DAY 1: Travel/Arrive Brussels, Tour Orientation & Welcome Dinner (Meals: D)
Travel from your home city to Brussels, Belgium. Arrive the next day. Take time to check in to the hotel and relax. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a select restaurant in Brussels featuring traditional Belgian cuisine.
DAY 2: Discover Brussels Tour, Free Evening (Meals: B, L)
We’ll start the day with a route by private coach to see the most iconic sites of Brussels outside the historic city center: The Atomium, the Royal Palace of Laeken (residence of the Belgian monarchy), the Japanese Tower, Chinese Pavilion and Cinquantenaire Park – a vast set of gardens dotted with monuments, museums and arches built in 1880 to commemorate the independence of Belgium. Stop along the way for traditional waffle tasting and Belgian fries. After lunch, you can take the later afternoon to relax or go out and discover more of Brussels on your own.
DAY 3: Discover Brussels Tour, Chocolate-Making Workshop, Free Evening (Meals: B, L)
The morning will be about the historic city center: Grand Place (the central square of Brussels considered to be one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Europe), the iconic ‘Manneken Pis’ statue, La Bourse (Brussels’ 1873 neoclassical stock exchange building) as well as wandering around St. Catherine’s Place (Brussels’ trendy neighborhood with markets, cafes and boutiques). After lunch, you’ll participate in a Belgian chocolate-making workshop enjoying the chocolates of your labor! The evening will be at leisure.
DAY 4: A Day in Ghent, Arrive Bruges (Meals: B, L)
Depart Brussels today and arrive in the medieval city of Ghent. In the Middle Ages, Ghent grew fanatstically rich from cloth and wool and was the second biggest town in Europe. Today, it’s medieval heritage can be seen in the old merchants’ street that runs alog the banks of the river, the guild houses, the Gothic spires of St. Bavo Cathedral, the medieval monasteries and the castles. Take a guided walking tour in Ghent and a canal cruise to learn about the historic district including Gravensteen Castle dating back to 1180. Later in the day, depart and arrive in Bruges.
DAY 5: Bruges Walking Tour & Canal Cruise, Belgian Brewery, Free Evening (Meals: B, L)
Bruges is Belgium’s fairy-tale city. Bruges has an expansive network of canals with overhanging willow trees, medieval buildings, lush gardens just above the waterline, old bridges over the canals and beautiful parks. You’ll walk the heart of the city and explore Grote Markt, Minnewater Lake, the Beguinage (a 13th century women’s enclave) and Walplein Square. After lunch, you’ll visit to a Belgian brewery, Halve Maan, tasting local beers. The evening will be at leisure. Meals: B, L
DAY 6: Royal Delft Blue Pottery Tour, Free Afternoon, Dinner (Meals: B, D)
We will leave Belgium and arrive in Delft, Holland, know for its world-famous blue pottery. Delft Blue Pottery has been produced since the 17th century. From 1600 to 1800, this earthenware was popular among wealthy families. At its peak, there were 33 factories in Delft. The only one remaining today is Royal Delft. With a tour at the factory, you’ll learn about the history and production process of delftware and see artists at work. The afternoon will be free for discovering this charming city on your own or to relax at the hotel. In the evening, you’ll enjoy dinner at a select restaurant to explore Dutch cuisine. Meals: B, D
DAY 7: Keukenhof Gardens & Arrive Amsterdam
Today, you’ll drive to Keukenhof Gardens where 7 million bulbs bloom during spring. Your visit is during the height of the seasonal bloom. Besides 80 acres of flowers, you’ll also enjoy the spectacular flower shows, unique artwork and flower projects at Keukenhof. After your visit to Keukenhof Gardens, you’ll travel to Amsterdam along a route of commercial flower fields as far as the eye can see. Get your camera out; this is a photo op like no other! Once in Amsterdam, the evening will be at leisure. Meals: B, L
DAY 8: Amsterdam On Foot, Free Afternoon & Dinner Cruise (Meals: B, D)
You’ll explore the ‘real Amsterdam’ on foot with your local guide. Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The city is well known for its elaborate canal system and the architecture of iconic, narrow houses. You’ll wander the sidewalks and explore Dam Square, Royal Palace, New Church, Begijnhof, the Floating Flower Market and the many charming canal views. During the tour, you’ll stop at the local fish market to try traditional Dutch fish. The afternoon will be free to discover more of Amsterdam or relax during free time. In the evening, you’ll take a seated dinner cruise to take in lovely Amsterdam at night.
DAY 9: Van Gough Museum & Biking at Zaanse Schans (Meals: B, L)
You’ll start the day with a guided tour at the Van Gough Museum. This tour will highlight the major works of Van Gough’s artwork housed in the museum. In the afternoon, drive to Zaanse Schans in the Dutch countryside outside Amsterdam where you’ll bike to see historic windmills and distinctive wooden village houses dating back to the 18th century. The 5-mile bike route on flat terrain will take you past handicraft workshops, windmills, museums, bakeries and warehouses where you’ll stop and discover traditional Dutch history and culture. (For those that do not want to bike, walking part of the bike route is an alternative.) In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Amsterdam where the evening will be at leisure.
DAY 10: Anne Frank House Tour, Geithoorn Village & Cheesemaker (Meals: B, L)
In the morning, take a tour of the Anne Frank House, the writer’s home and now biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist, Anne Frank. You’ll tour the Main House and the Annex where eight people hid on the top floors. After a sobering morning, you’ll head out of Amsterdam to Geithoorn Village. Geithoorn is a unique car-free village of canals, old farms and charming houses in a beautiful and tranquil atmosphere. Take a small electric boat to navigate along the narrow canals in this serene village. Afterward, you’ll visit a family-owned cheese farm to meet the farmer in his field and see the full production process. This will be a non-commercial experience with tastings of authentic Dutch cheeses. Upon return to Amsterdam, the evening will be at leisure.
DAY 11: Free Day, Tour Farewell Dinner (Meals: B, D)
Today, you’ll enjoy a free day in Amsterdam. You can use this day to discover more of Amsterdam on your own, bike the city, shop for last-minute souvenirs, pack or relax. In the evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner at a select restaurant.
THURS, April 30: Fly Home (Meals: B)
Today, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight home from Amsterdam.