6 Days in The Netherlands
DO NOT MISS
Amsterdam, De Loonse en Drunense duinen National Park
Day 1: Arrive in Tilburg, visit surrounding parks and farms, catch a farmer’s market.
Day 2: Bike to Nationaal Park De Loonse en Drunense Duinen
This is a gorgeous desert area in the midst of a forest. The contrast is sublime.
Day 3: Take the train to Rotterdam.
See the world’s biggest harbor.
Day 4 -6: Take the train to Amsterdam.
There are over 30 museums in central Amsterdam. If you are staying for a few days, and like museums, it is worth it to get the Amsterdam city pass. The De Nieuwe Kerk had free organ recitals Thursdays at noon. Visit at least one of the canal houses – Willet-Holthuysen Museum, Museum Van Loon, Museum Geelvinck, or Het Grachtenhuis as well as the boat house, just to see what it’s like living in one. The Maritime Museum & VOC Schip was pretty well done also. And of course the Van Gough Museum and the Ann Frank Museum are both popular spots. At the Artis Royal Zoo, there are free roaming lemurs. you can’t touch them but they can jump on you.
I Couchsurfed in The Netherlands except in Amsterdam, where I stayed at Amsterdam Hostel Sarphati. It was a very cozy (read:small) place but economical and decently located across Sarphatipark.
Biking is such a national sport. You must get yourself one to fully submerse in the culture and enjoy the town. If you plan ahead you can also get cheap bus tickets through Eurolines between major cities.
The train system is easy to navigate, but could be expensive. I was told by a local that the majority of the Dutch people traveling on public transit will carry a discount card, which could be applied to travel companions. Make a friend in the train station and you might be able to get a discount on your train ticket.
Website for high-speed trains: http://www.thalys.com/be/en/
The Netherlands train website http://www.nshispeed.nl/
Head to the super market and pick up some stroopwafel and filet Americain. The former is a delicious sweet thin waffle dessert. The latter is raw seasoned ground beef with the texture of a mousse.
TRAVELING WITH LESS TIME…
If you have less than 6 days then focus on the quintessential Amsterdam. There is a lot to explore there.
TRAVELING WITH MORE TIME…
- Take a trip to the Hoge Veluwe National Park (www.hogeveluwe.nl) near Arnhem, among whose attractions is an underground museum dedicated to subterranean life, and the Kröller-Müller Museum (www.kmm.nl) which contains 280 Van Gogh paintings as well as numerous other works. Bicycles are available free of charge to visitors.
- Cycle or hike through the Kennemerland national park.
Here is an educational video about Holland vs The Netherlands