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.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
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 1:30 pm for an Amsterdam Historical canal tour by private boat with a glass of bubbly in hand.
We'll hop off the boat to visit the Anne Frank House for a introductory program and audio tour.
Tonight, we’ll savor typical Dutch cheese and sausages washed down by a local beer or two at one of the historic, traditional brown bars like the The Pantry.
Anne Frank House
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll walk to the world’s only floating flower market, the Bloom Market. Founded in 1862, it is on the Singel canal between Muntplein and Koningsplein in Amsterdam’s southern canal belt. It has 15 souvenir and gift shops. Only a few still sell fresh flowers.
From the Bloom Market, we'll wonder over to the famous Rijksmuseum to see some of the Dutch masterpieces that define the country’s artwork.
You’ll can have lunch at your own chosen venue before we see the illustrious Van Gogh Museum . Here we’ll wander around the refurbished museum with a guide and pick out our favorite Van Gogh. Next up, we have a cocktail making class at Bols.
After a little rest back at our hotel, we’ll take a 20 minute cab drive into the suburbs for a unique dining experience – a vegetable forward meal enjoyed with with natural wines inside a greenhouse. This team takes farm to table dining to the next level.
Cocktail making class
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 small break 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, 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 Lot En De Walvis on the main canal.
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 and learn about one of Delft’s most famous residents, Johannes Vermer.
Dinner tonight will be at a cozy, classic Dutch restaurant, Huszar, a local favorite.
Today we’ll travel to Alksmaar 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 then head for Haarlem where we’ll visit a few of the “hofjes” hidden around the city.
The hofjes were an early way of caring for the elderly. They share a common trait, their lovely flower-filled courtyards.
We’ve had a big day – rest, relax and enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
Before heading out today, we’ll try poffertjes, delicious Dutch pancakes. They’re scrumptious, so you’re in for a treat.
Now, we’re off to a UNESCO world heritage site about 40 minutes away. The village of Kinderdijk
near Rotterdam, is home to some of the Netherlands’ most famous windmills. Twenty windmills were built here in the 1700’s and have been keeping this waterside 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. We’ll enjoy a healthy lunch with a riverside view.
Back in Delft you’ll have some time to explore and shop on your own.
We’ll convene for our farewell meal tonight 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.
We have a late check-out and a final stroll around Delft.
We’ll spend our last day in the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague, Here we’ll tour the town’s parliamentary buildings, the Binnenhof, originally built for the counts of Holland in the 13th century. These buildings are some of the world’s oldest parliamentary buildings still in use 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. The paintings are housed in the small but lovely Mauritshuis Museum.
We’ll finish our day around 4pm-5pm, so if you’re flying home today, please make sure you book an evening flight. If you’re flying home the next day (or continuing your travels in Europe), you can spend 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 or The Sheraton. (Note: If you elect to stay for the night of April 30, your hotel stay is not included in the trip cost.).
A 25-year resident in her adopted Paris. Katrin has turned from a career as an international literary agent to sharing her passion for travel and art. She speaks 5 languages fluently and when not guiding visitors in France, Holland and Morocco, is an active translator in the film industry. She's always keen to find the perfect view, the ideal bistro and hidden gem to make the trips she leads seamless and memorable.
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)
Trip and Medical Insurance (required)
The trip officially starts the afternoon of April 30th, but if you’re traveling across an ocean to get to Holland, you may want to consider arriving a day or two early so you have time to rest, relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, there's usually an option in the Add-Ons section to purchase extra nights at the first hotel. If there's not, just let us know and we'll get you booked in early so you don't have to change rooms
About 8-10 weeks before the trip starts, we'll organize a Zoom video call so everyone on the trip can meet one another, and we so we can go over any last minute details, including what to pack. Also, here's a great website that will help you with packing and travel trips.
Fly into Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
Expect the weather to be in the mid to high 50's F and partly cloudy. Holland can experience spring showers, so it's advisable to bring a rain jacket.