a VirtualTourist member from Charlotte
I along with my wife and 2 kids (aged 7 and 4) are travelling to Amsterdam from London end of next week. We are interested in the weather, keukenhof for Tulip, Madurodom miniature place, Amsterdam city sightseeing. Considering that I will have 1/2 day on saturday, 1 day Sunday and 1/2 day on monday for my trip, what is the best way to cover the important ones? We were thinking of doing the Amsterdam sightseeing on first day - please suggest best ones that I can cover. Second day to Madurodom and third day for keukenhof and take the return flight. How is the above itinerary looks like? Suggest transportation options also., will renting a car be better or I can tour packages - what will be the cost benefit? If I rent a car is parking, roads, traffic manageable and good?
Renting a car and parking will be your two most expensive things. The Netherland has an excellent public transport system and so everywhere you have listed is easily accessible. Here's the online journey planner - http://9292.nl/en/#
www.keukenhof.nl and www.madurodam.nl (both have English versions) give you exact details on how to get there.
Possibly you could do Madurodam and Keukenhof in 1 day if you make an early start. Neither are big in size and both merit a good half day (not a full day) visit in my opinion.
The train journey Amsterdam- Leiden (then on to Keukenhof) - The Hague (Madurodam) is one train if you pick the right one, about 45 minutes total.
I agree with ATLC that you better spend a full day in Amsterdam and half days in Madurodam and Keukenhof. Or do half a day in Maduroadam and spend the rest of your time in Amsterdam if Madurodam and keukenhof are too much in one day for you (which they might be).
Do a canal boat trip in Amsterdam, Science museum Nemo or zoo Artis are interesting for the kids...
The Scheepvaartmuseum (maritime museum) has a wooden replica of a East Indiaman that they might find interestinf as well.
You can find other suggestions here: [original VT link]
By the way, it is still rather cold here. It will also be Easter. That means that Monday April 1st is a Bank holiday. But that won't affect opening hours of most attractions. Though not all shops will be open or only limited.
Also be aware that the Easter weekend is the opening of the tourist season more or less and you will not be alone.
Also we will change to Summertime in the night from Saturday to Sunday, so you loose 1 hour there.
The weather will be at the chilly side. I hope the wind direction will change to South West and bring some warmer weather. Current predictions show only a 50% chance of that to happen, so prepare for the cold.
Amsterdam has much to offer and I agree with the other posters that you use at least the Saturday and Monday for Amsterdam sight seeing. May I suggest to start with a canal boat trip on the Saturday; explore the canal belt walking thereafter (unless you favor shopping. If so, better start shopping on Saturday due to the Bank holiday).
We all suggest using public transportation.
Go to Madurodam by train to Den Haag Central Station and take the tram from there.
The Keukenhof Gardens are served by the Keukenhof Express Bus going from the Schiphol Airport and from the Leiden Central Station.
If you decide for a rental car you probably spend an average of 100 Euro's on parking fees total.
Where are you staying at Amsterdam. If it's close to the highway, renting a car is the option to save travel time to/from Madurodam and the Keukenhof.
Driving shouldn't be too difficult. It is weekend after all, and even though it's Easter weekend, traffic won't be as heavy as during the week (in which case I would've certainly disadvised driving!). But the parking fees are indeed high. Keukenhof has paid parking too.
You do not need tour packages, you can just as easily plan independantly. Have fun!
With children the zoo in Amsterdam called artis is very nice and good reachable by tram. The city tour is as well a good option. It as very cold now so keukenhof is a less option. In addition not much flowers are in colour now. Madurodam is a very good second option in den Haag . If you are in den Haag go also to the omniversum with the children. They love it. Go by train and use the tram in Amsterdam or den Haag. It is more relaxed and no parking problems. Try to visit Haarlem or Leiden in between.have fun!
Thanks for your answers, we are still exploring! what do you think about Zaan se schaans? Is it worth going there? We are more inclining towards renting a car for one day to cover Zaan se schaans and Madurdom before returning back to airport, but not yet finalized.
Yes, it's worth going there. Have you looked at any of the Zaanse Schans pages here on VT? Just type the destination in the box at the top right.
It is still very cold here for the time of year (below zero celsius, windy but dry, no snow). You make like the comfort of a car and it is doable if you are proficient on our roads and want to take the risk of an eventual traffic jam.
I second that, Zaansche Schans is nice. There's a warm museum next door as well, with special activities for kids: zaansmuseum.nl/index.php?id=...
Personally I was not too impressed by the museum but i can imagine the kids will like it.
Zaansche Schans is free, but parking there is not. Unless you take the exit of the roundabout opposite to the entrance of Zaansche Schans. At the T-crossing after the roundabout, take a right and park about 500-100m further near the sport fields at the Diederik Sonoyweg (see google maps). Note that you are not allowed to park everywhere in that street, but there are some free parking spaces :-)
We completed our trip. Plus points are a) kids loved Maduradom miniature Holland b) we all loved Keukenoff - indoor show was good, outdoor flowers have stared showing its head - all colors and wonderful, baby animals farm and kids play area c) 5 lane highway from airport excellent and comfortable to drive d) Nice canal cruise warm, 1 hour pleasant ride e) airport that was junction for us for food, shopping, rental car, hotel pickup and good access to tour companies. Negatives are a) expensive hotels b) Hoofddorp railway station not accepting visa, MasterCard and no currency notes - I asked rail conductor for free ride to Schipol c) real bad cold weather d) expensive public transport e) expensive souvenirs and expensive gas prices. - do loved the trip Though and it will be in life time memories.
Thanks for the report. It would be great if you made a VT page for The Netherlands, sharing your experiences and photos. In a forum, it will disappear but not if you make a VT page. Cheers!
Yes write it up (and share a few pics) - that's what VT is for!