Join this 10-day adventure to discover three fascinating cities in both the Netherlands and Belgium: starting with Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam, then crossing the border to Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent. Zipping by train between them, you'll set off on a series of guided and self-guided bicycle and walking tours. Encounters range from windmills and cheese north of Amsterdam to chocolate and beer in Bruges, and you're guaranteed a healthy helping of art, history, and architecture along the way.


  • Visit Amsterdam's neighborhoods, the Anne Frank House, and the Rijksmuseum
  • Experience Dutch classics, from windmills to clogs and Edam cheese
  • See Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring" at the Mauritshuis Museum
  • Cycle with a guide around three cities: The Hague, Rotterdam, and Ghent
  • Graze your way around the chocolate shops of Bruges and enjoy a Belgian beer

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam, Anne Frank House & the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Day 2 Day Trip to Marken, Volendam, Edam & Zaanse Schans Amsterdam
Day 3 Transfer to The Hague, Visit Mauritshuis Museum, Private Cycling Tour The Hague
Day 4 Transfer to Rotterdam, Private Cycling Tour Rotterdam
Day 5 Transfer to Antwerp, Discover Antwerp Antwerp
Day 6 Walking Tour of Antwerp with Private Guide Antwerp
Day 7 Transfer to Bruges, Discover Bruges Bruges
Day 8 Transfer to Ghent, Private Cycling Tour Ghent
Day 9 Explore the Museums of Ghent Ghent
Day 10 Transfer to Amsterdam & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam, Anne Frank House & the Rijksmuseum

from Amsterdam airport to Amsterdam by train
Amsterdan's River Amstel at dusk

Welcome to Amsterdam! The airport (Schipol) is only 15 minutes from the city center by train, so you'll be settling into your hotel in no time. The Netherlands' capital is a labyrinth of canals and lanes, crowded with its landmark narrow brick houses. Today's self-guided itinerary starts with an important insight into Amsterdam's World War II history at the Anne Frank House. The museum is built around a secret annex, where Anne and her family hid for over two years before their tragic discovery and capture by the Nazis.

Another major Amsterdam landmark is the Rijksmuseum, with its 8,000 artworks across almost a mile (1.5 km) of galleries. This is the place to see a sweep of world-famous homegrown talent, including Dutch Masters paintings such as "The Milkmaid" by Johannes Vermeer and the gigantic "Night Watch" by Rembrandt van Rijn. You'll also find several Van Goghs, such as his 1887 "Self Portrait."

Take a stroll through the picturesque neighborhoods in this highly walkable city—Jordaan, to the west of the center, is one of the trendiest spots. After wandering around the arched bridges and tree-lined streets, dive into a bruin café—a Dutch version of pubs, these atmospheric watering holes get their name (meaning brown) from their dark wood-paneled interiors. Try a typical Dutch pub snack, bitterballen (fried meat-based snack), while you sample the local beers.

Day 2: Day Trip to Marken, Volendam, Edam & Zaanse Schans

Amsterdam - daytrip to Marken, Volendam, Edam and Zaanse Schans
Windmills and waterways define the Netherlands' Zaanse Schans region

It's time to experience those Dutch classics: clogs, cheese, fishing villages, and windmills, all in the rural, watery landscape that lies just north of Amsterdam. First, your private guide will drive you to the village of Marken, located across a causeway on an island in the Markermeer lake. After walking among the traditional wooden houses, you'll visit a wooden shoe factory and have a chance to buy a pair of painted clogs yourself.

From Marken, a ferry will take you to Volendam, the country's best-known fishing village. The quaint harbor is lined with cafés and fish stands and is an excellent place to enjoy local treats, such as kibbeling (traditional battered and fried fish nuggets), eel, and herring. Next, you'll head to the centuries-old cheese market in Edam. The cheese market is held on Wednesdays in July and August, but the market square and waag (weigh house) will give you a great introduction to the Netherlands' tastiest export.

The last stop of your tour is Zaanse Schans. During the 17th century, over 600 windmills were constructed around the Zaanse Schans, creating the country's first industrial zone. A number of these windmills still exist and can be visited today, allowing you to see how these wind-powered machines work inside and out. After a busy day of sightseeing, your driver will bring you back to your hotel in Amsterdam.

Day 3: Transfer to The Hague, Visit Mauritshuis Museum, Private Cycling Tour

The Hague
Explore The Hague by bicycle

Less than an hour from Amsterdam by train, you'll reach Holland's third-largest city. The Hague is not just the seat of the Dutch government but is known as the judicial capital of the world thanks to the many international courts located here.

However, it's not all law and order—there's also a strong art scene. It's home to one of the world's most famous classical paintings: Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring," which you'll see during a visit to the Mauritshuis Art Museum. Carel Fabritius' "Goldfinch" painting and "The Bull "by Paulus Potter are also unmissable highlights. Other artists displayed in this intimate setting include Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and Frans Hals.

Plan your trip to Belgium
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Next, it's time to explore in Dutch style: on two wheels. You'll meet your local guide to set off together by bicycle. After exploring the inner city, on its network of safe and flat cycling lanes, you'll strike out to the Scheveningen Strand, around 4 miles (6 km) away. Scheveningen was a glitzy beach resort as early as the 1800s—and the grandeur from that era remains along its promenade. If you like, hop off your like to walk on the sand and swim in the North Sea before dining on fresh seafood. There's the option to stay for the evening (taking a taxi or tram to The Hague center later) or cycle back with your guide.

Day 4: Transfer to Rotterdam, Private Cycling Tour

Made of sky-blue steel, the asymmetrical Erasmus Bridge is a Rotterdam icon

A 30-minute train journey inland will deliver you to Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second city and a hub of innovation, as seen in its ever-changing skyline and cutting-edge regeneration projects. To explore, it's back on your bike! On this easy-going cycling tour, you'll join a guide for two-and-a-half hours to cycle between the city's most remarkable sights. 

Check out Rotterdam center's Cube Houses—39 tilted yellow cubes, each a single-family home. Then, follow the Nieuwe Maas river, a distributary of the mighty Rhine. At the edge of the harbor is Delfshaven, which looks like a miniature Netherlands with its windmills, canals, and little churches.

A short way west, you'll hit the Merwe-Vierhaven district, which was once one of the biggest fruit ports in the world. These days, it's reinvented itself as an area for developers, start-ups, sustainable entrepreneurs, and artists, with the brand of Rotterdam Maker's District. Striking icons include the HAKA building, a 1930s factory that's been redeveloped using recycled materials, and a Floating Farm where cows live aboard a raft.

Day 5: Transfer to Antwerp, Discover Antwerp

from Rotterdam to Antwerp by train
Antwerp Central is one of the world's most beautiful railway stations

Today, you'll cross the international border! The journey from Rotterdam to Antwerp takes around one hour. Upon arrival, you'll find yourself enveloped by the first major sight you'll encounter in Belgium: Antwerpen-Centraal, a magnificent railway station that dates back to 1905. Your hotel will be within walking distance, or you can take a cab.

The day is dedicated to exploring this beautiful city at your own pace. The cobbled medieval streets will take you past countless Renaissance buildings. You can easily wander from one square to the next, ending at the Grote Markt, the city's largest and most important square. Close to the Grote Markt is the enormous Cathedral of Our Lady—inside, you'll find paintings by the famous Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens.

While in Belgium, do as the Belgians do and stop to enjoy a cold Belgian beer on one of the many terraces in the city center. If the weather is good, head to one of the river beaches at Sint Anneke or Sint Annastrand, on the other side of the River Scheldt (about a 30-minute walk from the cathedral). You'll find plenty of options for food and drinks at the cafés along the shore.

Day 6: Walking Tour of Antwerp with Private Guide

Walking Tour of Antwerp with Private Guide
Let an expert guide show you the highlights of Antwerp

Now that you've got a feel for the city, you can learn about its history from an enthusiastic local guide. This walking tour begins at Grote Markt, home to the extravagant city hall and numerous guildhalls, many of which were reconstructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries to look like paintings of the old square by Flemish artists. You'll pass the former guildhall Vleeshuis (Butcher's Hall, or literally, Meat House), now a museum, and stroll along the 16th-century Vlaeykensgang Alley, once home to a collective of shoemakers.

Next, your guide will take you to the central shopping street of Meir, a grand avenue home to international fashion brands, before exploring the surrounding neighborhood. Along the way, you'll be treated to a few of Antwerp's best-loved food delicacies. The tour ends at Rubens House, the former home and workshop of Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens—although the house is closed for renovation, you can wander around the manicured gardens.

Day 7: Transfer to Bruges, Explore

Browse the chocolate shops of Bruges

Say goodbye to Antwerp and zip over to Belgium's most romantic city, Bruges, on a 90-minute journey by train. A city best explored on foot, cobbled streets link countless charming squares, and as the inner city is compact, you'll come face-to-face with monuments every few minutes. The best views to take it all in are from the 272-foot (83 m) medieval bell tower and city emblem, the Belfry of Bruges, on Market Square.

As you stroll among the Gothic and 19th-century buildings, stop at one of the chocolatiers that have become an icon of the city. See if you can snag a table on one of the historic squares to try one of many local Belgian beers, such as the coveted Brugse Zot. Belgium also has a rich mill history. In the northeast corner of Bruges, four medieval flour mills remain. Stroll along the canal for about a mile (1.5 km) to spot them all. 

Day 8: Transfer to Ghent, Private Cycling Tour

Ghent Guided Cycling Excursion
See Ghent by bike on today's tour

In half an hour, the train will whisk you to Ghent, the last place on your itinerary, located southeast of Bruges. This port city has a vibrant atmosphere, with the students and young creatives who congregate here helping to make it a cultural hub. 

In the afternoon, walk or take a bus/tram to the starting point of your small-group cycling tour. The guide will explain the city's history, point out the main sites and landmarks, and show you some lesser-known highlights and street art murals while sharing tips on where to go for dinner or a drink. The tour takes about three hours (including stops), and the roads are flat—so even if you're new to cycling, it will be an easy and pleasant ride. Afterward, you'll hopefully feel at home in Ghent and be able to make your way around to explore the places that most intrigued you on the tour.

Day 9: Explore the Museums of Ghent

Explore the Museums of Ghent
A sunny day along Ghent's canals

Today you'll head off to explore Ghent with a CityCard, which grants you access to all the top attractions, plus free rides on buses and trams. For your fill of contemporary art, head to the SMAK gallery, for the history of the region, choose STAM or go for the Museum of Industry, housed in a former cotton factory that delivers a panoramic view.

Aside from museums, there is also a clutch of historical attractions. The medieval castle of Gravensteen, in the city center, is where the realm of knights in shining armor comes to life. Imposing Catholic cathedral Saint Bavo's is an impressive example of Gothic architecture—and it contains the "Ghent Altarpiece," a famous set of panel paintings by the Van Eyck artist brothers from 1432. Parts of the painting were stolen, and one was never found again—many conspiracy theories persist about the theft and the missing panel's whereabouts. 

After a day of sightseeing, it's time to rest your feet and enjoy Belgium's fabulous food and drink. For locally made jenever (the Dutch equivalent of gin), head to 't Dreupelkot, close to Gravensteen Castle. Two elderly men serve homemade jenever in hundreds of flavors in their tiny café, which has a terrace overlooking the canal.

Day 10: Transfer to Amsterdam, Depart

Ghent's railway station
Enjoy a final leisurely morning in Ghent. When the time comes, you'll take a train back to Amsterdam (via Antwerp) to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Great Belgium Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Belgium? Check out these other Belgium itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Belgium, and discover the best time to visit Belgium.


Map of Highlights of Belgium & the Netherlands - 10 Days
Map of Highlights of Belgium & the Netherlands - 10 Days