traversing The Netherlands
Day 1 Overnight flight
Day 2 Zaanse Schans – Beemster Polder – Amsterdam
Arrival at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Meet your driver and tour escort and depart to the recreated Dutch village dating back to 1850 , the Zaanse Schans. Wander about the unique village, full of wooden houses, windmills, and workshops, and step back in time. Visit one of the mills that are still in operation, the bakery museum, see the cheese factory, tin foundry and view a range of traditional Dutch crafts such as cheese and clog making. Enjoy a typical Dutch Pancake lunch together. Time permitting, you will travel through the unique polder landscape (UNESCO World Heritage listed) of the Beemster Polder to Amsterdam. On route you will make a short stop in Edam, the city of cheese. Edam cheese has been a famous Dutch export product since the Golden Age. Check in at the hotel and have some time to relax before dinner. Welcome dinner and overnight in Amsterdam.
Day 3 Amsterdam
This morning enjoy a guided walking tour to discover Old Amsterdam. Amsterdam was founded in the Middle Ages and has many historical buildings. You will see the most important sights such as the Dam Square with the impressive Royal Palace and New Church, the Begijnhof, and the floating Flower Market. You will walk to the ‘Waterlooplein’ (Waterloo Square) with its famous market, the Rembrandt House and the Portuguese Synagogue. You will end the city tour with a narrated canal cruise and soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant city. During the canal cruise you will pass warehouses with beautiful decorated facades, noble mansions, iconic buildings, colorful houseboats and the 21st-century city that Amsterdam has become. In the afternoon you will visit the Rijksmuseum, with an expert guide. This museum features famous paintings such as Rembrandt’s `Night watch’ and `Jewish bride’. Paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael are on exhibit as well. Remainder of the day at leisure to explore this vibrant city on your own. Overnight in Amsterdam.
Day 4 Amsterdam – Gouda – Delft – The Hague
Today you will leave Amsterdam and head for Delft, but you will first stop in Gouda. Enjoy a walking tour of the ‘City of Cheese’, where on Thursday morning the famous Cheese Market takes place. A folkloric spectacle, where you can experience how cheese is traded according to a tradition that is centuries old. Visit the Old Weigh House and Cheese Museum and see the famous stained glass windows of the Saint Jan’s Church. Tucked away in the city centre you will find the factory of the famous Dutch Treacle Waffles. Here you will enjoy a Treacle Waffle baking workshop and tasting before you continue to Delft. The city with its historic city center is famous for its characteristic Delft’s Blue Porcelain. Enjoy a visit of the Royal Delft’s factory, ‘the Porceleyne Fles’ where you will discover the complete history and production process of Delft’s Blue Porcelain. You will experience the painters’ passion during a painting demonstration and will walk through the factory where craftsmen are still producing. After some leisurely time in the city centre of Delft, you will travel to The Hague, the seat of Dutch government.
Overnight in The Hague.
Day 5 The Hague – Kinderdijk – The Hague
This morning you will travel through the typical Dutch countryside to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. You will first watch a short film about the area and the water management of the Dutch. Enjoy a narrated boat tour, from the water you will see the unique collection of 18th century windmills, located in this remarkable village. Afterwards, visit one of the stunning windmills and have time to wander about at your own pace. Travel back to The Hague and enjoy a guided city tour by coach upon arrival. During the tour you will see the Houses of Parliament, Palace Noordeinde, the Kings working palace and Carnegie’s Peace Palace nowadays the International Court of Justice and you will visit Panorama Mesdag and the Escher Museum. Panorama Mesdag is an unique panoramic painting showing the fishing village Scheveningen around 1880. At the Escher Museum you will see works by Dutchman Marits Cornelis Escher, which is one of the most famous graphic artists in the world. The way he plays with perspective, space and reality means, remains fascinating even today. Highlight of the visit and crown on the exhibition is the seven meters long Metamorphosis III woodcut.
Overnight in The Hague.
Day 6 The Hague – ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Following breakfast, you will travel from The Hague to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, also known as Den Bosch. The city is one of the oldest Medieval cities in the Netherlands. In the old days, many Dutch cities were surrounded by bastions and city walls to keep foreign armies and looters out. The remains of these defensive structures can still be seen in Den Bosch today. Meet your local guide for a guided city tour. During the tour you will see the oldest part of the city the triangular market square, the late Gothic St. John’s Cathedral, the monumental townhall and the oldest brick house of the Netherlands, ‘De Moriaan’, the acient warehouses and merchants’ dwellings. Afterwards enjoy a boat ride on the ‘Binnendieze’. The river Binnendieze is a century-old waterway system within the city walls. Sail through ‘s-Hertogenbosch in a distinctive open-topped boat whilst seeing various monuments and characteristic ancient and modern buildings. Overnight in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Day 7 ‘s-Hertogenbosch – Maastricht
Today you will travel south to Maastricht, with an on route stop in Thorn, a picturesque village with lovely white houses. The village has a rich history dating back to the late 10th century and the town centre is a protected heritage area. Enjoy some free time here to stroll through the cobblestone streets and see the beautiful Abbey Church. Travel onwards to Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and founded by the Romans. Its name is derived from Mosa Trajectum which means river crossing. Upon arrival enjoy a guided walking tour of the city to see the Stokstraat Quarter, the Our Beloved Lady Church, the old city walls and the churches at the Vrijthof. Remainder of the day at leisure in this charming city.
Overnight in Maastricht.
Day 8 Maastricht
This morning you will be transferred to the Apostelhoeve, located ten minutes from Maastricht. Here, at ‘the Louwberg’ (Louw mountain) you will visit the oldest and largest winery of the Netherlands. Learn all about cultivating grapes in the Dutch climate and the specific soil in this region, consisting of gravel and marl with a layer of loess on top. The tour ends with a wine tasting. Return to the city and the remainder of the day at leisure to explore Maastricht on your own.
Overnight in Maastricht.
Day 9 Maastricht – Margraten – Groesbeek – Arnhem
Following breakfast your journey through the Netherlands continues. You will pay a visit to the Cemetery of Margraten where American victims of World War II are buried. You will have the opportunity to pay respect and lay flowers on the graves. Afterwards, travel up north to Groesbeek. Upon arrival you will visit the National Liberation Museum in Groesbeek. The museum is located where Major-General James M.Gravin landed with the 82nd Airborne Division on September 17th 1944. An expert guide will show you the museum, including the secret closet for hiding and playing Radio Orange, the Human rights wall, the Bird’s eye-view model of Operation Market Garden and the Diorama of the Waal crossing. Before heading to Arnhem, you will make a stop in Nijmegen where you will see the bridge over the Waal River. This bridge also known as the John Frost bridge, famous for the movie ‘A bridge too far’. Remainder of the day at leisure in Arnhem. Overnight in Arnhem area.
Day 10 Arnhem – Apeldoorn – Haarlem
You will leave Arnhem and travel to Apeldoorn to visit Palace ‘het Loo’. The palace has been a summer residence for the Dutch Royals until 1975 and now is a National Museum. The carefully restored rooms, the stables with a large collection of Royal carriages French gardens, and surrounding forest are a delight to wander around in. You will journey onwards to Haarlem, situated west of Amsterdam. Haarlem, once a major North Sea trading port surrounded by a defensive wall, it retains its medieval character of cobblestone streets and gabled houses. It’s the center of a major flower-bulb-growing district, and famous for its outlying tulip fields and art museums. Together with your local guide you will walk through the old town and see the Town Hall, the Meat Hall and the St. Bavo Cathedral. This cross-domed cathedral is unique and, together with the Sagrada Familia, the Sacré-Coeur, the Westminster Abbey and the Basilica of Koekelberg counted among the top five most important churches in the world. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Conclude your surprisingly versatile journey through the Netherlands with a farewell dinner in Haarlem. Overnight in Haarlem.
Day 11 Departure
After breakfast you will depart for Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for your flight back home.