The Netherlands on your own
From the 7th May till the 16th May 2012 four of us visited the beautiful country Netherlands. Our flight with Aeroflot was 16000 per person. We chose The Hague for accommodation, because of good location to places we wanted to visit and cheaper than to Amsterdam. After comparing the two cities, we were very happy with our choice. We booked all hotels through Booking: from 7th to 15th of May apartment for 9000 rubles per person, from 13th to 14th of May, for one night we went, Mercure Hotel Tilburg Centrum for 1800 rubles per person and from 15th to 16th of May City Hotel Amsterdam for 1900 rubles per person. We booked our visa at the Dutch Visa Office, where we paid a 35 EUR (1365 rub) consular fee and a 970 rub for the visa. The insurance policy cost 700 rubles per person. TOTAL trip for 10 days was about 32000 rubles.
What we had seen:
Day 1 – the town of Delphi, The Hague and the North Sea.
2 day – Corpus museum of human body, flower park Kekenhof and small town Leiden.
Day 3 – Hett Loo Palace, Apenheul Monkey Park.
Day 4 – Gouda town, Madurodam park of miniatures.
Day 5 – De Xaar Castle.
Day 6 – City of Rotterdam, Kinderdijk Mill Museum.
Day 7 – transfer to Tilburg, Efteling amusement park.
Day 8 – Tilburg Safari Park Beekse Bergen.
Day 9 – transfer to Amsterdam.
Day 10 – Amsterdam and flight to Moscow.
Now about all in detail.
May 7 (1 day) – the town of Delphi, The Hague and the North Sea.
We arrived in the Netherlands on May 7th at 6:55 a.m. at Schiphol airport, where we took an electric train to The Hague (Den Haag Centraal). The train leaves every 15 minutes (cost €7.60). At 10 am we had check-in at shortstay apartment – it is a private house without a reception, located at Grand Place III Korte Houtstraat 14, 2511 CD The Hague, The Netherlands. Our apartment was on the second floor and consisted of two rooms and a living room with kitchen. Internet connection, fully equipped kitchen, furniture new, everything is clean. Den Haag Centraal railway station is only 5 min walk, there is a streetcar line and the Albert Heijn grocery store is nearby. We like our hotel very much.
We went to Delft, from the railway station Den Haag Centraal – Delft, 15 min, price € 2.20. Very nice small town.
Back in The Hague, we walked from the hotel through the castle Ridderzaal, through the Peace Palace, through a park to the coast of the North Sea about an hour, and back on the streetcar number 9.
May 8 (Day 2) – Corpus Museum of the Human Body, Köckenhof Flower Park, and the town of Leiden.
Our first stop was the Corpus Museum of the Human Body. Next to Den Haag Centraal Station is Centraal Station Busplatform from where buses #385 or #386 take 30 minutes to the Transferium A44 stop, Leiden and walk to the museum, about 10 minutes.
The Corpus Human Body Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 19:00, located at Willem Einthovenstraat 1, 2342 BH Oegstgeest. The ticket was €16,50, we ordered online in advance, because many tours are held for schoolchildren and you can not buy tickets on the spot. The ticket is given for a certain time, so you can’t be late. The museum is unusual, the visitor learns the human body from the inside, being in the body of a huge man. The tour is conducted with a Russian audiogogue.
Next we went to the park of flowers. Next to the museum there is a bus stop Wassenaarseweg where bus number 57 goes to the Keukenhofdreef stop in about 40 minutes. The flower park is open from March to May, the cost of admission €15.00. The park is beautiful, full of flowers, the smell is inexpressible. The park is very beautiful.
There we rented bikes and took a route through the flower fields, but in May the fields were already almost robbed, in this case we were unlucky.
From the flower park we went to Leiden, just for a walk. We took a bus №250 from the stop Keukenhofdreef to Leiden Centraal, which took about 30 minutes. And from Leiden to The Hague we took the train.
May 9 (Day 3) – Hett Loo Palace, Apenheul Monkey Park.
Hett Loo palace and Apenheul monkey park are in the town of Apeldoorn, we took the train from Den Haag Centraal to Apeldoorn, 1 hour 30 min journey € 17,90 (train without change runs once an hour). There is a bus stop next to the train station, from which you can take bus #10 to the palace, but we walked about 45 minutes. Hett Loo Palace is open from 10:00 to 17:00 € 12.50 (Koninklijk Park 1, 7315 JA Apeldoorn).
From the palace we walked to the Apenheul monkey park, about an hour. The park is open from 10.00 to 17.00, admission costs € 19,00, website, address J.C. Wilslaan 21, 7313 HK Apeldoorn. In the park, the monkeys are in the enclosures as well as in the wild, some of them can be touched. We liked the park very much. From the park we walked back to the station and drove to The Hague.
May 10 (day 4) – Gouda, Madurodam miniature park.
From the railway station Den Haag Centraal it is a pleasure to walk to the station Gouda in 25 min for € 5.10. The town is really nice to walk around, beautiful center with lots of little stores with different kinds of cheeses and sausages. On the market square in the city center there is the Old Municipality building, where every hour the figures of the king and the court appear under the clock.
From Gauda, we walked back to Den Haag Centraal Station and walked to Madurodam Miniature Park. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission cost €14.50 located at George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag and website: http://www.madurodam.nl/en .
The park has various attractions in Holland, you can listen to descriptions in Russian with the help of electronic desks, there are also various fun games for children.
May 11 (day 5) – De Xaar Castle.
We took the train from Den Haag Centraal to Vleuten station to get to Castle De Xaar, a 50 minute trip. From the station Vleuten you can take bus #127, but we walked for about an hour. The castle was open from 10:00 – 17:00 http://www.kasteeldehaar.nl/, address Kasteellaan 1, 3455 RR Haarzuilens. When we came to the castle, it turned out that there was an Italian food fair for €10.00, but you could taste everything. My friend, who was recently in Italy, said that she had never tasted as much there as she did at the fair. The castle is very beautiful standing on the water, the park has a small maze, a pond with fish (you can feed them), and a huge pen with deer (which we fed dandelions, since they all ate them in the pen). It was a wonderful day.
May 12 (day 6) – city of Rotterdam, Kinderdijk Mill Museum.
From The Hague to Rotterdam we took the electric train Den Haag Centraal – Rotterdam Centraal, 40 min. On the 12th of May in Holland there was a holiday for millers, so we went straight to the Mill Museum. You can get to the museum by boat from Rotterdam pier, Veer Erasmusbrug to Veer De Schans pier by boat #20 and see the city and bridges from the river. From Veer De Schans you take the small barge #6 to the other side where the park is located. The trip takes about 50 minutes. Ships go every half hour. There are about 15 mills in the park, one of them has a museum and there is also a tourist boat that sails between the mills. We walked, the place is wonderful. The park had various artisans and chefs who cook right in front of you on an open fire for the duration of the festival. There I tasted the most delicious fish. The Kinderdijk Mill Museum https://www.kinderdijk.com/ was open from 9:00 to 17:00, located at Nederwaard 5, 2961 AS Kinderdijk.
Back in Rotterdam, we walked to the Euro Mast http://www.euromast.nl/en from 10.00 to 20.00 €9.25, Parkhaven 20, 3016 GM Rotterdam. From the tower there are spectacular views of the city, you can also descend from it by rope, but we didn’t dare.
May 13 (day 7) – transfer to Tilburg, Efteling amusement park.
On the 7th day of our trip we went to Tilburg, where there is an amusement park Efteling and a safari park Beekse Bergen, it is impossible to see them in one day, so we stayed overnight in this town at the Mercure Hotel Tilburg Centrum.
Went by train Den Haag Centraal – Tilburg Centraal Station, 1 hour 10 min € 14.70. From the railway station to the amusement park there is a bus number 301 every 15 minutes. Efteling Park – Dutch Disneyland http://www.efteling.com/ was open from 10:00 to 18:00, entrance cost €32, located at Europalaan 1, 5171 KW Kaatsheuvel. The park has many different rides, both for small and very scary. We spent the whole day there.
May 14 (Day – Tilburg Safari Park Beekse Bergen.
The next day, checking out of the hotel, we drove to the safari park. From Tilburg Centraal Station there are buses #142 and #143, Safaripark stop, Hilvarenbeek. Open from 10.00 to 17.00 € 21.00 website: http://www.safariparkbeeksebergen.com/ , address: Beekse Bergen 1, 5081 NJ Hilvarenbeek. The park is very interesting, the animals are in huge aviaries, as in the natural environment. There are animals that you can touch and feed. At certain times there are various shows with animals. On the park you can move by car, as well as by boat, bus (comes directly into the enclosure to the animals) and on foot. I advise you to visit.
May 15 (day 9) – transfer to Amsterdam.
Having returned the day before to The Hague, in the morning of May 15 we took the train from Den Haag Centraal to Amsterdam. We stayed at the City Hotel Amsterdam, it was ok for one night but we didn’t want to stay there more than once. The hotel was well located, our room was old and small, but very comfortable.
We only walked around Amsterdam, did not go to museums, and bought souvenirs (not sold in The Hague). Cheese and wine we bought in a usual supermarket, much cheaper than in the tourist shops, and after 9 days we bought the products of the producer we liked.
Day 10 – Amsterdam and the flight to Moscow .
We took the train to the airport from Amsterdam again and here we are flying home. There are many places left in the Netherlands that we will have to visit next time.
We travel to the Netherlands by ourselves! All information about the country for organizing a budget trip to the Netherlands: how to get there, what to do, what to try.
The Netherlands accepts tourists from the Russian Federation. For convenience, we give pre-dedicated prices for travel and flights. Information about visas and flights may not be up to date, please check official resources. Take a look at the list of open countries.
Long dreamed to visit the Netherlands and the charming capital of this northern country? Rest assured that going to Amsterdam on your own is not at all difficult, as well as other Dutch cities. All the most important information about the Netherlands is in this article – it will help you realize your plans.
Preparing a trip to the Netherlands on your own
1. Searching for cheap airline tickets
The first thing to do is to read our beautiful and very detailed guide “How to get to Amsterdam: The Complete Instruction Manual”. In this article you’ll learn everything about getting to the Dutch capital from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Minsk, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. It is also extremely useful to know how to get to the city from the airport of Amsterdam.
If we talk about finding tickets for your own trip to the Netherlands in brief, it is worth noting the following:
- The easiest option is to monitor on our website promotions and offers of airlines flying to the Netherlands from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Cheap tickets to Amsterdam can be found with Ukraine International, airBaltic, JAT Airways, Lufthansa, LOT and many other companies that fly from Russia to the Netherlands with a connection in a European city (Kiev, Riga, Paris, etc.). The average cost of a round trip ticket is about 10 thousand rubles. Look for cheap tickets on the Aviasails website.
- The second option is to fly to cities close to the Dutch border – Dusseldorf or Cologne. From there, take a bus or train to the desired city in Holland.
- You can also take a cheap way to Europe via Lithuania, Latvia or Finland. This versatile option is ideal for those who want to get to the Netherlands inexpensively.
2. Obtaining a Dutch visa on your own
To visit the Netherlands, you will need a Schengen visa. If you do not have an open Schengen visa, you should contact the consulate of the kingdom or a visa center. It is better to apply for a visa to the Netherlands (as well as to any other European country) by yourself – it will cost you half or even three times cheaper, and the probability to receive it will be the same as in the case if your documents for a visa will be filed by intermediaries. For an ordinary tourist visa to the Netherlands you will need a standard set of documents: passport, photos, copies of civilian passport, application form, ticket and accommodation booking, arranged insurance, certificate of employment or school, a bank statement on sufficient funds.
Don’t forget about insurance! It will save you money in case of an emergency. You can arrange it at Compare.ru or Cherehapa. The cost starts from 300 rubles per week.
Travel between cities in the Netherlands
If you plan to visit several cities in the Netherlands or nearby countries (Germany, Belgium, etc.) these articles may be useful for you:
Look for hotels at the best price on Hotellook – it compares prices from a variety of booking systems and finds the best one.
Things to do in the Netherlands
Look for interesting excursions on Tripster. Individual and group tours, without crowds and in Russian.
Coffee shops and smart shops
Detailed coverage of the topic in the article about coffeeshops in Amsterdam.
These world famous establishments during your independent travel to the Netherlands are worth visiting in any case: even if you do not plan to try marijuana, cupcakes and other Dutch “joys”, you can buy a coffee and just enjoy the atmosphere. There are a lot of coffee shops in the Netherlands, so choose the one that you like best in terms of interior, music and atmosphere. Do not forget that in the coffeeshops, oddly enough, you can not smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Products containing marijuana, of course, are only sold to people over the age of 18 – you may be asked for ID.
On a related note, we should mention the hallucinogenic mushrooms (majicas), which are also freely available in the Netherlands. Newcomers should be careful with these things. Each kind of mushroom (truffle) is said to have its own effect – euphoria, hallucinations, energy boosts, and more. But in fact, the species differences are not as important as the mood of the person who goes on a trip, and the environment around him. It is always better to have a friend, firstly, he will control your condition and, secondly, you will feel more comfortable.
(Photo: Matt Spurr / flickr.com)
Red Light District
This place requires no introduction. Then again, even if your plans do not include a good party in Amsterdam, no one forbids you to visit this area just for the sake of curiosity. To avoid trouble, remember that girls are not allowed to be photographed. And in general, the Red Light District can be very fierce and harsh – for details, please go to the report “Fear and Loathing in Amsterdam”.
Visit the fair and cheese attraction
At these events, you can try and buy any type of cheese that interests you. Be prepared that the selection will be overwhelming – there are even wasabi-flavored cheeses! The largest auction takes place on Fridays in Alkmaar from April to September.
Visit the Dutch mills
The windmill is one of the main symbols of the Netherlands. To see real windmills, you can go to the village of Saanse Schans, located near Amsterdam. Most of the mills work here as museums. Also in the village there is a workshop-shop of national shoes and an old cheese factory. In the south of the country, in a place called Kinderdijk, you can also find windmills. It takes longer to get here, but there are fewer tourists and the place is more authentic.
Admire the flowers
The Netherlands has been famous for its flowers for centuries. Here you can find the most amazing exotic species. But the most important flower of the country is the tulip. A great place to admire the flowers is the park Koekenhof, which is located near Amsterdam. The best time of year is April and May. You can also visit the capital’s flower market.
Visit Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo
The zoo is about two kilometers southeast of Dam Square. Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40.
The area of the area is almost 15 hectares. Here you can see more than 200 species of plants and almost a thousand species of animals and birds. In addition to the animals, the zoo has a large number of old buildings, such as a zoological museum and a library.
(Photo: Reinoud Kaasschieter + filter / flickr.com)
I recommend our in-depth review on the topic of food in Holland: where to eat, how much the food costs in stores and cafes, what to try, etc. – will be useful for everyone who goes on an independent trip to the Netherlands.
Fresh raw herring
This is a traditional local dish that is eaten with onions. Especially prized is young herring, the time of catching herring is spring. If you are not visiting at that time of year, you can try kharing, which is a herring again, but lightly salted.
Of course, one of the main advantages of Dutch cuisine is cheese of different varieties. Everyone who comes to this country should try cheese.
– Cheese is naturally matured. This Dutch cheese is made from cow’s milk. Its peculiarity is the light nutty flavor. Young Edamer does not taste spicy and even a little sweet. Mature Edamer, on the other hand, is much drier and saltier. True connoisseurs of cheese prefer cheese that has been aged for more than a year. However, the most popular and common are the unmatured versions of Edamer.
. This cheese is also made from cow’s milk. Gouda traces its history back to the distant 6th century. The taste of Gouda cheese varies from delicate and mild to intensely spicy.
– One of the most popular cheeses of Holland, known all over the world. The cheese got its name after the small Dutch town of Maasdam. The peculiarity of the cheese are large holes and a sweetish taste. Maasdam’s famous holes are formed during the ripening of the cheese because of the gases produced during the fermentation process.
. These include . They are unusual in that they are made from whole milk – which makes them taste rich, close to creamy.