Mike's Travel Tips


Day Area Things to do
Day 1 Hotel We stayed at Landal Rabbit Hill, which is a resort with family cottages as well as a caravan park. It is fantastic for families with young kids. We stayed in a cottage with two bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge and kitchen. It is all one needs. The park has an indoor pool, huge inverted trampolin, bicycles and so on. A paradise for kids! We based our holiday from this point, leaving in the morning and returning late afternoon. Getting there: Flight to Amsterdam and then picked up a rented car at airport from Hertz. It is a relatively easy drive (east)

Day 2 Giethoorn Giethoorn and Boats: The "Venice" of Holland! a quaint village in North East Holland. It is unique in the Netherlands because of it's bridges, waterways and 'punters' (typical boats from Giethoorn). You see 18th and 19th century farm houses hidden between the trees and wooden bridges. All this is best be viewed with a boat trip in a "whisperboat" which you drive yourself (small electrical motor) or canoe paddleboat. You steer the boat through the canals, seeing the houses on either side and stopping at food places along the way. There is a boat route (see below) that leads you through the village and then to an open lake, which you round and then come back to the village!
Where: The rental boats are next to the car park at the Tourist Office Giethoorn (VVV Kantoor Giethoorn, Eendrachtsplein 2, 8355 DL Giethoorn).
Duration: Minimum 2-3, but one can spend a couple of hours, taking it easy.

Day 3 Dolphinarium Harderwijk Dolphinarium: Amazing dolphinarium that shouldn't be missed. They have a fantastic dolphin show (a must) and walrus show (a must) and funny seal show. Check the times of the shows beforehand and make sure you book.
Where: Strandboulevard Oost 1, 3841 AB Harderwijk. It is near the bridge that goes over the sea from the east side of Holand to the west side (Amsterdam) of Holland.
Duration: Minimum 4 hours

Day 4 North of Amsterdam Alkmaar Cheese Market: Visit the cheese market and see the cheese spectacle which includes a market filled with cheese and hauling cheese carriers (done since 1365). In addition, the cheese market is surrounded by a fun art and craft market. This is where you can find real Dutch poffertjes, herring, farm cheese, a clog maker, craft stalls and much more!
When: March 31st untill September 29th, every Friday from 10:00 to 13:00
Where: Waagplein square in Alkmaar (recommended to park outside the town and then to take public transport into the city center).

Zaanse Schans Cultural Village: Excellent cultural village of Dutch heritage from the 18th-19th century. It is like walking through a quaint village. There is a clog shop where they give you a live demonstration on how the typical wooden clog shoes are made. You can also buy them there. There is a fantastic cheese shop where you can taste all the different types of Dutch cheeses. They also make the cheese there. There is a windmill where you can climb inside and walk around. In short, great place to learn about the Dutch culture first hand.
When: 9:00-17:00
Where: Schansend 7, Schansend 7, 1509 AW Zaandam (just north of Amsterdam)
Duration: 2-3 hours

Volendam: Volendam is an old fishing village and known for its colorful wooden houses and old fishing boats in the harbor. The main attraction is to walk on the dike with the lake on one side and quaint shops on the other. Volendam's traditional costume is one of the best known examples of ancient clothing (klederdracht) in the country. There are shops along the duik where you can get dressed up in the costume and have a photo taken.

Day 5 South of Amsterdam Efteling Park: This is a theme park for the entire family! They have a fairytale forest for young kids (although much of the recorded voice and songs are in Dutch), and rides for the whole family as well as daredevil rides for the brave.
When: Opening hours depends on season. For more information, visit their website.
Where: Europalaan 1, 5171 KW Kaatsheuvel.
Duration: Whole day

Day 6 Amsterdam Amsterdam: Some of the things to do and see:
Rijksmuseum: Art museum of Dutch artisits (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and more)
Van Gogh Museum: One of the most popular museums in the world due to it housing the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh. Great for kids as well - they offer family guides and treasure hunts.
Anne Frank House: See the place where Anne Frank went into hiding from the Nazis for two years during World War II and wrote her famous diary. Must book (if not, you will be standing in a queue for hours)!
NEMO Science Museum: The museum introduces young and old to the world of science and technology. Its five floors are filled with continuously updated exhibitions, theatre performances, films, workshops and demonstrations, making it a favourite of kids in Amsterdam. Smell, hear, feel and see how the world works. Everything is interactive, so everyone can join in with the fun and learning. At the end, sit at the fantastic outdoor cafe which is on a sloping roof looking over the sea.
Madame Tussauds: A collection of wax figures has recently been transformed into the place to be for both young and old. Be as beautiful as Doutzen Kroes on the catwalk, sing on stage with the outrageous Lady Gaga or test your IQ with Einstein.
Parking: I would recommend parking on the outer skirts (south) of the city at the Olympic stadium - "Parkeergarage Olympisch Stadion" - which is cheap and available. From here there is a tram that stops right there and takes you into the city center.
Duration: Whole day