stay in Haarlem or Amsterdam + general itinerary question

it's me again - with more finalized plans!

quick question: should we stay in Amsterdam or in Haarlem? OR should we do our first night in Amsterdam and then 2 nights in Haarlem?

Also, we have 11 days - so 9 days of sightseeing. I have read the guide book from cover to cover, but am still a bit confused on how long we should spend in places. Does this sound like a nice itinerary?
Nights do mean nights = sleepover

arrive morning July 18th:
3 nights total in the Amsterdam area (haarlem and/or amsterdam- do the beach, etc)
2 nights in Delft (to visit The Haag and Delft) arrive on the 21st
3 nights in Ghent (to do Bruges and Ghent) arrive 23rd
2 nights in Brussels arrive 26th
Fly out morning of the 28th

I'm hoping to email some hotels and contact travel sights this morning/today so I can buy nights in hotels/b&b's/airbnb tomorrow during business hours over there. thanks!!

p.s. this forum is just awesome!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11397 posts

Haarlem, except on the main square on a weekend, tends to be nice and quiet for sleeping at night where many of the streets of Amsterdam can be quite busy and loud into the night, is my experience.

One man's meat...

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11397 posts

Gent is very close to Brussels so why not stay there and save yourself another check out/schlep/check in/orientate cycle.

You can get to the airport (which one, I ask, Charleroi or National) pretty easily from Gent if you want to.

Posted by Diana
Mount Pleasant, SC
25 posts

Hello!
Thanks for the help everyone! Nigel, we fly out of National from Brussels. I had 3 nights in Ghent, wouldn't more than that get kind of boring, or no?

Thanks!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11397 posts

It is your holiday, not mine. I prefer not to pack up and move a very short distance and stick with a home base. Gent is half way between Bruges and Brussels, with easy connections to Antwerpen.

Of all of those cities I personally find Brussels least attractive and while the Grand Place is big and has nifty architecture it is similar to what you will see in most Belgian and Dutch towns on a bigger scale; the boy (and around the corner the girl and around another corner the dog) with the need to relieve him/her/its self are OK but I wouldn't go miles out of my way for them.

So if you like to keep moving - move. Just be aware of the overhead time involved.

Posted by Michele
Portland, Oregon, USA
25 posts

We are going to be there at about the same time. Arriving in Amsterdam on July 21st. We have been there before and will be basing out of Amsterdam and staying in the Jordaan neighborhood. Quiet and beautiful. We will be day tripping from there. You can easily day trip to Delft and The Haage from Amsterdam....we stayed in Breda for a couple of nights last time we were there and day tripped. Loved Breda. When we were in Belgium we stayed in Ghent and absolutely loved it. From there we day tripped to Brugge and Brussels. So easy.

Have a great trip!