My husband and I are going to Amsterdam 3rd week in Sept. Any suggestions on where to stay and what to see, restaurants, etc. We would like to take a couple of days and go someplace else also, any suggestions? We thought about Bruges, Ghent or Cologne? We love walking around quaint towns. Budget is middle of the road. Thanks!
Sorry, I absolutely disagree with Sean Kelly. When you visit Amsterdam, why not stay in Amsterdam? If you don't like the big crowds, there are lot of more quieter parts of Amsterdam, which are just as beautiful. Don't listen to Sean ;-)!
I'm going to copy paste a bit from my previous answers:
I would recommend renting a bike to get yourself around. It might seem dangerous as we Dutchies like to go really fast on our bikes, but I am sure you will manage.
Don't be afraid to get lost, you always encounter the best places if you don't know where you are or where you re going :-). Just toss your map and cycle around!
Amsterdam isn't big, so you could also just walk everywhere. I wouldn't do any hop on hop off tour or anything like that.
First go to Haarlemmerstraat with a lot of nice local shops and move along to my favourite canal Brouwersgracht. Continue on to Noordermarkt and the rest of the Jordaan neighborhood. On Saturdays there is a really nice market on the Noordermarkt with local produce. Just zigzag your way through the canals and little streets. There is a coffeebar, cafe or nice lunchroon on every corner. Move on to Negen Straatjes which are the side streets of a part of the canals, full of boutiques, shops and cafes. Also visit neighboorhoud De Pijp with nice cafe's, terraces, shops etc. You will find a lot of locals here. I would recommend going to Utrechtsestraat as well. This is a great street full of restaurants, bars and nice little shops.
For museums defitaly go to Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Here you will find all Dutch art under one beautiful newly renovated roof.
Go to the West area of town around De Clercqstraat and Bellamyplein. Here you will find the Foodhallen, kind of an indoor foodcourt, but then with nice food, a huge bar and just a general good atmosphere. It is always really busy though! Also nearby is Café Panache which has great food, drinks and atmosphere. No tourists here :-).
Don't forget to skip the east part as well! Go to de Biertuin and eat some great chicken and Amsterdam brewed beers on a lovely heated terrace with the locals. After that go for a drink to Henry's Bar or Bar Bukowski. Or just go to Stek Amsterdam or The Pool Amsterdam for lunch. This part of town has not been discovered yet by tourists and is still authentic and is where the locals go.
Some more restaurant tips:
The one I absolutely love is Rijsel! Basic, pure cuisine, but of really high quality. They are famous for their rotisserie chicken. You need to reserve around a month in advance though (yes, it is that good :-)).
I also really like The Lobby Restaurant & Bar. This centrally located restaurant has a great atmosphere all types of people go here and the food is amazing. If you are looking for a place to get dinner in the touristy part of town, this is wheer you should go. Please skip all restaurants around Damrak, Damstreet, Rokin etc. Whenever you see a neon sign outside, don't get in!
On the 18th of September there is a really nice market; Pure Markt at Amsterdamse Bos. So just grab your bike and go there for really nice food, drinks, maybe some music, local made clothes and other things.
I can recommend going to Brugesfor a day or two. Don't need to stay any longer there, as it is pretty small. But it is a really cute city :-).
Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, let me know!
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All of Sabine's suggestions are good, except the part about renting a bike. Do you really want to ride around in a city you're unfamiliar with, alongside other clueless tourists and Dutchies who've been riding since they could toddle? I've lived in Amsterdam for 6+ years and just bought a bike, but am still afraid to ride it (even though I was a recreational cyclist in California). After all, I've gotten around fine via foot + tram for this long. The city is the size of a postage stamp, and you can traverse it in under an hour. If you're going to be here for a few days, a 48- or 72-hour tram pass makes sense. You'll barely scratch the surface of the city in a week, but if you must get out of town, here are some day trip ideas: https://uncloggedblog.com/2016/03/28/9-great-spring-day-trips-from-amsterdam/. Enjoy...you're coming at a lovely time of year!
the city of Utrecht is really nice to see. also a lot of canals but less tourists. its only 30 minutes from amsterdam by train. Bruges is a very nice town to visit. Also visit the beaches in holland. might not be swimming weather in september by the beaches are nice anyway. especially scheveningen is beautiful