As spring unfolds, the Dutch countryside transforms into a captivating wonderland adorned with vibrant tulip fields stretching as far as the eye can see. It's a sight you'll remember for a lifetime. We'll start in Amsterdam, one of the loveliest cities in Europe. The art, culture, architecture, and history there will capture your heart. Then, we'll head to Delft, a charming city famous for its porcelain and gorgeous small canals. On the way, we'll stop at the Keukenhof Gardens to see Holland's largest formal display of bulbs. Strolling through these meticulously curated gardens is like stepping into a living canvas, where the scent of tulips permeates the air. We’ll explore the country’s capital, the Hague, the ancient town of Haarlem, and the UNESCO site of Kinderdijk, all of which hold unique hidden charms. It's a Girls' Guide trip, so we're focused on the food you'll enjoy - from the freshest seafood to rijsttaffel, poffertjes and, of course, the cheese! There's no better way to spend a week in Spring!
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 that 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 an 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 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.
You 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. .
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 the most 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. En 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.
Then, we’ll arrive at Delft proper, where we’ll check in to the stylish Hotel Arsenaal, 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 Vermeer.
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 taken 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 meet 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 - lovely flower-filled courtyards.
We’ve had a big day – 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 1700s 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 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, 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 city bistro.
Later, we’ll pop in to see the unspeakably famous painting, the Girl with Pearl Earring by Vermeer and works by Rembrandt. The paintings are housed in the small but lovely Mauritshuis Museum.
We’ll finish our day around 4 pm-5 pm, so if you’re flying home today, please book an evening flight. We will drop you off at the airport or at a hotel near the airport. At the Amsterdam Airport, we recommend the Citizen M or The Sheraton. (Note: If you elect to stay for the night of May 6th, 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 five languages fluently and, when not guiding visitors in France, Holland, and Morocco, translates for the film industry. She's always keen to find the perfect view, the ideal bistro, and the hidden gem to make the trips she leads memorable.
" A glimpse into the heart of the Netherlands"
From mid March to the end of May, the tulips transform big parts of The Netherlands into a colorful patchwork quilt. If you travel to the Netherlands to see the tulips in bloom, you will come across impressive fields of flowers with amazing colors.
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
"Girls’ Guide to the World is perfect for the traveler who wants a first-class trip with unique experiences. The hotels are fabulous, the meals delicious, and the guides are wonderful. You will feel pampered and well cared for the entire time. I highly recommend it for the woman who wants to travel alone or with a friend."
Kathy M, May 2023 on Trip Advisor
The trip officially starts the afternoon of April 30th, but if you’re traveling across an ocean to get to Holland, consider arriving a day or two early so you have time to rest, relax, and adjust 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 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.