Road trip through the Netherlands: Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, and Zaanse Schans

 

The Netherlands are a mixed bag to say the least. From the loose laws of Amsterdam to the beaches of The Hague there is something for everybody to enjoy in this little country.  You can basically get to any town you want to from Amsterdam in about an hour, which makes driving this country easy and fun.

Amsterdam

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Well, we had certainly heard a lot about Amsterdam before we even got there, and everything people told us was true. 1) The people here are TALL, like everyone is pretty much taller than you. 2) The city center is for the brave; there are weed cafes and prostitution shops with girls standing in the windows as if they are in a vending machine, simply turn the nob and walk right in.  3) The city is beautiful and has the architecture has a lot of character, you will run out of space on your phone because you will want to take pictures of everything!

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Be ready to walk around when you visit Amsterdam because most of the streets in the heart of the city are for walking and biking.  You will constantly be crossing bridges since the city was originally build with a canal system.  There is a lot to see in the city and a lot to taste too, great coffee shops, restaurants and food pavilions are all over the city.

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Where to stay:

  • Hotel Arena: its a little out of the center but we liked that. It was quiet at night and it is right next to a beautiful park! This hotel used to be an orphanage, hospital, and catholic church. The hotel designers kept the charm of the historic building but added beautiful modern features.
  • If you don’t mind the street noise then staying in the center might be great too.

Where to eat/drink:

  • De Vier Pilaren- dutch pancakes
  • De Foodhallen- hip food court with amazing food
  • Chinatown- so much good Asian food everywhere
  • Van Stapele Koekmakerij- best cookies we’ve ever had
  • Lombardo’s- AMAZING burgers and sandwiches
  • Bocca Coffee- cool cafe with delicious coffee

The Hague

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One thing we certainly didn’t expect to find when visiting the Netherlands was an incredible beach town.  There is one, and it is pretty spectacular.  With a massive boardwalk that stretches for miles, lined with restaurants and hotels and even a pier with a huge ferris-wheel at the end of it.  We stumbled upon this town unexpectedly so we only stayed one night.  You could easily spend a few days here enjoying the ocean. Also, make sure to check out the Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus (if you’re not staying there). It’s a majestic hotel that used to be a performing center. Fun fact: the last band to play at the concert hall were the Rolling Stones in 1964.

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Where to stay:

  • Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus
  • Anywhere along the boardwalk/coastline

Where to eat:

  • Anywhere along the boardwalk for a nice view

Delft

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This is the coolest little town that is full of history.  It’s know for a famous painter, Johanees Vermeer, that lived here and Delftware which are the blue and white dishes that are famous around the world.  One of Vermeer’s masterpieces was “The Girl with a Pearl Earring”. This little town is charming and really fun to explore, with beautiful canals and even a draw bridge to the city.  They have lots of souvenir shops and restaurants to patron.

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There is a market in the center of town is a great place to try the locally caught fish, which is fried and served in a piece of wax paper.  This cute little town is one that we would love to come back an visit.

Where to stay:

  • Hampshire Hotel Delft- modern hotel with great breakfast and amenities.

Where to eat:

  • At the market, they have such delicious seafood
  • Any of the restaurants around the market square

Zaanse Schans

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Did someone say windmill?!  Well Zaanse Schans is full of them, in fact they gathered windmills from all over the country and parked them here.  So here the little tip we have for you, park on the other side of the bridge from the main entrance and take the little ferry operated by two elderly gentlemen  for 1 euro per person or simply walk across the bridge.

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It is easy to spend the day here.  After checking out the windmills dating back to the 1600s you can go the the clog factory where they are still making wooden clogs by hand.  It may not sound that cool but really, it is!

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Old traditional houses, sheep and swans make it a magical experience.

Where to stay:

  • Inntel Hotels Zaandam- one of the most unique hotels that we’ve stayed at

Where to eat:

  • any of the places in Zaanse Schan were good
  • the restaraunts around the Inntel Hotel were pretty good as well

 

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