Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

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midareff
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Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by midareff » Wed May 06, 2015 3:16 pm

We are taking a Viking Tour this summer and have about 2 days of free time in Amsterdam pre-tour and Prague post-tour for independent sightseeing. I know the Viking rep will have some ideas as will the hotel concierge but would appreciate some thoughts and recommendations from those who have been.

Thanks in advance.

Edit add: The trip is mid-July to early August.
Last edited by midareff on Wed May 06, 2015 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hoopy
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by hoopy » Wed May 06, 2015 3:21 pm

When in Amsterdam you should go see the flower auction. It is quite a sight.

You can get there by public bus from the city center, it is about 30-40 minutes out of the city by bus. You don't need to join a tour group. Just take the bus there and buy a ticket at the entrance. The public bus lets you off at the front door of the flower auction, and picks you up there too, to take you back to the city.

Suggest you go as early in the morning as possible, but definitely don't get there after 10:30am, as all the action will be done by 11am.

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climber2020
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by climber2020 » Wed May 06, 2015 3:23 pm

The Ossuary in Kutna Hora is an interesting place to visit. It's a short train ride from Prague.

hoopy
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by hoopy » Wed May 06, 2015 3:23 pm

Also in Amsterdam: If you enjoy biking, you can rent bikes, take the free ferry across the river and ride your bike around the dutch countryside. Your bike rental place will give you a map.

If you don't want to go by yourself, you can join a 4 hour bike tour if you like as well. It is fun, not very strenuous, suitable for all ages, and you get to see the countryside in a fun way.

Purelife304
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by Purelife304 » Wed May 06, 2015 3:35 pm

In Amsterdam:
We did the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum which were great (you can and should buy tickets ahead of time).
A canal tour or two is a must. There are plenty to choose from, but the evening cocktail cruises are great.
And finally just spend time wandering through the city. It's one of our favorite cities to do that. Find some cool pubs to pop into and spend a few hours, walk around talk to some locals, it's great!

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nedsaid
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by nedsaid » Wed May 06, 2015 3:46 pm

Purelife304 wrote:In Amsterdam:
We did the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum which were great (you can and should buy tickets ahead of time).
A canal tour or two is a must. There are plenty to choose from, but the evening cocktail cruises are great.
And finally just spend time wandering through the city. It's one of our favorite cities to do that. Find some cool pubs to pop into and spend a few hours, walk around talk to some locals, it's great!
Ditto on the Anne Frank House and the canal cruise. I didn't make it to the Van Gogh Museum but I highly recommend the Rijksmuseum which is one of the finest art museums in Europe. I would rank it just behind the Louvre and the Museo del Prado. Mint Tower is very interesting if you are interested in china. It is now a big china shop. They have a multi-media presentation in the basement you can watch for five Euros that explains how china is made and some history. Also walk through the floating flower market which is right next to the Mint Tower.
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ThisTimeItsDifferent
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by ThisTimeItsDifferent » Wed May 06, 2015 3:53 pm

Prague:
Prague Castle, great architecture, great classical art collection inside
Charles Bridge and River
Clock Tower and Old Town Square
Bus ride around town

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nedsaid
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by nedsaid » Wed May 06, 2015 3:59 pm

In Prague, I enjoyed the Charles Bridge which now is a pedestrian bridge. All kinds of street vendors and street musicians.

Spend time at the Prague Castle. I took in St. Vitus Cathedral, the Lobkowicz Castle, the changing of the guard. The self-guided tour of the Lobkowicz Castle was well worth the price and I got a music concert with the ticket.

Of course, spend time at the beautiful Old Town Square and see the Astronomical Clock. There is also a Jewish Quarter there that is worth seeing. This is some of the most beautiful sites in Europe.

The Museum of Communism is well worth a couple of hours. You will find out that the Czechs loved Americans and didn't believe the communist propaganda. A co-worker recommended it to me.

I enjoyed Wenceslas Square. There is an area nearby where there are many food vendors where you can get very tasty food.

This area of the Czech Republic is known for good and cheap beer and also for the production of beautiful crystal.

Prague has sections that don't look very appealing and in some areas of the city has a terrible graffiti problem. I was very disappointed when I first arrived in Prague for this reason. The first train station in Prague was in obvious disrepair. They built a brand new train station below the historical main train station. You can see that they are renovating the old one. The areas of the city that the tourists visit are very beautiful. After I left, I wanted to go back. It really grows on you.
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curmudgeon
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by curmudgeon » Wed May 06, 2015 11:11 pm

I was actually disappointed in the canal tour we did in Amsterdam. It might have been the tide level in part, but it felt like we were well below the street level and couldn't see as much as I would have liked. We will use the trams more on the next trip (we're actually planning a few days in both these cities this fall, along with Vienna and Barcelona).

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cowboyinasia
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by cowboyinasia » Wed May 06, 2015 11:42 pm

In Amsterdam, relax in a coffee shop. Then have dinner.

In Prague have a drink or dinner in one of those cellar restaurants.

f35phixer
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by f35phixer » Thu May 07, 2015 6:16 am

We also did the two day stay in amsterdam with Viking, Just walked around, did a canal tour, went to flower market, ate great food, did a walk thru red light district, enjoyed the smell of weed :happy EVERYWHERE. Enjoy.

My one caution, KEEP YOUR HEAD ON A SWIVEL, Bikes rule the roads.....

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blueblock
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by blueblock » Thu May 07, 2015 7:05 am

I was interested and amused to learn that the Czechs invented "defenestration" in 1419: executing people by pushing them out a window. You can see at least one such window outside Prague Castle, that event dating back to 1618.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defenestrations_of_Prague

Georgethegreat
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by Georgethegreat » Thu May 07, 2015 9:03 am

Make sure you see the Astronomical clock in Prague.

Fun Fact
The clock, built in the 1400s, at the time was considered so beautiful/amazing that they cut out the eyes of the guy that made it so he could never make something like it. He threw himself into the gears, killing himself and breaking the clock for over 100 years until someone could figure out how to fix it.

jane1
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by jane1 » Thu May 07, 2015 1:27 pm

This has a decent 1-3 day itinerary for Prague. Reflects accurately what I have read in Rick Steves and other guidebooks.
http://www.prague.net/itineraries-in-prague

tigermilk
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by tigermilk » Thu May 07, 2015 2:33 pm

Amsterdam - van Gogh museum is incredible. Seeing a photo of a van Gogh is nice, but in person the cors and strokes are breathtaking. Also the Resistance Museum was really good.

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rob
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by rob » Thu May 07, 2015 2:36 pm

hoopy wrote:Also in Amsterdam: If you enjoy biking, you can rent bikes, take the free ferry across the river and ride your bike around the dutch countryside. Your bike rental place will give you a map.
You can also rent paddle boats down the canal... well worth it if you are up for a bit of physical activity. Bike rides are nice but the city is better from the canal.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

profnot
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by profnot » Wed May 13, 2015 9:07 am

I've spent a few weeks in both cities and loved them.

I also recommend the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum. As an earlier poster said, the VG paintings are incredible in person. Very powerful. Nightwatch in the RM is breathtaking.
Eyewitness makes the very best guidebooks. Here's a Top 10 one for Amsterdam.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_ ... s+am%2Caps

For Prague, I also suggest the astronomical clock and the castle. I was very disappointed in the food. I suggest buying the full Prague guide (not the top 10 version) just for the restaurant recommendations. When I started going to the book's restaurants, the food was terrific.
http://www.amazon.com/DK-Eyewitness-Tra ... ess+prague

I love city tour buses when I first reach a city or if I have little time. Gives a great overview of the top attractions.

Have a great trip!

ecoe
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by ecoe » Wed May 13, 2015 8:18 pm

I was in Prague recently and thought that the memorial to the people involved in Operation Anthropoid was well done and incredibly moving. I suggest you set aside a couple of hours for this if you are at all interested in the (relatively) recent history of Prague.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ss._Cyril_ ... _Cathedral

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Anthropoid

cherijoh
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Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

Post by cherijoh » Wed May 13, 2015 8:38 pm

Purelife304 wrote:In Amsterdam:
We did the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum which were great (you can and should buy tickets ahead of time).
A canal tour or two is a must. There are plenty to choose from, but the evening cocktail cruises are great.
And finally just spend time wandering through the city. It's one of our favorite cities to do that. Find some cool pubs to pop into and spend a few hours, walk around talk to some locals, it's great!
I did a different Viking cruise that included Amsterdam. It included a canal cruise, so I would check your itinerary - you won't need a separate canal cruise if your cruise includes a half day tour of the city. However, Anne Frank House, The Rijks Musuem, and Van Gogh Museum will not be included with your cruise.

Also be aware that a Coffee Shop sells pot while a café has coffee.

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