Extend your time in Amsterdam to experience the many delights of this fascinating city. Included tours introduce you to the historic neighborhood known as Zaanse Schans—an old hamlet on the River Zaan—as well as culturally-rich Haarlem. Then spend time exploring on your own, with expert suggestions from your Grand Circle Program Director—or join an optional tour of charming Volendam. Whether you choose to admire Van Gogh originals, browse an amazing variety of markets (from a floating flower market to elegant antique shops), or simply stroll along narrow canals, you'll find something to suit every traveler.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations: for 3 nights at the Superior First-Class Moevenpick Amsterdam City Center or similar
- 3 meals: 3 breakfasts
- Included tours: Zaanse Schans, Haarlem
- Exclusive services of a Grand Circle Program Director
- All transfers
- Now included for 2015:
- Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
After breakfast this morning, as your Holland & Belgium in Springtime trip ends, visit Zaanse Schans—an old hamlet on the banks of the River Zaan. Some of the buildings are original to the site while others have been moved here. You'll find eight windmills along the river—a far cry from the original 200, when the region was heavily industrialized. Some of the buildings are open for viewing and you'll find a cheesemaker's store, a wooden shoemaker's shop, and a variety of restaurants.
After lunch on your own, enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to explore independently. If you choose the latter, you'll find that Amsterdam, like so many of Europe's most inviting cities, truly rewards the walker. If you wish, you can join a guided walk in mid-afternoon to get acquainted with the vicinity around the hotel. You can then choose among Amsterdam's vast variety of restaurants for dinner on your own this evening; your Grand Circle Program Director can offer helpful suggestions.
After breakfast this morning, you'll transfer by motorcoach to the nearby city of Haarlem. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided walking tour that showcases Haarlem's rich history and features notable sights like the 14th-century City Hall and Amsterdamse Poort, the former gateway to the city of Amsterdam. Learn about Haarlem's proud tradition of beer brewing, as well as its present-day prominence as a major trading center for tulips. Then take some time at leisure to explore before returning to Amsterdam.
Then perhaps you'll choose to enjoy a timeless taste of Dutch traditional life on an optional tour of Edam-Volendam and nearby Marken peninsula. Travel overland to Volendam, a fishing village that has preserved centuries of tradition. As your Program Director leads a guided stroll through the quaint streets, you might note some of the local women still wearing the pointed white bonnet of their ancestors. With its small houses, canals, and drawbridges, Volendam is only half of a municipality; the remainder is charming Edam, home to a market best known for the flavorful cheese that bears the same name.
Leaving the red-roofed skyline of Volendam's harbor behind, you'll enjoy a ferry ride to Marken, where clusters of traditional wooden homes form little villages on what once was an island.
After breakfast, enjoy a final day to explore Amsterdam. You can visit the museum that once was Anne Frank's home or the Van Gogh Museum, which also offers masterpieces by Gauguin, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and others. The Old Church (De Oude Kerk) is one of the city's historic highlights, with beautiful painted wooden vaults, an 18th-century organ, and the gravestone of one of the Dutch founders of New York City, Kiliaen van Rensselaer. An architectural treasure with artworks spanning centuries, the church also hosts frequent exhibitions and concerts.
In early evening, enjoy an included Farewell Drink with your fellow travelers to celebrate your adventures. Then you can seek out a new restaurant or revisit a favorite for dinner on your own.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.