On this flower-filled trip focusing on the Holland portion of the Netherlands, you’ll stay in the quaint royal city of Delft with its tiny picturesque canals. You’ll explore the country’s capital, the Hague, and the ancient town of Haarlem as well as the UNESCO site of Kinderdijk, all of which hold unique hidden charms. The biggest mistake people make when they first go to the Netherlands is they don’t venture outside of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities and if you haven’t been it will surely capture your heart, but the true Netherlands lies just outside the city’s ring road. We’ll stay for our first 3 nights in Amsterdam and we’ll venture into the Dutch countryside to take a deep breath of North Sea air, taste the freshest of local fish and stroll through the flower fields in bloom, passing a windmill or two – an awe-inspiring sight you’ll never forget.
The trip doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, Monday April 24, but if you’re traveling across an ocean to get to Holland, you may want to consider arriving in Amsterdam a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, just let us know and we’ll get you booked into our hotel for Sunday night.
Arrive in Amsterdam Monday morning and grab a taxi (they are plentiful at the airport) to the centrally located and gorgeously decorated Hotel Estheréa, situated right on one of the main canals which make this city so iconic. Take time to rest and relax. We’ll meet up in the lobby at 3pm for a visit to the Anne Frank House (alternate options available if you’ve already been).
Then, we’ll enjoy a canal tour by private classic boat with a glass of bubbly in hand. Welcome to Holland!
Tonight we’ll try some typical Dutch cheese and sausages washed down by a local beer or two at one of the historic, traditional brown bars in town such as the Arendsnest which serves only Dutch beers.
We rise early today to head to the flower auction which begins at 7am. During this visit we’ll learn how the global flower trade actually works. Every day, 20 million flowers are bought and sold at this auction from locations as far away as Kenya and Columbia. Afterwards, we’ll head back to our hotel for a late morning nap followed by brunch near our hotel.
You can’t come to Amsterdam and not see the illustrious Van Gogh Museum. Here we’ll wander around the refurbished museum with a guide and pick out which of his paintings are our favorites.
After the Van Gogh Museum, you’ll have a choice of visiting the famous Riksmuseum or getting in some shopping in the hipster area of Jordaan.
After another rest back at our hotel, we’ll dine this evening on the classic Rijsttaffel, a medley of small plate dishes from Indonesia, something every self-respecting Dutchman or woman adores. Why Indonesian food in the Netherlands you ask? The Dutch colonized Indonesia, back when that was in vogue. Among mostly horrible things, the one good thing to come of this colonial era is the elaborate meal interpreted by the Dutch, a never-ending parade of small Indonesian inspired plates laid out to form a proper celebratory feast.
Today is our BIG tulip day! We’ll explore the Tulip Bulb Fields and meet with a tulip grower. We’ll have lunch at a country cafe and stop to pick our own tulip bouquet. We’ll tour an historic windmill and take a charming boat ride through one of the most picturesque canal towns in the Netherlands.
After a little rest back at our hotel, we’ll jump in cabs traveling 20 minutes into the suburbs for a unique dining experience – a vegetable forward meal that we’ll enjoy with natural wines inside a greenhouse. This team takes farm to table dining to the next level.
Today, we leave Amsterdam and head for Delft, the small city famous for its porcelain and its gorgeous small canals. On route we’ll stop and see the largest formal display of bulbs in Holland at the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, established in the 15th century.
After, we’ll fill ourselves up on some lekkere broodjes (tasty sandwiches) at lunch in Leiden at Vlot on the main canal. Right outside of Delft, if time allows, we’ll stop into the Royal Delft Factory, the only factory left producing authentic Delft tiles, vases and plates.
Then we’ll arrive at Delft proper, where we’ll check-in to the stylish Hotel Arsenaal that’s less than a 10 minute walk into the very center of darling Delft.
This afternoon we’ll take a guided historical tour of this lovely city, stopping at one of Delft’s famous tea and cake spots.
Dinner tonight will be at a proper Dutch restaurant which is a cozy classic and a favorite of the locals, Thuis.
Today we’ll travel to Alkmaar for the cheese market, which has been taking place here since 1365! We’ll get a private behind-the-scenes tour and then have time to roam around and shop this extremely charming village on your own. We’ll then meet up for lunch.
After lunch will head to Haarlem where we’ll visit the Windmill museum, which Molen De Adriaan originally built in the 18th century. We’ll also visit a few of the “hofjes”which are hidden throughout the city. The hofjes were an early way of caring for the elderly and the common trait they share is their lovely flower-filled courtyards.
We’ll finish our afternoon at the lovely Frans Hals Museum which houses a stimulating mix of both 16th/7th century art and modern art.
We’ve had a big day – rest, relax and enjoy a dinner on your own tonight.
Before heading out today, we’ll try poffertjes, delicious Dutch pancakes which you’ll find scrumptious.
Today we’ll travel to a UNESCO world heritage site about 40 minutes away. The village of Kinderdijk near Rotterdam, is home to some of the most famous windmills in the Netherlands. In the 1700’s, 20 windmills were built here and have been keeping this water-side town dry for hundreds of years. We’ll tour the mills and museum, ride a boat and learn about life here with a guided tour. Lunch will healthy with a riverside view.
Back in Delft you’ll have some down time to do a bit of shopping or exploring on your own.
Tonight, we’ll convene for our farewell meal at a modern lively cafe the Post Office (in Dutch). We’ll toast to our week in Tulip Heaven and the new friendships we’ve made.
The Hague & Departure
Today we’ll have a late check-out and a final stroll around Delft.
Our last day will be spent in the capital of the Netherlands, the Hague, where we’ll tour the town’s parliamentary buildings, the Binnenhof, which were originally built for the counts of Holland in the 13th century. These buildings are some of the oldest parliamentary buildings still in use in the world and one of the Netherlands’ top heritage sites. We’ll lunch at a charming bistro in the city.
Later, we’ll pop in to see the unspeakably famous painting, the Girl with Pearl Earring by Vermeer, as well as works by Rembrandt which are housed in the small but lovely Mauritshuis Museum.
We’ll finish our day around 2pm-3pm, so if you’re flying home today, please make sure you book an evening flight. Otherwise, if you’re flying home the next day (or continuing your travels in Europe), you have the option of spending the night in The Hague or at a hotel near the airport. In The Hague, we recommend The Collector Hotel or Hotel des Indes. At the Amsterdam Airport, we recommend the Citizen M. (Note: If you elect to stay the night on April 30, your hotel stay is not included in the trip cost. Rates are approx $175-$200).
Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals + wine or beer with dinner except Day 5
All guides and tastings
Boat and canal tours
All Museum or other entry fees
All in-country transport
Roundtrip airfare to Amsterdam
First transfer from airport to our hotel in Amsterdam
Spa Treatments desired
Any personal souvenirs or purchases
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals
Hotel – night of April 30 (if necessary)
Travel Insurance (required)
Trip Medical Insurance (required)