Tulip Time in the Netherlands
On this flower-filled trip which focuses mainly in the Holland portion of the Netherlands, you’ll stay in the quaint royal city of Delft with its tiny picturesque canals. You’ll explore the country’s capital, the Hague, and the ancient town of Haarlem as well as the more financially focused city of Rotterdam, all of which hold unique hidden charms. The biggest mistake people make when they first go to the Netherlands is they don’t venture outside of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities and if you haven’t been it will surely capture your heart, but the true Netherlands lies just outside the city’s ring road.
We’ll stay for our first 3 nights in Amsterdam and later we’ll venture out of the country for one day to get our fix of great Belgian fashion designers in Antwerp. Plus, we’ll set out into the Dutch countryside to take a deep breath of North Sea air, taste the freshest of local fish and bike through the flower fields in bloom, passing a windmill or two – an awe-inspiring sight you’ll never, ever forget. Why not take a virtual trip of the Dutch flower fields right now!
Arrive in Amsterdam early morning. Check into the centrally located Hoxton Hotel which is right on the Herengracht canal in central Amsterdam. Meet up at 3pm for the Anne Frank House trip (alternate options available if you’ve already been, such as a visit to Oude Kerk).
This afternoon we’ll enjoy a unique art-focused Canal Trip curated by the Rijksmuseum where we’ll see Rembrandt’s home and the place where he painted the Nightwatchman.
Tonight we’ll try some typical Dutch cheese and snacks washed down by a local beer or two at one of the historic, traditional brown bars in town such as the The Oosterling which dates back to the 1800’s.
We rise early today to head to the flower auction which begins at 7am. During this visit we’ll learn how the global flower trade actually works. Everyday, 20 million flowers are bought and sold at this auction from locations as far away as Kenya and Columbia. After, we’ll carry on with a visit to the Flower Art Museum; both are located in nearby Aalsmeer.
Head back to our hotel for a late morning nap.
You can’t come to Amsterdam and not see the illustrious Van Gogh Museum. Here we’ll wander around the refurbished museum and pick out which of his paintings are our favorites.
Jordaan is the hipster area of Amsterdam so we’ll set off on a shopping trip to scout some of the coolest stores in town.
After another rest back at our hotel, we’ll dine this evening on the classic Rijsttaffel, a medley of small plate dishes from Indonesia, something every self-respecting Dutchman or woman adores. Why Indonesian food in the Netherlands you ask? The Dutch colonized Indonesia, back when that was in vogue. Among mostly horrible things, the one good thing to come of this colonial era is the elaborate meal interpreted by the Dutch, a never-ending parade of small Indonesian inspired plates laid out to form a proper celebratory feast.
Today we’ll explore the Noordoostpolder Tulips Build Fields and meet with a tulip grower. We’ll have lunch at a nearby country cafe then stop at a pick-your-own tulip farm. Here we’ll also visit the historic and charming village of Blokzijl founded in 1580 which has a picturesque port and where traditional dress is sometimes still worn. After, we’ll ride just 15 minutes and find the picturesque village of the peat diggers, Geithoorn a famous canal water village.
On our way back to the city, if time allows, we’ll stop to trip one of the countries’most impressive castles, Muiderslot just outside of Amsterdam.
Back in town, you’ll be free to choose between a trip of the best florists in town and a stop at the world’s only floating flower market, the Bloemenmarkt, or alternately to go back to the hotel for a welcome rest, because this is your holiday!
Depending on who’s in town, we’ll have drinks with some local friends followed by a fabulous 5-course tasting menu at the warm and inviting Daalder restaurant.
Check-out and depart today for Delft, the former royal city of the Dutch King. On route we’ll stop and see the largest formal display of bulbs in Holland at the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, established back in the 15th century.
After,we’ll fill ourselves up on some lekkere broodjes (tasty sandwiches) at lunch in Leiden at Vloton the main canal. Right outside of Delft,if time allowswe’ll stop into the Royal Delft Factory, the only factory left producing authentic Delft tiles, vases and plates.
Then we’ll arrive at Delft proper, where we’ll check-in to Casa Julia*.
This afternoon in Delft, we’ll take a guided historical trip of this royal town, former home of the King, stopping when we can into an antique shop or two ending at one of Delft’s famous tea and cake spots.
Dinner at a classic Dutch place and favorite of the locals, Thuis.
Today we’ll cross the border into Belgium to soak in some of Antwerp’s chic fashion haunts. We’ll visit some of the iconic Belgian designers such as, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons and Martin Margiela.
Lunch today will be at Native, known for its seasonal organic food.
Later in the day we’ll stop into the small yet impressive botanical garden in the middle of Antwerp City which boast 2000 varieties of herbs.
Heading back into the Netherlands, we’ll arrive in Rotterdam where we’ll enjoy a meal of your choice at the Rotterdam Market Hall, a recently designed building by the firm MVRDV. The interior artwork which celebrates the diversity of plant life from flowers to fruits and vegetables was created by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. There is perhaps no more beautiful market building in the world. We’ll trip the huge market with its 100 purveyors and then we’ll split up. Tonight you can pick whatever you want for dinner from the eight restaurants at the market ranging from Japanese to Middle Eastern food, Italian or even Burgers.
Before heading out today, we’ll try poffertjes, delicious Dutch pancakes which you’ll find scrumptious.
This am we’ll head to Haarlem where we’ll visit the Windmill museum, which Molen De Adriaan originally built in the 18th century. We will also visit a few of the “hofjes”which are hidden throughout the city. The hofjes were an early way of caring for the elderly and the common trait they share is their lovely flower-filled courtyards.
Today we’ll lunch at the Grote Markt and try a stroopwafel for dessert. After our meal we’ll inspect the flower floats up close, which were part of a large flower parade the day before.
As the light lowers, we’ll end our day by biking from Haarlem to Noordwijk, along a scenic trail chock-a-block full of blooming tulip fields, stopping often to snap photos.
This evening we’ll start with Borrel (Dutch for drinks and snacks) and then move onto a proper meal at The Vermeertje a modern Dutch restaurant back in Delft town.
Today we’ll have a late check-out and a final stroll around Delft.
For lunch we’ll try herring or the catch of the day as we face the North Sea and dine at a very local spot on the harbor.
Our final day will be spent in the capital of the Netherlands, the Hague, where we’ll trip the town’s parliamentary buildings, the Binnenhof, which were originally built for the counts of Holland in the 13th century. These buildings are some of the oldest parliamentary buildings still in use in the world and one of the Netherlands’ top heritage sites.
Later, we’ll pop in to see the unspeakably famous painting, the Girl with Pearl Earring by Vermeer, as well as works by Rembrandt which are housed in the small but lovely Mauritshuis Museum.
Late afternoon we’ll arrive at the Airport hotel, the Citizen M** to depart later that evening or the next day, depending on your flight times.
Learn more about the Dutch here, from the charming website “Stuff Dutch People Like”.
**As some people might have late evening flights, this evening’s hotel will not be included. Rates run about $200 per room.
GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
NOTE -> Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.
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