AmaWaterways team member Marci N. and travel advisor Mindi C. both agree it was an unbelievable experience. Here’s the inside scoop on the included excursions – and local delights – you won’t want to miss.
Though many travelers flock to Amsterdam in spring to ascend upon the brilliant tulip displays at Keukenhof Gardens, there is so much more to see and experience in the Netherlands and Belgium the rest of the year. Our 7-night Best of Holland & Belgium itinerary sails roundtrip from Amsterdam between June and December and includes a variety of different ports not included on our Tulip Time itinerary: Utrecht, known for its immense Castle de Haar and organ museum; Veere, a delightful medieval harbor town; Brussels, Belgium’s capital; and Dordrecht, Holland’s oldest city. Though a newer choice for guests to reserve, “there was not one city we went to that did not leave a lasting impression on me. The whole itinerary was eye-opening,” Marci said. Below are a few of Marci and Mindi’s highlights.
The Most Incredible Museum in Europe
Marci: Veere’s Flood Museum was unbelievable. My Cruise Manager urged me to choose this excursion and I am so glad I did. The museum tells the story from 1944 when the waters of the Netherlands rose and focuses on 1953 when the big flood came. The flood washed away three generations of families, and we learned the youngest who perished was just two hours old. The history of that country, how the people maneuvered the waters from the ocean and the rivers there, how they built the dam so they could have livestock and crops, is amazing. I could have spent two whole days there. It’s the most incredible museum I’ve been to – anywhere – in Europe.
World War II History Abounds
Marci: From Brussels, one of our included tours takes you to visit a small village with sites and monuments related to the Battle of the Bulge – this tour is only included on our Best of Holland & Belgium itinerary! There are monuments of American soldiers – named, casted figures of people from the US – that came to help fight in this war who saved the Belgian people. They truly cherish American soldiers and our medical personnel. On their buildings there are pictures of heroes who helped them save their country.
Mindi: The guide who led our tour, Stefan, was the absolute best guide I’ve ever had on any excursion on the river – anywhere. And he was so respectful that many of us were from the US. There is also a lot of World War II history in Bruges.
Local Beer and Culinary Specialties
Marci: Antwerp is a wonderful place for beer lovers, with many places to try different beers. But my favorite was the “Taste of Belgium” tour. It was really fun, because we walked through this quaint area with narrow, cobblestone streets and big, beautiful architecture, stopping into places the locals eat. We ate delicious Belgian fries, chocolates and smoked meats. It was so fun to do what the locals do!
Mindi: Also, in Middelburg we visited the Roosevelt House, where you learn about the Roosevelt family and their relationship with Dutch royalty. You may not know this, but they have their own house brew, and this is the only place in the world you can taste their beer!
Marci: Plus, there are ladies in the community who make the best flaky cinnamon rolls you’ve ever eaten in your life, and they ONLY make them about once a week in a local bakery – and ONLY serve them for AmaWaterways guests when we visit the Roosevelt House. You’ve got to try them!
Flat Landscape Makes for Easier Mobility
Mindi: Our Best of Holland & Belgium itinerary is great for people who identify as gentle walkers. Whereas other parts of Europe are hillier, it is very easy to walk around in these ports because the Netherlands and Belgium are very flat and the sites you visit are not very spread out. During my sailing, we were joined by a recent amputee and his mother, both of whom walked with a cane. Neither of them struggled with the terrain, and they saw all the amazing sites everyone else did. If you haven’t been on a bicycle in a while or you’re concerned about keeping up with other cyclists, this is also the perfect itinerary to try out one of the included bike tours. You will have a much easier time pedaling around because it’s all flat!
Ready to reserve your Best of Holland & Belgium sailing? Contact your preferred travel advisor and ask about special limited-time offers!
For more information on the Netherlands and Belgium, click here.