Route: Self-driving Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg
Duration:8 days / 7 nights
Countries Visited: Amsterdam - De Haar Castle - Liège - Bastogne - Luxembourg city - Namur - Brussels - Gent - Bruges - Antwerp - Delft - The Hague - Amsterdam
Introduce: Getting around Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg is a snap, but deciding what to take in and what to leave out is difficult. This itinerary will help you organize your time as you plan your own trip to Benelux. Taken together, the Benelux nations of Belgium, Holland (the Netherlands), and Luxembourg cover a small area, a mere 75,000 sq. kilometers (29,000 sq. miles) -- around one-fifth the size of neighboring Germany, and not much larger than West Virginia. But arguably, no other comparably sized place in Europe compresses so many points of interest. Topping the list are artistic masterpieces, cultural events, and substantial reminders of a long and colorful history. Space remains for scenery that, while mostly lacking in drama, can still be lyrically beautiful. Then there are the more mundane (but agreeable) advantages of convenience, economy, and friendly populations, not to mention a host of other travel delights -- the exquisite food and drink of Brussels, the exuberant sociability of Amsterdam, and Luxembourg's sidewalk cafes.
Route: Self-driving Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg
Fall in love with this relaxed and friendly city, where everyone speaks English and are most pleasing and helpful. Amsterdam is best explored by foot or bicycle, which can be easily and cheaply rented throughout the city. From its canals to world-famous museums and historical sights, it is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe. Shop at the Waterlloplein flea market and experience the aromas of the floating flower market. Wander through narrow streets and find interesting shops selling antiques and books. Throughout the day relax in one of the many cafes, and you can find great dining at the many restaurants scattered throughout the city. Service is very friendly and helpful in suggesting local specialties. Try the Indonesian rice dishes, very typical of Amsterdam, or the country’s many cheeses or smoked fish.
Today take a canal cruise in a glass topped boat, which is a great way to see the city and some of the tours are hop-on-hop-off so you can use the tour to get around town. Alongside the canal visit the Anne Frank House where teenage wartime diarist Ann Frank hid with her family from Nazi persecution, and is now preserved as a museum. The Rijksmuseum is the Dutch national museum with a large collection of paintings of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters. The Van Gogh Museum has much of the great man’s life on display and is the largest collection of his paintings and drawings in the world.
Pick up your car and drive to the little village of Haarzuilens, to the west of Utrecht. Here pay a visit to the fairy-tale De Haar Castle surrounded by a large park. Its interior is luxuriously decorated with a large collection of valuable antiques from all over the world. Your journey now takes you to Liege in Belgium. Walk through the old city center and discover the traffic-free alleys and shopping streets. Continue your journey as you drive to Bastogne, Belgium, where the Porte de Treves, part of the defensive walls erected in the 14th century, can still be seen. Drive through the stunning Petrusse Valley and to the city of Luxembourg for your two-night stay, where you will find an abundance of fine restaurants.
Luxembourg has a unique charm with its ancient battlements, cobbled streets, historical buildings and museums blending with contemporary boutiques and outdoor cafés. With parks and gardens spilling out from the Old Town it makes an ideal walking city. At the center of Luxembourg’s Old Town is a tree-lined pedestrian square, the Place d’Armes. The Grand-Ducal Palace, originally built as the Town Hall in the 16th century, was adopted by the Luxembourg royal family in the 19th century.
From Luxembourg cross the border back into Belgium and drive through the wonderful scenery of the Ardennes with its winding roads, tranquil lakes and sparkling streams. Nestled in its valleys are fine old country inns and pretty little towns where you can sample some of the area’s gastronomic delights. Arrive at the scenic city of Namur located on the banks of the rivers Mense and Sambra. Drive to Waterloo, which is one of the world’s most famous battlefields and the scene of Napolean’s defeat by the Duke of Wellington. Leave Waterloo for the vibrant atmosphere of Brussels, where we have arranged for your overnight stay. Brussels is a city of medieval narrow streets, lively squares, beautiful boulevards, impressive monuments, spacious parks, cozy cafés and interesting restaurants. Medieval Grand-Place is indeed grand, with many 17th century buildings and daily flower markets. Architecture fans should visit Musee Horta, home of Belgian master architect Victor Horta. Near the Town Hall you will see another Brussels landmark, the Manneken Pis.
From Brussels drive to the ancient city of Ghent, with its quaint cobbled streets, winding canals, and over 900 listed buildings. The city center is a showcase of medieval Flemish wealth and commercial success. It is also the flower city of Belgium as flower growers from the region around Ghent sell their beautiful begonias and azaleas all over the world. Your drive continues to the cobbled streets of Bruges. This splendid medieval city is one of Belgium’s crown jewels, unique in its feel and look. The historic center’s pedestrian-only streets are filled with Gothic spires and displays. The friendly residents will impress you with their enthusiasm to show their city’s sights. Continue your journey to the cosmopolitan city of Antwerp for your overnight stay. Famous for its diamond cutting centers and its harbor, one of the largest in the world, Antwerp was the home of Rubens and has a wealth of outstanding museums and art galleries. There are fashionable shops, restaurants offering superb Belgium and multicultural food, and many pubs.
Leave Belgium for one of Holland’s prettiest cities, Delft. Best known for its blue and white porcelain it is also one of Holland’s historical centers and home to the Dutch royal family. Its relaxing atmosphere can be due to the city’s center (with its pretty winding canals) which can be crossed in a mere 10 minutes. From Delft your journey takes you to The Hague, home of all foreign embassies and government ministries. Among some of the city’s museums and cultural institutions is the Madurodam–a miniature city containing hundreds of scale-models of Dutch landmarks in a typical Dutch miniature landscape. Your journey ends as you arrive back in Amsterdam for your overnight stay.
Return Rental Car and depart Amsterdam
Group size：minimum 2 persons
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