Amsterdam and Rotterdam

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1. Posted by tehsi99 (Budding Member 6 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I will be travelling to Amsterdam and Rotterdam in End April 2023 and would appreciate if there is any 'guide' to local must visit site. We know there are places like the Kuekenhof, windmills and canal ride are those that had been highly recommended. We have 5 or 6 days to kill and would very much want to try something that is not so "tourisy" such as local markets etc. We aren't into arts / museums kind of thing.

If anyone can recommend some good local restaurant / cafe to hang out at would also be a great help.

After Rotterdam, we have 5 more days to visit another place nearby before we fly off. Am thinking of either heading to either Bruges in Belgium or Cologne in Germany. Either one. Which would you recommend ? Just one more city before heading home.

Thanks in advance


Post 2 was removed by a moderator
3. Posted by zzlangerhans (Travel Guru 483 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

We traveled through all the places you listed last summer. I have completed blogs on
Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, Bruges, Cologne,
and Brussels that you might want to look through. We also focus on local markets and avoid museums. If I were you I would avoid Cologne as it is highly overrated as a destination because of a focus on the cathedral. There are large cathedrals in every city and Cologne has very little else going for it. Bruges is a beautiful and impressive place that can be seen in a few hours so I would pair it with Ghent which is less well-known but even more impressive in some ways. Brussels is a major European city that we found fascinating and you can go to Mechelen and Antwerp if you have any additional time.

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5924 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I'd recommend taking at least one day to visit one of the smaller cities in the region, but two days to see two of them would be even better: Delft (60 minutes by train from Amsterdam, 10 minutes from Rotterdam), Gouda (50/20 minutes), Leiden (35/35 minutes) or Haarlem (15/60 minutes). They have a lot of the charm of Amsterdam, including canals, without any of the negative aspects, and that includes being much less touristy. I'm personally quite partial to Leiden, which features a tiny windmill museum and an ancient fortification on an artificial hill, but all four of them tend to get really favorable reactions. Utrecht (25/35 minutes) is also nice, though significantly bigger.

You could take a bike ride to and through the flower fields from either Leiden (14km to the Keukenhof, though the fields start much earlier than that) or Haarlem (17 km to the Keukenhof, same). Bike rental should be available from the train station.

Something else worthwhile doing is going hiking in the dunes. A bit harder to get to with public transport, but you could take a train to "Santpoort-Noord" (30 minutes from Amsterdam), where the forest starts right outside the train station, and you can just head west from there, or alternatively train to "Zandvoort" (also 30 minutes), a beach town, and then make your way south from there (about a 2km walk) toward the "Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen".

All destinations which I mentioned here have have direct connections by train; 2-6 times an hour depending on time of day and size of the destination.

I personally wouldn't spend more than a day in Rotterdam itself. Yes, it has some interesting modern architecture, and a stroll through the old harbour is worthwhile, but mostly it's a city for shopping for the locals.

[ Edit: Edited on 27 Feb 2023, 09:14 GMT by Sander ]

5. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 5166 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I'd suggest you take one/some of your Amsterdam days to take a train trip (safe & very easy) to Haarlem, Leiden and/or Delft & Den Haag (the latter two can easily be combined in one day). All are far less visitor-focused than Amsterdam, all are full of historical and local interest, all have plenty of shops/cafes/restaurants/bars/canals plus a market if you're there on the right day of the week.........

Train times, details and fares in English on the official Netherlands railway website:

For these journeys you don't need to buy tickets online in advance. Just buy them at the station on the day or the day before.

I'd agree that Brugge/Bruges is of more interest that Koeln/Cologne and I too would link Brugge with Ghent. It's an easy train trip between the two cities and easy to make a daytrip by train into Brussels from either.

Train times, details and fares on the official Belgian railway website in English:

Again, for these journeys you don't need to buy tickets online in advance. Just buy them at the station on the day or the day before.

I very rarely take organised daytours but whilst in Brugge/Ghent I'd highly recommend a daytour around the nearby First World War battlefields. There are several providers if you google: large group, small group or private. It's both historically fascinating and intensely moving to visit places like Ypres, Tyne Cot, the Pool of Peace, the museum at Sanctuary Wood........

[ Edit: Edited on 27 Feb 2023, 09:10 GMT by leics2 ]

6. Posted by tehsi99 (Budding Member 6 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thank you so much for the info, zzlangerhans, Sander and LEICS2. I will study all your suggestions !

Rgds, Kat

7. Posted by tehsi99 (Budding Member 6 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

Hi again,

My father needs to attend a seminar at Postillion Hotel & Convention Centre WTC in Rotterdam. May I know if anyone can recommend any good apartment nearby where we (family of 5) can all stay together and yet a short walking distance to the WTC ? Please recommend if you know of any places nearby.

Thank you.