This is our first European tour. We booked at the last minute just weeks before the tour. We will arrive at 7:30 am the morning before the tour meets at 3:00 the next day. Booked a room at the same hotel where the tour is staying in Haarlem but now wondering if we should stay in Amsterdam the first night as that is where there are things we want to do. Interested in the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum and Dutch Resistance Museum. We will have time the morning of day 1 and the afternoon and evening of day 2 of the tour in addition to our pre tour arrival date. Any suggestions on whether I should try to find reservations in Amsterdam instead and also which days to do what. I know I need to make some reservations ahead of time for Anne Frank and Van Gogh. Very appreciative of all the advise shared on this forum.
I would stay booked in Haarlem - it is a short train ride into Centraal Station and you don't have to move.
Depending on your jet lag, might consider looking around Haarlem for a while and maybe go to Zaans Shans; if not save that for day two since you have to be back in Haarlem by 3.
Use your day 1 morning and day 2 afternoon and evening to book your Amsterdam sights.
If you have a free evening in Amsterdam, try to book a seat at Martine's Table.
You should indeed stay in Haarlem: it is only a 15- to 20-min train ride to Amsterdam Centraal station.
Haarlem is a nice historical city which can easily keep your arrival day filled, with the excellent Frans Hals Museum and the interesting Teylers Museum, and of course just wandering around.
You do know bus 300, running every 10 mins, gets you directly from Schiphol airport to Haarlem, ending at the railway station?
I’d also agree to go forward with the night in Haarlem! It will cut down on hotel changes and it’s a cool town! You’ve got 2 single nights on the tour -Rothenburg and Beaune- and by the time you hit Beaune you’ll be thanking yourself that you had 3 nights in one location at the start!
When I did this tour the mistake I made was in not giving myself a day in Haarlem. It is easy to get into Amsterdam but there is also quite a bit to see locally. You’ll do a short walking tour on your way to dinner the first night but you probably won’t see much. The full day on the tour will be in Amsterdam.
Have a wonderful time! I just had a picture of my guide for this tour pop up on Facebook today and I have just been smiling all day with the remembered good times with him and with the group! You are in for a treat!
I agree with the others that you should stay in Haarlem. Besides not having to waste time changing hotels, Haarlem is absolutely delightful. We based ourselves in Haarlem this past summer and it was a very easy daytrip by train to Amsterdam as well as a wonderful place to come home to in the evenings. Enjoy!
I agree that Haarlem makes more sense in your plan. Take the bus from AMS directly to Haarlem and get into your hotel, or at least drop your bags there. Haarlem has a great church (literally) and a couple of good museums if you don't have the energy to go into Amsterdam that first day. As others noted, the train connection between Haarlem and Amsterdam is quick and easy.