• Ghent, Belgium
  • Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium
  • Belgian Chocolate Tasting
  • Boating in Bruges, Belgium
  • Bruges Canals
  • Delft, Holland
  • Amsterdam, Holland
  • Spring Flowers in Holland

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days Tour

from $3,195 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $825

See Tour Dates

The cities of the Low Countries are a delight to experience. Beginning in Ghent, your Rick Steves guide will take you on story-filled walks through the hearts of Ghent, Bruges, Delft and Amsterdam. You'll also visit the de facto capital of Europe — Brussels, a traditional Belgian brewery, thought-provoking Flanders Fields, a historic Dutch town, a high-tech sea-barrier project, and the world's largest flower auction — ending in Amsterdam with the poignant Anne Frank House, and the brilliantly restored Rijksmuseum. Join us for the Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days!

Dates & Prices

2015

2016

    • Apr 20–Apr 30 (We-Sa)
    • $3,195 + Air

    See Keukenhof Gardens

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 27–May 7 (We-Sa)
    • $3,195 + Air

    See Keukenhof Gardens

    Filling Fast

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people— half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Belgium and Holland come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 20 group sightseeing events • Ghent walking tour • St. Bavo’s Cathedral tour • Ghent canal boat tour • Brussels walking tour • Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium tour • Tour of Flanders Fields WWI sites • Bruges walking tour • Bruges Memling Museum tour • Chocolatier tour and tasting • Bruges Museum Pass • Belgian brewery tour and tasting • Deltaworks and tour of Maeslant sea barrier • Delft walking tour • Delft New Church • Aalsmeer Flower Auction • Historic Dutch town visit • Red Light District tour • Rijksmuseum tour • Historic Amsterdam walking tour • Anne Frank House...and more
  • All group transportation from Ghent to Amsterdam
  • 10 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • $100 Shopping Spree (per household) at the Rick Steves Travel Store to get guidebooks and gear for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2016
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above.

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Belgium

Our adventure begins in medieval Ghent. We'll gather at our hotel at 2:30 p.m. for an introduction meeting. We'll start things off with a walking tour that includes a visit to St. Bavo's Cathedral and its treasured Van Eyck altarpiece. Then we'll hop aboard an informative and fun canal cruise through  the historic center of Ghent. Our evening ends with a traditional Belgian dinner together. Sleep in Ghent (2 nights). Boat: 1 hour. No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Historic Brussels

This morning we'll hop on a train and head to Belgium's capital city. We'll begin with a guided tour of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, home to dazzling Flemish and Belgian masterpieces and then explore Brussels' medieval city center including the Grand Place (considered the grandest square in Europe) with its splendid medieval guild halls, freshly-fragrant waffles and the quirky Mannekin-Pis statue nearby. You'll have the afternoon and evening free to spend more time in Brussels or train back to Ghent for dinner on your own. Train: 1 hour. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Flanders Fields and Beautiful Bruges

Today we'll meet our driver and board our bus for the short drive to the WWI battlefields around Ypres. Half a million soldiers were killed here, making it one of the deadliest — and today the most hallowed — stretches of land along the Western Front. With the aid of a local expert, we'll tour the monuments, visit a thought-provoking museum, and see "the fields where poppies grow." After lunch together, we're off to Bruges and our lovely canal-laced and ivy-draped hotel.  After check in and some time to relax, we'll regroup for an orientation walk and dinner together. Sleep in Bruges (3 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Gothic Bruges

We'll meet our savvy local guide who will introduce us to the pedestrian-friendly streets and alleyways of Gothic Bruges, including a tour of the Memling Museum — showcasing several of Hans Memling's masterpieces all housed within one of Europe's oldest medieval hospitals. Our afternoon continues with a visit to a legendary Bruges chocolatier, where we'll learn about the artistry and traditions of Belgium's most mouth-watering export. After a free afternoon, we'll regroup for a tour of Bruges' oldest brewery to learn about what makes Belgian beer famous around the globe and enjoy a taste ourselves. The remainder of the evening is free to find the perfect Belgian dinner. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: Free Day in Bruges

Today is yours to explore Bruges. Armed with your Bruges Museum Pass, you'll have free entry to any four museums — including the masterpiece packed Groeninge Museum. You may decide to go on a culinary scavenger hunt tasting your way through a myriad of Belgian specialties.  Or you can hop on a bike and take a wonderful hour-long ride along a tree-lined canal to the nearby small town of Damme. The choices today are endless. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 6: Challenging the Sea

Today we'll discover how a country stays dry when nearly half of its land is below sea level. Over centuries, the Dutch created an immense system of dams, barriers and dikes for protection from the North Sea — the Deltaworks. We'll explore these feats of modern engineering culminating with a tour of one of earth's largest moving structures — the Maeslant storm surge barrier — and gain a better appreciation of the fragility of the Low Countries. We'll continue on to the traditional Dutch town of Delft for an orientation walk and dinner together. Sleep in Delft (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 7: Delectable Delft

This morning an in-depth walking tour with a local will give us a personal introduction to Vermeer's hometown including the massive Gothic New Church, where generations of the ruling House of Orange are buried and revered. We'll also visit a workshop to discover the qualities that make Delftware so dear. The rest of your day is free to explore the many other charms of Delft or take a short tram ride to The Hague, where you can get up close and personal with paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Mauritshuis, or travel back to an 1880 seaside at the Panorama Mesdag. No bus. Walking: light.

Day 8: Tulips, Countryside and Amsterdam's Red Lights

We'll begin our day in Europe's biggest building — filled with acres of flowers — learning about the worldwide distribution of beauty that begins each day at the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Then we'll stop for lunch and exploration in a historic Dutch town on our way into Amsterdam. Upon arrival, we'll take an orientation walk through the city and window-shop the Red Light District, learning about how the Netherlands regulates the world's oldest profession.  We will end our day with a traditional rijsttafel dinner together. Sleep in Amsterdam (3 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 9: Vibrant and Historic Amsterdam

This morning get chummy with this great city's gabled houses, bridges and canals learning why the Golden Age glimmered so brightly here. We'll take an historic walk through the heart of the city stopping to visit the Anne Frank House for a thought-provoking look at the hideaway of Anne and her family during the Nazi Occupation of the Netherlands. We'll continue our lessons on Dutch tolerance stopping at a local "coffee shop" to learn about this nation's creative, pragmatic approach to drug policy. The rest of the day is yours to  tackle any number of Amsterdam's wonderful museums. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: Amsterdam's Art

We'll start the day with a thrill: getting up-close and personal with Rembrandt and Vermeer on our tour of Amsterdam's remarkable Rijksmuseum. You can continue your encounter with artistic genius at the nearby Van Gogh Museum, home to 200 of Vincent's works or enjoy the nearby charm of Vondelpark. This evening we'll enjoy our farewell dinner, where we'll share memories and toast new friends. Proost! No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is an easy bus ride away. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Tot ziens!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible), on and off public transportation and up stairways to reach your hotel.
  2. Sleep comfortably in historic canal houses with several flights of steep, narrow staircases to reach your room, with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  3. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Lynelle

Woodbridge, CA

Tour: 07/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As this was our eleventh RS tour, we somewhat know what to expect. Again we did have some unexpected which is always exciting! We had been to a couple stops on previous RS tour and also on our own independent travels, but still experienced new things. We keep coming back! Enjoyed Ghent, or is it Gent. Upon arriving a day early, we had such wonderful experiences while on our own. Everyone was very friendly. Having a very experienced guide and also a assistant from the area is such a treat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We truly enjoyed Flanders field, very moving to experience WWI after so much WWII in our travels. The wow was the bicycle ride we took to Damme. We were so lucky as shortly after we returned, it started to rain. Also a wow was the impressive Storm surge barrier."

Michael

Irvine, CA

Tour: 07/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Thanks mostly to our enthusiastic and knowledgable guides in both the Royal Museum in Brussels and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, I learned to love art from the lowlands. Big dramatic works, small dramatic works, deeply quiet artworks, they were all good. Vermeer I already liked, Rembrant and the Van Eycks were revalations. So was all the contemporary art in museums and on the streets and even in the roundabouts."

Anna

Seattle, WA

Tour: 07/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour went almost exactly as the itinerary said with the exception of last-minute trips to Harlem & Zierikzee. I also could have gone to Den Hague but decided to skip it as my knee was already very sore from walking; i was very sad to have missed this additional trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Man, there were so many. The first being that I was on the tour in the first place ~ life-long dream finally come true! One WOW was walking around a corner & seeing The Night Watch ~ I knew of the painting but had no idea it was so big. Conversely, I was surprised to see The Milkmaid was so small ~ we had a print of it in our house when I was growing up. Same with Breugel's The census. I LOVED the canals, the flowers, the roof lines, the doors, the windows, the brick streets, the outdoor ca"

Judi

Mt Pleasant, SC

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour--just perfect as a high school graduation present for my granddaughter and her first trip to Europe. Many new & wonderful experiences that I'm sure she'll remember for the rest of her life especially art, food, scenery. My friends will enjoy the Belgian dinner party I'll have in Oct. Already researching recipes!! Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments on this tour[INVALID]American Cemetery, Bruge, Maeslant storm surge barrier, Delft, The Hague, the flower auction, the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh museum but the biggest wow had to be the Rijksmuseum and our guide Robert who gave the most outstanding discussion of The Night Watch by Rembrandt I have EVER heard from any guide in any museum anywhere in the world!!!"

Ellen

West Orange, NJ

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Going on a Rick Steves tour has been something we have wanted to do for quite some time. It didn't disappoint! We so enjoyed meeting people of varying ages from different places. The itinerary was full, and there was no shortage of options from which to choose after the "official" day or tour ended. Having guides just for our group was terrific. A canal tour we took on our own in Bruges required the guide to switch among three languages. Very difficult to follow.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was not expecting to so enjoy the Van Gogh museum. Being tired, I thought I'd just see one or two floors. I wound up seeing all four floors and was very glad I did. Also, the Hotel Harmony was definitely my favorite hotel and enjoyed both the staff and wonderful breakfast."

Craig

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hello! My tour of Belgium and Holland was tour number nine since 2001! OUTSTANDING! Nina, our tour guide was great! People in Belgium and Holland have a lot to teach Americans how to learn about life. I was impressed with the cooperation of Nina and our coach driver Rene! Outstanding team work!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every thing! This tour was my first time to visit Belgium and my "wow" moments were learning from Nina about Belgium! Daily life, history, AND wading in the North Sea!"

Carl

Villa Hills, KY

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did not expect to enjoy a pre-planned tour, but the experience proved my fears false. This was a great experience for someone who likes to learn about the local history, society and contemporary issues in the places visited. The guide's tasks were challenging and she performed flawlessly - this from a very critical person. The other tour members were also wonderful, something I hadn't given much thought but proved to be one of the nicest parts of the journey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The local guides consistently wowed me and I can't pick a favorite. Visiting the "shops" - chocolate, pottery, coffee, etc. really added to my enjoyment."

Erin

West Lawn, PA

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our seventh tour with RS Europe and it was everything we have come to expect from the tours. We learned about history, art, and culture all while relaxing and having a wonderful time. Our guide was outstanding! The towns we visited were beautiful! It was exactly what we hope to experience on a trip to Europe. Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment from the tour, that I would not have experienced had I traveled on my own, was the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. The size of the building was impressive, but the flowers were just amazing. Would have been even more fantastic to see it earlier in the morning with more action. The other wow moment was the Anne Frank House. It was one of the best museums I have ever been to. (And very nice that with the tour you don't have to wait in line.)"

Anthony

West Orange, NJ

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I have always traveled to Europe independently. At first we were a little skeptical about traveling with a tour. Both of us were pleasantly surprised by the professionalism and knowledge of all your guides. This tour was well worth it and we would definitely consider other tours sponsored by your network.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just being in Belgium and Netherlands."

Barbara

Villa Hills, KY

Tour: 06/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was a wonderful experience! And we are already beginning to plan our next Rick Steves tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, I cannot pick out one experience, I was wowed over and over on this tour."

Geraldine

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 06/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was just what I have come to expect from a Rick Steves' tour. Our guides were very good;they had wonderful senses of humor and accepted our gentle teasing well. I knew very little about these countries and learned a lot about them from our guides. It was obvious that they enjoyed what they were doing. It was nice to be able to stay in some of the towns for three nights. Being part of a smaller group of people was an unexpected bonus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have two moments. When we were in Bruges, we decided to visit the Arenthuis Museum, next to the Groeninge Museum, on a whim. We discovered an exhibit of the artist, Frank Brangwyn, whom we had never heard of. We loved his work. The second moment was the Anne Frank museum. It was incredible to walk in her footsteps, undisturbed by the folks around us. The museum is set up just as it should be -- no guides, just a quiet reading and listening to parts of the exhibit."

Gunnar

Emeryville, CA

Tour: 06/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour lived up to Rick's mantra: small groups, great guides, no grumps. There was so much history, art and even science. We missed the first day's activities. We were scheduled to fly on United from SFO to ORD and then ORD to BRU. Our flight from SFO was delayed by several hours making the connection impossible. We were given an alternate itinerary through FRA. Let this be another reason for arriving a day early.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ahead of time I thought I would say "Seeing all the good looking women on the tour of the Amsterdam Red Light district." But we went too early in the day for that. Now I would say it was the surprises prepared by our guide Hilbren. (Spoiler alert.) For example, when we returned to the hotel from our free afternoon in Bruges we found Hilbren pouring wine and preparing a large pot of Belgian mussels for us."

Richard

Acton, MA

Tour: 06/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would first like to start out by saying that our tour guides; Hilbren and Angelique, were both great and well versed in the history of the countries while being very attentive to our tour group needs. Our subject experts at the museums, city walks and country stops were excellent and very knowledgeable! Our tour group was only 16 members, which I thought made it easy for everyone to interact and get to know one another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess for me, my "wow" moment was our guide at Flanders. I had no idea of the great losses that took place there during World War I. Touring the areas where the war took place was most interesting for me plus meeting the farmer for lunch at his farm proved to be a great stop. His barn host all of the WWI items he has uncovered each spring plowing his fields in preparation for spring planting. Anne Franks home and self guided tour was very moving knowing what the family went through."

Albert

West Islip, NY

Tour: 06/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour and like the first, was excellent. There was so much to see and do. This tour had a bit of everything: art, engineering, history. And I learned so much about the Dutch people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it had to be the old working windmill in the little town of Damme, Belgium, which we rode to on bicycles from Bruges. It was a windy day and the mill was really spinning even though only two of the four sails were unfurled. Then the miller stopped the mill to fold up the two remaining sails and rotate the mill, then started it up again. As we looked out the window after climbing to the top, we could see modern wind turbines on the horizon, linking the past with the present."

Mary Ellen

Braintree, MA

Tour: 06/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time on the tour. It was a good balance of history, art, seeing the beautiful sights, and having time on our own to explore. All guides were excellent and our fellow travelers were fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a number of "wow" moments - the view from our room in Gent (we loved Gent!), bicycling in Bruges, walking the streets of Delft, the beautiful ride from Belgium to the Zeeland province of the Netherlands, seeing the North Sea and being able to dip our toes in the water, and everything about Amsterdam!"

Paul

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 05/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed it immensely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed Ghent, wandering around pre-tour, meeting our group and guide and our first dinner."

Stephen

Piedmont, SC

Tour: 05/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was exactly as we expected and Nina, our tour guide was very good. Sometimes, it seemed that the bus rides were too long but overall it met our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Ghent canal cruise. The pilot was very knowledgeable and enjoyed sharing his love of Ghent with us. Also, the brief introduction into Dutch history by Robert our guide at the Rijks Museum."

Hodge

McDonough, GA

Tour: 05/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organized with just the right amount of structured and free time. We could have never visited all we did in the same amount of time ourselves. Both my wife and I very much enjoyed our experience. Our guide Nina was excellent and a real joy to talk with. She gave us lots of good insight and background into the countries and cities and people we were visiting. The restaurants she chose for our group meals were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had many favorite moments on the tour. I'd visited Brussels and Brugge years ago, so there was less of a wow experience on this trip for me."

Paula

Lewiston, NY

Tour: 05/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Beautiful architecture, amazing art, fascinating history, and delicious food. This was a great trip. The only stage of the trip that didn't amaze me was Delft. It was great to take the tram from Delft to The Hague to the art museum, but Delft itself didn't offer anything radically different from the other cities we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I may have enjoyed the art museums in Belgium and the Netherlands more than I enjoyed the Louvre, and that's saying a lot."

Elaine

Piedmont, SC

Tour: 05/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the diversity of the daily tours. The history presented by the guides was exceptional and the opportunities to explore on our own was fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a 'wow' experience as I understood the differences between Belgium and Holland as described by Nina across educational, architectural and social lines. Visiting other countries is so much more than looking at buildings, farmlands and canals. Events in those countries are more meaningful now."

Marge

Cambridge, NS

Tour: 05/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my very first visit to Europe and I really appreciated the opportunity to go on this tour. I live on the East coast of Canada and I re-connected with a childhood friend who now lives on the west coast USA. She highly recommended this tour company and I agree - it was outstanding, from the first moment I set foot on Belgian soil until the very last day in Holland. Not to mention that my children's great grandparents were born in Belgium and my grandchildren's "Oma" was born in Holland

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moment had to be my first vision of the architecture of Belgium and it did not stop there. I was infatuated with everything - from the architecture to the resolution of transportation issues to the wonderful hotel rooms (we did not have a funky hotel room in Delft like some of the others). All museum visits were great coupled with the very knowledgeable tour guides in addition to my travelling companion."

Edward

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good tour with a diversity of things to see with the tour group and "free" time to explore on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing the WWI battlefields and cemeteries, it was hard to imagine the level of death and destruction on this battlefield within such a relatively small area. Little is generally discussed in the USA about WWI (versus WWII) so this part of the tour was eye-opening. As a German American, I found a few last names the same as mine in the German cemetery; however, my ancestors left Germany in 1842 to come to Ohio but I still thought, are these dead German soldiers related to me?"

Maureen

St Johns, MI

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My husband , Dan, and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip into the Belgium and Netherlands countryside and cities, especially the smaller towns. We had a wonderful group of co-travellers, a knowledgeable tour "captain" in Hilbren, and a new area of the continent to explore. We found many restaurants via Tripadvisor to visit in our free time, and lots of free time to find the out-of-the-way new experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW MOMENTS -Walking up the towers in both Delft and Brugge The Riyksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museums the Chocolaterie demonstration and the Brewery de Halve Maan tour The Anne Frank House and all the WWI cemetaries BEER ,CHOCOLATE, FOOD AND HISTORY!"

Elgin

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace was fairly brisk and typical of a Rick Steves tour. There were numerous day activities that broke up the bus travel and provided the ability to learn more about each country. Some of the activities seemed to be added by our tour guide, Hilbren (picnic lunch by the castle, a visit to a small town for exploring, stop at the North Sea for a dip in the water). There was ample "on our own time" in each stop that allowed us to explore the cities, have some down time, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say that the demonstrations on how they make the delft ware and Belgium chocolates were most fascinating as this was totally different from the Paris and Heart of Italy tours (they were unique to their areas)."

Fran

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations and was even better than the previous 2 Steves' tours I've been on (all since 2011): Paris in 7 Days and Heart of Italy. Our guide, Hilbren, was so good, and the food and hotel choices (with 1 exception) were excellent. This tour was nicely paced. Really liked the spacing of free time on the agenda; we looked forward to visiting with the group but also enjoyed exploring these charming cities on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The Aalsmeer flower auction was simply amazing! The Maeslant storm surge barrier was unbelievable-huge beyond belief. Some of my favorite moments from the tour were the unexpected joys: dipping toes in the North Sea; riding a bike to Damme with lunch at an outdoor café; eating a 15" pancake at an impromptu group lunch, drinking hot chocolate at a café with our lovely local guide. And wow, what a great group of fellow travelers on this tour."

Martin

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a very enjoyable vacation. I learned a lot of the culture and history of Belgium and the Netherlands, and the group got along very well.Hilbren was excellent -- very personable and willing to spend time with all of us. My only disappointment was with Brussels. I wish we had spent more organized time there, and saw more of the city. We covered Amsterdam much more thoroughly than Brussels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not one but many of the same moments -- seeing many canals in four different cities, and at different times of day. Beautiful scenes."

Miriam

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was informative, beautiful and fun. I loved learning the history and current realities of the two countries. Spending time in smaller, scenic towns is a huge plus and participating in both the scheduled activities - whether it was walking tours, museums,chocolate shop or castle visit -and the free time activities provides a great mix of fun and information. I also found it extremely interesting to observe -- bicycles, canals,windmills, sheep and beer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to pick two. (1) We rode our borrowed bikes from Hotel Adornes (Brugge)to Damme. What a beautiful ride! Rode along a canal, saw sheep, cows and a few donkeys. There was a windmill along the way that we could go in and climb to the top. Damme was lovely and we followed our noses into a small place with great food for lunch. (2)Visiting Deltaworks on the North Sea to learn what the Dutch have done/are doing to prevent flooding. Amazing."

Berry

Indiana, PA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a bit pleasantly different from the other RS tours I have been on because of the small, elegant moments that were traditional to the region, and provided to us by our guide. It was a small taste of chocolate while on the train to Brussels to get us ready for the exquisite chocolate shops there; Netherlandish black licorice on the bus as we crossed the Belgium border; a treat of coffee and hot chocolate in a warm and cozy cafe in Delft that was the epitome of "gezellig." So nice!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our group got to the Rijks early so the large gallery exhibiting Rembrandt's THE NIGHT WATCHING was practically empty. Seeing this painted allegory of leadership was a wow moment for me. Plus our museum guide's narrative description was insistent and thrilling. My husband and I then went to the museum cafe for coffee. Our tall, young server got down on one knee to tell us what a priveledge it was to work in this museum and how proud the Dutch people were of it. Double wow."

Daniel

Los Osos, CA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was awesome!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first night in Ghent was brilliant.....the hotel right on the canal was magical!"

Daniel

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the tour was very stimulating, as well as intelligently designed and selected. I learned so much about how much I have to learn about Belgium and the Netherlands! Hilbren was extremely talented and personable - interesting and fun to talk to. The group was convivial and welcoming. I would recommend this tour to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Going through the Rijksmuseum with the brilliant guide Robert giving us an education in the Dutch character, art history, and art appreciation, all with a sense of humor and excitement about his subject. 2. Visiting Flanders Fields, the somber German cemetery, and contemplating the mass slaughter of a generation of young people, and the "long tail" of the age of empire today. 3. Seeing how Amsterdam works as a bicycle city, not a car city, and thinking about how US cities could be better."

David

St Johns, MI

Tour: 05/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was all "very nice", as our tour guide would say. I found the history, the changing culture, the beer and sweets scene, and the land reclamation to be incredibly interesting! My tour guide was an outstanding young man with a lot of positive energy. He connected well with his tour members while still providing a vast array of information on everything and anything we visited. He was incredibly knowledgeable which made an information seeker like me, very pleased.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment from this trip was not like other "wow" moments from trips in the past. I generally sink my teeth into some delicious food from a country, and that's what seals the deal for me. However, on this trip there really wasn't any food to be wowed by. If I'm not to include experiences from outside the tour, I would say my "wow" moment was coming around the turn in Bruges and seeing that bell tower. It made everything real, and just brought a smile to my face!"

Martha

Colstrip, MT

Tour: 05/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. I saw much more art than I expected. I saw more relics and architecture from the Middle Ages than I expected and I am very happy about that. I had no major negative experiences....and when I thought I had lost my phone....Nina was right on it and took the matter very seriously. She also did not make me feel foolish when I quickly found it. Traveling alone is not easy for me but once more I have decided that I made a most excellent decision in booking a trip with R.S.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was wow from day one till I left the morning of day eleven."

Michael

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 05/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As usual, the guide was the key to the value added in the tour. This was our second tour with Nina (Villages Italy) and she enhanced each day. All the hotels were well located and the rooms and facilities were certainly adequate. Robert, the guide in the Rijksmuseum is up there with Francesca (of Rome) as a local guide. Keep him. The days were appropriately divided between programmed time and free time. Unfortunately, the good weather occurred prior to our arrival, and after our departure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"-"

Deborah

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't imagine a better combination of tour guides than Nina, who is Belgian, and Angelique, who is Dutch. Nina was welcoming, knowledgeable, energetic, playful, and helpful in every way imaginable. She taught us so much AND she made it fun. The interplay between Nina and Angelique added a great dimension by giving us a sense of the differences in history and outlooks between the two countries. Wonderful leaders!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Highlights included the Rijks Museum, the North Sea, and the Dutch sky."

Cynthia

Lincoln, NE

Tour: 05/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. Enthusiastic guide and her push to go beyond the described itinery was outstanding. Thank you Nina!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. But the day in Flanders Field was the most touching. I don't imagine many tour groups stop at the German Cemetary, I am glad that we did, it completes the story."

Rick

Grass Valley, CA

Tour: 05/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Had always been wanting to go to Belgium and Holland (I figured there has to be more to Europe than England, France, and Italy) and this tour really made understand the lure and charm of them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many WOW moments but the biggest surprise was the Bruges City Hall interior."

Dorothy

Brockport, NY

Tour: 05/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour got off to a little bit of a bumpy start in Brussels but each day improved. Too much time taken in the old part of the city showing all the restaurants. Too much to take in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A bike ride from Bruges to Damme along the canal. Beautiful scenery, great windmills, quaint shops. Also the Maeslant storm surge barrier - amazing, Flanders Fields and the Anne Frank House were very moving."

Alexandria

Greenville, NC

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time participating in a Rick Steves tour and it exceeded my expectations. The smaller size compared to other tours, extra free time, and focus on immersion in local culture were all big pluses for me. It was nice to know all the big points of interest were covered in the tour, but we had free time to customize the experience. The activities that weren't of particular interest to me, I found educational at the very least.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know I have one "wow" moment. Seeing Ghent for the first time (it was our first stop), our time in Brugge, Keukenhof Gardens, Anne Frank House, and all the art and architecture were highlights."

Gene

Lexington, KY

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 3rd trip with you. We had ear-buds in Istanbul but not in Prague & Budapest. No ear-buds on this trip except at the Rijksmuseum, museum. They made the presentation at least 40% better. Please institute a policy of the guide using a microphone and guests using ear-buds. They GREATLY enhance the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Flanders Fields portion was quite moving."

Rich

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is our fourth tour with Rick Steves, and although it was not as good as some of the others, it was still very good. We enjoyed everything on the tour, especially the tulips ! Our hotels were excellent and the group we were travelling with was a great group ! Even better, the euro was at a low level, so as to make our purchasing power much greater !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tulips by far !!! followed by the Van Gogh museum"

Suzanne

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steves tour was great. I would recommend it to anyone who wants experience Europe, from its history, architecture, food, culture, and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have two wow moments. One is the Kuekenhof Gardens. Beautiful tulips as far as the eye can see. Just when you think you've seen the best combination of colors and textures, there is another display of beautiful flowers. The second was a free day when we rode bikes to the village of Damme along a tree lined bike path beside a canal. At Damme we explored a working windmill, artsy shops, a book fair, and a fabulous lunch. It was beautiful being in the countryside."

David

Laredo, TX

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Generally very good. I liked the places visited very much. The hotels were good, especially in Ghent, or interesting, as in Delft. The ww1 battlefields were a revelation. I do think that some of the Amsterdam tour is outmoded, the pot store and the red light district seem unnecessary to me. I'm more interested in historic buildings and churches, perhaps than most. Great guide in the museums. Hilbren is a good guide but he moves more rapidly than I was able to do, sometimes.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Anne Frank house. I'm very familiar with her story and writing and the house tour was an emotional experience I did not quite expect."

Margaret

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was both enjoyable and informative. I loved learning about the history of Belgium and the Netherlands. Arriving in Ghent was amazing, the canals, markets and guild houses with the late afternoon sun shining on them was beautiful. The tour of the WW1 battlefields was interesting, our guide provided an excellent understanding of what took place in that small area. The flood museum and delta works in Rotterdam lent perspective on the relationship between the citizens and the water.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was my first glimpse of the Rijksmuseum and learning that the building was built specifically as an art museum even though it looks like it could be a cathedral. Another wow was the Groeninge museum in Bruges showcasing the Flemish primitive painters. Favorite "wow" piece of art was the prayer nut at the Rijksmuseum."

Barbara

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a very good tour. However, it was not the right tour for me. This was no fault of Rick Steves or the tour guide. Parts of it were simply too strenuous for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing Keukenhof."

Thomas

Elkhorn, NE

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very nice, and well run as usual. If possible I would have liked to see more activities, and find out more about the current events. In Holland more information on the Tulips. A cooking class is always fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of the main reasons for choosing this tour In early May was to see the tulips. The one stop on this trip at the tulip gardens was a Wow moment. We loved seeing all of the flowers and it would have been nice to have had some discussions on what to expect, and information on buying and raising tulips. We had to find out this information on our own."

Karen

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 05/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the trip! We saw a good variety of "sights" and had many memorable experiences.The Dutch people were warm and welcoming and my guide and trip mates were the same.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was a lot of "wow" moments, but the Keukenof FlowerGardens was probably my favorite."

John

Albany, NY

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moments included: Keukenhof and the flowers, Van Gogh musem , and Ghent. It had it all for me; art, history and architecture."

Donald

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

More than fulfilled my expectations of seeing Belgium and Netherlands.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Keukenhof tullips were more than just one "wow" moment. Great tours of Van Gogh and Matise Museums."

Steven

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 7th Rick Steves' tour and proved to be typical - very good, great guide, experienced and friendly tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the way Netherlands has dealt with the fact that most of the country is below sea level"

Caroline

Westwood, MA

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour and it was everything I thought it would be. Well organized, got me to experience everything that I had wanted to and even more, and flexible, a good mix of free time and scheduled activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very difficult to say, every new city was like wow this is fantastic. Probably the number one "wow" moment was the Kerkenhof Garden. Brilliant!"

Clint

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed all of it. Great group. Rolinka was an outstanding tour leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Brugge"

Lauren

Aptos, CA

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When asked how our trip was, I have a one word answer. Fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When you time it right to see the tulips in bloom in Keukenhof gardens, it is pretty hard to top. Although there were many great memories, this has to take the prize for my favorite "wow"."

Jan

Aptos, CA

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire tour was top notch! Out guide, Rolinka was fabulous, our fellow tour members were great and the tour offered us a lot of variety while giving us the chance to experience the full flavor of the areas we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be the TULIPS! Keukenhof Gardens was amazing! It is indescribable!"

Diana

Denver, CO

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One word - TULIPS!! Unlike anything we could have imagined..... Another "wow" moment was the view from the Sky Lounge in Amsterdam where we stopped for a glass of bubbly before dinner. And yet another was the somber beauty of the cemeteries in the Flanders Fields area, and especially the small US Cemetery in Waregem."

Chris

Aurora, IL

Tour: 04/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour met RSE's highest standards. There was a wide variety of sights and activities, some planned and some spontaneous. Smaller hotels were simply delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Blooming tulips both in the fields and in the marvelous Keukenhof Gardens."

Jack

Corte Madera, CA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We continue to enjoy the Rick Steves' experience, really regardless of the countries toured.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Keukenhof, surprise, surprise, surprise. But we really enjoyed experiencing King's Day in the interesting, lively smaller town we visited just after entering Holland. Sometimes those relaxed experiences, soaking up life as a local on a festive day in a small town are as memorable as the storied "wow" moments."

Ann

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall tour experience was very good. There were times when I was a little anxious (e.g., getting from Brussels to Ghent by myself), but it was part of building confidence and part of the "adventure". My co-travelers were very convivial and appeared to have the same philosophy of travel. It is really hard to travel alone sometimes; yet, I managed on this trip, which says a lot about the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many. All museums (the Mauritshuis and Rijkmuseum). The Lord in the Attic Church was amazing. But the Keukenhof garden was VERY special."

Bud

Mount Desert, ME

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our nineth tour and they have all been incredibly special. We had the opportunity to spend extra time there and the guidebook was very helpful in focussing on things to do with our time. The cities chosen were wonderful locations and the hotels were all conveniently located. Keukenhof Gardens was a wonderful addition to our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two moments that were special. The first was to spend several hours in Zierikzee on King's Day. To be in a small town and share in the "warmth" of the celebration was very special. The second was going to Keukenhof Gardens. Even though we had been there nine days before, it was still a special time. We arrived there very early which led to few people being there for the first hour. We could actually take some pictures without people being in the way."

Beverly

Cary, NC

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour! Never dreamed I would learn so much. Really got to know Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Delft and Amsterdam. Hans was a terrific guide and we had a fun group. Nice accommodations and excellent food. Well organized. Great art, beautiful flowers, historical insights and action-packed itinerary. Looking forward to our next Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't decide between Keukenhof Gardens, Flanders Fields or flood gates. Breathtaking art as well."

Nancy

Fort Bragg, CA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my very first Rick Steves tour. Having experienced many tours with other companies both on land and sea, I consider myself a fairly seasoned traveler. I appreciated the Steves' approach of providing me with the information and tools to enjoy Belgium and Holland independently during our free time. The knowledgeable and articulate local guides and tour director enhanced my understanding and appreciation of the countries visited. I'll be back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The huge parking structure at the Central Station in Ghent devoted entirely to bicycles. Wow! Not a car in sight. Bicycles in use everywhere in Holland and Belgium. Plus public transportation--bus, train, tram--that was clean and efficient. I was impressed and envious, especially when I returned to the Bay Area and had to ride a dingy, dirty BART train home."

Rae

Valley Forge, PA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide! Just enough free time. Very comprehensive tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the tulips at the Keukenhoff"

Judith

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great combination of small towns, history including WWI and some WWII, demonstrations (chocolate, beer, and Delft pottery), fascinating water control info, and some city time, Our guide was tactful, informative, and fun. The group was respectful by being prompt. The driver was amazing. There was art and good food and enough free time to stay sane and in clean clothes.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking onto the first path in the Keukenhof, where it became evident that it wasn't all rectangular beds, but also woods and water, little hills, trees and wildness and singing birds as well. It brought tears to my eyes."

Karen

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very pleasant, informative, and enjoyable. As usual I hade to remind myself that this was an overview of the Low Countries. Could have added another day to each site and still have wanted more. In fact we added time at the end of the tour in Haarlem and are glad we did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is literally impossible to describe the splenderof the Keukenhof!!"

Sanders

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a wonderful, typically unique, tour of Belgium and the Netherlands. We had a wonderful group to travel with. Generally this was a less "adventurous" tour probably related to the fact that the average age of the tour member was older and I think many people were focused more on the art, the tulips, the gardens, etc. rather than the "experience life as a local" as he is more typical of the Rick Steves tours that we have taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gorgeous Keukenhof Gardens would have to be one of the real highlights of the trip. For my wife and I however, the best parts of the trip involved interacting with local people in the smaller restaurants, cafés, and pubs."

Suzanne

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We feel we know Belgium and Holland. Especially taking your advice and going in the beautiful neighborhoods of Amsterdam. It gave us a much better feel for that city. Favorite city was Gent. Our first stop for a beer we were asked what are you doing here?? It is not full of tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Keukenhof Gardens. Magnificent!!!!!!!"

Frank

Valley Forge, PA

Tour: 04/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all Hans, our Rick Steves' Guide, was fantastic. The tour locations, hotels, and activities were most interesting, varied and representative of Belgium and the Netherlands. Our group very quickly became travelling buddies having a fabulous time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite 'wow' moment was being in a small Dutch village by the sea on King's Day, a Netherlands holiday. The town was all decked out having parades, children's rides, contests and entertainment from drumming to belly dancing. It really made me feel like a temporary local."

Deb

Appleton, WI

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was great with a variety of experiences, 22 other energetic travelers, led by Rolinka who was very professional and caring!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments: first day canal tour in Ghent before great dinner, Bruges chocolate & brewery tours, Keufenhof gardens"

Jennifer

Port Williams, NS

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was amazed at the amount we were able to see and do in the short time of the tour. It was a "crash course" on the historic, cultural and social life of these countries. I enjoyed the mix of urban and rural tours which provided a broad understanding of how people have and do live in these countries. My favourite places were Ghent, Delft and Flanders and rural Holland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult one to answer - there were so many. However, I must say the day in the countryside and visit to the Keukenhof Garden was wonderful. Maybe because it was finally SPRING after a long Canadian winter and because Rolinka insured that we arrived early before masses of people, it was a peaceful respite from our travel. As a gardener, it reminded what flowers can do for the soul. However, each day brought something wonderful."

Kay

Poulsbo, WA

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We learned that the city halls in Belgium and the Netherlands are ornately decorated and give the citizens a source of great pride. The city charters were locked away in the tower to keep them safe. They could look up at the tower and know that was where there rights were kept, safe and sound. My BIG WOW moment was when we climbed the Bruges tower and saw the chest and locks that were for storing the city charter. I then understood the importance of the charter at that moment."

Bob

Raymond, MS

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife Jean and I are compiling our joint experiences on one evaluation form. We both thoroughly enjoyed our first Rick Steves tour. All the plans were well made and efficient, and the hotels, restaurants, and sites were first rate. We liked having some free time to pursue our special interests and some meals on our own to eat where and when we preferred. Our tour guides were energetic and upbeat and happy to answer questions. We enjoyed the fairly compact geographical area with 4 hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Keukenhof Gardens took our breath away, and the Flanders Fields were a somber site which filled in a gap in our world history. The visit to Anne Frank's house was also filled with emotion, and the crowds were gratifying to see that so many people want to understand the need for tolerance and peace in the future."

Chuck

Appleton, WI

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am pleased with the tour and our tour leader...we plan to take more tours with RSE. Would LOVE her again The tour provided the right amount of diversity and showed us a good amount of sights and places. The food was excellent and hotels better than expected. We like the tour style: Orientation and equipping us and providing a limited number of suggested places to explore, half the meals on our own was excellent, we like group activities but also enjoy discovery on our own or in small groups.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WOW moment for us was the Tulip Gardens!! We asked for more time and were allocated 4 hours including lunch and coffee break. hahaha We skipped lunch and walked with coffee. We would have loved MORE TIME there. That is why we came!! But we left wanting more and planning to go back again. (Better than reverse. :)) We have hundreds of pictures and are NOW enjoying tulips in Wisconsin so HAPPY!We also went to Haarlem AFTER the tour and saw the Flower parade as it came into town! Wonderful to s"

Greg

Winnipeg, MB

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first tour experience and we had some concerns about whether or not this was something that would work for us. I am happy to say that it did - it was extremely positive. Staying more than one night in various places is a very good idea. Small towns and small hotels is also a good idea. Free time was appreciated. Informed guides interested in their work was great. Group dinners in each new place were fun. Easy museum access was very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was not one wow moment ...both countries and all the places we visited were wow! The architecture,the information learned from guides ...from Jack about the First World War, to "Q" about Delft and the young woman helping hold back the North Sea and the Rijks guide. Rolinka and Angelique were knowledgable as well. A long walk through the countryside and by the sea as well as a bike ride from Bruges to Damm ware also memorable."

Larry

Annandale, VA

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Generally met expectations. The guides, bus driver, and tour members were a pleasure. The itinerary was well-designed, but there should have been less time at the flood museum and floodgate to allow more time in Delft to allow a visit to the Hague. Start in Brussels with a general morning tour, then lunch, then go to Ghent. Museum tour in Brussels a waste. The coffee shop in Amsterdam was too much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Most everything, but I have been on 6 RS tours, and the guides and tour members on this one were closest to exemplifying what a RS tour should be in my view. Also, the flowers and Vermeers."

Cheryl

Auburn, WA

Tour: 04/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Only 500 characters? Well, I'll do my best. This tour was excellent in every way. Our guides were great, the food and beer was wonderful, the museums outstanding and the cities charming and picturesque. As a bit of a history buff, I found what I call WWI day ( visits to the American, German and Commonwealth cemeteries) to be very moving. But the highlight for me was the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens. We spent four hours there and I could have easily spent more. One word summary: Delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is easy: The Keukenhof Gardens. The Netherlands waterworks were impressive. The cities lovely. The WWI cemeteries and Ann Frank House moving but the Keukenhof Gardens were my "wow" moment."

Rhonda

Delanco, NJ

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything and more than what we expected. Everything smooth and well planned. My husband and I enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biking to Damme and other sites outside Brugge, Belgium."

Mary Ann

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have traveled extensively with Rick's books, but this guided tour was heads and shoulders better than even that! The hotels were nice, the food was good, but what really made the trip was Nina, our guide. (see below) My one regret was that I didn't realize that the emphasis would be on paintings in museums -- not my priorities. I should have realized that, but.... I loved seeing the Water Works, the flower market and how the people live and make their living

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the WW1 sites. I thought it would be a throw-away day but by the end of the visits I knew and appreciated more about "the war to end all wars" and the sacrifices that were made on that hallowed ground. In fact, I was in tears."

Teresa

Ripon, CA

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My overall experience.. I had fun! Well balanced in terms of learning history and relaxation times. The low point was the visit to several cemeteries Flanders Fields would have been enough.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the vivid colors of flowers were just amazing!"

Richard

West Hartford, CT

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time on an actual tour. We usually make our own arrangements, so I wasn't sure how I would like it. I loved it and hope to see you again very soon. Nina was a wonderful guide. She is very knowledgable and made sure that everyone's needs were met.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Bruges. Our tour there was wonderful. We had a free day where we biked outside the city which I loved. I also really enjoyed the trip to the storm barrier in Rotterdam."

Barbara

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved all the Medieval cities + all the countryside in-between. Enjoyed all the orientation walks, the cultural tours, the tours of the Brewery, the Storm Surge Barrier, the replica of the Dutch East Indies Ship, the Flower Market, the Delft pottery manufacturing, the Rijksmuseum. Understood greatness of Holland. Very moved by the day in Flanders & guide at the American Cemetery and our guide Andre who gave us such an atmospheric picture of the tragic WWI events.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Understanding why the Netherlands became such a great power and champion of individual rights. All done without an aristocracy or Church. Understood why merchant class became dominant and understandably proud which manifested in Dutch art being so different than art in countries dominated by the Catholic Church or an aristocracy. Particularly driven home by Rijksmuseum guide Anne Julie. Also wowed by clarity our guide Nina brought to understand long rivalry between Belgium & Netherlands."

Denise

St Petersburg, FL

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this tour and would recommend it to friends. Our guide was great, the bus driver wonderful and the itinerary well planned and fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The town of Bruges totally enchanted me. The mist rising from the canals in the morning, the swans, the sublime beauty of the town after nightfall. I actually thought, "Wow!" upon exiting onto the roof of the brewery to be utterly awed by the view of Bruges spread out beneath me."

Mary

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and definitely look forward to going on another Rick Steves' tour. It was well organized, our tour guide and the local guides were very knowledgeable and enjoyable, the sights and variety of sights were well-selected, there was a good mix of organized tour time and free time and the food was exceptional. It was a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments,but a few stand out. The Maelsant storm surge barrier tour and the Aalsmeer Flower Auction stand out because they were so different. A guided tour of the flower auction would have been nice because the operation was fascinating. I was mostly affected by Flanders Fields and the Anne Frank House. And the food was awesome."

Robert

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As this was our first Rick Steves tour, we can only compare it to our Road Scholar tours. On this tour Hilbren was outstanding as our tour guide, the meals we ate were outstanding, and we appreciated the amount of time we had on our own after we were shown the ropes. The day in Brussels needs to be rethought by Rick, and the hotel in Amsterdam was the worst we experienced in 5 trips to Europe. It would be better to have the trip end in a good, clean hotel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite town was Delft, but the feelings we had for the town were more along the lines of "ahhhh" rather than "wow". It was charming, quiet, filled with a rich history and our local guide was delightful. The "wow" of the trip really was Hilbren. Every single day! Full of energy, knowledge, charm, always smiling and full of enthusiasm."

Fran

Canton, OH

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth trip with Rick Steve's and as usual, fabulous in every way!!!!! Hiblren was great in every way and the tour was such a nice blend of small city tours, free time a nd the food was amazing!!!!! The hotels chosen were fabulous and the group meals were sooooo much fun! Can you tell that this trip was everything I had hoped for???? Thank you!!!'m

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was WOW!!! I really liked the flood gate tour and as usual, the guide there was wonderful!!!'"

Alison

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS trip. It was wonderful. It was the perfect mix of activities. Hilbren and the guides were so passionate about their field of interest that even when they were explaining something I wasn't interested in, I was caught up in their story. I liked everything: group dinners with regional specialties, city tours, museum tours, specialty tours, etc. Well worth the price of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The floral market and the American cemetery. Oh and the trenches."

David

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Belgium and Holland are overlooked by Americans. Great countries in terms of culture, food, ease of getting around, friendliness to tourists, etc. Tour itself was very well done, what we expect from a Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Flanders Fields. Very moving. Easily could have spent much more time there but that's a personal interest of mine. Tour of Delft factory. Great opportunity to see a nearly lost art up close and to learn what is really "Delft" and what isn't."

Nicholas

Suffolk, VA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Can't think of a better compliment then that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The public squares in Ghent."

Ed

Richland, WA

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour and thought the excursions at Flanders Fields, Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier, Flower Auction, and the Batavia Boat Yard were a good balance to the museums, art and architecture in the cities. I thought the Batavia Boat Yard was a good tour probably because I enjoy working with wood. I found it interesting the process they went through to be able to bend a 5 inch thick piece of oak to fit the curves of the hull of the ship.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"More of a subdued moment was the American Cemetery at Waregem, Flanders Fields, and the German Military Cemetery at Langemark with the mass grave for some 25,000 German Soldiers."

William

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I very much enjoyed the tour. The tour pretty much met my expectations. The weather was fantastic. The food and beer was great. The guides and fellow travelers made the experience seem like a big summer family vacation adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow, that is hard to limit it to one "wow" moment. I think it would have to be getting to see all the old historic buildings and churches along the cobblestone streets and the big town squares. The Batavia Boat Yard was a very cool addition. A definite "big wow" were the art museums for me."

Starr

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is tour #11 for us. As always, learned SO much. FloraHolland, Betavia (guide needed to be told to keep it shorter - Nina agrees!), WW I sites, storm surge barrier, bicycles in Amsterdam - we don't cross the street quite the same way as before the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Never been good at this. Perhaps... walking in the WW I trench, crying. Felt it so deeply ~"

Lee

Marion, WI

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much. Belgium and Holland certainly are not noted for their geology or physical features. But chocolate and beer are another thing. Our bus driver was excellant, as they all have been.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that the stop at the North Sea and the ride along the water control devices was this moment. I also enjoyed the churches, as an organist I have a thing about that. I did gain an appreciation for art. Having skipped Art History 101 in college, I missed out on this area of information. It was great to have learned guides explaining these masterpieces."

Jan

Peachtree City, GA

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was lovely and the weather beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the best part of the tour is walking through the cobblestone streets, enjoying the local food & wine at the outdoor cafes & taking in the vibe of the beautiful villages of Brugges, Ghent and Delft. I did find the Flower Auction to be quite interesting as well and would love to see the tulips in the Spring!"

Harrie

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a great overview of Belgian and Dutch culture. Sometimes the differences between the two were subtle but it was interesting to learn about the history as well as the present day life in the Low Countries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The flower auction in Holland was amazing. Watching from the catwalks as millions of flowers rolled by on carts beneath us was like watching a complex ballet. The array of color and variety all moving in a predetermined path controlled by the vagaries of the commercial flower market made me wish I could sit in with the auction attendees and learn their strategies. I'll never go to a florist again without visualizing the vast building where the auctions take place."

Cyndy

Eugene, OR

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour! Hans was a good guide who "warmed" to the group as we went along. Ghent was the perfect starting place and we'd suggest skipping the day back & forth to Brussels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not sure there was one "wow" moment. The American cemetery at Flanders Fields and all the WWI cemeteries/battlefields were certainly high on our list, especially as this was the 100th anniversary of WWI. I think the idea that artillery in WWI could totally flatten villages/towns was amazing. Our guide always said, "and this town didn't exist before 1920" made us realize how much devastation occurred in Belgium! Villagers in Flanders have all adopted graves in the American cemetery, amazing!"

Neil

Cedar Park, TX

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour. The orientation walks and dinner the first night in a new place were a good idea. The special tours of the brewery and chocolate shop were excellent. Could have spent another day in Ghent. Could have skipped the Batavia or at least shortened the time there significant, especially in the mall area. We had a friendly, easy-going group which made walking around fun. We should have gotten to the flower market earlier to see more auction action. Our bus driver, John, was excellent

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bruges was fantastic! So picturesque. I loved the boat ride on the canals. I also liked Zierickzee. We only stopped for a few hours, but food there was significantly cheaper than in the big cities, the locals were very friendly and the town was quite picturesque. We had a nice, sunny day there which probably helped. I really appreciated the tours of the Dutch water works. They were amazing."

Kathryn

Simi Valley, CA

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Heart of Belgium and Holland had a great variety of things to see and do. We enjoyed each city and could have spent more time in each city. The member of our tour were wonderful and it is a part of the Rick Steves tours that we look forward to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "De Halve Maan" brewery tour and our guide,Inge was definitely a "WOW" moment. She was so funny and entertaining. It was something I was looking forward to and it exceeded my expectations. Another "WOW" moment was walking into the Café Restaurant de V in Delft with the Rick Steves book and 4 other people from our tour for dinner. The owner came right over and gave us a wonderful welcome and great service. He also said he has never met Rick Steves before but loves the guy."

Arlene

Charleston, SC

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A very nice tour, but also tiring. Some non-stop days from early morning through dinner were especially tiring. (The free day was much appreciated) Also disliked having to transport our own luggage several blocks to/from the hotel at two stops. Our guide Hans was terrific and the group seemed to get along together well. Would have preferred having our coach take us to/from Brussels rather than spending time on tram and train in both directions, i.e. giving us more time in Brussels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We saw many impressive sights, but perhaps Flanders Fields cemeteries were most memorable."

Cynthia

Laurel, MD

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first tour, and I enjoyed it, I understand trying to pack as much in as you can. However, I tend to like a little more down time and relaxation while on vacation. I understand the need to balance activities, but I would have preferred more history (WW1 , WW2) and less art museums.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WW1 monuments and battlefield tour"

Martta

Austin, TX

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed this tour and thought it was a great trip to some very interesting locations that are often overlooked. This tour desperately needs an additional day in Ghent. I'd like to see 1: Ghent, 2: Brussels, 3: Choose your own adventure - Ghent or Brussels. Individual train tickets for the return from Brussels would be nice. I felt very rushed in these two cities. It was delightful to have an additional day in Bruges.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow' moment was walking into the Tyne Cot cemetery. In that space you could feel the vastness of the loss of life in the war."

Mark

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always... educational, efficient and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour of the giant gate to the waterway into Rotterdam... the art of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam... the making of chocolate in Bruges... and the waterways everywhere."

Janis

Rensselaer, NY

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel that I have gained so much by taking this wonderful tour of Belgium and the Netherlands. Every aspect of the tour offered outstanding historic sights and beautiful settings to enjoy. I have certainly increased my understanding of the customs and culture of these two countries including the events that took place during WWI. It was an invigorating and interesting tour complete with great people! Of course, the plentiful chocolates, French fries, waffles, and beer were nice, too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were numerous "wow" moments but the poignant Anne Frank House and the amazing Van Gogh Museum certainly were memorable highlights. The WWI cemeteries were very interesting with the local guides really adding so much to these visits. Also, staying in the lovely towns of Ghent, Bruges, and Delft offered many wow moments. It was wonderful just to be walking along the picturesque canals, viewing the interesting buildings and historic sights, eating in the restaurants, and meeting the people."

Kathleen

Chicago, IL

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great adventure. Loved seeing the "waterworks" in Holland. Amsterdam was a lot of fun. Really enjoyed the art. Museum guides are top notch. Enjoyed Ann Frank house. Moving and informative day in Ypres. Ghent and Brugge were so interesting. Delft was charming and low key . A perfect mix of experiences!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of Brugge was a wow for me. Loved the food,beer museums and atmosphere. Really enjoyed biking to Damme. Wonderful day in the country. Ghent was a surprise wow. Very nice!"

Richard

Charleston, SC

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very much enjoyed the overall tour, my single complaint was the quality of our hotel rooms (HARMONY Hotel EXCLUDED).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of Ghent, Bruge, Flanders Fields, Ann Frank, all museums."

Gregory

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 08/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very nice, low key journey through Europe's under-belly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Dutch water works."

Christopher

Lake City, MN

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel that I experienced much of the important cultural features of Begium and the Netherlands

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biking along the canal between Bruges and the border of Holland."

Susan

West Des Moines, IA

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I like Rick Steves tours better than other tours I've been on, and I like traveling both independently and with Rick Steves. It really is two different ways to travel. When I'm on a tour, I learn more and worry less about making plans, which is awesome! Belguim and Holland weren't on my list of top countries to visit, but the countries were so enjoyable. Hilbren was a great guide, very, very knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the little towns - Ghent, Bruges and Delft. My single favorite afternoon was when we took a bike ride to Damme from Bruges."

Kathleen

Voorheesville, NY

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great experience. Our tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly, and hard-working. I especially liked the balance between the old (e.g. museums, art, walking tours of historic areas, historical sites) and the areas that impact the lives of residents today (e.g. how the Netherlands copes with too much water). Museum passes, free bike rentals, and tram passes meant that I did not spend as much money on my own as I expected. Tour members welcomed my teenagers!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biking next to a canal in Bruges and stopping to walk around a small working windmill. The Madonna and Child statue in Bruges Wading in the North Sea, or thereabouts"

Marvin

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was Leslie's and my 3rd tour with Rick Steves. We also have done on our own extensive touring in Europe.(After the tour we drove through western France Avers sur Oise to Rouen, then rented an apartment in Paris for a week.) Rick's tours have provided us with unique and very welcome insights into the places we go to. When WE travel its usually point to point, using our limited time to see the areas top 10 BEST attractions. With Rick we get to experience what's in between the points.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Ghent it was standing by a plaque honoring the signing of the treaty of Ghent, in Delft it was tramming to the Mauritshuis and standing 2 feet by the Girl with the Pearl Earring, in Amsterdam it was a quest to find the statue of Spinoza, but my wow moment was in the 2nd floor of the Memling museum viewing the installation by Christian Boltanski of thousands of tins bearing the names and photos of the workers of the Grand Hornu Coal Mine, ordinary people who were forgotten as time passed."

Leslie

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

lots of great times --wonderful fellow travellers, riding the trams in Belguim and Holland, being at the Rijksmuseum, free time to soak in local culture, great guides, great planning of the whole experience, actually learning everyone's names

Favorite "WOW" moment

"everything was a wow [INVALID]some of the special small wows were WWI battlefields, walking into the North Sea, having a mussel making demonstration in Brugges, going to small towns, having a picnic on a Holland roadside, seeing Vermeer paintings, riding the trams [INVALID]especially to Den Haag and the Merithouse, the Ann Frank House without the long lines and the Rijksmuseum"

Marcia

Wichita, KS

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another fantastic Rick Steves tour, our 9th. For us, it's the ideal way to travel internationally!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The spur-of-the moment stop to wade in the North Sea and gather sea shells. Our guide, Hilbren, said he'd never seen the sea so calm, so he asked the driver to pull over for an impromptu stop. Later, we had a picnic lunch by the side of the road, overlooking the inlet. Hilbren provided delicious treats and our driver, Philipe, had wine, beer, soft drinks, bottled water and cups of soup available for purchase. What a pleasant day on our way to Amsterdam!"

Candyce

Yuba City, CA

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour was very good. I would definitely change the itenerary and start in Amsterdam and end in Ghent. I am very high energy, but even I was exhausted by the time we got to Amsterdam and it is the place where I needed the energy. After being in much more mellow and quaint locations, it made Amsterdam seem loud, dirty, and less attractive than the other cities. Ending a tour on a softer note would be better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many."

Meschelle

Live Oak, CA

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It was nice to have the historic city tours preplanned with additional tours at specific locations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Flanders field was a surprise for me that I had not expected. Our tour guide that day was fabulous, and one if the best on the trip. The cemeteries were beautiful. The fact that it rained most of that day only added to the somber mood of the visit. It was beautiful."

Julene

Lake City, MN

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was just what we were looking for[INVALID]a directed experience, with knowledgeable guides who could orient us to our location and provide us with the tools (maps, tram and museum passes, and helpful suggestions) that we needed to be able to explore successfully on our own during free time. And what a great group of travelers[INVALID]friendly, prompt and interesting!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a Sunday morning Mass in Bruges. We were welcomed at a sparsely attended service in a densely populated neighborhood that slumbered on that Sunday morning. The service was in Dutch, but we were able to follow the progress and sing hymns with new words. We were offered gestures of peace from friendly faces, and felt part of a larger family, a larger world. I left with a warm heart and a deeper appreciation of the lasting effect of the Dutch Reformation on the Catholic Church."

Ted

Wichita, KS

Tour: 08/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 9th Rick Steves Tour was another success. Great guides, great group and great cities. This trip was filled with "the little things" that set these Tours apart from the competition, i.e., surprise picnics, walking in the North Sea, mussels at the hotel, parties, etc. With museum passes, meals, tram passes, train tickets, and all the rest, I feel that we get great value from our Rick Steves Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the activity at FloraHolland. Close second was seeing Fabritius' The Goldfinch at the Museum in The Hague."

Melinda

Liberty Twp, OH

Tour: 06/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Traveling as a family with two teenagers and my father, I was unsure if we would all enjoy the trip. The teenagers actually chose this tour (over France) because it minimized the time on buses and seemed very active. Although all of us had different "favorite" cities, none of us were disappointed in the trip. We had never done a group tour before but we will consider a Rick Steves' one again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting having a meal in the sun in Ghent in the old city center (before the tour started). My second was standing on the shore of the huge beach in Holland on the North Sea."

Weather

Belgium / Brussels

Belgium Weather


Holland / Amsterdam

Holland Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Belgium and Holland: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Brussels and out of Amsterdam (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay. Brussels and Amsterdam are transportation hubs, making travel before or after your tour quite easy.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines.

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Ghent before your tour begins, use the Rick Steves Belgium: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Flemish (although many locals speak English well), and get over your jet lag with fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Ghent that we will not be doing as a group (see the guidebook for details): Gravensteen Castle; Design Museum; Fine Arts Museum; or Ghent City Museum.

Staying on after the tour ends? Amsterdam is a city of museums and you can find one to suit every taste. We'll see the biggies together, but you may also want to check out the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam History Museum or Dutch Resistance Museum. Consider touring an elegant 17th-century canal house or see what it would be like to live in one of the many canal boats. You may wish to take a short day trip to explore more of the Netherlands. Renting a bike is easy and the countryside is not far away. Haarlem is a charming town to visit....a pleasant half-day trip by bike or an easy 30-minute train ride away.

Packing

The Low Countries are aptly named and the lack of elevation means that wind often blows off of the North Sea. It is a good idea to bring a waterproof wind breaker and lightweight clothes for layering.

For advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.