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Netherlands & Belgium Itinerary Help?

Hi, am working on itinerary for a two-week trip to Belgium & Netherlands in April 2019, appreciate any guidance on how much time to spend where! Yes, I will and do, consult Rick Steve guidebooks for sure, but appreciate your personal recommendations as well. Have a husband who loves beer, so any recommendations there are appreciated. Great places to stay?? Are the two countries too much for a two week trip, should we just focus on one country or the other? Thank you for your help! Karen

Posted by
656 posts

I have never been to either country but I am traveling to both, in July. Read Rick Steves “Amsterdam and the Netherlands” and “Belgium : Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent”. Check the Lonely Planet guidebooks, and the Rough Guides to see if there are sites appealing to you that Rick skipped. Write a day by day itinery, listing one or two major sites for each day. For each day, also write “if time” followed by one or more other sites. List what towns you think you will sleep in each night. Post your rough draft itinerary. ... I would not go to any site that has to do with museums related to, consumption of, or production of: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, other drugs or drug-like products, or prostitution; I am not a foodie, I would skip any place that has to do with making cheese, chocolate, or foods. See the art museums and remember that the most memorable sites are always seen outside, and in bright daylight.

Posted by
6841 posts

I would not go to any site that has to do with museums related to, consumption of, or production of: alcohol

Her husband loves beer.
This is one the best stores for beers in Amsterdam

Posted by
248 posts

To answer the OP's question, both countries are easily doable in 2 weeks, don't do just one, as the geographical area of the two combined countries is small and transportation by train is easy.

You may want to look into the Benelux rail pass.

On a recent trip, my wife and I flew into Brussels, trained an hour west to Bruges/Brugge, home based there 5 days with day trips on separate days to Ghent and Flanders Fields WW1 battlefield; then trained 3 hours north to Amsterdam, home based there for 6 days, with a day trip to The Hague and Delft and a 2nd day trip to a Van Gogh museum an hour east of Amsterdam.

Belgium is especially good for beer.

Posted by
306 posts

Spent last spring in the Netherlands and Belgium.
You will enjoy them both.
Regarding accommodations, we have had very good luck with VRBO; others air B and B.
We stayed in Zandaam and took the train into Amsterdam and elsewhere. Very convenient.
Would definitely take a day for Keukenhof Gardens; select the rest of your itinerary by what you like to see and do.
If you are interested in a "splurge" for a dinner, get reservations at Martine's Table, about a 5 minute walk from the Centraal Station in Amsterdam.

We stayed in Ghent and can recommend the Carlton Hotel. Very gracious hosts who know the towns of Ghent, Bruges and the surrounding area. Accommodations are first rate and the breakfast is excellent.

Lots of places to try beers. What was most fun is that each beer is served in its particular glass to bring out the best in the brew.

Have fun!

Posted by
334 posts

Hi, There’s so much to do, see, go in both of the countries. Belgium is known for their beers, all kinds, pairing food with beer is an art and science. I enjoyed Brugge, Ghent, Leuven , Brussels is Okay, great for mussels. Almost forgot Belgium chocolate. After reading RS I think things will be clearer. Maybe 4 night total. Getting there is super easy on the Thalys from Amsterdam. That leaves 10 nights for The Netherlands. Just so you know April 27th is Kings Day a national holiday with huge parties & celebrations throughout the Netherlands. Amsterdam is very busy, train schedules adjusted. The other few April things are Keukenhof Flower Garden;don’t skip this even if you’re not interested in tulips. April starts the cheese market on Thursday in Gouda & Friday in Alkmaar. National Museum week is April 8-14 which offers entrance at a reduced fee or even free. Museums will be crowded! Best place for windmills is Kinderdijk, although there is still a working windmill in use in Utrecht with tours on Saturday. Cities to visit in no particular order: Amsterdam, Haarlem, Delft, Utrecht, Den Hague, Eindhoven, Gouda.
I home base in Utrecht because of family. I have stayed in Amsterdam when we wanted not to have to train back and forth. I like the Jordaan area. I also think Haarlem is a good city to home base. It has good train connections. Post other specific questions when you get further in your planning.

Posted by
2487 posts

You may want to look into the Benelux rail pass
Distances are small in Belgium and the Netherlands, and a rail pass is possibly not a good deal.
Do your arithmetic using the train planners of the Belgian and Dutch railways.

Posted by
127 posts

Thank you all for the suggestions, I so appreciate your help in providing me some direction! Thanks for beer suggestions too....he is not an alcoholic, just enjoys a good, and well-crafted brew!! Ha!! It does pay to keep the husband happy!! Thank you ALL! Karen