Holland's scenic landscapes draw crowds from all over the world. On this weeklong adventure through the "Green Heart" of the Netherlands, a region celebrated for its rolling meadows, quiet forests, and picturesque sand dunes, you'll see some of the country's most beautiful outdoor destinations. In between sightseeing in Amsterdam, visiting museums in Leiden, and learning about architecture in Rotterdam, you'll explore this natural wonderland on foot and e-bike. Cycle to the beach for fresh seafood, see historic windmills in the countryside, cruise around Biesbosch National Park on a boat tour — if you visit in spring, you'll see dazzling fields of tulips, too!

Highlights

  • Spend a day exploring Amsterdam's top museums
  • Cycle through the beautiful Dutch countryside
  • Sample locally produced cheeses and freshly caught seafood
  • See the quaint windmills of Kinderdijk in the countryside
  • Pedal to the coast along awe-inspiring sand dunes 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Visit the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Day 2 Cycle Through the "Green Heart" Woerden
Day 3 Explore Biesbosch National Park  Dordrecht
Day 4 Explore the Windmills of Kinderdijk & Tour Rotterdam Rotterdam
Day 5 Wander Around the University City of Leiden Leiden
Day 6 Cycle to the Coast Leiden
Day 7 Depart Holland - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Visit the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum

Museum crowds in Amsterdam

Welcome to the Dutch Lowlands! After arriving in Amsterdam, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city center, a picturesque labyrinth of canals and small streets dotted with old houses and buildings. 

Begin your art tour on a private boat cruise through the city's canals. After about two hours on the water, the boat will drop you off in front of the Rijksmuseum, the most famous museum in the country. It's home to The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, considered one of the most important paintings ever created in the Netherlands. Near this massive artwork, you'll also see The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer and many other 17th-century works by Dutch Masters. 

Next, you'll stop by the Van Gogh Museum. Take a break for lunch in the museum's café, then explore the collections at your own pace. Van Gogh famously created over 2,000 paintings in a little over a decade. The museum houses some of his most famous works, including The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and one of his very last works, Wheatfield with Crows.

In the evening, have a leisurely dinner at one of the many restaurants near your hotel. 

Day 2: Cycle Through the "Green Heart"

Beautiful scenery in the Dutch countryside

One of the great things about the Netherlands is that most cities are pretty small — and the countryside is always nearby. Two e-bikes will be delivered to your hotel this morning and you will start a bicycle trip from the center of Amsterdam. The total distance you will cover today is about 30 miles (50 km).

A few miles outside the city, you will be surrounded by green meadows and water. For the first half of your trip, you will cycle along the Amstel River, passing by villages like Oudekerk and Uithoorn, nice stops for a drink or lunch. Pedal through an iconic Dutch landscape with small canals that keep the meadows dry enough for cattle to graze here. Continue along the Kromme Mijdrecht River, admiring the pretty old houses along the riverbank, then cross over to the beautiful area known as Hollandse Waarden. The cheese from this area is world-famous! Finally, you'll reach the endpoint of your trip, Woerden. This small city, home to an excellent cheese market, is pleasant to wander around. Check into your hotel (your luggage will be transported for you) and enjoy a leisurely dinner.

Day 3: Explore Biesbosch National Park 

A quiet scene in Biesbosch National Park

Enjoy a scenic ride to Dordrecht this morning. With its origins dating back around a thousand years, this is the oldest (official) city in Holland. Dordrecht was an important merchant city with a lively trade in wood, cereal, and wine, thanks in part to its location in a wetland area connected by other regions by the Merwede, Noord, and Ouwe Maas rivers.

The city's history, wealth, and culture are clearly visible today — the city center is filled with beautiful old monuments, some of which have been transformed into restaurants, museums, and theaters. 

After lunch in town, you'll explore Biesbosch National Park on a boat tour around the largest freshwater tidal zone in Europe. You will spot many different bird species here and a large population of beavers, the largest rodent in Europe and a symbol of the park! Cruise back to Dordrecht and spend some free time relaxing, then enjoy dinner in one of the city's many cozy restaurants. 

Day 4: Explore the Windmills of Kinderdijk & Tour Rotterdam

A traditional Dutch windmill

Within walking distance of your hotel, board a waterbus (a public transport boat) and cruise over to Kinderdijk. Have lunch at the charming Grand Café Buena Vista before going on a walking tour of the area's windmills. Kinderdijk has sixteen 18th-century windmills, and this is one of the best places in the country to view these iconic structures up close. 

Continue by waterbus to Rotterdam. It's a city of many faces, known for its rough-and-tumble port history, trendy nightlife, upscale shopping options, and lively art scene. Above all, perhaps, Rotterdam is an architectural highlight of Holland. Enjoy lunch at a café before heading off on a private excursion to the Museumpark, a creatively landscaped outdoor space that connects Rotterdam’s major museums, including the Kunsthal Rotterdam art museum. 

Continue your explorations of Rotterdam on a walking tour that takes you to the newly built Central Station. As you walk through the city, stop to admire monuments like the Lijnbaan, a post-war Modernist shopping area, Theater Square, and the Timmerhuis, one of the most unique and sophisticated indoor markets in all of Europe. The tour ends near the iconic Erasmus Bridge.

Day 5: Wander Around the University City of Leiden

Reflections on the canals of Leiden

After breakfast, take the train to the charming city of Leiden. A university city, it's full of wonderful museums, scenic canals, and inner courtyards lovingly called hofjes. The town center itself is gorgeous and busy with bicycles; Leiden University, founded in 1575, is the oldest university in the country. Visit the Lakenhal Museum, offering a collection of paintings from the past four centuries, including several works by Rembrandt. Or choose to visit the nearby Museum of Archeology or Museum of Ethnology, the Museum Boerhaave (focused on science and medicine), Naturalis (a museum dedicated to flora and fauna), Corpus (with exhibits on the human body), Hortus Botanicus Leiden (a botanical garden), or the unique Museummolen de Valk (a windmill museum). 

Day 6: Cycle to the Coast

A historic lighthouse on the Dutch coast

Another wonderful aspect of Leiden is that it is located very close to the Dutch coast. E-bikes will be ready for you at your hotel today, and you will go on a self-guided bike tour to Noordwijk. On the way, you will pass by picturesque sand dunes. Once you reach the beach, go for a walk or enjoy a drink in one of many cafés. If you like seafood this is also the place to order a fresh catch. Return to Leiden in the afternoon by bike.

If you happen to be here in spring (March-May), you may wish to detour to see the region's many tulip fields in full bloom. It's possible to add a visit to the Keukenhof, the world's largest flower park, to your cycling itinerary today.

Enjoy a relaxing dinner in Leiden on the last night of the trip.

Day 7: Depart Holland - End of Trip

Postcards at a shop in Amsterdam

Today the trip comes to an end. You'll transfer to the airport in Amsterdam to catch a flight out. Safe travels!

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