Duration: 8 Days
Your eight-day off-season holiday in Holland and Belgium is the perfect getaway to Europe! Enjoy seeing the sights, while admiring the Netherlands’ windmills and waterways, and sampling Belgium’s cuisine. Fewer crowds and lower prices during the off-season means having more space and time to enjoy the artistry of both countries. Take a canal cruise in Amsterdam past homes of the “Golden Age,” and visit the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Drive north across the 19-mile dike between the North Sea and the Ijsselmeer (the former Zuiderzee). Visit the Airborne at the Bridge Museum in Arnhem—commemorating the Battle of Arnhem and the British bravery made famous in the film, A Bridge Too Far.
On to Antwerp for guided sightseeing in the historic harbour city on the River Scheldt. Visit the Grote Markt in the Old Town and dine at one of the city’s lively restaurants. An included excursion takes you to one of Western Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns—Bruges. Visit the Church of our Lady to see Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges, and learn of the town’s rich textile history with a lace-making demonstration. In Holland’s Kinderdijk, see 19 18th century windmills—helping to drain the lowlands and make the windmill a symbol of Holland. In Rotterdam, visit the impressive Markthal, and enjoy a visit to the Royal Delft Pottery Factory, before arriving in The Hague—housing the King’s residence, parliament, and International Court of Justice.
Welcome to Amsterdam! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and travelling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)
Meet your Local Guide and hear about the fascinating history of the 700-year-old capital during a leisurely CANAL CRUISE. Admire the patrician mansions and the gabled facades, and the "Golden Bend," the most prestigious part of the Herengracht. Also visit the RIJKSMUSEUM with Rembrandt's "Night Watch." Later, an optional excursion is available to make the most of your stay. (B)
A comfortable drive takes you north and across the 19-mile (30 kilometre) long ENCLOSING DIKE, separating the salty North Sea from the freshwater IJsselmeer the former Zuiderzee. A monumental work designed by Cornelis Lely and constructed in the 1920's. Via the province of Friesland and the Noordoostpolde, arrive in Arnhem, setting of the movie "A Bridge too Far." Hear how the British forces defended the bridge during the Battle of Arnhem and visit the AIRBORNE AT THE BRIDGE MUSEUM with the world-famous John Frost Bridge. (B)
Cross the border into the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, formerly part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands until 1830, and arrive in Antwerp. Enjoy guided sightseeing of this important harbor city on the River Scheldt, and visit the GROTE MARKT in the Old Town. This evening, dinner awaits at one of Antwerp's lively local restaurants. (B,D)
Take an excursion to Bruges, one of Western Europe's most perfectly preserved medieval towns. Follow your Local Guide on a walking tour and visit the CHURCH OF OUR LADY with Michelangelo's Madonna of Bruges, featured in the movie The Monuments Men. See also the famous MARKET SQUARE. Also enjoy a traditional LACE DEMONSTRATION, a reminder of Bruges' history of cloth-making. Return to Antwerp. (B)
Back in Holland, stop at the "Kinderdijk," a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take pictures of the 19 windmills which were built in the 18th century to drain the polders. Continue to Rotterdam, heavily bombed during World War II, resulting in a city with a totally modern centre and the largest harbor in Europe. Visit the impressive MARKTHAL, opened in 2014 as a residential and office building with a market hall. This evening, an optional dinner outing is available. (B)
This morning, visit the ROYAL DELFT POTTERY FACTORY with the magnificent collection of hand-painted earthenware pieces, and see skilled craftsmen at work. Next is The Hague, residence of the king, the parliament, and the International Court of Justice. Walk through the INNER COURT of the parliament, a former hunting castle, and enjoy free time with a chance to visit the Mauritshuis Museum home to the painter Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring. Return to Amsterdam, where a farewell dinner has been prepared at the hotel to celebrate your holiday. (B,D)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)