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Explore historic cities and the beautiful countryside, from Amsterdam to Brussels

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  • Luxury accommodation throughout
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Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

From windmills slowly sweeping the skies and fields of bright tulips, to popular cafes in the shadows of historic gothic buildings, this epic trip will introduce you to the beauty and vibrancy of Holland and Belgium.

You’ll begin with three nights in Amsterdam, where you will explore the winding waterways; admire masterpieces by masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh; attend the fascinating Aalsmeer Flower Auction; visit the Panorama Mesdag, a cylindrical painting; and head north into the countryside for the opportunity to see working windmills and fields of flowers.

Next, you’ll stop over in the vibrant port city of Antwerp where you’ll see some of its most iconic places before making your way onwards to Ghent with its beautiful medieval architecture. From there you will head to the picture-perfect city of Bruges where you will discover cobbled streets, winding canals and dramatic gothic architecture. Take some time for contemplation as you visit Ypres and some of the Flanders Fields sites. This poignant tour will give you a better understanding of the challenges faced by World War I soldiers.

Finally, you’ll find yourself in Brussels. Take a walk through the downtown part of the city, stopping to enjoy local delicacies along the way and visiting museums, galleries and popular sites, like Manneken Pis. And have your camera at the ready for a driven tour of some of the other architectural and monument highlights of the city.

 

 

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-4

Amsterdam

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Amsterdam

Accommodation in Amsterdam

amsterdam-canals-night
Three nights in Amsterdam Three nights in Amsterdam

Row upon row of colourful houses; a network of waterways winding their way through the city; and elegant Golden Age architecture. The capital of the Netherlands really does seem to have it all. It’s not all about looks though, as Amsterdam is chock-a-block with world-class museums including the Rijkamuseum with more than 8,000 pieces of art. The Van Gogh museum celebrates the life and work of one of the country’s most famous artists and in case you thought the city wasn’t keeping pace, the Stedelijk museum houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. One of the joys of the city is simply wandering through the pretty streets and along the canals. Be sure to look up and admire the iconic gabled facades of the houses and visit the ancient churches and synagogues.

amsterdam-the-netherlands
Amsterdam orientation tour Amsterdam orientation tour

Enjoy a short walk to ease you into your surroundings. You will pass some of Amsterdam's monumental highlights such as the Dam Square with the Royal Palace, the Old Church, the Begijnhof, the Jordaan neighbourhood, and admire the merchant houses and floating flower markets.

amsterdam-canal-cafe
Culture, cuisine and cafes Culture, cuisine and cafes

A popular haunt for creatives, students and bohemian spirits, De Pijp has always harboured beatnik flair and is nowadays Amsterdam's lively Latin Quarter. The Jordaan is known for its beautiful houses, nice restaurants and original shops. Once a working-class bastion, it's now attracting art galleries, restaurants and boutiques. Explore this part of the city with a local guide who will show you its best-kept secrets. You'll also visit some flower markets and stroll past beautiful canal houses. This tour can be adjusted to suit your interests.

Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum

Head to the museum quarter and visit Rijksmuseum, a national museum dedicated to arts and history, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. You will also visit the Van Gogh Museum which is dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries.

Aalsmeer Flower Auction Aalsmeer Flower Auction

Get an early start on the day and head to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction with your guide. It is the largest trading centre for plants and flowers in the world. It opens to the public at 7am, which is the best time of day to visit to get a proper feel for the energy and activity of the market place.

Northern countryside tour Northern countryside tour

Meet your guide and take the road north to a small place called Jisp. This is how a lot of Dutch villages used to be built, along the waterways. You'll then continue your trip on a dike, along the water, enjoying the very flat Dutch landscape to a place called Spijkerboor for a warming cup of coffee. Then it's onward to Schermerhoorn to visit the windmill museum, enjoying stunning views over five other working windmills and the tulip fields. End the tour in the village of Broek in Waterland to enjoy a traditional 'pannekoek' in a very charming local restaurant.

the-hague
Mauritshuis visit Mauritshuis visit

You will be driven to the royal city of The Hague where you will visit the Mauritshuis. Situated in the heart of the city, beside the government centre, the museum hosts a magnificent collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings including works by Vermeer.

Panorama Mesdag visit Panorama Mesdag visit

Take some time to marvel at a cylindrical painting more than 14 metres high and about 120 metres in circumference at Panorama Mesdag. From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that you are on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Antwerp

Days 4-5

Antwerp

Accommodation in Antwerp

One night in Antwerp One night in Antwerp

Belgium’s second city and biggest port, Antwerp is a vibrant destination with a flourishing cultural scene and a sea of great restaurants. The city fans out from the east bank of the River Scheldt and its pretty medieval centre is easily navigated along the cobbled streets. At the heart of the city is Grot Markt home to the town hall, its facades decorated by the flags of the 28 countries of the European Union, and an impressive statue of Brabo throwing the severed hand of Antigoon.

Antwerp boasts one of Belgium’s finest Gothic cathedrals, the Cathedral of Our Lady. Its 123m spire seems to follow you round the city, popping its head up between the myriad of art nouveau buildings and narrow town houses with stepped gables. Its huge seven-aisle nave dwarfs all who visit and four Rubens canvases hand proudly within its walls.

Antwerp city tour Antwerp city tour

Your guide will introduce you to some of the most popular places in the city, from the medival majesty of Market Square and the beautiful Baroque facades of the Cathedral of Our lady, to the outstanding architecture of Antwerp railway station. Visit the Museum aan de Stroom, which houses several temporary exhibitions. From its rooftop you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. You can also visit Rubens House, where the famous painter spent most of his time.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Ghent

Days 5-6

Ghent

Accommodation in Ghent

One night in Ghent One night in Ghent

Ghent is a city that has succeeded where many others struggle. Beautiful medieval architecture sits alongside scores of bustling restaurants and quirky bars making this Belgian city the perfect blend of old and new. What started as a couple of abbeys at the confluence of the rivers Lys and Scheldt soon became a prominent settlement and, thanks to the cloth trade, development flourished. By the 13th century, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe and second only to Paris in size.

The architecture in the old city centre reflects nearly 1400 years of history. The belfry is a proud city of the city’s independence and stands in the middle of a three-tower row, together with Saint Bavo’s Cathedral and Saint Nicholas’ Church. Attached to the belfry is the cloth hall which served as the headquarters of this illustrious trade.

Walking tour of Ghent Walking tour of Ghent

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a walking tour, introducing you to Ghent, one of the most vibrant cities in Belgium. You will get to see highlights like the new library ‘De Krook’ which has a specific contemporary architecture, St Peter Cathedral, the City Hall, the Patershol, the Castle of the Counts, the Beguinage, and St. Bavo’s Cathedral with the unique altarpiece ‘the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Bruges

Days 6-8

Bruges

Accommodation in Bruges

Two nights in Bruges Two nights in Bruges

There are few medieval cities as beautifully preserved as Bruges, a picture-perfect scene of canals, bridges, secret gardens and colourful houses. Nestled in the top corner of Belgium, most people come to explore the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although the city walls themselves have long gone, four gates, the ramparts and one of the water towers remain and just looking around, you know you’re somewhere special. The city is characterised by imposing Gothic architecture, the City Hall arguably the finest example of all. Its façade is impressive enough but reaches a new level once you step inside and see the murals and golden vaulted ceiling.

Walking tour of Bruges Walking tour of Bruges

Enjoy a walking tour of beautiful Bruges. It is the best-preserved example of medieval Flanders and similarly to Amsterdam, the heart of Bruges is surrounded by an almost continuous ring of canals. Therefore Bruges is also known as "the Venice of the North". You will walk down small streets, pass green parks, see picturesque houses and city highlights like the Beguinage and Minnewater, the Burg and city hall, the belfry (if you're up to the challenge you can climb the 366 stairs to the top and enjoy the view over Market Square.), the Church of our Lady, the old nunnery and St. Saint Saviour’s Cathedral.

Flanders Fields tour Flanders Fields tour

Your guide, an author and passionate historian of the Flanders Fields, will collect you at your hotel and drive you to Ypres where you will spend time visiting some Flanders Fields sites. The visit will give you a better understanding of the physical and strategic challenges faced by the World War I soldiers and generals. Some of the sites included in the tour are The Ypres Sallient, Passchendaele, Site John McCrae, Menen Gate, Polygon Wood and In Flanders Fields Museum.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Brussels

Days 8-10

Brussels

Accommodation in Brussels

brussels-grand-palace
Two nights in Brussels Two nights in Brussels

Brussels might be at the centre of European politics but it’s not all about policy and procedure. This city is both a buzzing metropolis and a historical gem, and should certainly not be overlooked. The city centre is divided into the upper and lower town, the former traditionally inhabited by the Francophile ruling classes who kept watch over the workers down below. Most of the city’s main sights are contained within what is known locally as the ‘petite ceinture’ and easily navigated by foot.

The Grand-Place is one of Europe’s most beautiful squares, four sides of magnificent baroque architecture. The spire of the Town Hall soars towards the sky, flanked by 17th century guildhalls with gilded facades and scrolled gables. Originally marshland, the square was drained in the 12th century and became a bustling centre for trade. The surrounding streets are a reminder of this past and are named after foods such as chicken, herbs and cheese. Every two years a flower carpet is laid in the centre of the square, consisting of over 600,000 colourful begonias.

Walking tour of downtown Brussels Walking tour of downtown Brussels

Go on a guided walking tour through downtown Brussels with emphasis on history. You will see the Old Market, the Manneken Pis, the Gallery Royal Saint Hubert, the Central Station and Gallery and the Bozar. On the way, look out for comic strip murals, and stop to enjoy some chocolate, special beer or other local delights such as speculoos cookies and waffles. You will also visit the Magritte Museum which displays works by René Magritte. The collection contains oils, drawings, sculptures, musical scores, photograph and films about the surrealist artist.

Cinquantenaire-brussels
Brussels city tour Brussels city tour

You will be driven around the city with stops along the way for photographs. The tour will include highlights like the Atomium, the Royal Palace of Laken, Parc du Cinquantenaire, the European district, the central station.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Brussels airport

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