Dutch Sights and Belgian Delights (8 days, Netherlands & Belgium, 2014)
This is a delightful and engaging journey that takes us from the cosmopolitan and colourful atmosphere of Amsterdam’s canals down through the beautiful Flemish countryside, with its iconic windmills, to Belgium’s finely preserved medieval cities, ancient Viking folklore and WWII legacy. And did we mention the chocolates?
Book this cruise by 3rd January 2014 to save up to £2,100 per couple on selected dates with our fabulous Spring Super Savings offer. But if you can't travel on these dates, don't worry as you will save £1,000 per couple on all other 2014 river cruise departures.
There are a number of ways to travel to Amsterdam: fly from your choice of 15 UK regional airports with KLM; travel with British Airways from London Heathrow; or travel Standard Premier aboard Eurostar from St. Pancras International to Brussels and on to Amsterdam by first class rail. A Scenic Tours Representative will transfer* you to your luxury Scenic ‘Space-Ship’. Tonight enjoy a Welcome Reception with your fellow travelers.
This morning enjoy a guided visit to wonderful Keukenhof Gardens which has been delighting and inspiring visitors for over 60 years with its millions of flowering tulips, intricate flower displays and expansive sculpture garden. This afternoon choose from one of the following included Scenic FreeChoice activities: (1) an exploration of Amsterdam’s maze of quaint canals lined with stately buildings and elaborately decorated residences aboard a glass top boat (2) a visit to the charming village of Zaanse Schans with a working windmill visit followed by a traditional clog and cheese-making presentation. Alternatively, you may wish to take advantage of your Scenic Tailormade device and explore Amsterdam’s sights independently. Learn about Amsterdam’s Jewish heritage from the 16th Century until Nazi occupation or you may prefer to explore the city’s culture, cuisine, rich history and marvel at its architectural legacy.
In Antwerp, a compact seaport city buzzing with world class shopping, fashion houses and galleries, choose one of the following included Scenic FreeChoice tours: (1) travel to Belgium’s fabulous city of Brussels where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of this lively city (2) discover Belgium’s second largest city, Antwerp, on a guided walking tour followed by time at leisure. Alternatively, why not explore this region at your own pace with your personal Scenic Tailormade GPS guided tour device? Back onboard your Scenic ‘Space-Ship’ enjoy a delicious evening meal followed by a traditional folklore performance with local dancers and musicians.
This morning visit ‘The Venice of the North’, Bruges. On your included sightseeing tour, be amazed by this fascinating medieval city with its picturesque market squares, dreamy canals, intimate cobbled streets and old whitewashed almshouses, all evoking a world long since gone. Enjoy time at leisure to absorb the captivating charm of this romantic little town as you wander the maze of picturesque side streets, each adorned with impeccable ancient buildings representing historic eras long gone. Enjoy scenic vistas as we cruise towards the quaint Dutch village of Veere this afternoon.
Start your day with your choice of the following included Scenic FreeChoice activities: (1) visit the Delta Works, an engineering feat consisting of a complex series of dams and storm barriers built to protect the population of the lowlands of the Delta plain from treacherous floods. On your included tour you learn about the fascinating history of Delta project, followed by a guided tour through the Storm Surge Barrier. As most of Zeeland in the Netherlands is at or under sea level, the storm surge barrier has reduced the risk of flooding to less than once every 4000 years (2) join a guided tour of nearby Middleburg, where the fortifications built by the Sea Beggars in 1595 can still be traced in the pattern of the main canals encircling the old town. One of the most impressive sights is the Gothic Old City Hall, which is today home to Middleburg University. With a history stretching back to the 15th century, enjoy time at leisure this afternoon to discover the charming village of Veere, decorated with hundreds of heritage buildings and with an intimate village atmosphere.
A leisurely morning of cruising will see us arrive in Arnhem, which was once a wealthy resort and a watering hole to which the merchants of Amsterdam and Rotterdam would flock to idle away their fortunes. Our included tour today visits The Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’, which pays tribute to The Battle of Arnhem, a crucial part of Operation Market Garden, which took place in September 1944. After heavy fighting the Allied Forces eventually had to withdraw because of the force of German counter-attacks. Arnhem’s crucial role in the last days of WWII was recreated in the movie “A Bridge Too Far”.
Enjoy your included tour this morning of the sleepy fishing village of Volendam to see the unusual raised homes of the fishermen and its quaint wooden church. Then it’s on to Edam, famous for the round cheese of the same name. You’ll see the rich history of the city in its lovely squares, bridges and remaining cheese warehouses. Over lunch you’ll cruise into the harbour city of Hoorn. In the Golden Age, Hoorn was as one of the six bases of the Dutch East India Company and a prosperous and powerful trading town. This prosperity can still be seen in the historical town centre, which retains its atmosphere of a bygone era. Listed buildings are an integral part of everyday life, providing space for shops, offices, museums and homes. Enjoy your included walking tour and time at leisure before cruising into the night lights of Amsterdam this evening.
After breakfast, transfer* to the airport for your flight home. Fly to your choice of 15 UK regional airports with KLM; or travel directly to London Heathrow with British Airways. Alternatively, travel by first class rail from Amsterdam to Brussels and then Standard Premier aboard Eurostar to St. Pancras International.
B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner, HD – Highlight Dinner
* Please check your transfer entitlements with the UK office.