Thanks, janzw, for the very helpful information! My friend lives in Den Haag, and I'll definitely be able to spend a bit more time wandering around there. The Rotterdam harbour sounds lovely and worth a visit and Utrecht sounds pretty historical too.
Just to repeat a question I've asked: How safe is it to go walking around alone at night? I don't mean past midnight, but say... after 8pm?
dont know much about antwerp sorry but make sure you save plently of time for Amsterdam - its the coolest city on the planet.
there is so much to do.. my advice is to stick around the dam square/rembrandtplein or leidsplein areas. all are great, day or night, and you can walk between them in 20 minutes.
this may be useful - http://www.stagbookers.com/amsterdam/tourist_guide.html. there is a brief descrition of city centre amsterdam that should give you the basics.
some cheaper hotels are on the 'ring road' or outskirts of amsterdam. please avoid that. the beauty of amsterdam is that you can walk everywhere.
hope that helps,
Thanks for the link, David . I have about two weeks in Amsterdam (and surrounding cities), I hope I manage to see everything that I want to!
Um. Any suggestions on the guidebooks I should get? Frommers and Lonely Planet seem good, but the former has a three-in-one on Benelux, while I didn't see any for LP.
Thanks to everyone who has responded in this thread!
LP is the only way to go for me. if you need a hostel then this is a great site for Amsterdam, http://www.hostelbookers.com
Thanks for the link, David.
I actually already have accommodations for Holland. It's Belgium I'm a bit concerned about. I'm now looking for hostels to stay in Antwerp. Does anyone know if I need some sort of membership card (maybe something like a card from International Youth Hostel Federation or whatever) to be able to stay at a hostel in Europe?
no membership card needed really in europe.... apart from if you stay at any of the YHA, or HI hostels.. they are a large group of hostels worldwide and you get a discount of about 2-3 euros per night if you are a member.
the link i gave you for http://www.hostelbookers.com should be enough. i just had a look at their listings and they seem to have covered most countries in europe.
hope that helps
Thanks again for the help. The link was very useful, and I did manage to find a couple that sorta fit my criteria. I am thinking of applying for the HI hostel card, I don't know how useful it will be, though. But I guess I should email the relevant hostels listed to ask if they are under the HI hostel system, yes?
I'm not sure what the YHA is, though.
Oh, and do you have any inkling of what temperatures will be like in late October - early November? I'm thinking 10-15 deg, with lots of rain?
dead right, plenty of rain and nights that get dark at 5! but hey, itll be pleasant enough for strolling around the city. you may even get a few sunny days and that is great in europe when you are sitting outside a cafe with a warm top on.
yha is a group of member hostels. you will know if they are yha as they will usually say in their name "mahncester yha" or HI.. "HI Manchester".
but there are thousands of hostels in europe that are not yha... and they are usually better in my opinion as they do not have the set format that all yhas have to stick to.. i.e. if you have seen one yha then you have seen them all (usually..)
That sounds cool, David. I plan on settling down at some sidewalk café, having a cuppa and watching the world go by. I definitely need a lot of R&R!
Hm. YHA doesn't sound very appealing to me. I might apply for the HI Hostel membership card, though. That might come in useful when I book for one in Antwerp.
Am leaving for Holland this Thursday, am excited! Any last minute tips or suggestions or whatnot?
Will be taking in these places:
Holland - Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem, Muiden, Delft, Leiden, Alkmaar
Belgium - Ghent, Antwerp