in Amsterdam some nights and Haarlam others. I will be there for the flower parade. I know they are fairly close together, but I the cost of Haarlam would be less. I may cut the trip down to 7 or 8 nights. Activities I want to do are the tulip gardens, biking in the countryside, seeing an open air museum, several museums/sites in Amsterdam, visit charming towns, windmills. Also hope to do some food/dinner/cooking activity. Some tours would be nice to meet people. Any thoughts?

Posted by
306 posts

regarding suggestions for food, you might be interested in a reservation at Martine's Table in Amsterdam.
Her husband Olaf also does food tours of the area.
There is lots to see and do - pick what suits your interests best!

Posted by
3168 posts

Thank you all for the replies! Plans have changed and I would be
traveling alone for the first time, if I decide to go.....Any
thoughts?

Yes, GO! You can't miss those tulips! :-)

I have traveled on my own to Europe at least annually since my early 20s (i'm now in my late 40s). I still make trips on my own to Europe if my husband is too busy to join me. Have fun planning your trip!