I'm visiting Belgium for two weeks in April (staying near Leuven), and I want to plan a quick one-nighter somewhere in the Netherlands. Any suggestions for a worthy destination? Someplace with typical Dutch baroque architecture but not too large. A large tulip garden would be nice as well. I've already visited Maastricht and I want to save Amsterdam for a longer visit. Your suggestions would be appreciated.
Although most things won't be closed, many people will also have the 10th and 13th off for Easter. So I would expect bigger crowds that weekend, particularly around the tulips fields.
If you decide to go to Delft, I have some restaurants and cafes I would recommend.
When you say large tulip garden, what exactly do you mean? Many of the smaller towns (Utrecht, Leiden, Delft) have botanical gardens that will be in bloom and have some tulips. However, if you are looking for the fields of tulips, most of these are in the country, concentrated between Haarlem and Leiden. You would would need to bike, drive or take a bus out of town to get to them. Buses run directly to the Keukenhof from Leiden, Haarlem, and Amsterdam.
You didn't say when you were coming in April, but the flower parade takes place April 25 and would be convenient to attend from Haarlem (http://www.keukenhof.nl/nm/232/Park-Events.html).
Delft would be a good option - small town, lots of outdoor cafes, beautiful canals - and is only 2 and half by train from Leuven.
Utrecht has a bit more to see and it a little farther away.
You should try to hit the town when the weekly flower markets are in town - it might be a good alternative or addition to the tulips fields. (Utrecht - Saturday, Delft - Thursday, some on Saturday)
Don't forget April 30th is Queen's Day (and the start of a 6 day weekend for most people).
Thanks. Looking at pictures on the internet, Delft and Leiden look very appealing. I don't know when exactly I would visit (would depend on my wife's work schedule), but my visit to Belgium runs from 4 to 19 April.
Tom, there is an excellent open air museum (in Arnhem. It has old windmills, old farm houses which have been brought in from other parts of the Netherlands, Crafts and many other things that will give you a feeling of the old Dutch culture. Really a nice museum.
I loved Delft, Leiden and Haarlem. I'd say Delft or Haarlem.
I dont know Laura but I also think Delt was a neat town to visit.
OK, it looks like the crowd is pointing me towards Delft.
The next day, I might want to visit Keukenhof before returning to Leuven. I see that I can catch a direct bus from nearby Den Haag to Keukenhof. For the return trip to Leuven, where would the best place be to catch a train after visiting Keukenhof?
You will have to take a bus back from the gardens to a train station. I think which train station you go to will depend on where you are ultimately going. Den Haag HS is a good station for getting back to Belgium bc the Amsterdam-Brussels train stops there (assuming the bus goes to the Den Haag HS station and not Central). However, it is a longer bus ride to Den Haag than Leiden or Haarlem.
I believe there is also a bus/entrance fee combo ticket. I don't know much about it bc we bike, but you might need take the bus back to the same place you came from if you want to take advantage of the combo ticket.
So, perhaps to simplify everything, the best route would be to take the bus to and from Den Haag, and from there catch a train to Brussels?
Yes, however, I don't see where you found a bus from Den Haag. If the bus does run from Den Haag HS, that would be the easiest. If it runs to central you will have to take a rain or tram to HS and then it might make more sense to come and go out of Leiden.
In Delft, find a cafe to enjoy a drink on Beestenmarkt Square - my favorite is Belevedere.