Writer Pip Farquharson answered your travel questions on Tuesday, April 5 at noon ET
Philadelphia, PA: We will be traveling to Amsterdam on May 31 and will spend two days there. We've not booked hotel yet as I don't know what area we should stay. We'd like something reasonably priced and centrally located. Any suggestions on where to stay and a suggested itinerary?
Pip Farquharson: Also to all the people who are asking me questions about hotels:
May 31 is a national holiday here so I would book that hotel fairly soon!
As for which area to stay in... What a lot of people don't realise until they get here is that Amsterdam is actually quite a small place - about a tenth of the size of London. So, pretty much anywhere within the center - really IS in the center and never to far from anything. Most of the sites you'd want to see are no more than 30 minutes walk from anywhere in the center. I always find it hard when people ask for hotel suggestions as I never stay in them but there are plenty of hotels in the center general guidelines would be to try and aim for a hotel on a canal and, if possible, ask for a room with a view. You can check out details of individual hotels to suit at the various online hotel bookings websites. And if possible, try and find a map of Amsterdam online so you can refer to it when making a booking: htsterdam.info/ have maps on their site. And if you find one you like and want to run it by me before booking just contact me in the Forum at htderwateramsterdam.com/
New York, NY: I'm going to be in Amsterdam for three days the last week in April, to go see the tulips and catch some of the party leading up to the Queen's birthday. The group I'm traveling with have all been to Amsterdam before and seen the essentials. What kind of weather can I expect? And what special thing should I try to squeeze in?
Pip Farquharson: The weather in Amsterdam is always a little unpredictable to say the least. For the Queen's Birthday (or Queen's Day as it's called here), this year celebrating her 25 year jubilee) it could be either sunny or raining! It was sunny last year - around 17C (64F). The year before it was 10C (50F).
Whatever the weather, your spirits won't be dampened as Queen's Day celebrations really are pretty incredible on first experience. It's like one huge - orange coloured - street party all across the city (orange is the country's national colour).
About a million people come into Amsterdam for the event (which is larger than the actual population itself to give you an idea).
And the special thing I suggest you try and squeeze in is a boat tour of the city (see also above to reply to earlier post about things to do).
As for the tulips check out Keukenhof's website at httpenhof.nl/
Andover, MN: No question, but a comment: I just returned from a 2 week high school trip to Europe including 2 days in Amsterdam at the main square (dam?). Although I was very aprehensive as a chaperone, I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. We had 30+ high school students who had plenty of free time that faired well in seeing what they wanted and arriving at our meeting places on time. It is a very beautiful city with lots of great shopping, scenery and cultural experiences.
Pip Farquharson: That's great to hear... Thanks! It is an often overlooked European destination, compared to Paris or London, for example.
West Palm Beach, FL : Where do you recommend a Budget Traveler to stay in Amsterdam?
Pip Farquharson: For something a little unusual and convenient, I would suggest the Amstel Botel (a hotel on a boat moored right handily by Centraal Station at Oosterdokskade 2-4, +31 20 626 4274). Definitely ask for a room with a view and you will be overlooking a lovely little dock with charming canal boats.
Additionally, it's by the old center of town. Near the Leidseplein is the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel (Kerkstraat 136-8) which has a bar and restaurant and is popular with younger travellers.
And Winston Hotel (Warmoesstraat 129, htnston.nl/) is a great budget hotel. On the edge of the Red Light District and on a street with some great bars, restaurants and cafes, it's also an 'art hotel' (all rooms are individually designed) and has a cool live music and club venue attached.
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