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The following itinerary is an example of a possible route with various activities.
It can reorganized to fit your interests, budget and schedule. It can also be combined with any of the other programs on our website.
Arrive Amsterdam International airport and private transfer to your central hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Amsterdam - 1° Overnight
After breakfast in your hotel, explore "the city of canals" on your own (at leasure).
This morning we suggest you to take a guided tour of Amsterdam. You can visit Dam Square, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House outside, Coster Diamonds, the Bloemenmarkt (the world's only floating flower market), walk around the corner to the Spuiplein and enter the Begijnhof through a barely noticeable door. Take a peaceful stroll around this courtyard -- once home to the faithful Beguine order.
Take a canal cruise. This is a great way to get acquainted with the city. During your trip, you can also jot down a few places that you might want to visit later. Among the most famous canals there are the Prinsengracht, the Leidsegracht, the Herengracht with the houses of the rich merchants of the "Golden Age" - 17th century - who gave the start to the colonial adventure and the wealth of the city.
Amsterdam - 2° Overnight
On your third day in Amsterdam, take time for a dose of culture and dare to discover what lies on the other side of the water.
Start your day by diving into Amsterdam’s cultural scene. Visit one of the city’s most popular museums, like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum or Anne Frank House.
Weather permitting, grab lunch to go and enjoy it outside at one of Amsterdam’s many spacious parks, like the Vondelpark, Oosterpark, Westerpark, Sarphatipark or Amsterdamse Bos. If it’s chilly or rainy, have lunch at Hortus Botanicus café. Even in winter, the tropical greenhouses are a delight.
Finish your introduction to Amsterdam at a restaurant that serves traditional or modern Dutch cuisine.
Amsterdam - 3° Overnight
After breakfast at your hotel in Amsterdam, pick up your rental car and drive west to Haarlem, capital of the province of North Holland, and is only 15 minutes from Amsterdam. Dutch Haarlem dates back to gothic times and this is reflected in the architecture and cobbled streets, which make for splendid strolls.
Haarlem is at the center of the Dutch flower-growing district and is a main export point for flower bulbs. Not far from the famous Keukenhof gardens (Open from 24 March - 16 May 2016) and flower fields of Lisse and Hillegom, Haarlem is a great base for visitors to the Netherlands to see the tulips in full bloom.
After lunch, travel south to Gouda, the historic city in the province of South Holland, is known world-wide for its Gouda cheese, its candles and its delicious stroopwafels. But Gouda has much more to offer than that alone. Discover Gouda’s historic buildings such as the Sint Janskerk and the City Hall.
Subsequently, continue south until you reach The Hague (Den Haag) - the third largest city in the Netherlands. This is the seat of the country's government, and home to the Royal Family. It's also a city full of history, many splendid museums and art galleries, and countless entertainment opportunities.
We suggest to see the The Binnenhof, the Ridderzaal: The Knights' Hall, the Gothic Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk (Great St. James Church), The Peace Palace, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Scheveningen Resort and Kurhaus and the Haagse Bos and Huis ten Bosch.
The Hague is also a city of the arts, and was home to many prominent Dutch artists, no doubt attracted by the city's pleasant wide streets, elegant and spacious squares and promenades, and attractive residential suburbs.
Den Haag - 4° Overnight
After breakfast at your hotel in Den Haag, drive to Dreft. It lies on the River Schie between Rotterdam and The Hague, its picturesque Old Town ringed by canals and home to many churches and old houses.
In addition to being a university city, it has long been associated with trades and industry, in particular the manufacturing of Delftware, a world-famous form of pottery that has been around since the 17th century and is now experiencing a comeback (much of the town's most significant architecture dates from the 1700s when the pottery's popularity was at its peak).
In the evening the road leads to Rotterdam. The second largest city in the Netherlands. It's also the world's largest port, home to the massive Europoort facility through which so much freight passes on its way to and from the continent.
Although almost completely destroyed by German air attacks in 1940, central Rotterdam was energetically rebuilt after the war and re-planned with modern shopping streets, residential districts, and high-rises, making it one of the most modern and architecturally interesting cities in Europe.
Despite it's modernity, the city dates back to medieval times and was already prosperous by the 13th century when a dam was built to separate the Rotte from the Nieuwe Maas (hence the city's name).
Leaving Rotterdam behind, you will drive to the beautiful little village of Kinderdijk. It is situated on the River Noord just 23 kilometers east of Rotterdam Kinderdijk (the "children's dyke"). Taking its name from a famous legend that describes a baby's cradle being stranded here during the St. Elizabeth's Day flood of 1421.
Kinderdijk is one of the most visited places in the Netherlands thanks to its 19 perfectly preserved 18th-century windmills, each designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1722 and 1761, together they comprise the largest surviving concentration of windmills in the country, a history that's celebrated during special Mill Days when their sails are once again set in motion.
Kinderdijk area - 5° Overnight
Today travel north to Utrecht. It was built around the Dom tower, which you can see from any point in the city, so there is no way you can get lost in the attractive, car-free city centre. Utrecht boasts beautiful canals with extraordinary wharf cellars housing cafés and terraces by the water.
As well as the Dom tower, Utrecht boasts hundreds of other monuments that each contribute to the special atmosphere in this centuries-old university town.
The Utrecht city centre is small enough to explore on foot but big enough to entertain you for days with art and culture. The Rietveld Schröder Huis, Dick Bruna Huis, Catharijneconvent, Centraal Museum and Museum Speelklok are just a few of the many extraordinary places to visit.
If you want to immerse yourself in nature, go for a walk in the Wilhelminapark, Lepelenburg park and botanical gardens. Or simply go for a stroll along the canals embracing the city centre.
Continue driving north until to reach the medieval fortified town of Elburg. The massive city gate, the Vischpoort, introduces you in the village where is, in the center, the Gothic church of Sint Nicolaas of the XV century.
The nearby Kampen, an old Hanseatic city at the lower reaches of the river IJssel. Kampen has one of the best preserved old town centres of the Netherlands, including remains of the ancient city wall (of which three gates are still standing) and numerous churches. A walk along the pedestrian Oudestraat reveals picture-postcard views and culminates in the Town Hall Square, a late Gothic building of 1543.
Out of town through a modern bridge on the Ijssel river and, before arriving in Urk, now the largest fish market in the Netherlands, a deviation leads to Schokland, UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site, where a museum illustrates better than any other place the eternal struggle of the Dutch against the sea.
Last stop for today is Hindeloopen, an ancient fishing village, a handful of houses and taverns gathered around the small harbor whose waters reflects a typical wooden bell tower, retains a grace unchanged over time.
Workum - 6° Overnight
After your breakfast, drive north and just overcome Makkum, a medieval village and Workum famous for Royal Tichelaar Manufactures that produce porcelain since 1594, you will arrive at the dam of Afsluitdijk, a ribbon of asphalt suspended between the waters of the Ijsselmeer and those of the Waddenzee Sea, an arm of the North Sea.
On the opposite side you will enter in the North Holland. A few miles down the road among fields and farms lead to Enkhuizen. Here, witness of the splendor of the Golden Age of the Netherlands, there are the bourgeois residences with their severe facades behind which, in the halls of their hidden gardens, the merchants drank flavored wine in heavy silver tankards.
When the Zuiderzee was still connected to the North Sea, the adventurous travels of the Dutch East India Company started from the port of Hoorn. During the seventeenth century Dutch merchants and sailors became the rulers of the spice trade. The tower Hoofdtoren, which oversees the port for five centuries, is the backdrop to the magnificent boats laden with years and honors.
Later travel west, just eight kilometers from the North Sea - the charming town of Alkmaar boasts many fine architectural monuments and old guild-houses from the 16th to 18th centuries.
But the highlight of an excursion to this picturesque town in the province of North Holland is its world famous Cheese Market, one of the best-known tourist attractions in the Netherlands. Held every Friday in front of the town's Weigh-House in strict accordance with centuries-old traditions (the first such market was held here in the 1590s), it's a fascinating sight to watch as the square is covered with more than 23 tons of large, round Edam and Gouda cheeses.
Adding to the experience is watching the cheese-porters, dressed in white and wearing hats in the colors of their guild, carry sometimes as many as 80 Edam cheeses on cradle-like racks to be weighed.
Alkmaar - 7° Overnight
This morning reach the Zaanse Schans region, some 250 years ago, well over 600 windmills were cramped into this relatively small area of the Netherlands. Together they formed the first industrial site in the world. They performed a wide range of industrial duties, such as producing shelves, paint, mustard, oil and paper.
Today the windmills offer wonderful views, best seen from a boat tour on the Zaan river. You can also visit three of these age-old mills and have a look inside. It can’t get more Dutch than at Zaanse Schans.
Just a short drive inland eastwords you will reach to Edam, famous for the cheese with the same name.
Edam may be a small town, it has several monumental houses, bridges, squares, warehouses and churches. However the most important highlight is the Edam Cheese Market, which attracts thousands of visitors each year. Cheese is traded here every Wednesday morning in July and August, between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m.
The cheese was brought to the market by local farmers with little boats. When the cheese was lifted out of the boat it was carried to the market by cheese sledges. At the market the cheese was shown to the merchants.
The traditional clothing still worn by some residents of Volendam, are considered among the most beautiful in the Netherlands and compete with those of the island of Marken. The typical houses and the traditional costumes are reminiscent of the past. In the old days, the island was flooded quite regularly. For this reason, houses were built on stilts and on mounds. The dike, which was constructed in 1957, once more links the island to the mainland.
Volendam - 8° Overnight