Full buffet breakfast daily; 3 three-course dinners with wine, including a welcome dinner in Amsterdam and a special farewell dinner in Brussels
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland. Welcome to Amsterdam! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner with wine at your hotel.
Amsterdam. Your discovery of Holland features a guided morning sightseeing tour of the capital. Enjoy a CANAL CRUISE past gabled merchant houses, arched drawbridges reminiscent of the Golden Age, and the strikingly modern buildings of a young-at-heart city. Next, visit the fabulous RIJKSMUSEUM with its priceless paintings by Rembrandt and other Dutch masters. Then, time to explore Dam Square and the city center on your own, or to join your Tour Director for a visit to a major DIAMOND CENTER to appreciate how a rough mineral is transformed into a sparkling jewel. Afternoon at leisure. An optional excursion is available to a cheese farm, a clog maker, a working windmill, and dinner in the fishing village of Volendam at the former Zuiderzee.
Amsterdam. Excursion To Keukenhof, Delft & The Hague. Visit the famous bulb fields in South Holland and the extraordinary KEUKENHOF flower park in springtime (departures April 1-May 13). Next, continue to the world-renowned ROYAL DELFT POTTERY FACTORY with its magnificent collection of hand-painted earthenware pieces, and see skilled craftsmen at work. After an orientation drive of The Hague, seat of the Dutch government and the International Court of Justice, return to Amsterdam. Later, you may wish to join an optional Dutch dinner, followed by a walk through Old Amsterdam.
Amsterdam–Nuenen–Bastogne, Belgium–Luxembourg. Enter the Province of Brabant, and stop [LF] in the picturesque town of Nuenen, the “Van Gogh Village.” Enjoy a unique experience: follow Van Gogh’s footsteps in the town where he lived and worked from 1883-1885. Also visit the MUSEUM, and learn about his life, family, and early paintings, like the world-famous Potato Eaters, which he painted here. Next, cross the border and stop in Bastogne. Visit the fascinating BASTOGNE WAR MUSEUM, then see the AMERICAN MEMORIAL of the Battle of the Bulge, where thousands of soldiers and civilians died during the winter of 1944-1945. Arrive in Luxembourg, the capital of one of Europe’s smallest sovereign states.
Luxembourg. Morning sightseeing with your Local Guide covers the city’s past and present—from the fortifications and the Old Town, perched high atop a sandstone outcrop with striking views of the Alzette and Pétrusse Gorges, to the modern administrative center of European institutions. Visit the CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY, see the turreted Grand Ducal Palace, take a stroll along the panoramic cliff path known as “the most beautiful balcony in Europe,” and see the GRAVE OF GENERAL PATTON. An optional excursion is available to ancient Trier in Germany.
Luxembourg–Waterloo, Belgium–Brussels. Drive through the Belgian Ardennes to Flanders and arrive in WATERLOO. Visit the site where Napoleon was defeated and European history changed course, and relive the famous Battle of Waterloo. Arrive in Brussels, the thriving capital, where your orientation features the Rue Royale, the Parliament Buildings, the Royal Palace, and St. Michael Cathedral. Continue on foot and enter GRAND’PLACE to admire its baroque guild houses and the gothic Town Hall. You cannot leave Brussels without touching the statue of Everard t’Serclaes, a 14th-century hero, for good luck, and taking pictures of the tiny but world-famous statue of Manneken Pis.
At Leisure in Brussels. This morning is your chance to join a half-day optional excursion to Antwerp, the second-largest Belgian city and one of the world’s most important ancient seaports. Balance of the day is at leisure to further explore Brussels on your own.
Brussels. Excursion To Bruges. Focus on Bruges, one of Western Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval towns. [LF] A CANAL CRUISE (weather permitting) and Belgian CHOCOLATE BONBONS, will give you a first taste of this delightful town. The Local Guide will show you the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo in the CHURCH OF OUR LADY, featured in the movie The Monuments Men, and the famous MARKET SQUARE. Also enjoy a traditional LACE DEMONSTRATION, a reminder of Bruges’ history of cloth-making. Time for souvenir hunting and exploring on your own before returning to Brussels. Tonight, an [LF] included farewell dinner with wine at the lively Chez Léon restaurant, specializing in moules et frites (mussels and fries), is the perfect way to celebrate the success of your vacation.
Brussels–Paris, France. This morning, travel by high-speed THALYS TRAIN (first class) to Paris. The remainder of the day is at leisure; your Local Host is available to help you make the most of your stay in the “City of Light.”
Paris. Morning guided sightseeing features Paris’ most famous highlights, including visits to the gothic NOTRE DAME Cathedral, the LOUVRE MUSEUM, and a stop to take photos of the Eiffel Tower.
Paris. Your Local Host will have many suggestions for your day at leisure.
Paris. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.