8 Days Amsterdam to Amsterdam.
Highlights Include: Amsterdam, Aalsmeer, Katwoude, Velendam, Apeldoorn, Haalem, Keukenhof, Bruges, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, Delft, The Hague, Leiden.
Ideal for green-fingered enthusiasts, this 8 day itinerary explores some of The Netherlands and Belgium’s best gardens and flower shows.
Best time of the year to go: Late March through late May.
A Garden Tour of The Netherlands & Belgium
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND: Upon arrival at Schiphol airport you will be welcomed to The Netherlands by your local Guide as you exit customs into the arrivals hall, and transferred to your hotel where you will be assisted with check-in procedures, before running through your itinerary and answering any questions you may have. The remainder of your day is at leisure.
DAY 2 AMSTERDAM / AALSMEER / AMSTERDAM: Today you will visit Aalsmeer, home to the world largest flower auction where some 19 million flowers and plants a day begin their journey to florists around the world. A viewing gallery enables visitors to watch the action which takes the form of a Dutch auction, with a huge clock showing the price dropping until the offer is taken. Afterwards drive into Amsterdam city center for an orientation city tour including a visit to a diamond-cutting factory where you can see the stones crafted through all their stages by the talented craftsmen.
After lunch spend the afternoon at leisure or, alternatively, accompany your local guide on a visit to the Netherlands’ greatest museum, the Rijksmuseum. A truly remarkable collection, the Rijksmuseum exhibits paintings, sculptures and objects dating from the 9th to the 19th centuries from both, the eastern and western worlds, but specializes in the works of the true Dutch masters: Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals to name but a few. This evening you may wish to enjoy a traditional Dutch dinner at the atmospheric restaurant, D’Vijiff Vlieghen (‘The Five Flies’), a rambling institution occupying five canal houses. (B)
DAY 3 AMSTERDAM / KATWOUDE / VOLENDAM / APELDOORN / AMSTERDAM: Early this morning meet your local guide and depart on a morning excursion. In Katwoude you will be welcomed by the Klomp family and their staff and learn the art of cheese-making and also see how clogs are made in both the traditional manner and by machine. Later drive the very short distance to the charming small town of Volendam situated on the Ijsselmeer – “anyone who wants to see the real beauty of Holland, goes to Volendam”, so the saying goes. As a result of its completely insulated location, Volendam has preserved its character for six centuries. Its characteristic small houses, together with the canals and the drawbridges, are very picturesque.
After lunch, at leisure or drive east to Apeldoorn to visit the beautiful and elegant Paleis Het Loo. Built in 1692, the palace, with its pomp and splendour, was the summer residence of the Dutch royal family until 1975. Becoming a museum in 1984, the palace still boasts spectacular landscaped gardens, which are typical of a formal garden of the 17th century. Return to Amsterdam at the end of the afternoon and enjoy dinner independently. (B)
DAY 4 AMSTERDAM / HAARLEM / KEUKENHOF / BRUGES, BELGIUM: Early this morning head to Haarlem to visit the Franz Roozen Nurseries & Tulip Show. Afterwards travel to Keukenhof, which is in the heart of the Dutch flower-growing area, where visitors are greeted with the intoxicating aromas and vivid colors of vast gardens containing millions of flowering bulbs, spread over a 69-acre site. Although daffodils, hyacinths and tulips predominate, there are also many rhododendrons, flowering cherry trees and azaleas.
After lunch independently, continue south across the border into Belgium, arriving at the end of the afternoon in the delightful medieval city of Bruges and check in to our luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Old Town which was a former residence of the Dukes of Burgundy. This evening you may wish to enjoy a dinner of Flemish specialties at one of the lively restaurants on the historic city square. (B)
DAY 5 BRUGES: Today, in the company of a local guide, acquaint yourself with this wonderful medieval city often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ (it has more than 50 bridges over its canals) and where Flemish painting had its roots before it spread to Italy. Your day begins with a walking tour of the cobbled streets and splendid squares seeing the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the flamboyantly Gothic 14th-century City Hall before a delightful cruise along the narrow canals for which Bruges is so famous. There is time free for lunch at leisure before a visit to the Groeninge Museum, a small but immensely important museum containing a rich array of Belgian art that spans the romantic, realist, surrealist and contemporary eras. Visit also the Church of Our Lady built between the 13th and 15th centuries with a 365ft high tower and boasting a plethora of art treasures including paintings, wood sculptures and the white marble Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. Bruges is also a town associated with the production of lace and at the Lace Center you can watch a demonstration of this ancient craft. (B)
DAY 6 BRUGES / KINDERDIJK / ROTTERDAM / DELFT / THE HAGUE: Depart early this morning and return north into the Netherlands which is of course famous for its windmills. Today there are still more than 1000 mills in existence and the highest concentration is near the village of Kinderdijk (which has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997). After visiting one of these ancient windmills, drive the short distance to Rotterdam, the country’s second city and the largest port in Europe. Take a harbor cruise during which you can see Rotterdam’s impressive skyline with its imposing buildings glide by, and then get a unique view of the port’s shipyards, docks and the hyper modern transshipping of thousands of containers. Afterwards proceed to the peaceful town of Delft, famous for its distinctive blue and white pottery. Visit the Royal Delft factory where a guided tour shows you the intricate processes involved in the creation of the distinctive porcelain. Later drive the short distance to the seaside town of The Hague, seat of government, the diplomatic capital and home to the International Court of Justice. After settling in to our deluxe centrally-located hotel, enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant. (B/D)
DAY 7 THE HAGUE AND LEIDEN: Your morning begins with a visit to the Mauritshuis Museum, also known as the Royal Gallery of Paintings, where a specialist guide introduces you to its celebrated collection of famous Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century, by such artists as Rembrandt and Vermeer. fterwards see the Panorama Mesdag, painted in 1880 by the renowned marine artist Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Recently restored, this immense 18,000 sq ft canvas illustrates the fishing village of Scheveningen as it was in 1881 when Mesdag painted this masterpiece. Enjoy lunch at leisure in one of the town’s oldest restaurants before driving 10 miles north to the charming old university town of Leiden to visit the Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands (an impressive Japanese Garden opened in 1990). One of the world’s oldest botanical gardens. Established in 1638 by the city council as a medicinal herb garden, Hortus Botanicus expanded during the next two centuries thanks to the voyages of the Dutch East India Company. Amongst its many exotic species can be found a 300-year-old Eastern Cape giant cycad. Return to The Hague and this evening enjoy a farewell dinner of Indonesian specialties in the Garoeda restaurant. (B/D)
DAY 8 THE HAGUE / AMSTERDAM / USA: Transfer to the Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to board your homebound flight. (B)
Customize to Suit
The above suggested itinerary can be customized to suit; more or less meals, different cities and/or sightseeing based on your clients’ interests. You name it, our expert group specialist professionals will put it together for you. Please call 1-855-220-6450, or simply complete the group request form, and we’ll get back to you with your proposal.
On custom journeys, discounts vary depending on group requirements. Typically, travel with a group of 20 and the 21st traveler receives a 100% discount* off the land portion of the vacation price. A second traveler receives a 100% discount* off the land on a group of 40 paying passengers.
*Per person prices are land only and based on two people sharing a room. Above dates represent “land start” date. Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. Journeys Connect can quote you the lowest possible GROUP airfare available on the day that you book. Minimum of 10 seats from same gateway. Less than 10 air seats will require full payment at time of booking. Single Room Supplement: On Request. Triple Room Reduction: On Request. Group discounts cannot be combined with our Triple Room discounts. Not valid on Specialty, Customized Vacations or River Cruises, optional extensions, extra nights, airfares, taxes and fees, flight supplements, or airport transfers. Other restrictions may apply. All passengers’ names must be advised before the discount is applied. *Group discount is on a twin-share basis only.
Contact Journeys Connect
Journeys Connect group and specialty services are available exclusively on a Business-to-Business basis, to travel industry professionals. If you are an individual interested in a Group Journey for 8 or more passengers, please do browse our collection and then contact your preferred Travel Agent and ask them to book through Journeys Connect.
Travel professionals, please call and speak with one of our Group Specialty Professionals: