I think we've made up our minds that a trip to this fantastic display of flowers is a must seeing we have a splendid opportunity this year. Flying into Frankfurt we can take the train direct to Amsterdam for around 32E each.
I am hoping someone has done an independent trip to Keukenhof and has some advice of do's and don'ts. Of course we will want to spend some time in Amsterdam but when I look at the bus schedules to Keukenhof and set tours I think it might be prudent to spend two nights in Lisse and be able to walk straight into the gardens when they open at 8am. Not only that, we could then stay until closing at 6.30pm and get the very most out of a days visit by having our hotel down the road.
What do you think - Any tips/advice for a first-timer?
I've never been there - that is about the only season I haven't been to Amsterdam. My friends who live or have stayed there for some years always did it as a day trip, but if that is really one of the purposes of your trip, you might well want to stay in Lisse.
Have you checked a) Dutch train timetables and b) hotels in Lisse? Dutch transport is very good and reliable, but I'm not familiar with trains into Lisse, though it certainly looks large enough to have a railway station, by Dutch standards. www.lisse.nl/ If not there are certainly regular commuter buses from the nearest larger town.
It looks like a pleasant little town, with the commercial centre closed off to motor vehicles. Obviously such a town isn't exciting or as cosmopolitan as Amsterdam, but it is worth seeing another side of the Netherlands. Also very pleasant to hire bicycles, in a far calmer environment than central Amsterdam!
Well, I spent some hours on the Net looking at hotels in Amsterdam & Lisse. Slept on it and then decided which was the best option for us. With the least messing around we have decided to stay fairly near the rail station in Amsterdam in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station ( 4 Stars) - a Club Double Room incl. breakfast 480.39Euros for three nights. The rate at the Ibis was more and not so convenient to the station! With our move to Lisse - I read the reviews of the three hotels in the town and near the gate. Not too good, so have opted for the Hotel De Nachtegaal ( 4 stars) a short bus ride away. Bus stop right outside the hotel and every 10min, even at night. I went all out and booked the Executive Suite at 420euros for the three nights!
The hotel receptionist in Lisse was so helpful. We don't have to go back to Amsterdam to get our Thalys back to Paris, instead we take a bus to Schipol and go direct from there.
Now that we have the booking I can look forward to the feast of flowers awaiting our arrival! Yum
Yes, it is much more convenient if you can leave from Schipol - there is a small railway station under the shopping concourse in the airport - this is all VERY handy - and there are several mainline stops, including the Thalys. You can even do last-minute shopping for anything you might want on the train at the HEMA and the small Albert Heijn superette, and there are lots of newsagent's with newspapers and magazines in many languages. An added benefit of the Thalys is that you arrive right at la Gare du nord.
Funny that an Ibis would be more expensive than the Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, but booking is strange that way.
Have you been to Amsterdam? The area right around the Centraal Station can be a bit grubby - oh, nothing is very dangerous in Amsterdam, it is just about the only area that doesn't live up to proverbial Dutch cleanliness. And the eateries nearby tend to be rip-offs. Going just a little way from CS offers you far nicer choices. Is there anything in particular you are interested in doing there? I think most of the Rijksmuseum is still closed for renovations, but there are many, many museums and also simply neighbourhoods to see. There is one in the East end a bit south of Tropenmuseum where everything is named for ZA places - some are embarrassingly colonial (I suspect they are waiting for Mandela to pass away to change the name of a central square there).
Amsterdam has stellar public transport and there is a wealth of tramlines right outside CS.
Which station, Kerouac? I don't think there are any hotels built atop Centraal Station Amsterdam, a historic station built in 1889. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam_Centraal_railway_station Do you mean Schiphol Station/Airport? While very handy for intermodal transport, really not a place I'd choose for a few days' touring Amsterdam - it is quite far from the city centre (by the standards of a not-very-large city). By the way, the neighbourhood with the ZA placenames south of Tropenmuseum is Transvaalbuurt.
You are absolutely right Kerouac - I don't know how I misinterpreted the map!! I went back and checked the rates again as well and see we could have stayed at the Ibis for about 20euros cheaper but no breakfast - (unless I went the Happy 20 route which shaved off another 150euros or so but then you are locked in) As you know I love the Ibis but the rooms are average and this time can't compare with the Club room I booked. I have one other battle when I stay at Ibis - the plugs for the hairdryer are nowhere near a mirror so it's a balancing act of a small cosmetic mirror on top of my suitcase
Yes, I get tired of the Ibis, too. When possible, I try to treat myself to SuiteNovotel, but only when they have special rates. Another chain you might like in France and few other countries is Campanile.
Yes, I remember that hotel now. There are quite a few hotels nearby - old established ones, budget chains like Ibis and new places out on the "Docklands". Not counting the dodgy hostels a few steps into town...
There is a Campanile in Amsterdam, but it is in the Southeast: