- Discover Amsterdam's significant sights, historical events, and Dutch innovation
- Explore Haarlem and cycle to the beach to enjoy breathtaking views of the coast
- Visit as many museums in Brussels as you can and finish your day with moules-frites
- Enjoy the quaint town of Dinant before marveling at the charm of Luxembourg
|Day 1||Arrive in Amsterdam, Canal Cruise to Rijksmuseum||Amsterdam|
|Day 2||Historic Amsterdam Guided Tour, This Is Holland||Amsterdam|
|Day 3||Day Trip to Haarlem, Haarlem Cycling Trip||Amsterdam|
|Day 4||Transfer to Brussels, Free Time in Brussels||Brussels|
|Day 5||Explore Brussels' Museums, Magritte Museum||Brussels|
|Day 6||Transfer to Dinant, Visit the Citadel Dinant||Dinant|
|Day 7||Collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant, Grotte la Merveilleuse & Maison Leffe||Dinant|
|Day 8||Transfer to Luxembourg, Explore Luxembourg City||Luxembourg|
|Day 9||Wenzel Walk, Chemin de la Corniche, Visit Pétrusse Casemates||Luxembourg|
|Day 10||Transfer to Luxembourg Airport, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam, Canal Cruise to Rijksmuseum
Welcome to the Netherlands! Upon arrival at Amsterdam airport, take the 15-minute train ride or grab a taxi to your accommodation. Your hotel will be in the city center, a fantastic labyrinth of canals and small streets dotted with historic houses and other buildings. The center of Amsterdam is relatively small, and most places can be easily reached on foot, by bike, or by tram.Once settled in at your hotel, meet at a canal in the historic center, where you'll board a small private open boat that will take you along the maze of waterways. Relax and enjoy the ride as you take in some of the city's best sites from a different perspective. After about an hour and a half ride, you'll be in front of the Rijksmuseum. Considered the most famous museum in the Netherlands, it houses the country's most important painting, "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt van Rijn. Besides this gigantic painting, you can also see "The Milkmaid" by Johannes Vermeer and many other 17th-century works by the Dutch Masters.
Day 2: Historic Amsterdam Guided Tour, This Is Holland
The best way to discover Amsterdam is on foot. During the guided walking tour, you'll learn how this beautiful city has grown and changed in 750 years. Start on the harbor front, and follow the Zeedijk, initially built in the 13th century as a seawall. Now the Zeedijk is part of Amsterdam's China Town and on the edge of the Red Light District. Follow the canals as you reach the Amstel River, from which the city takes its name. Continue your walk to de Begijnhof, a beautiful courtyard of the Beguines religious order. See the Roman Catholic Church, the English Church, and the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam.
Day 3: Day Trip to Haarlem, Haarlem Cycling Trip
This morning, you'll take the 15-minute train ride to Haarlem. From here, it's a 20-minute walk to the Frans Hals Museum. Together with Rembrandt and Vermeer, Frans Hals was one of the three most significant painters of the Dutch Golden Age. He mainly painted genre scenes and portraits and is best known for his freehand brushstroke. If you are interested in seeing more art, the Teylers Museum is the oldest in the Netherlands, with a vast collection of artwork.Then it's time to head to the beach! In the center of Haarlem, pick up your bike and take the 6-mile (10 km) ride along a cycling path that will bring you to the beach town of Bloemendaal. Park your bike and stroll along the beach, where there are many pavilions to stop and enjoy a drink with a view. On your return, stop at the National Park Zuid-Kennemerduinen from Bloemendaal. Find an impressive landscape of dunes and countless animals and plants. You'll find many different walking routes that start from the visitor's center for exploring.
Day 4: Transfer to Brussels, Free Time in Brussels
Bid the Netherlands farewell today and take the high-speed train to Brussels Midi Station. You'll have the day free to explore, and Brussels has many significant historical and architectural sights to discover. Landmarks such as the Louis XVI-style Royal Palace, the medieval Cathedral of Sint-Michel and Sint-Goedele, and the futuristic Atomium building are not to be missed. Curiously enough, a tiny statue of a peeing boy, Manneken Pis, is also a famous landmark. As Belgium has the reputation of being the world's best chocolate creators, you could also visit some of the many chocolate boutiques in town.
If castles and royalty are more your cup of tea, you'll want to pay a visit to the Castle of Laeken, one of the royal residences in Belgium built in the Louis XVI style. It's surrounded by a 296-acre (120 ha) park containing the Royal Greenhouses. In the evening, try some of Brussels' many local comfort foods, such as moules-frites (mussels and fries), waterzooi (a stew with fish or chicken), or Brussels sprouts.
Day 5: Explore Brussels' Museums, Magritte Museum
Your second day in Brussels gives you time to go museum hopping. Get to know this warm, welcoming, and quirky city by visiting one of its 49 museums celebrating everything from art history (try the Design Museum, Old Masters Museum, or the Fine Arts Museum) to comic books and cars (head to the Comics Museum or Autoworld). Choose what suits your mood the best. Don't forget to be on the lookout for boutiques selling handmade lace, another craft that makes Belgium famous.
Be sure to visit the Musée Magritte Museum, where you'll find an exceptional ensemble of works by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte. With more than 200 pieces, it is the most extensive Magritte collection in the world. For a pick-me-up along the way, grab a warm Belgian waffle from one of the countless stalls. In the evening, conduct your own Belgium beer-tasting event by stopping at some of the biggest beer hotspots and places popular with locals. Try a range of beers, from witbiers ("white beers" or a Belgian-style wheat ale) to dubbels ("doubles" or strong dark beers).
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Transfer to Dinant, Visit the Citadel DinantStrike out into the Belgian countryside today as you catch a two-hour train south to Dinant, located in the countryside of Wallonia on the Meuse River. Settle in at your hotel and then go out to explore. The city skyline is impressive, with its tall mansions, a high church, a massive rock cliff, and a citadel. Climb the 408 steps (or take the cable car) to marvel at the Citadel, which rises commandingly over land and water. In the evening, explore this charming town, have a locally brewed beer, and be on the lookout for some moules-frites at one of the many cozy restaurants lining the river.
Day 7: Collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant, Grotte la Merveilleuse & Maison Leffe
Start today at the foot of the massive rock overlooking the Meuse, where the Church Collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant sits. The church is recognizable from afar by its spherical bell tower. In 1228 the church was almost destroyed by a detached boulder, but despite many setbacks over the centuries, the church was rebuilt again as the new Gothic church that remains an emblem of Dinant today.
It's just a short walk from here to La Merveilleuse, which was discovered in 1904 and is considered one of the most beautiful caves in Europe. After walking through the tunnels and chambers filled with bright white stalactites, reach the ample space in the cave where you can admire beautiful waterfalls. Near the grotto, you'll find the Maison Leffe. This former abbey is home to the Leffe Beer Museum, which has been producing beer since 1240. Visit and enjoy the incredible views of the river and the city as you discover the beer's rich character and deep roots through a one-hour interactive tour and tasting.
Day 8: Transfer to Luxembourg, Explore Luxembourg CityToday you'll leave Belgium behind and take the two-and-a-half-hour train ride to Luxembourg City. The diminutive country's eponymous capital, this relatively small and lesser-known European capital, has some fine museums and restaurants. What might be most impressive is its scenic setting along deep-cut gorges of the rivers Alzette and Pétrusse. This and the fortified walls and blockades ensured the city was well-defended throughout its history.
The old city is easily explored on foot. Within a mile, you'll see the fortifications known as casemates, the lovely city squares, the historic buildings in the romantic Chemin de la Corniche, the impressive Pont Adolphe bridge, the Cathédrale of Notre-Dame, and city parks. If you don't feel like exploring on foot, you're in luck—Luxembourg is the first country to have introduced free public transport.
Day 9: Wenzel Walk, Chemin de la Corniche & Visit Pétrusse Casemates
Start your day with the Wenzel Walk! This 3-mile (5.5 km) circular route along the fortress has magnificent views and is an excellent introduction to the city. Afterward, stroll down the famous Chemin de la Corniche, a scenic promenade winding along the paths of the 17th-century city ramparts, which provide great river views.Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the underground tunnels and fortified walls of the Pétrusse Casemates should be on your must-see list for Luxembourg. Called "the most beautiful balcony of Europe," the 14-mile (23 km) galleries were first built in 1644 during the era of Spanish domination. They were enlarged 40 years later and given their present form by Marshal Vauban, the French military engineer, and fortress builder.