Belgium and Netherlands Tour: September, 2015!

 

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There is a new post about this tour, there are still limited spots available but please go here!

Looking for a great guided tour of Amsterdam and Brussels to enjoy two of Europe’s most beautiful cities, while indulging in delicious food, some of the world’s best beers and enjoying fantastic day trips? Then join my week long small group tour through Belgium and the Netherlands this September 13th-19th, 2015! Why endure the headache of figuring out train schedules and maps when you can just enjoy the beauty and have fun? And asides from being epic, the second best part of my tour is that it’s also a great deal!

Since this is my first major tour I’m offering prices that are nearly half of what Rick Steves’ company is offering for basically the same product. His company’s ‘Heart of Belgium & Holland in 11 Days Tour’ works out to be over $400 per day for single occupancy, while mine works out to be $250 per day for single occupancy. Both tours are cheaper for double occupancy- his running at $330 per day, with mine running at around $200 per day. Want yet another advantage of mine over his? His tours (not actually guided by Rick Steves’ himself) are for groups of 24-28, while my tour is for a maximum of 10 people, which offers an even better experience because some of the very best places in these countries simply cannot accommodate groups as big as Steves’ company’s tours, or they’ll be extremely packed with a group that big (with that said, I’m sure his company’s tours are good quality and I’m a fan of his work and career).

Amsterdam

With an abundance of beautiful canals, Amsterdam is often referred to as “The Venice of the North.” During the tulip boom of the 1600’s, Amsterdam was the wealthiest city in the world, and today it ranks in the world’s top 20 richest cities. Amsterdam’s well preserved historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the Netherlands is also one of the most technoligically advanced countries in the world, with world class infrastructure to go along with its beautiful architecture. As someone who’s traveled to 44 countries and spent 3 and ½ years living in Amsterdam, I can honestly say it’s one of the world’s greatest cities and I’d love the opportunity to show you the best of it.

Brussels is the capital of the European Union and its Grand Place is often regarded as the most beautiful square on the continent. Officially speaking both French and Flemish, Brussels is one of Europe’s quirkiest cities, filled with cartoon murals along many beautiful buildings. Brussels is home to some of the most delicious food and drinks in Europe (waffles, chocolate and beer are just the tip of the iceberg). Did you know that French fries actually originated in Belgium? During World War I, American soldiers fighting alongside French speaking Belgian soldiers coined the style of fries they were cooking “French fries,” but the cooks were in fact Belgian. Suffice to say, the fries are damn good, and so is just about everything else in Belgium.

I first met Bell in wonderful Bruges 13 years ago, and I want to take you there to discover Bruges‘ magic for yourself! Bruges dates back to the 9th century and is one of Europe’s most well preserved medieval cities, boasting gorgeous canals, around 80 chocolate shops and lovely outdoor terraces to enjoy wonderful food and drinks in a gorgeous setting. Watch the movie ‘In Bruges’ before departure, it’s entertaining and offers a great visual of how pretty the town is. The day trip from Amsterdam will be to the lovely town of Haarlem, which dates back to the year 1245. It has a lot of Amsterdam’s charm, on a smaller scale, offering a glimpse into Dutch life outside its most famous city. Harlem in New York is named after Haarlem because the Dutch originally colonized what’s now New York City and called it “New Amsterdam.”

Brugge Grote Markt Terrace
 

 

 

Itinerary : 7 days, 6 nights September 13th-19th, 2015

 

Day 1: Sunday start in Brussels

Brussels Grand Place

Tour of Brussels, including the Grand Place (Grote Markt)- the grandest square in Europe!

Royal Museum of Fine Arts

Traditional Belgian Welcome Dinner

 

Day 2: Brussels

Cantillon Brewery

Free Time to Explore Brussels

Cantillon Lambic Brewery Tour (100+ year old active brewery with antique brewing equipment)

Group visit to a couple of Brussels’ best pubs

Day 3: Bruges (Brugge)

Finding Romance and Indulgence in Brugge. Read more.....
 

Travel by Train to Bruges- All Day in one of Europe’s Most Well Preserved Medieval Towns

Canal Boat Tour of Bruges

Admission to De Halve Maan Brewery tour or Choco Story (chocolate museum)

 Free Time to Explore Bruges

Return by Train to Brussels

Amazing view of Brugge from the rooftop of De Halve Maan brewery.
Amazing view of Brugge from the rooftop of De Halve Maan brewery.
Brugge's gorgeous town square is lined with wonderful terraces to enjoy a beer in an inspiring setting.
Brugge’s gorgeous town square is lined with wonderful terraces to enjoy a beer in an inspiring setting.

Day 4: Amsterdam

 Amsterdam canal - on the Oranjebrug

Train Travel to Amsterdam

Tour of Amsterdam’s Amazing City Center

Picturesque Canal Side Group Dinner

Day 5: Amsterdam

 

Amsterdam at Night with the Moon

Canal boat trip around Amsterdam

Visit Rijksmuseum to view Paintings by Dutch Masters or take in the Anne Frank House or Van Gogh Museum

Tour of the Red Light District

Amsterdam Red Light District Canal

Day 6: Haarlem & Amsterdam

Welleschik - Own work Vleeshal in Haarlem, Niederlande
 

Short train trip to the beautiful town of Haarlem or stay in Amsterdam to explore more

Return to Amsterdam for Dutch Craft Beer and Gin (jenever) tasting at the quintessential Arendsnest pub

Traditional Dutch dinner in Amsterdam at Haesje Claes

Day 7: End in Amsterdam

Traditional Dutch Market Tour

Visit to a Windmill Brewery

 

Cost

Price: 

$1,295 US per person, based on double occupancy and $1,495 US for private single occupancy

A non-refundable deposit of $300 US is required to reserve a space on this tour. The remaining money due is outlined below.

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Monies paid are non-refundable if the tour has at least 5 bookings by midnight on June 30th, 2015 and is officially a go. In the event the tour needs to be cancelled on July 1st, 2015, your deposit will be refunded as soon as possible. If the tour is officially a go, you’ll have until July 7th, 2015 to pay an additional $400 and until August 7th, 2015 to pay the remainder of the money- $595 per person for double occupancy and $795 for single occupancy. Unfortunately no refunds can be given at that point as hotel and other arrangements will need to be finalized.

Only 10 spots are available and I won’t sell more than this for the comfort of everyone involved. Please do not purchase airline tickets prior to July 1st, 2015, when it’s announced whether enough spots have been sold. If 5 spots have not been sold by June 30th, 2015, I will issue you a refund for all money you have paid. As I will be travelling to Europe from Boston, I can’t run this tour with less than 5 people, but if we have at least 5, it’s a go. I’m committed to making this as fair as possible!

Amendment: We have several bookings and this most likely will be green lighted! I’ve also added something else in your favor. Down the line, if you end up paying for the tour in full and for some reason cannot make the tour, I’ll refund 25% to minimize your risk. I’ll only make amendments here that are in your favor as I’m committed to selling and doing a great tour and making this fair for all of us!

If you fly from the US or Canada on Saturday, September 12th, you’ll arrive Sunday morning in Brussels in time to start the tour. And if you want to stay in Europe longer than a week, I can give you lots of personally tailored advice for traveling elsewhere after the tour. I can also assist with your plans if you decide to arrive in Belgium a day earlier. This tour is open to people from anywhere in the world.

Why Book This Tour?

It’s going to be lots of fun and you’ll learn a lot about the region! You’ll be guided by an American travel writer and adventurer who recently resided in Amsterdam for 3 and ½ years and has an in depth knowledge of the city. Are you accustomed to following guidebooks? Some places are worthy of inclusion but some places go downhill after they become popular, and there’s always great new restaurants, pubs and attractions that open. Experience Holland with someone who will give you the inside track on how the Dutch live and play, discussing both highlights and a few low-points of Dutch society. While backpacking through Europe after college, I met my wife in gorgeous Bruges, Belgium (which is included in this tour!). So if you’re looking for love on your travels, I can give you some advice there too!

While the tour will be packed with fun activities and some individual tours involving particular experts, it also offers flexibility in terms of experiencing Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges or even an added day trip on your own. You’re always free to skip an activity on the tour if there’s something else you’d rather do. And if you want to do anything outside the group tour, I can help you organize it. I’ll be at your service for the week and want to be certain you have a fantastic time!

Who’s This Tour For?

This tour is open to people of all nationalities and ages (18 and up) seeking fun and enlightenment through travel. Whether you’re an international beginner or a traveler with some experience who wants to be part of a small group that experiences the best of Brussels and Amsterdam with a fun and good-natured mindset, this tour is for you!

Amsterdam's beautiful and laid back cafe terraces.
Amsterdam’s beautiful and laid back cafe terraces.

What’s included?

Private accommodation in comfortable mid range hotels, specified meals, some drinks, two canal boat tours, specified tours and museum admissions, train travel between Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam and Haarlem, and my guidance for a week.

 

What’s not included?

Airfare, and anything not specified in what’s included. While some meals and drinks are included, not all are. At these prices, it’s just not possible!

While airfare is not included, I can assist in helping you find a great price on your plane ticket at no additional cost. Read this post on ways to save on booking plane tickets first, then please feel free to email me at alex@wanderlustmarriage.com or call me on my cell phone at 1-857-919-9327.

 

‘A Taste of Belgium and the Netherlands’ Terms and Conditions:

 

Please purchase travel insurance before arriving for the tour. Like life in general, unforeseen things can happen on the road and it’s a good idea to be covered in the odd chance they do. A couple travel insurance companies to consider are Allianz and World Nomads. Read policies carefully as they vary in terms of coverage. We can’t be held responsible in the off chance something goes wrong and you’ll need to sign a liability waiver before the tour begins. Read more about travel insurance on Rick Steves’ website. With that said, Belgium and the Netherlands are generally very safe countries!

 

You’re responsible for required travel documents for Belgium and the Netherlands. If you’re a citizen of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries, all you need is a valid passport, usually with six months validity remaining. Double check with your embassy online.

The gorgeous guild houses of Brussels' majestic Grand Place.
The gorgeous guild houses of Brussels’ majestic Grand Place.

Refund policy:

Monies paid are non-refundable if the tour has at least 5 bookings by midnight on June 30th, 2015 and is officially green lighted to go. In the event the tour needs to be cancelled on July 1st, 2015, your deposit will be refunded as soon as possible. Amendment: We have several bookings and this has been green lighted!

Once the tour is officially a go, you’ll have until July 7th, 2015 to pay an additional $400 and until August 7th, 2015 to pay the remainder of the money- $595 per person for double occupancy and $795 for single occupancy. Unfortunately, no refunds can be given at that point as hotel and other arrangements will need to be finalized. Additional Amendment: If down the line you pay for the tour in full and then for some reason can’t make the tour, we will refund 25%. We know life happens and we want to minimize your risk and make this fair for everyone! And again, I will only make amendments here that are in your favor

If you have any questions please email me at alex@wanderlustmarriage.com or call me at 1-857-919-9327.

 

7 thoughts on “Belgium and Netherlands Tour: September, 2015!

    1. Thanks for the nice words, Jean! I’m really looking forward to guiding a fun tour through Belgium and the Netherlands! It was interesting planning the itinerary for this and I spent a lot of time thinking it over- I’m a big time maximizer but also believe trips should be laid back and not overwhelming. So I wanted to make sure to pack enough fun activities, sites and great towns, but not have very long days of travel and offer flexibility when people want to break from the group. I wish you guys could join too, you would add lots of fun and knowledge to the tour!

  1. Your tour sounds like fun and it’s piqued my interest. But you haven’t specified which hotels we’d be staying at. Can you explain this better?

    1. Thanks for your interest, Jason. Brussels and Amsterdam are relatively pricey cities and the hotels will be comfortable mid range. Once I know how many double and single rooms I need (depending on booking types) I’ll negotiate a rate with a hotel that’s well rated (that’s guaranteed). Bell and I travelled to Brussels as recently as last September and stayed at the Ibis right next to the Grand Place. It’s a comfortable hotel and a great location- we would stay there again in a heart beat. Think of a hotel like this as a guide to the quality of the rooms that will be included on this tour of Belgium and the Netherlands http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-1046-ibis-brussels-off-grand-place/index.shtml Please let me know if you have any more questions!

  2. I have never done a food tour across Amsterdam, but I’ve heard it is a great experience. Looks like you really enjoed the local delicacies :).

    1. Hi Agness! You totally should someday and a great stop for food in Amsterdam is the Albert Cuyp market. The fresh stroop waffels (syrup waffles) are amazing. But Brussels and Belgium in general is even better for food and drink compared to Holland! When we lived in Amsterdam we took day trips to Antwerp, Belgium a couple times and loved the food in comparison. The Dutch don’t take food quite as seriously as the Belgians, but they still have some great stuff to go along with gorgeous scenery and great museums…Asides from September, another great time to visit Brussels is in late November/early December for their Christmas markets. It’s so beautiful and the food is fantastic. Amsterdam doesn’t do nearly as good of a Christmas market compared to Brussels. That was another thing we were disappointed about, but that’s why it’s great to experience both countries! 😀

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