European river cruise

Tauck - Belgium & Holland in Spring

8 Day Belgium & Holland in Spring

Belgium & Holland in Spring

Days: 8

From: Brussels to Amsterdam

Countries Visited: Belgium, Holland

Code: belg

Our Price (from): $5,890 pp

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1. Arrive Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tour begins at 4:00 PM in Brussels. A transfer is included from Brussels Airport directly to your riverboat, where embarkation begins at 4:00 PM. Settle in aboard ship and then meet your fellow river cruisers this evening at a welcome cocktail reception followed by dinner. Stay Seven Nights: Aboard MS Espirit or MS Grace

2. Antwerp, Belgium
Morning guided sightseeing today in Brussels, Belgium's capital and a key center of European trade and culture since the 13th century, begins with a city tour that takes in the Atomium, a 338-foot-tall structure resembling atoms, built for the 1958 World's Fair and winds up at Grand-Place, one of Europe's loveliest city squares, boasting a Gothic town hall surrounded by Renaissance-era guildhalls. Return to the riverboat for lunch; enjoy a chocolatier demonstration as you cruise to Antwerp this evening.

3. Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp is Belgium's second largest city, the capital of the province of Flanders, also known as the Low Countries, where Dutch is the official language. Go on an orientation tour of the city and take a guided walk through the historic center. As you stroll along the cobbled streets, hearing stories and insights from your local guide, discover Grote Markt, the old market square... the lavishly decorated Flemish Renaissance City Hall... and numerous restored merchants' houses, harkening back to the days of the 16th-century Age of Exploration when Antwerp - at the time a powerful center of international commerce - was the richest city in Europe.

You'll also visit the Red Star Line Museum; the interactive exhibits in the former warehouses of the Red Star Line shipping company tell the story of the more than two million immigrants from all over Europe whose long journey to a new life in North America began here at the Red Star Line headquarters in Antwerp. After lunch onboard, enjoy a brewery tour and some free time in Antwerp; sail on to Maastricht in the Netherlands.

4. Maastricht, Netherlands
One of the Netherlands' oldest cities, Maastricht is said to contain more than 1,400 historic buildings and monuments dating back to the 13th century. An Old Town walking tour with your local guide this morning takes you to the remains of the city's medieval fortifications and Helpoort, a steep-roofed gateway built in 1229. Look for hidden alleys and gracious squares. On beautiful cobblestoned Vrijthof Square, visit the Museum aan het Vrijthof, set within the 16th-century Spanish Government House, where Spanish kings used to stay when they visited Maastricht. Focusing on the decorative arts and crafts that have flourished in this city of artisans for 500 years, the museum's collection includes paintings, silver, pistols, furniture, and timepieces. See period rooms that create a vision of how the Dutch lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Then get ready for an experience that is sure to be a highlight of your river cruise, a Tauck Exclusive lunch in the Roman grottoes of 17th-century Château Neercanne, a terraced castle with scenic views and Baroque gardens. The castle is right on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium, so you can literally walk from one country into the other. Enjoy a tantalizing culinary presentation capped off by a fabulous meal. Following lunch you'll depart and make a poignant visit to the village of Margraten and the Netherlands American Cemetery, the only cemetery for fallen US World War II troops in the Netherlands.

5. Ghent, Belgium
Spend the morning cruising west through Belgium along the Albert Canal and on into Zeeland, the Dutch province in the southwestern corner of the Netherlands, on the North Sea; relaxing onboard your riverboat is the perfect way to take in the changing scene. Your ship arrives in the port city of Terneuzen midday. Disembark for your choice of excursions this afternoon. One possibility is a visit to the historic city of Ghent, arguably Belgium's most beautiful city, for an old town walking tour; the pedestrian-friendly cobblestoned town center feels like an outdoor museum of early Flemish architecture. Think about climbing to the top of the 14th-century belfry, crowned with a dragon, for the view - Ghent laid out before you is a visual feast of castles, churches, and historic merchants' houses.

Be sure to try the local speciality, Ghent noses, a traditional raspberry candy sold at stands on the street - or a warm waffle with sugar or honey. Your other possibility for the afternoon is a visit to Bruges, known to many as "the Venice of the North," for its canals and tiny medieval streets. On your walking tour in cobblestoned Bruges, you'll feel like you've walked into a town in a fairy tale, or a painting by Van Eyck, who captured life in Bruges during its heyday. The hike up the stairs of the medieval belltower is well worth the effort; you'll be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views. After dinner onboard your riverboat, a classical music group performs for you; the ship sets a course for Dordrecht tonight.

6. Dordrecht, Netherlands
Dock today in Dordrecht, an island city bordering five rivers in the province of South Holland. The Dutch word for harbor is haven - and in Dordrecht the harbor quarter by happy coincidence lives up to the English definition of haven. Filled with charm, many of the quarter's historic warehouses, merchants' mansions, and quays are nicely intact. On a walking tour you'll discover Dordrecht's notable architecture and monuments in its medieval inner city and the surrounding ring of 19th-century buildings.

After lunch on your riverboat, you're off to the nearby village of Kinderdijk, where 19 original windmills create an iconic polderscape that's better than any picture postcard - nowhere else in the world can you see so many windmills together in an authentic setting like this. Discover how a windmill works both inside and out, and learn about the life of a miller and the quintessentially Dutch history of windmills. Enjoy some local entertainment aboard your riverboat tonight.

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Awaken on your riverboat today in Amsterdam - a vibrant blend of the historic and the contemporary, from its medieval core and 17th-century canals to the bustling shops, cafés and rich cosmopolitan life of a 21st-century European metropolis. After breakfast aboard ship, go ashore for an excursion to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the home of famous show gardens and millions of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, in various stages of bloom and particularly beautiful at this time of the year. A rolling carpet of color, Keukenhof is one of Europe's most iconic - and fragrant - places to witness springtime in all its glory.

Return to the riverboat in Amsterdam for lunch, then set off on some guided exploration of this nearly car-free city of flower-rimmed canals, gracious gabled mansions, and people on bikes - first, on a boat cruise through the network of centuries-old canals at the core of the old city, that offers a refreshing perspective of the Netherlands' capital city. As you'll discover, Amsterdam boasts more canals than Venice... and, as it happens, more museums per kilometer than any other European capital. One of the most famous is the matchless Rijksmuseum - filled with myriad works by the Dutch Masters, including Rembrandt's The Night Watch and Vermeer's The Milkmaid - which you'll visit this afternoon with a local guide. Head back to your riverboat for your final night aboard ship; the crew will bid you a warm farewell at a shipboard reception this evening, followed by dinner onboard.

8. Depart Enkhuizen / Hoorn / Alkmaar
Tour ends: Amsterdam. Fly home anytime; a transfer from your riverboat to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Centraal Train Station is included. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport. For additional nights in Amsterdam after the cruise - or in Brussels pre-cruise - ask at booking.

Dates & Prices

Cruise Starts
Cruise Ends
Brochure Price
Our Price

09 Apr 2019
16 Apr 2019
MS Grace

11 Apr 2019
18 Apr 2019
MS Treasures

14 Apr 2019
21 Apr 2019
MS Esprit

25 Apr 2019
02 May 2019
MS Treasures

28 Apr 2019
05 May 2019
MS Esprit