Holland: Tulips, Windmills & Waterways

Guided Walking Tour, Holland: Tulips, Windmills & WaterwaysGuided Walking Tour, Holland: Tulips, Windmills & Waterways

Holland

Tulips, Windmills & Waterways

overview

Home to a distinctive culture and some of Europe’s greatest works of art, Holland is a destination like no other. Your exploration of its treasures begins on Amsterdam’s canals, perfect vantage point for sights like the Old South architec­ture district and Anne Frank’s House. In coastal Haarlem, your boutique hotel is just a short stroll from medieval churches and 500 years of Dutch art in the Frans Hals Museum. In Kennemerdu­inen National Park, Holland’s largest dunes are an unexpected vision. Walks in De Hoge Veluwe National Park bring you through ancient heath and oak forests to the Kroller-Muller Museum—a collection of nearly 300 Van Gogh paintings, and works by Rodin in Europe’s largest sculpture garden. Explore Utrecht from the land­mark Rietveld-Schroder House to the winding Kromme Rijn River; take lunch at the charming Amelisweerd Estate. Then delve into a past of witch-weighing and rope-making in medieval Oudewater. Complete your experience in Kinderdijk’s windmill country with a memorable prom­enade among these working icons.

Activity Level
Easy;
3-6 miles daily
Meet
Amsterdam, Holland
Depart
Amsterdam, Holland
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
Reading List
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From our blog

Guided Walking 
7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals except for one lunch and one dinner; local wine or beer included with dinners
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $550
 

Solo surcharge + $0
 

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Haarlem
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2
Haarlem
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3
Haarlem
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4
Utrecht
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5
Utrecht
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6
Utrecht
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7
Utrecht
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Day 1

Haarlem

Walking tour of Amsterdam; 5 miles, easy city walking

This springtime sojourn in the Netherlands begins in its capital and largest city, Amsterdam. After meeting the guides, you set out on a morning walking tour of its vibrant and historic neighborhoods, including the Old South area, considered to be the city’s “Latin Quarter,” frequented by art lovers and known for the early 20th-century Dutch School of Architecture. Also on the route is the house where Anne Frank lived before she and her family went into hiding. Lunch is at a local restaurant, overlooking the canals.

After lunch, you can rest on the short drive to the city of Haarlem. Your hotel is located in the historic center and upon check in, time permitting, you can begin exploring this fascinating city directly from the hotel’s central location; museums, medieval churches, monuments, and enticing shops are all a short stroll away. You gather in the evening for a short transfer to a highly acclaimed lakeside restaurant surrounded by wooded dunes. This modern venue is an ideal location to toast your new friends over a welcome dinner of delicately prepared local specialties.

Stempels Hotel

Haarlem, Holland

This hotel is situated in the former printing office and type foundry, Royal Joh. Enschedé. It was bought and renovated in 2006. It is conveniently located in the heart of Haarlem and has a charming, cozy, yet modern atmosphere.

Day 2

Haarlem

Keukenhof Tulip Show and Tulip Fields; 3-5 miles, easy

Today is devoted to basking in the Netherlands’ incomparable flowers and gardens. A short ride this morning brings you to neighboring Lisse, just south of Haarlem. Lisse is the center of the annual Keukenhof Tulip Show, where the vast displays of tulips and other bulb flowers may be blooming at their colorful peak. Here, you stroll through Keukenhof’s stunning landscaped gardens and view exhibitions showcasing Holland’s flower industry (accounting for $12 billion worth of Holland’s exports). Along the way you are presented with ample opportunities to photograph the glorious fields of flowers including hyacinths and tulips which begin to blossom from April to mid-May, depending on the weather. The idea of creating the world’s largest flower garden was conceived by the town’s mayor in 1949 and designed on the Keukenhof Estate, which literally means “kitchen garden,” as it was placed on the site of the herb and vegetable garden of the 15th-century Countess of Holland, Jacoba van Beieren. You have lunch in one of the many cafés within the gardens, before strolling farther through the tulip fields, where you may find more photo opportunities.

Later you return to Haarlem, before dining at the hotel’s restaurant, where Dutch bank notes and international stamps were once pressed. Highlights of the menu include beautifully prepared fish and seafood, a reminder of Holland’s centuries of seafaring and exploration.

Stempels Hotel

Haarlem, Holland

This hotel is situated in the former printing office and type foundry, Royal Joh. Enschedé. It was bought and renovated in 2006. It is conveniently located in the heart of Haarlem and has a charming, cozy, yet modern atmosphere.

Day 3

Haarlem

Haarlem to Kennemerduinen National Park; 6 miles, easy. Haarlem city tour, 2 miles, easy

Beer brewing was a very important industry in Haarlem, and as a result of this history you are able to walk directly from the hotel this morning along the old brewers’ canal, called the Brouwersgracht. Following this trail to the Kennermerduinen National Park on the North Sea Coast, you arrive at the most extensive and unspoiled dunes in Holland. Here, trails pass into quiet mixed deciduous and coniferous forest, over fields of wild-growing shrubs, and undulating sand dunes. Lunch today is on your own and you might enjoy it at a beachfront restaurant, where seabirds dive into the open sea.

On arrival back to Haarlem in the afternoon, you follow your guide(s) on an easy walking tour of the city. This is an opportunity to explore Haarlem in detail, including the famed main square (Gröte Markt) with its 14th-century City Hall and St. Bavokerk Church. You not only discover its historical highlights, but also absorb the city’s charm and daily life. Time permitting, you may visit the Frans Hals Museum, which houses a large selection of works by this painter, as well as other famous Dutch artists from the 15th century to the present. Another special Haarlem museum is the Teyler Museum—Holland’s oldest—which is housed in the former home of a wealthy 18th-century merchant and banker and offers a fascinating collection of paintings and artifacts. Spicy and exotic, this evening’s dinner takes place at one of the city center’s many Indonesian restaurants, popular in Holland since the colonial period.

Stempels Hotel

Haarlem, Holland

This hotel is situated in the former printing office and type foundry, Royal Joh. Enschedé. It was bought and renovated in 2006. It is conveniently located in the heart of Haarlem and has a charming, cozy, yet modern atmosphere.

Day 4

Utrecht

De Hoge Veluwe National Park; 3 miles, easy. Kröller-Müller Museum visit

Rested and packed, you set off promptly this morning for one of Holland’s oldest and largest national parks, De Hoge Veluwe, a vast landscape with a variety of ecosystems. Here, heath land dating from the Middle Ages evolved into large expanses of drifting sand as inhabitants cut peat to fertilize fields. Eventually trees were planted to stop the drifting, but the drifted sand is now being partially restored. Almost 4,000 acres of cultivated woodland—chiefly pine and red oak—remain. An extensive trail network throughout the park provides access to fascinating living ecology lessons with beautiful and rare plant species. You may even spot some of the animals who make their home in this nature reserve, species such as red deer, roe deer, a wild sheep called “Moufflon” (originally native to Corsica and Sardinia), and even wild boar.

The park is also the location of the Kröller-Müller Museum, which houses an excellent collection of nearly 300 of Van Gogh’s paintings (including “The Potato Eaters”) as well as works by other modern European painters. Outside the museum is Europe’s largest sculpture garden, which includes works by Rodin, Moore, Lupchitz, and others. The De Hoge Veluwe Park provides a harmonious blend of nature, art, and architecture.

Late in the afternoon, continue on to your second home of the week—a splendid hotel located right in the heart of this vibrant city. After settling in, dinner is at the hotel’s restaurant, a comfortable and relaxed brasserie.

Court Hotel

Utrecht, Holland

A historic hotel that once functioned as the Utrecht Courthouse and has been carefully restored. Enjoy its central location, next to the famous Dom Tower and Square. The rooms are light and spacious.

Day 5

Utrecht

Historic Utrecht; 1-2 miles, easy. Utrecht to Amelisweerd; 5 miles, easy. Visit to Amelisweerd Estate. Free afternoon time permitting

This morning you explore historic Utrecht on foot, leaving directly from the hotel. You follow a path into the green Wilhemina Park and the landmark modernist classic Rietveld-Schröder House, designed by the architect Rietveld. You continue your lovely stroll along the winding Kromme Rijn River. An exclusive lunch of local organic fare is served at the Amelisweerd Estate’s charming carriage house, with its wood stove and open kitchen.

After lunch, you take a short walk through the grounds of this 17th-century estate preserved as a regional park and board your van to return to Utrecht. The late afternoon and evening are yours to design: you may spend the afternoon in the fascinating Centraal Museum, Holland’s oldest municipal museum. The Centraal is located in a renovated medieval cloister and houses a wide collection divided into five categories: old masters, modern art, design, fashion, and local history. With shops open until late in the evening, there is ample time to find unique souvenirs. Dining tonight is on your own. Due to the city’s central location, dining options in Utrecht are very representative of Dutch cuisine as a whole.

Court Hotel

Utrecht, Holland

A historic hotel that once functioned as the Utrecht Courthouse and has been carefully restored. Enjoy its central location, next to the famous Dom Tower and Square. The rooms are light and spacious.

Day 6

Utrecht

Kinderdijk windmills; 5 miles, easy to moderate

Today is a fun immersion into Dutch history and culture during which you visit and experience what Holland is best known for—windmills, picturesque villages, and tidy farmhouses. Set off for the southwest and the famed and highly picturesque windmills east of Rotterdam at Kinderdijk. The 19 windmills at Kinderdijk, built during the 18th century, were the “high-tech” development of the day, harnessing the power of the coastal winds to pump water away and build up land. Learn firsthand about this crucial part of Holland’s history while you walk on trails along the canals and directly beneath the windmills.

Along the way you are immersed in quintessential Dutch countryside—grazing sheep and abundant wildflowers as well as a wetland nature reserve with rare birds such as black tern and marsh harrier. Finally, you cross the Rek River by ferry and pass characteristically quaint Dutch villages.

Lunchtime finds you at a typical Dutch pancake restaurant, before exploring the medieval village of Oudewater (“old waterway”). Burned by the Spanish and rebuilt in the 17th century, this protected historic village was famed for weighing witches and making ropes. The final dinner is a festive celebration of your exploration of the Netherlands’ natural places and cultural treasures.

Court Hotel

Utrecht, Holland

A historic hotel that once functioned as the Utrecht Courthouse and has been carefully restored. Enjoy its central location, next to the famous Dom Tower and Square. The rooms are light and spacious.

Day 7

Utrecht

Departure

After breakfast your guides provide two group transfers to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for early morning and mid-morning departures.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a Country Walkers adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call Country Walkers at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Graeme Cunningham

Graeme has guided hiking holidays and walking tours throughout Holland, Scotland, France, Norway and Greece. Although Graeme grew up in Scotland, he now makes Holland his home. In addition to his native language, Graeme speaks fluent Dutch and some French and German. In his free time he enjoys music, travel, reading, Qigong (Chinese exercise) and is currently writing a novel.

Hennie Vaessen

A published artist and illustrator, Hennie Vaessen is also passionate about the outdoors, especially walking. Fluent in three languages, and certified to teach English, Hennie runs a small publishing firm with his wife and they recently published a graphic novel trilogy on the Second World War’s Battle of Arnhem in Holland. When not delving into his art, Hennie also enjoys music, movies, T’ai Chi, and discovering new trails.

Guest Comments

D. Richardson, Pennsylvania, April 2013

Excellent Guides. They rearranged events/walks the best that they could to take account for the weather. Hotels were very good, but could have provided more assistance in moving luggage. Meals were excellent.

F. Kon, Ohio, April 2012

Most amazing tour, wonderful guides. The trip was great. The guides took great care to make this trip special: from great sites to wonderful hotels to great dining. I have taken other trips over the years, but nothing compared to this. David and I have nothing, but wonderful memories. Thank you.

R. Martino, Alabama, May 2011

Arjen & Graeme are outstanding!

B. Burkhart, Kentucky, April 2012

It was a wonderful active trip with beautiful scenery. Your guides helped to make the experience more enjoyable with their knowledge and friendly personalities.

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