Belgium & Holland, Cobblestones and Windmills

10 days only $6,037 per person

  • Leisurely 2, 3 and 4 night stays
  • Small group size from just 10 to 28
  • Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
  • Character hotels in superb locations
  • Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
  • 'My Time' guaranteed

Tour Overview

From medieval towns to quaint cobblestoned villages, delve deeper to discover the hidden treasures of Belgium and Holland. Cruise down canals, walk through fields of tulips, relax in beautiful town squares amongst ornate gabled merchant houses and explore fishing villages and windmills. And in May, tulips bloom at the colourful Keukenhof Flower Festival!

Highlights

 

  • Enjoy a walking tour of historic Brussels including the Grand-Place
  • Sample chocolate in the beautiful Galeries Royales
  • Stay 3 nights in the heart of gorgeous Ghent
  • Visit the Waterloo Battlefield, 1815 Museum, the Lion’s Mound and the 360-degree Panorama Painting
  • Relax on a boat ride through Ghent’s delightful canals before dinner in a local restaurant
  • Explore Ypres and witness the moving ‘Last Post’ under the Menin Gate
  • 2 May departure will include the incredible Keukenhof Tulip and Flower Festival (instead of Het Loo Royal Gardens)
  • Take a cruise through Rotterdam’s enormous port and visit the incredible Market Hall
  • Visit the gardens and stables of the Dutch Royal Palace of Het Loo
  • Enjoy your farewell dinner in the delightful red and white shuttered ‘toy house’ Dutch village of Haarzuilens

 

Special Keukenhof Flower Festival departures

 
Keukenhof Flower festival is one of the world’s major flower events. Spanning 8 weeks in April and May, 7 million flowers of all sorts, shapes and colours are magically displayed across 32 hectares – it is utter Tulipomania!
 

Come join us on our special 2 May departure!

 
Please note: on this special 2 May departure we will visit the Keukenhof Flower Festival instead of Het Loo Royal Gardens. The day to day itinerary has therefore been slightly adjusted so we can visit the Aalsmeer flower
market and Keukenhof Flower Festival all on one ‘blooming amazing’ day.

Belgium & Holland, Cobblestones and Windmills Tour

Message from the Mo

It’s not just about the Clogs and cheese!

Planning and researching this tour was thirsty work. Duty befell on me to thoroughly test the local Belgian beer to see how it matched the plate of moules et frites (mussels and chips) - the sacrifices I make, but someone had to do it! Tasked as I was, I was happy because I was sitting in a quaint canal-side café in a gorgeous, cobblestoned square in Ghent, surrounded by ornate gabled merchant houses. ‘My Time’, and it was heavenly. That is why we
include a three night stay here - to guarantee that you too could sit here with ‘My Time’ enjoying your favourite tipple. Add to this a further four night stay in Utrecht, near Amsterdam, and we have a great itinerary with a perfect touring balance. Easy paced - the ‘Albatross Way’ – yet packed with great visits, quality sightseeing without the rush, making sure we do these two countries the justice they deserve.
 
Both these glorious countries once  commanded trading empires that spanned the globe, and the massive wealth they generated built gorgeous cities and palaces, spawned artistic movements, and their unique, rich and progressive cultures hugely influenced Europe through centuries. Yet these two tiny countries – Belgium and Holland – are so readily ignored by international travellers who often just whizz through. What a shame. Sure, there are lots of clogs and canals, the cheese tastes great and windmills are iconic, but there is so much more to discover... to feel… to savour. And that is what we do. Yes, we tick off the major sights, but with our longer stays we get to see so many other attractive places, and a big plus is our quality ‘My Time’ to take absolute pleasure in them! Moules anyone?

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Brussels welcome

Your tour commences this evening in Belgium’s cosmopolitan capital city, Brussels. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner in a local restaurant. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
Meals:
D
Hotel:
Hotel Amigo

Day 2: Brussels Grand Place and Galeries Royales

This morning we are joined by a local guide who takes us on a walking tour through the old city. From the Grand Place - Grote Markt, with its dominating tower, surrounded by beautiful 300-year-old buildings, we take you to the famous Manneken Pis & Jeanneke Pis, to Mary’s Chocolate shop in the beautiful Galeries Royales – a timepiece shopping centre recently nominated for UNESCO Heritage inclusion. After a tasting of Mary’s famous chocolate, the rest of the day is free. This evening make sure you stroll back to the Grand Place, which is right on your hotel doorstep; the evening illuminations are delightful. Time to discover your own
restaurant or lively pub in the nearby, winding cobblestoned streets.
Meals:
B

Day 3: Waterloo and a boat ride through Ghent

We spend the morning outside of Brussels on the site of the Battle of Waterloo. We have included entrance to all three major attractions that commemorate the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. For the energetic, take the stairs to the top of the Lion’s Mound topped by a massive cast iron lion. At the foot of the mound is the Rotunda with its huge 360 degree painting of the final battle. There is also a brilliant underground museum, filled with colourful uniforms, memorabilia of the time and a brilliant cinematic battle re-enactment.
 
Early afternoon we arrive into the glorious city of Ghent, where we stay the next three nights. On arrival, a local guide will take us on a walking tour through this wonderful, historic city. 
 
Between the 11th and 16th centuries Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe. The 900-year-old Castle of the Counts and the Graslei and Korenlei (Grass and Corn) riverside quays are surrounded by beautifully ornate, gabled merchant’s houses that are evidence of the massive wealth this trading city generated.
 
In St Bavo's Cathedral you will find the famous 15th century ‘Ghent Altarpiece’, attributed to the van Eyck brothers. The Belfort (Belfry tower) is the tallest in Belgium. Scattered around the old town are alfresco cafés, lively bars and restaurants. Perfect for your ‘My Time’. Late afternoon, we have included a short boat cruise along the canal, followed by dinner in a local restaurant.
Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof

Day 4: Ypres, Flanders Fields and Menin Gate

Your morning is free – ‘My Time’ to enjoy the beauty of Ghent. Your afternoon will be fascinating as we are joined by a specialist military historian who will immerse us into the battlefields, heartbreak and drama  that was the infamous Passchendaele. We have included entrance to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum, with its amazing exhibits and replica trenches. We will also visit the pivotal sites and cemeteries including Tyne Cot, with its endless lines of white grave stones and the 5th Australian Division Memorial at Polygon Wood. Contrasting this we pay our respects at the German war cemetery at Langemark, which sits in the shadows of old oak trees.
 
Later you will have free time to explore the beautiful town of Ypres. Completely flattened in WW1, it has been lovingly re-built, exactly the way it was. The Cloth Hall, lording it over the main square, is an incredible piece of Gothic architecture. In the evening we will join the crowds gathering under the Menin Gate to witness the soulful, sounding of the Last Post, which is still commemorated every night. It will be one of the most moving experiences as you listen to… no… feel the haunting bugle echoing around and above you in the towering Menin Gate, whilst surrounded by the engraved names of 53,000 Commonwealth Soldiers – young men and boys, who died in just Belgium alone, and all who sadly have ‘no known grave’. Later, we return to Ghent.
Meals:
B

Day 5: Delightful Bruges

A very leisurely start. Late morning, we visit the ‘Venice of the North’ - Bruges. So named because Bruges is riddled with canals, bridges and quiet back streets. On arrival we are joined by a local guide for a walking tour around the quaint and picturesque cobblestoned centre. Later, take time to relax in one of the pavement cafés on the glorious old market square. This evening, back in Ghent, your evening is free amongst the
cafes, lively bars and restaurants near your hotel.
Meals:
B

Day 6: 3 massive dykes and Rotterdam port cruise

Heading into the Netherlands we take the dramatic western route – a fascinating journey across three enormous dykes that form Holland’s incredible Delta Project. The first one, the Peilerdam, is an astonishing 9 kms long, and our journey takes us along the actual top of the enormous flood barriers that hold back the North Sea. An extraordinary engineering achievement! On the second dyke, Brouwersdam, we will make a mid-morning coffee stop beside the broad sandy beach. On a windy day there are literally hundreds of kite surfers in action offshore.
 
Reaching the dynamic city of Rotterdam, we board a cruise boat to follow the river with its city sights and gigantic, modern port – the world’s biggest. Lunchtime will be spent at leisure in the ultra-modern design Market Hall. The giant curved ceiling is one enormous mural of painted flowers, colourful butterflies, fruit and vegetables. Beneath are dozens of specialist food stalls, gourmet eateries and shops.
 
Late afternoon we reach the historical city of Utrecht where we stay our final four nights. Utrecht is often called ‘Amsterdam without the crowds’. Beautiful, with canals, narrow gabled merchant houses, and humped back bridges it makes a superb base for our unique ‘hub and spoke’ style touring. After settling into our hotel, your Tour Manager will accompany you on a stroll into the quaint old town, to a local restaurant where we have included dinner.
 
*17 August departure stays 4 nights at the 4 star Hotel Mitland Utrecht
Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Grand Hotel Karel V

Day 7: Amsterdam cruise and ‘My Time’

We will spend the day in nearby Amsterdam. First up we board a glass roofed canal boat for a cruise through this amazing city. Later we are joined by a local guide who will take us by coach and on foot around all the major city landmarks. Your afternoon is entirely free to relax, with ‘My Time’ to shop, explore and visit some of the many world class museums. Your evening will be free back in Utrecht amongst the canal side cafés and restaurants, all so close to your hotel.
Meals:
B

Day 8: Flowers, cheese and windmills

An early start as we visit the Aalsmeer Flower Market. Here you will see the speed of a genuine Dutch Auction as millions of flowers are bought and sold, and then speedily shipped across Europe. Walking on a raised gantry right down the middle of this massive market warehouse you will be astounded by its sheer size and buzzing energy. From above, you will watch the amazing daily dispatching process - thousands of crates and containers of gorgeous flowers and blooms of every variety are whisked around on literally hundreds of electric ‘flower trains’ and forklift trucks.
 
Then it is off to explore Zaanse Schans. This historical ‘open air museum’ village was created by relocating and preserving 18th and 19th century wooden houses, barns, workshops, and of course a number of giant windmills! So much to see and enjoy. Perhaps visit the cheese factory or have lunch in the Pancake Restaurant De Kraai – once an 18th century Zaan granary? Later we enjoy an afternoon stroll through the pretty fishing port of Volendam.
Meals:
B

Day 9: Het Loo Royal Gardens and De Haar Castle

This morning we will visit the gardens and stables of the Dutch Royal Palace of Het Loo. This afternoon, after ‘My Time’ relaxing back in historical Utrecht, we will visit the nearby moated castle of De Haar Castle. In a simply stunning setting, this gem of a palace is set romantically amongst waterways, parklands and beautiful gardens. Just around the corner, we also visit the quaint Dutch village of Haarzuilens. With traditional white and red painted window shutters you get the feeling you are strolling through a village of toy houses. Here we enjoy our farewell dinner.
Meals:
B
D

Day 10: To Amsterdam

Your tour ends today after breakfast with a morning group transfer to Amsterdam airport and city centre. We recommend you book flights that depart Amsterdam after midday. Interested in joining our superb Rhine Castles, Moselle Vineyards and Ancient Cologne tour? It’s easy as selected departures start right here in Amsterdam, this very evening.
Meals:
B

Incredible Value Inclusions

 

Over $1,000 value of extras already included

  • ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
  • Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
  • Travel in a first-class air-conditioned touring coach
  • 9 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
  • Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • 13 Meals – including breakfast daily (B) and 4 dinners (D)
  • Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
  • Welcome drink in Brussels
  • Hand Selected Albatross Experiences – special boat rides in Ghent, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Waterloo museums, special Flanders Fields tour, Aalsmeer Flower market and Zaanse Schans historical windmill village
  • Local guides as described in the itinerary
  • ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
  • Personal audio system whilst on tour
  • Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
  • Albatross Tours App
  • Albatross Memories Photobook

NO additional ‘on tour’ costs!

Your Hotels

Hotel Amigo, Brussels - 2 nights

This 5 star, luxury hotel is a part of the exclusive Rocco Forte group. Set in a Heritage building (it was once a prison!), its location is absolutely unbeatable, being less than 100 metres, along a pedestrian walkway, directly into the glorious Grand Place.

Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof, Ghent - 3 nights

Recently renovated, this stylish, grand, 4 star hotel is brilliantly located just 500 metres from the historic centre of town. Set in a restored 18th century historical building, this delightful hotel makes a perfect
base for our stay over the next 3 nights.

Grand Hotel Karel V, Utrecht - 4 nights

 
This superb 5 star hotel is uniquely located right in the very heart of the city, in the museum quarter, within easy walking distance, along the pedestrianised streets, to all the character cafés, al fresco restaurants, bars and shops. Founded as a monastery in the 14th century, and once home to knights, the Karel is a quiet, urban retreat with its own café gardens.

Dates and Prices

Start Date End Date Price Per Person Guaranteed to Depart Availability
2 May 2020 11 May 2020 NZD $6,037
NZD $5,737
Space Available
10 Jun 2020 19 Jun 2020 NZD $6,037
NZD $5,737
Space Available
7 Jul 2020 16 Jul 2020 NZD $6,037
NZD $5,737
Space Available
17 Aug 2020 26 Aug 2020 NZD $6,037
NZD $5,737
Space Available
1 Sep 2020 10 Sep 2020 NZD $6,037
NZD $5,737
Space Available

Book Early and SAVE!

SAVE $300 per person when you book and deposit by 31 October 2019. That's a saving of $600 per couple! Further discounts may also apply.

Club Albatross

Have you travelled with Albatross Tours previously? Save $200 on our European Summer and Oberammergau tours (over 8 days) or $100 on our Festive tours.

No Additional 'On Tour' Costs

Over $100 value of extras per day are already included. There are no additional 'on tour' costs - even your end of tour tips are included!