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  • Ghent
  • Belgian Chocolate Tasting
  • Bruges Canals
  • Delft
  • Spring Flowers in Holland
  • Canal bridge, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Amsterdam's Gabled Houses
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
  • Pickled Herring!

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Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days Tour

from $3,395 per person + air

Single Supplement $925

See Dates & Prices

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

Dates & Prices

2022

    • Mar 28–Apr 7 (Mo–Th)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

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    • Mar 30–Apr 9 (We–Sa)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 6–Apr 16 (We–Sa)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 9–Apr 19 (Sa–Tu)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 11–Apr 21 (Mo–Th)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 13–Apr 23 (We–Sa)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 20–Apr 30 (We–Sa)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer and Enjoy King's Day in Amsterdam

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    • Apr 23–May 3 (Sa–Tu)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 25–May 5 (Mo–Th)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Visits Keukenhof Gardens in lieu of Aalsmeer Flower Auction

    Join Waitlist
    • May 16–May 26 (Mo–Th)
    • $3,395 + Air

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    • May 23–Jun 2 (Mo–Th)
    • $3,395 + Air

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    • Jun 15–Jun 25 (We–Sa)
    • $3,395 + Air

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    • Jun 29–Jul 9 (We–Sa)
    • $3,395 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Sep 7–Sep 17 (We–Sa)
    • $3,395 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Sep 14–Sep 24 (We–Sa)
    • $3,395 + Air

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What's Included

You'll get at least 18 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our Belgium & Holland tour:

  • Ghent canal cruise
  • Ghent walking tour
  • St. Bavo's Cathedral
  • Ghent Museum of Industry
  • Flanders Fields WWI sites
  • Bruges walking tour
  • Bruges Memling Museum
  • Chocolate demonstration and tasting
  • Bruges Museum Pass
  • Belgian brewery tour and tasting
  • Deltaworks and Maeslant sea barrier
  • Delft walking tour
  • Delft Old and New Churches
  • Delftware demonstration
  • Aalsmeer Flower Auction
  • Historic Amsterdam tour
  • Anne Frank House
  • Rijksmuseum

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • 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 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
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2022
  • 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 your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Belgium

Our adventure begins in medieval Ghent. We'll gather at our hotel at 4 p.m. for an introduction meeting, then hop aboard a fun and informative canal cruise through the city. Our evening ends with a traditional Belgian dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Boat: 1 hour. No bus. Sleep in Ghent.

Day 2: The Medieval Masterpiece of Ghent

This morning we'll meet with a local expert for a walking tour of the historic center of Ghent. Together we'll visit soaring St. Bavo's Cathedral, home to Van Eyck's sublime altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, which was stolen and hidden by the Nazis during World War II. We'll also visit the city's newly restored Museum of Industry. Housed in an old cotton mill, this interactive museum weaves through Ghent's history as an international powerhouse in the textile industry. Your afternoon and evening are free for more exploring at your leisure.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in Ghent.

Day 3: Flanders Fields and Beautiful Bruges

Today we'll meet our driver and board our bus for a 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 American Cemetery, 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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Bruges.

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 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 brewery tour 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.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in Bruges.

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.

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). No bus. Sleep in Bruges.

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 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.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Delft.

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 to take a short tram ride to The Hague — where you can view paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Rubens at the Mauritshuis — or travel back to an 1880 seaside at the Panorama Mesdag.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Delft.

Day 8: Tulips, Countryside, and Bustling Amsterdam

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 on our way into Amsterdam. Upon arrival, we'll dodge bicycles and hipsters on our neighborhood orientation walk, as we adjust to the pace of this progressive world capital. We'll end our day with a traditional rijsttafel dinner together.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Amsterdam.

Day 9: Vibrant and Historic Amsterdam

This morning, we'll get chummy with Amsterdam's gabled houses, bridges, and canals while learning why the Golden Age glimmered so brightly here. We'll take a historic tour 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. The rest of the day is yours to tackle any number of Amsterdam's wonderful museums.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Amsterdam.

Day 10: Amsterdam's Art

We'll start the day with a thrill: getting up-close and personal with the Dutch masters 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 meet for our farewell dinner, where we'll share memories and toast new friends. Proost!

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Amsterdam.

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!

 

*Reserve a time before you leave the US

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

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 (possibly several blocks), 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

Gregory

Milwaukee, WI

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it all and learned so much! Rich culture, history, food and beer! The four cities that we stayed in were all charming and full of character.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the storm surge barrier in Zeeland."

Elizabeth

Milwaukee, WI

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, a perfect balance of history, art, architecture, culture, and beauty. I love the variety of sites visited and the local guides are phenomenal. I also liked when Nico would talk on the bus and give us a personal perspective of his country and politics and modern culture. Good food but not quite as good as food on the Italy or France tours (hard to compete with those!)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the storm surge barrier. It was completely unique and different from anything I've ever seen in Europe or in the US. It's absolutely a modern marvel and we were able to get so close to it! I'm still in awe of the engineering."

When To Go & Weather

Any time between April and September is a good time to take a Heart of Belgium & Holland tour. However, the months of April, May, and September are best for offering generally good weather, lighter crowds, and the full range of tourist fun. April and early May are also the best time to catch flowers in bloom.

Belgium / Brussels

Belgium Weather


Holland / Amsterdam

Holland Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying in the Documents section of your tour account.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Brussels (BRU) and out of Amsterdam (AMS) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. It's a 1 to 1½ -hour train ride from the Brussels airport to Ghent (where the tour begins). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves guidebook.