• Rick Steves' Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days Tour, Day by Day

    One of Rick Steves' best tours is also the most easily overlooked. The Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days is rich with colorful gardens, peaceful canals, delicious food, heavenly beers, Vermeers, Rembrandts, and a sense of history that's second to none. Follow this little day by day slideshow (starting with this friendly flowermonger posing for photographer Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli) and you'll see what we mean!

  • Day 1: Welcome to Belgium

    Our adventure begins in medieval Ghent. We'll gather at our hotel at 3:30 p.m., then start things off with an informative and fun canal cruise followed by a walking tour, getting an intimate introduction of the historic center of Ghent. Our evening ends with a traditional Belgian dinner together. (Photo by Rick Steves)

  • Day 2: Historic Brussels

    This morning we'll hop on a train and head to Belgium's capital city. We'll 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 free time for lunch and discoveries of your own before we regroup for a guided tour of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, home to dazzling Flemish and Belgian masterpieces. (Photo by Rick Steves)

  • Flanders Fields, Belgium

    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. 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. (Photo by Cameron Hewitt)

  • 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 the masterpieces of the Hans Memling Museum. Our afternoon continues with a visit to one of Bruges' oldest chocolatiers, 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. (Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Canalside bike ride, Bruges, Belgium

    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. (Photo by Rick Steves)

  • 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. (Photo by Dominic Cameron Hewitt)

  • 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. (Photo by Cameron Hewitt)

  • 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 are off to visit one of the Netherlands open-air museums, a cultural journey into the past to experience first-hand, the Dutch maritime tradition. After lunch, we'll make our way to Amsterdam, where we'll take an orientation walk and enjoy a traditional rijsttafel dinner together. (Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • 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. (Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    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, with your included museum pass. This evening we'll enjoy our farewell dinner, where we'll share memories and toast new friends. Proost! (Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Hotel staff at breakfast, Haarlem, Netherlands

    Day 11: Tour Over After Breakfast

    Amsterdam is well-located for your flight home — or for continuing your European adventure on your own by plane, train, or car. But first, be sure to enjoy a healthy breakfast. Tot ziens! (Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

    Learn more about the Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days Tour.