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Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
8 posts
41 reviews
Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

I will be in Amsterdam Jan 31 through Feb 2 (leaving Feb 3) & will be returning for Feb 12-15 (departing Feb 15th.) My first leg accommodations are booked, but not the last, so I'm open to staying outside of the city if there are other places to explore. I'll be flying up from Barcelona. Maybe somewhere else in the Netherlands? Bruges? Brussels? Rotterdam? Germany? France? I don't have a huge budget (maybe 500€ for this leg,) so that does play a factor.

I believe I've read most of the appropriate articles related to Amsterdam on TA, and are interested in the following attractions:

• Rijksmuseum,

• Stedelijk museum

Van Gogh Museum,

Flower market,

• Beginhof gardens,

Oude Kerk Church,

Nieuwe Kerk

Tropenmuseum

Muiderslot Castle (Sat/Sun 12-4.3p)

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Dungeon

• Yab Yum Unlocked

A catch is the HollandPass resets on Feb 1st, so I won't be able to use it on my first day (I arrive at 8.3a.) I am open to day trips since I'll have so much time for the city & would love to experience more of the Netherlands outside of the city. It appears that most of the attractions outside of the city are fair-weather activities or closed during the winter, however.

I am open to "burning" a good bit of the first day away in the cafes & a museum or two (since I only get two gold tickets with the pass) but it's not as much of a novelty since I live in a legal state. It almost seems a waste, to be honest, but maybe it'll help offset the jet-lag from the red-eye. Thoughts?

The castle I can only see on Feb 1st or 14th (second or next to last day of the trip) due to being closed weekdays during the winter. I wonder if I should save it towards the end or start off strong?

Sadly, my partner is unable to bike due to medical issues, so that isn't an option. However, nature is a huge draw for me, so any recommendations for local natural beauty in Feb would be greatly appreciated. Given my list & interests, are there any other sights or attractions that I've missed?

Thank you in advance!

Rob

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
8 posts
41 reviews
1. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

Waterland (Edam, Marken, and Volendam) appear to be fun & relaxing, but seems more of a fair-weather trip. Any advice on that excursion or similar?

Winter Haven...
Level Contributor
11,906 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

< It almost seems a waste, to be honest, but maybe it'll help offset the jet-lag from the red-eye. Thoughts?>

Personally, I love to use it to offset jet lag. Also, coffeeshops in Amsterdam are an animal unto themselves. Great place to go, toke a little, strike up some conversations and take it all in.

As for daytrips and nature, I'll make a few suggestions but you are probably best served to wait and see what the weather brings. For instance, if a cold front comes through with low enough temperatures to freeze the canals, you might want to determine an area to see the Eleven Cities Tour come through. Nothing like witnessing the excitement build as the Dutch anticipate the possibility of one of their great traditions which hasn't taken place in several years.

Understand there won't be much to see at the flower market. Also understand that while the Begijnhof (note spelling) is often referred to as "gardens", it really is more of a courtyard. Hortus Botanicus is beautiful. Never been in February so don't know if it is much different that time of year.

Been several times in winter to the villages of Edam, Volendam, and Marken. I actually prefer winter as they are still great to walk around but you won't have the crush of tourists (especially in Volendam). I have also always enjoyed the city center in Haarlem.

Answered before I saw your second post.

Edited: 24 December 2014, 02:49
Maryland
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
18,702 posts
17 reviews
3. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

Thoughts? You are old enough to decide if you want to toke or not while in town. If you want to then -----do. If you don't want to then----don't.

Either way I'd stop into an Amsterdam coffeeshop to see what they are like.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
8 posts
41 reviews
4. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

Thanks for the helpful advice, ddavis.

Mention of the Elfstedentocht was great to hear! I don't know if I'd have come across that, so it's fun to know something special may happen on our trip. Also, thanks for the reassurance on the villages -- I will add them to the list to consider.

Thank you!

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
5. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

Sorry but don't get your hopes up for an Elfstedentocht... It would be the first one in 19 years so chances are slim to none.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
6. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

"However, nature is a huge draw for me, so any recommendations for local natural beauty in Feb would be greatly appreciated."

We don't have the spectacular national parks that the Americas have, we don't have mountains, and our beaches are grey. Those national parks that we do have will be pretty bleak in February. I guess what remains is the water. Towns wih canals or bordering lakes such as those suggested by Ddavis would be a good option (Marken, Monnickendam, Volendam, Medemblik, maybe take the old steam train to Hoorn; Haarlem).

You might also enjoy some medieval hansa towns which flourished well before Amsterdam did, for example Deventer, Zwolle or Kampen. Out of those I find Kampen the prettiest and it has a train station. Others that are smaller and can be reached by bus only are also very cute and pretty, Hattem, Zutphen for example.

Personally I don't like Brussels much. Paris would be a much more interesting choice, but expensive for lodging. You may just want to stick around in Spain, I haven't been to these places yet but done thorough research: Valencia, Cuenca and Madrid appeal to me a lot. Just google images of Cuenca and you'll see what I mean. You may also have more pleasant weather than in our northern sea climate. Valencia and Madrid offer cheap flight options to Amsterdam, www.skyscanner.com .

Or go to the Alps for some mountain scenery. I hear Turin is a good base.

As for the slim chances for skatable ice in the Netherlands read this thread: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g652196-i32090-k79…

Edited: 24 December 2014, 04:31
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
7. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

P.S. For door to door public transport planning within the Netherlands (for example to Kampen or Hattem or all the other Dutch towns mentioned) see www.9292.nl/en

And just to clarify, the old steam train I mentioned runs between Medemblik and Hoorn and is not 'public transport' but a tourist ride that you need another type of ticket for.

Sorry for needing 3 posts, TA doesn't allow much editing time. :-)

Cecilia // Amsterdam

http://cile.home.xs4all.nl

Edited: 24 December 2014, 04:36
Winter Haven...
Level Contributor
11,906 posts
3 reviews
8. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

<Sorry but don't get your hopes up for an Elfstedentocht... It would be the first one in 19 years so chances are slim to none.>

But that is what would make it so special. Wonder if Willem Alexander would skate in it.

PS - Understand snow is due after Christmas.

Edited: 24 December 2014, 06:44
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
9. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

…catawiki.nl/assets/2013/1/13/d/9/7/d97fc1b0…

[ translation: "What do you think... will there be an eleven cities tour this winter?" ]

Edited: 24 December 2014, 22:48
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
8 posts
41 reviews
10. Re: Amsterdam in Feb 2015: Schedule & daytrip recommendations

Thanks for all of the replies, everyone. We've decided to fly back to Amsterdam on our final leg and see the Waterland villages based on budget and wanting to see more of the Netherlands.