(The Hague, Amsterdam)
This private guided journey through the past and present of Belgium and the Netherlands’ most celebrated cities can only be compared to an experience through a living, breathing museum. Immerse yourself in the medieval wonders of Bruges, walk in the footsteps of Ruben in cosmopolitan Antwerp, discover museum and gallery-packed Haarlem and of course experience all the wonders of Amsterdam. Enjoy the most cohesive trip possible with a dedicated Art Expert to discover Belgium and another Art Expert who will show you through the museums in Holland. With evenings spent in luxury at 5 star hotels and a special focus on gastronomic excellence with optional reservations at some of the finest restaurants in Europe, this is a first class experience for those with a taste for the finer things in life.
Upon your arrival into Brussels airport, you will be taken to your hotel in Bruges by private chauffeured vehicle. The transfer should take approximately 1hr and 15 minutes.
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 waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Bruges is the most romantic city in Belgium and maybe in the whole of Europe with medieval bridges spanning meandering canals. Discover the 'Venice of the North' with your own English speaking guide as you walk through the city. Your guide will introduce you to the main sights and give you the history of the town as you stroll by the artistic wealth of the innumerable monuments, historical buildings and churches. You will also get the chance to admire the marvelous market square, city hall, the belfry and its halls and the numerous canals and the typical God houses (late medieval-looking houses bearing a name and a year on the outside wall) which can be seen everywhere in the city. (The city centre is car free allowing for a pleasant, trafic-free walking tour). (No transportation included).
Enjoy lunch and dinner at leisure in Bruges.
The Kempinski Hotel Dukes' Palace (5*) offers what can only be described as truly luxurious accommodation in Bruges. Part of the renowned Kempinski family of hotels, this majestic palace and former 15th century Ducal residence has been renovated to have every modern amenity a guest could desire. It is a wonderful cornerstone to your exploration of the romantic and charming city of Bruges and is located a mere 250 metres from the market. The rooms in the main building of the castle are air conditioned, have high ceilings and original features and all rooms have a minibar, a desk and a spacious marble bathroom. The Begijnhof (UNESCO World Heritage) is a 10 minute walk from the property and 650 meters from the Groeninge museum. The hotel offers a secured underground parking. The spa features an indoor pool, steam room, sauna and gym. Guests can choose from a range of relaxing treatments including body scrubs, facials and massages.
Enjoy a half day guided tour as you visit Groeninge Museum, the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts in Bruges, in the company of an Art Expert to get the most out of your museum experience. The museum displays a comprehensive overview of six centuries of Flemish and Belgian painters, from Jan van Eyck to Marcel Broodthaers.
A great dinner option this evening that you may like to consider is the Refter Bistro. Housed in a former Carmelite refectory, the contemporary Refter bistro offers a pleasant ambiance and traditional dishes using only the freshest of produce. The restaurant offers a very reasonable 3 course menu with a selection of options per course such as glazed pork belly with oriental salad and baked goose liver with tomoato and mozarella to name but a few. (Reservations recommended - closed Sunday & Monday). Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like a reservation to be made for you at this restaurant.
Head out of the city of Bruges today in the company of a private chauffeured vehicle and Art Expert to Antwerp - approximately a one hour and 15 minute transfer. You will find a lively city with an interesting center with narrow streets and many historical buildings in Antwerp. In the heart of the historical center you will discover the market place which is surrounded by beautiful houses with very elegant gables.Visit the MAS Museum in the company of an Art Expert. Antwerp is a port city into which the world has been sailing for five centuries. The MAS is a new museum about the city’s connections with the world. It unites art and heritage from the city, the river, the port and the world to tell new stories about the world in Antwerp and Antwerp in the world. It does this through four universal themes that are spread over five floors. Your Art Expert will be sure to give you the best possible understanding and background to this museum as possible during your tour. (includes entrance).At the end of the tour, you will be transfered back to Bruges and to your hotel in the city. (Total travel time approx. 2.5hrs)
Leave Bruges, Belgium today for The Hague in Holland in the company of your private chauffeured vehicle. If you feel like a gourmet lunch, you may like to stop off at either of these two Michelin starred restaurants - Restaurant Inter Scaldes** in Kruiningen or the Restaurant La Trinité* in Sluis. (Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like a reservation made for you). The Inter Scaldes 2 star Michelin restaurant is located on reclaimed land in the province of Zeeland's countryside and ensconced in an English-style garden. The menu is characterised by influences from Zeeland's waters and delights such as Oosterschelde (seasonal) lobster, oysters, mussels and bass are balanced by all the good things the land has to offer such as suckling lamb, vegetables such as Sea fennel and Sea aster, and of course great cheeses and fruit from the reclaimed land in Beveland. The 1 star Michelin La Trinité restaurant in Sluis, has been renovated into a superb, elegant restaurant. Dark tones match perfectly with the purple and limegreen accents and the comfortable furniture. On the first floor you can sip your glass of champagne in the lounge area before being treated to a gastronomic feast - François de Potter’s cuisine will enchant you with well-balanced dishes. (Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like to have a reservation made for you at this restaurant).Upon your arrival at Middleburg, you will meet your Art Expert who will accompany you on a visit to the Zeeuws Museum in Middleburg. The museum shows the history of Zeeland, a province in the south of Holland. Following your musuem visit, enjoy a city tour in Middleburg. See the town hall, the belfry and its main façade and the abbey of Middleburg before continuing onwards towards your hotel in The Hague.
While in Zeeland, an optional activity you may be interested in adding to your day would be an introduction to the oyster and mussel industry in the area. Yerseke is small village in the province Zeeland, and here you can partake in a private walking tour of town taking in a visit to a mussel company, an oyster company and oyster ponds. Learn about the processes of growing mussels and oysters in the company of an English speaking guide and sample some of the local oysters. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if you are interested in adding this tour to your itinerary today.
Hotel Des Indes (5*) is a haven of luxury in the heart of The Hague. The yellow façade of this five star deluxe retreat embraces you even before you enter. The property is nestled in the heart of city and the rich history of The Hague and its monumental buildings reverberates throughout. Each hotel room blends contemporary amenities with iconic architectural statements and the latest comforts, tasteful furnishings and excellent bedding. Old-world grandeur and elaborate elegance permeate the 92 guest rooms and suites, a perfect combination of opulence and contemporary chic, with vaulted ceilings and elegant draperies. Guest rooms are classic in style, explicitly referencing the hotel’s heritage, but they are noticeably contemporary in execution, clean-lined and pared-down even as their furnishings and materials recall the 19th century.
Spend the day in the company of an Art Expert who will show you the artistic side of The Hague on a full day private tour. Home of Queen Beatrix's residence, The Hague has wonderful tree lined lanes and many monuments. During your walking tour you'll see the Knight’s Hall, Parliament buildings, the Peace Palace and Scheveningen Seaside resort.Visit the Gemeente Museum of The Hague. The collection of the museum consists of modern art, crafts, fashion and musical instruments. The building is designed by the famous architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. Typical for his work is the use of bricks. from here, continue on to the Mauritshuis which houses one of the most prestigious collections in the world with approximately 800 paintings, 20 statues and several drawings.Important: The Mauritshuis will close as of the 1st of April 2012 for renovation, and will be closed for two years. The most important pieces of the collection will be moved to the Gemeentemusum Den Haag. Should your tour be after April 1st, 2012, a visit will be made to Panorama Mesdag instead. This circular painting covers 1680m2 canvas, is 14m high and has a circumference of 120m! It is one of the world’s finest, and largest, surviving panoramas. The masterpiece depicts a sweeping view of the sea, a wide beach, the dunes of Holland, and the picturesque fishing village of Scheveningen. Above all it is the experience of actually stepping back into the year 1880 that will truly amaze you. (public transportation used as needed. If you would like to add a car and driver service to your tour on this day please speak with your Sales Advisor).
Consider having dinner at the wonderful Raffles restaurant in The Hague this evening. When designing the interior of the restaurant, the owner Frank Deuning was inspired by his grandparents’ house in Central Java which he knew from photographs. The Ikat draperies and tablecloths; the Wedgwood crockery and the Yogya silverware bring to life a forgotten age. The cuisine has also been inspired by family tradition: classical recipes from Central Java stand side by side with specialities from all over the Archipelago, Malaysia and Singapore. The wine list is an international selection of famous and lesser-known wines from Europe and also the ‘New World’. Sitting here, sipping a Singapore Gin Sling, you can imagine yourself far away from the busy western world. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like a reservation for this restaurant to be made for you.
Spend the day today with a private chauffeur driven vehicle and Art Expert and visit the Frans Hals and Teylers museums in Haarlem. Built in 1608, the Frans Hals Museum showcases an exciting collection of portraits, still lifes and landscapes of the 17th century.Visit the Teylers museum in the company of your Art Expert - the Netherlands' first and oldest museum, open to the public since 1784. Unique to this museum is the historical presentation of its collections, largely unchanged since the late 18th and 19th centuries. As a whole, the building and the collections are a monument to two centuries of cultural history. The 18th-century ensemble is wholly unique. (includes entrances)
Transfer from The Hague to Amsterdam this morning. The drive should take approximately 1 hour. Upon arrival into Amsterdam, meet up with an Art Expert who will accompany you on a visit of the Rijksmuseum. Since 1885 peoplehave been coming to see Holland's main collection of the Dutch Masters, such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Ruysdael and of course Rembrandt and in particular, the world famous Night Watch. View the lovely silverware, furniture and glassware from all parts of The Netherlands and admire the rich collection of art from the Far East.Following your museum visit, enjoy a city tour of Amsterdam; city of history, culture and inspiration. Your private guided tour will be by both vehicle and foot. Take in the many canals, bridges, and beautiful 17th and 18th century mansions which line the waterways. Other areas of interest include the Royal Palace on Dam square, the historic buildings along the Amstel River, and the colorful flower market. You can let your guide know if you have any specific areas of interest that you would like to see on your city tour. At days end, you will be transfered to your hotel in the city. (includes museum entrances).
Sofitel Amsterdam the Grand (5*) is the epitome of historic elegance and luxury in the heart of Holland’s capital, only a few minutes’ walk from Dam Square. The superb downtown location is in walking distance of most major landmarks, including the Van Gogh Museum, Royal Palace, Anne Frank’s House, and the new Hermitage Amsterdam. Each of the 182 rooms, suites, and hotel apartments feature satellite/cable TV, mini-bar, private safe, air conditioning, and 24 hour room service. The Grand's restaurant has the style and atmosphere of an exclusive bistro. The hotel has a beautiful secluded garden and a luxurious health spa, featuring a heated swimming pool, a steam bath, and massage facilities.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
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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