Beer brewing has been synonymous with Holland and Belgium for centuries. Spend time in two of Holland's main cities - Amsterdam and Maastricht and finish off with a number of days in Brussels. Discover some world famous breweries such as Heineken, House of Bols and De Halve Maen as well as some lesser known gems on your journey through both countries. Explore the pedestrian-friendly, vibrant city of Amsterdam - a city built on canals, historical merchant houses, art galleries and museums. Enjoy your time in Maastricht - one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, before crossing into Belgium and basing yourselves in the cultural city of Brussels (visiting a number of breweries en route of course!). Explore the city and visit Bruges - one of Belgium's prettiest cities. Also discover the city of Antwerp during your stay an historic picturesque city with many historical buildings, cobbled streets and home to the world famous Duvel brewery.
Throughout your itinerary there are options to have a private guide and driver for as much or as little of your trip to best suit your needs.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a city map, train tickets (if relevant) and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be presented to you by your driver upon arrival. Alternative arrangements will be made if you do not have a private transfer at the start of your itinerary.
The Best Western Apollo Museum Hotel (3*) is located in the heart of the city right next to the Rijksmuseum and Museumplein. The magnificently renovated Apollo Museum Hotel is located right where the fashionable P.C. Hooftstraat meets the atmospheric Stadhouderskade. It would be hard to find a more central spot to stay in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Stedelijk museum, the Leidseplein, the old city centre, and canals are all located within a few minutes walking distance.
A great way to get around the city of Amsterdam and to see its many sites is with a 24-, 48-, 72- or 96-hours GVB transport ticket which gives you unlimited travel throughout Amsterdam day and night by bus, tram and metro. Stamp your ticket once at the start of your first journey and you are set for the duration of the validation of your ticket.
Discover the world of Heineken and learn about its history, how the beer is produced and bottled, their advertisement strategy and of course the people that drink Heineken. Taste, smell, feel, hear and see why Heineken is one of the most popular beers in the world (includes entrance).
Use your Public Transportation Tickets today to get around the city.
Meet your guide this morning to bring you on a tour introducing you to one of the most important industries in the country - alcohol! The first port of call today is the House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience at the Amsterdam Museumplein which offers an interactive way to experience the dazzling world of cocktails and bartending. Discover everything there is to know about Lucas Bols, the World's oldest distilled brand which has been based in Amsterdam since 1575. The tour ends in the revolutionary Mirror Bar, where professional bartenders shake a Bols cocktail based on your own flavor preferences.
Next on today's agenda is the Brewery ‘t IJ which was founded in 1983 next to the river ‘het IJ’. This brewery only brews biological beer and produces around 250.000 liters of beer annually. Most of this beer is used in the tasting room as opposed to being distributed across the country and beyond. The remainder finds its way into biological and liquor stores in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands. All beers are brewed using traditional methods.
At days end you will be returned to your hotel. (entrances included. Use your city pass if you have it included in your itinerary or local taxis. Please let us know if you would like a private vehicle and driver for this days activities.)
Meet your driver in the lobby of the hotel this morning before departing for Maastricht. En route, you'll get to visit two interesting breweries and have time for lunch at leisure (not included). The Mill Brewery in Bodegraven is located in a historic windmill called De Arkduif and dates back to 1697. This brewery produces a wide range of beers; most of it is brewed only once a year and their brewing style is similar to the ones used by US based micro-breweries. Enjoy some free time for lunch at the restaurant at the brewery before continuing on towards the town of Arcen where you'll get to visit the Hertog Jan Brewery. The brewery is still in the same place where four fellow brewers started the brewery 100 years ago. From here, you'll be brought to your accommodation in Maastricht. (includes entrances to both breweries).
Located next to the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Center (MECC) and the Randwyck Railway Station, and directly outside the historical city center, the NH Maastricht (4*) provides a sophisticated gateway for culture. Guests can appreciate fine art at the nearby Bonnefanten Museum, explore the fascinating St. Pietersberg Caves, or drive 30 minutes to visit the nearby cities of Hasselt, Luik, and Landgraaf--boasting the largest indoor ski resort in the world. Stunning scenery lines the 20-minute drive to Valkenburg and its world-class sauna, Thermae 2000. The NH Maastricht welcomes guests with 275 comfortable rooms. A luxurious health club with sauna, solarium, and fully equipped fitness room provides a complete package of wellness at a discounted rate for hotel guests.The Garden restaurant specializes in succulent breakfasts, lunches, dinners for individuals and groups. Dine a la carte at Seasons, which tempts guests with a varied array of lunch and dinner options. In Bistro/Bar Bizonder, enjoy high tea by day or cocktails by night.
Maastricht offers many museums, churches, historical buildings, hidden alleys and spacious squares. You can find any form of architecture here, ranging from Roman excavations to the modern design of the Bonnefantenmuseum. Exhibitions at NAi Maastricht inform you about architecture in the European region around Maastricht. It is a great city with many historical structures and squares, and there’s one place in particular that you cannot miss visiting and that’s ‘het Vrijthof’ - a beautiful square in the center of the histrical part of town, paved with old cobblestones and surrounded by trees. Many very nice restaurants and cafes encircle the square. This square has attracted people since Medieval times when pilgrims came to see the grave of Saint Servatius, located in the St. Servatius Basilica, a Romanesque cathedral with crypts and treasures.
Another bascilia worth visiting is the Basilica of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwebasiliek) is a renowned Roman catholic basilica dating back to the 11th century. The main attraction is the miraculous statue of Our Lady, Star of the Sea. Besides the chapel with the statue of Our Lady, there’s much more arts and crafts to be admired. The treasury of the basilica holds a large number of objects of religious arts and crafts. Marvel at the richly embroidered copes and chasubles, relics in beautiful holders, processional banners, church silver and statues.
Maastricht’s main art museum is the Bonnefantenmuseum. This museum holds a mixture of medieval and contemporary art. The structure itself is a great architectonic highlight. Other museums are the Natural History Museum, Architecture Institute Maastricht and Fort St. Pieter.
Depart Maastricht for Brussels, stopping off en route at the Brand Brewery in Wijlre. Enjoy a visit of the brewery, which is a well known brewer in the province of Limburg. The brewery has a rich history going back to the 14th Century. A museum was opened in 2008 with the slogan: feel, smell and taste which may also be interested in discovering. After time at the brewery, you'll be transfered to your accommodation in brussels by your private vehcile and driver. (entrance included).
Situated in the center of downtown Brussels, within yards of Gare du Nord station and in close proximity to the Rue Neuve shopping district and the World Trade Center, the Hilton Brussels City Hotel (4*) is the ideal place to stay when you are visiting Belgium’s capital. All the facilities are in place to allow you to remain productive during your stay.
Explore two of Belgium's most beautiful cities by foot today in the company of a professional English speaking guide - Brussels and Bruges. During your guided tour of Brussels you will visit the monumental square; Grand Place, and discover the center with its impressive buildings, churches, the Royal Palace and Manneken Pis.Late morning, you'll meet up with your driver who will accompany you (along with your guide) to Bruges. The transfer should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Visit Bruges in the company of your guide as you explore its romantic canals, medieval buildings and many churches and cathedrals. See the marvelous market square, city hall, the belfry and its halls. The city center is car free, so most of this tour will be done on foot.
Enjoy some free time at leisure to have lunch at your restaurant of choice (not included).
This afternoon, you'll be brought to the Brewery De Halve Maan for a visit of the premises. The homebrewery "De Halve Maen" is the only active family brewery in the centre of Bruges today. Xavier Vanneste, son of Mrs Véronique Maes, restarted the old brewery after a thorough renovation of the remaining installation. He launched this new beer under the name ‘Brugse Zot’ for which a unique recipe has been developed. By the end of 2008, "Straffe Hendrik" a beer once developed and brewed by the Maes' familiy returned to Bruges and is now being brewed, once again, at the brewery "De Halve Maen" according to the original recipe.At days end you will be returned to your accommodation in Brussels.(includes entrance to De Halve Maen brewery).
Enjoy a guided shared full day tour to the beautiful towns of Ghent and Bruges. After an hour's drive you will arrive in Ghent, where you visit St. Bavo's Cathedral, home of the world famous 'Mystic Lamb' painting. During the city tour you will see all the important buildings from the Middle Ages, such as the Belfry, St Nicholas' Church and the Earl's Castle. In Bruges, you will visit the Lake of Love and the Beguinage. Afterwards enjoy a walking tour and discover the Church of Our Lady with the statue by Michaelangelo, the Market Square with its belfry and the Holy Blood Chapel.
Relax on your private airport (Charleroi) transfer with private vehicle and English speaking Driver.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Belgium for the most up to date visa information.
VISA/PASSPORTThe Netherlands is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, U.S. and Canadian citizens may enter for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Netherlands for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/netherlands.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Amsterdam. Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1848. Language: Dutch is the official language. English, German and French are widely spoken. Religion: 31% Roman Catholic, 13% Dutch Reformed Church, 7% Calvinist, 5.5% Muslim, 43.5% other religions or none. Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October). Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are in use. Telephone: Country code +31 (followed by 20 for Amsterdam, 10 for Rotterdam and 70 for The Hague). Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is universal. Internet: There are many Internet cafes and some Internet access centers.
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