Famous for its tulips, windmills, and wooden clogs, Holland is a delightful country with scenic landscapes, historic monuments, and vibrant cities. You’ll get to know the country on this Holland tour starting and ending in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, Holland’s capital, is a pleasant, 700-year-old city whose elegant and classic architecture, cafés and restaurants, renowned museums, and picturesque canals—not to mention the bike paths throughout the city—make for a pleasurable atmosphere. Here, your city tour includes a cruise—the best way to see Amsterdam—through the elegant canals lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” In contrast, on this Holland tour you’ll also overnight in Rotterdam, a young city with the world’s busiest port and known for its modern architecture and design.
A highlight of this tour through the Netherlands is a visit to the fascinating Aalsmeer flower auction, where over 20 million plants and flowers are sold daily, however, from April to mid-May, the Aalsmeer flower auction will be replaced by the spectacular visit 70-acre Keukenhof garden, to see the incredible display of colors from seven million flower bulbs. Other highlights include a visit to the Royal Palace of Het Loo, the royal family’s majestic summer residence since the late 1600s; the visit of the Royal Delft Pottery Factory to see how this precious pottery is made. In Groesbeek, dive into the history of Holland’s occupation and liberation during WWII at the National Liberation Museum. Stop in Staphorst, the rustic town dating back to the 13th century, and Volendam, known for its old fishing boats, characteristic small houses, drawbridges, and canals. Additionally, drive over the 19-mile Barrier Dam, constructed to protect the part of Holland that is below sea level.
For the value-minded traveler wanting to have an in-depth experience of the Netherlands, this is the perfect Holland vacation!
Day 1ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM AREA, HOLLAND
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore Amsterdam on your own. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2AMSTERDAM AREA
For centuries, this tiny nation of seafaring traders played a leading role in world history. It reclaimed 40% of its territory from the sea, and produces a healthy agricultural surplus in the midst of Europe’s most densely populated area—yet Holland manages to remain quaint and scenic. Your day begins with sightseeing with a Local Guide pointing out the city highlights. Later, see the city from a different perspective on the CANAL CRUISE. Watch skilled craftsmen cut and polish precious stones at a DIAMOND CENTER. Time in the afternoon to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion.
Day 3AMSTERDAM AREA–AALSMEER/KEUKENHOF–THE HAGUE–DELFT–ROTTERDAM
Begin your day with a visit to the fascinating AALSMEER FLOWER AUCTION or, when the tulips bloom, see some of the 7 million flowers on your visit to world-famous KEUKENHOF (departures 0407-0505), one of the world’s largest flower gardens (weather permitting). Carry on to historic Delft for a visit of the famous ROYAL DELFT POTTERY FACTORY. See how this precious pottery is made and marvel at its magnificent collection of hand-painted earthenware. Continue on to Rotterdam, the world’s busiest port to marvel at the city’s futuristic architecture.
Day 4ROTTERDAM–GROESBEEK–ARNHEM AREA
Today is all about recent history. Visit Groesbeek, where Allied forces launched Operation Market Garden during WWII, the largest airborne battle in history and the only major Allied defeat of the northwest Europe campaign. Also, explore the NATIONAL LIBERATION MUSEUM, which commemorates Holland’s occupation and liberation during the war. Next is Arnhem, site of the disastrous Battle of Arnhem, where you will see John Frost Bridge, named for the commander of the British forces that held the bridge for four days. Enjoy time on your own to do some independent exploring.
Day 5ARNHEM AREA–STAPHORST–GIETHOORN–GRONINGEN
This morning, head for the rustic town of Staphorst, dating back to the 13th century when monks began cultivating the area’s bogs and swamps. Inhabitants today still live according to strict Calvinist principles. Stop in the quaint village of Giethoorn, built on canals but very different from busy cities like Venice or Amsterdam. Spend the night in the provincial capital of Groningen.
Day 6GRONINGEN–ZAANSE SCHANS–VOLENDAM–AMSTERDAM AREA
Explore Groningen this morning, an important trade center in the 13th century that today is hailed as the “World Cycling City.” Later, enjoy a scenic drive through the lovely Frisian Lake District. Cross over the 19-mile Barrier Dam, which is part of an incredible system of 1,200 miles of dikes, dams, and dunes built over the last 900 years to protect the part of Holland that is below sea level. Visit a renowned WOODEN CLOG and DUTCH CHEESE WORKSHOP in Zaanse Schans. Continue to the fishing village of Volendam, then arrive back in Amsterdam to enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7AMSTERDAM AREA
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
Visits Aalsmeer Flower Auction or Keukenhof gardens, Delft Royal Pottery, Groesbeek National Liberation Museum, Arnhem John Frost Bridge, Staphorst, Giethoorn, Groningen, Zaanse Schans workshops, Volendam
Local Guides for city sightseeing in Amsterdam, Rotterdam; professional Tour Director while touring
AMSTERDAM AREA Tulip Inn Airport (ST) or Corendon Village (ST)
ROTTERDAM Bilderberg Parkhotel (ST)
ARNHEM AREA De Bilderberg (F)
GRONINGEN Apollo (F)
Buffet breakfasts daily; 3 dinners, including a farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Amsterdam