Can anyone recommend any day trips from Amsterdam that are not in the guide books, accessible either by train or bus? We're trying to go places that don't cater to coach loads of people, but that are interesting to families. We considered Deltawerks but it's too hard to get to in one day. We leave next month.
I don't have RS's current guide for the Netherlands. Is the Zuiderzee Museum at Enkhuizen listed? It's an open air museum reachable by train. I'd second the suggestion of Rotterdam - interesting architecture and good museum - Boijmans van Beuningen - although I did that as a day trip from Delft.
With the exception of perhaps Alkaamar, I've never found any of Holland's popular town/cities to be overrun by mobs of tourists like in other places in Europe. One of the pleasures of the country is how low-key the sightseeing is. For example if you visit Delft on a Saturday when the street markets are in full swing, if anything it will be over-run by locals doing their shopping. If you're looking for something that will appeal to your kids consider this place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apenheul_Primate_Park
Utrecht, definitely. The Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum (Dutch Railroad Museum) is very kid-friendly. The kids can ride a miniature train around the gardens outside, and there's a even a short Disney-style dark ride about the history of Dutch railroads. There's no English in the museum, but it really doesn't need a translation. I understand the mechanical musical instrument in town is very kid friendly as well, although I didn't have enough time to visit. Speaking of trains, Rotterdam has a large indoor model train layout, much like Hamburg's better known Minitur Wunderland. Other than that, Rotterdam didn't seem like a particularly family-friendly city. Actually, it reminds me of many US cities, in a bad way.
I am going to Amsterdam this month and a friend recommended a place called Naarden, about 10 minutes outside of Amsterdam by train. I don't think it is a big city, but it is a walled city with a fortress and moat. And it is not in RS book that I know of.
Rent a bike and take the ferry across the Amstel to ride north through Waterland. Beautiful countryside, no traffice and easy riding.
In Naarden there is often a chap selling herring (at the right time of year) from his truck, right in the centre. It only costs a few €uro to visit the defences but it is very well done and if you have any interest quite comprehensive. I'd have thought it was a little bit longer on the train...
What great responses! I think we're spoiled for choice !
We now have enough ideas for several day trips... thanks!
Try Hoge-Veluwe National Park (http://www.hogeveluwe.nl/en/14), located outside of Arnhem. It is the country's largest national park. Located within the park is the famous and wonderful Kroller-Muller Museum, which houses the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings outside of Amsterdam. Also, on the museum grounds is a fabulous and fun sculpture garden with trails that go into the surrounding woods. Bicycles are free and can be found in many places in the park. Just get one and ride; there are lots of nice bike trails. Outside of the park is the town of Otterlo, where you can find places to eat (we ate at 'De Waldhoorn' pub after our visit to the park). I believe that Rick covers Hoge-Veluwe in his Amsterdam, Brugges, and Brussels guidebook.
Alkmaar Cheese market is the only place we found lots of tourists, and they quickly dispersed when all the shouting was done. Places are popular because there is something interesting to see. Would you choose Newark NJ over Denver because nobody goes to Newark?
Brian, Last summer we were in Rome, in July. You couldn't move for all the tourists At 11PM , the crowds were so thick at the Trevi fountain, you could barely see it. It wasn't like that 20 years ago. It really detracted from the site. Santorini was the same. Some small towns welcome these big groups but really can't accommodate them. Sure, I'll brave the crowds at the Van Gogh museum, but I would like to also have some time where I can interact with locals, at a leisurely pace, and I'll go some where a little less exciting to achieve that. I don't think your Newark-Denver analogy applies. Newark is pretty run down and crime ridden. As at happens, I was born there! Maybe that's why I live in Denver...
I'm not suggesting going anywhere dangerous, just a little lower octane.
I understood that you were asking about sights in Netherlands. Netherlands are not as popular as Italy. As I said I was never overwhelmed by tourists anywhere in Netherlands except Alkmaar.
Sorry but I'm gonna have to defend Newark's honor:) Seriously, the Ironbound neighborhood near Penn Station has about 20 different Portuguese, Spanish, and Brazilian restaurants. All of the have some of the best food I've ever had! My Brother-in-law is a CIA trained chef, after I took him there a few years ago he always insists on going to Newark instead of Manhattan for good food. If anyone happens to have a long layover at Newark Airport on their way to Europe, you won't be disappointed. It's easily reached by taxi or train. This corner of the city is very safe, even at night.
That's for sure-I love going to the Portuguese restaurants Down Neck.
Try a visit to the beautiful beach town of Zan der Voot, a mere 20 minute train ride from Amsterdam. Great little town which is perfect for strolling, the beach is wide and gorgeous, and there are lots of little shops and dining establishments. We found this in a hotel guide and ended up staying for 5 days in a beachside apartment last fall.
We loved Haarlem, about 1/2 hour by train from Amsterdam. Has lovely canal, windmill, beautiful cathedral on a large square and didn't find too many tourists. I am history buff and really enjoyed the Ten Boom Museum right by the center of town. Look it up on the web, it shows WWII resistance. Is free, they just ask for donations and I think last tour is about 3pm or so. Be sure to read rules about going there. Story was made into a movie and several books. We thought highlight of our trip. We also took canal trip run by an ex-pat out of nightclub called Boom Chicago. It is on a tram stop, can probably look it up on web also, very small groups, about 8-10 at most, very personal attention, about 15 euro each and bring own drinks, cheese. Was great. Hope going to Anne Frank's. We were there off season so had no problem getting in but understand this time of year reservations necessary. At Van Gogh museum have a great little cafeteria for light snack. Enjoy.
"Or read the OP's question carefully?" At least nobody's claiming that flower auction would interest kids...
We really liked Monnickendam, a small village about 20 miles north of Amsterdam right on the Zuider Zee. Very pleasant place to walk around and sample Dutch fishing village life. There is a dock where you can see the herring boats up close and maybe off-loading cargo. Small shops and a great little bakery too! It is quiet and charming.
My wife, dog and I are visiting Kinderdijk this weekend. Other than the windmills, I'll see if there's anything to interest a family there and report back later...