I have 2 days of my itinerary left to fill between Bruges and returning to Amsterdam. I'm already planning to go to Haarlem and some towns north of Amsterdam but I need some thing to connect the last few days of my trip after leaving Bruges. My group will be traveling in a rental car. Any ideas?
I have no suggestions based on a driving a car because I have lived in the Netherlands for a year and have never needed or wanted a car.
What are you interested in seeing/doing? Are you an outdoors person?
The The Hoge Veluwe national park outside of Arnhem is a great place to spend a day (you really only have one day left when considering travel time). They have free white bikes in the park to ride around. You can tour a beautiful country residence and visit the magnificent Kroller Muller art museum (full of Van Goghs, Monets, Suerats, Picassos, and other wonderful works). There are also lots of a WWII sites and memorials to visit in the town of Arnhem.
Delft/Den Haag is a great day combination trip. In the morning you can visit the market in Delft (Thursday or Saturday), see where Vermeer lived, visit the Vermeer center, visit a Delftware factory and have lunch on the square. Then you can take the train, tram, or ride a bike to Den Haag and see Vermeer's work in the Mauritshuis museum, see the incredible MC Escher museum, and a dozen other museums in The Hague. Nice B&B in Delft - http://www.emauspoort.nl/eng/
If you like to bike I would stay in Gouda and take the 60 km loop ride down to Kinderdijk to see a dozen windmills on a canal. The ride is beautiful, flat, and easy.
I can provide more suggestions based on more information about your preferences.
Thanks Laura! Those are great ideas. Is there much to do in Gouda if we decide to stay there for a night? We were planning to drive to Kinderdijk but I really like the bike ride idea. The only reason we travel by car is to be able to be impulsive and go off the beaten path. We like unusual and less crowded destinations as well as the "must do" sights. Thanks!
Sandy - If you were to drive North from Bruges toward Amsterdam, you come to a Dutch "island" called Walcheren. On that island is the little town of Westkapelle which, 65 years ago in November 1944, was the focal point of Operation "Infatuate", the "forgotten" seaborne invasion of Holland. Not as "big" as Normandy, it has been largely consigned to the history books. It's an interesting little town with a museum commemorating the landings. The beaches are nice and the people are very friendly. (I know the place because my Dad was on one of the landing craft!)
Thanks Roger,I love it! We'll definitely put that on the agenda. I'm very interested in WWII sites. My dad also fought in WWII and was in Pearl Harbor during the bombing.
I would definitely recommend a day in Delft as well. Such a beautiful little town, and lots to see there! Rotterdam is pretty wonderful too.Lots of interesting architecture - if a bit out of the way.
About a 15 min. train ride north of Bruges, you can visit Ostende. There is a tram that goes along the coastline, which has not only lots of sand dunes, but also gun emplacements and bunkers left over from the war. Nice little city with great beaches too.
It's been a few years since I was there doing this trip so I'm not sure of the route but the most moving thing I saw in Belgium was a group of local buglers who played music every night at 8 p.m. at Ypres' Menin Gate Memorial. It was in honor of the British soldiers who died defending the town. They've done it every night except during Nazi occupation. I have never forgotten it and I guess I'm not the only one. The other night I saw a story on Gettysburg where a woman who lived near the battlefield was so inspired by Ypres that she began playing a bugle every night at Gettysburg and has done it for 12 years. It's a very moving experience.