Holland & Belgium
- See the vast tulip fields outside of Den Helder.
- Examine the masterpieces of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Dürer at Amsterdam’s recently refurbished Rijksmuseum.
- End your journey along the Thames in London, near the iconic Tower Bridge.
At a glance
Duration: 9 Days, 7 Nights
Coverage: Hamburg, Germany to London, England
Activities: Culture, Flora, History, Photography, Wildlife
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Exploring the Low Countries of Holland and Belgium is a very different kind of immersion, a more gentle one, where lesser distances are covered and hidden facets of familiar places are explored.
On five of the seven nights we will remain in port well into the night, so that, if desired, you can enjoy the lingering evening light, and the joys of life as spring blooms in Northern Europe.
During the days, the expedition team will provide a variety of options for you, from bicycling along meandering canals, to special experiences in remarkable museums. It’s the perfect time to catch the re-opening of Amsterdam’s grandly renovated Rijksmuseum. And it’s prime tulip season as well, giving us the rare sight of vast fields in bloom. And, finally, we will end this civilized expedition with a journey up the Thames, ending our brief, multi-faceted sojourn at Tower Bridge in the center of London.
The British & Irish Isles
May 11-25, 2014
Combine your voyage through The Low Countries with Exploring the British & Irish Isles and save 10%. Call for details.
- Days 1-2 - U.S. / Hamburg, Germany / Bremerhaven / Embark
Depart on an overnight flight to Hamburg and after a panoramic overview and lunch, transfer to the port city of Bremerhaven. Embark National Geographic Explorer and cast off into the North Sea. (L,D)
- Day 3 - Harlingen, The Netherlands
Enter the scenic Waddenzee, a World Heritage site recognized for its birdlife-rich wetlands. Dock in Harlingen, a lovely seaside town that has a festive setting, much like Nyhavn in Copenhagen. We’ll be welcomed as the first passenger ship to call, and by special permission, explore the canals in the heart of town in Zodiacs. Enjoy an organ concert at the Grote Kerk then stroll past the lively shops and restaurants that line the waterways—remaining on shore for dinner if you wish. (B,L,D)
- Day 4 - Exploring the Frisian Islands
The West Frisian Islands stretch out along the edge of the Waddenzee off the Dutch coast. Texel is the largest of the islands, lined with long, dune-capped beaches and marshes. Discover the island on cycling or walking excursions. Then dock at Den Helder for a visit to the vast tulip fields nearby. (B,L,D)
- Day 5 - Amsterdam
Cluttered with bicycles, bursting with flowers, and carved by canals, Amsterdam is a vibrant city with an arts scene that has flourished since the Middle Ages. Experience the spectacular Rijksmuseum, recently reopened after a mammoth, nine-year renovation. On a guided tour, examine the works of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and other Dutch masters. You may also visit the newly reopened Van Gogh Museum. Or opt to see the spectacular Keukenhof flower show with over seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. This evening, dinner is specially arranged at the historic 17th-century West India House, where the decision was made to build the fort ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’ on the island of Manhattan. (B,L,D)
- Day 6 - Antwerp, Belgium
A prosperous trading center for centuries and the hub of the global diamond trade, Antwerp brims with impressive architecture. A guided walk with our art historian brings us to the 16th-century Grote Markt, the main square, lined with elegant guild houses and the Renaissance city hall. See the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, and admire the works of Flemish masters Anthony Van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens at the Rubenshuis. (B,L,D)
- Day 7 - Gent
Gent was one of Europe’s wealthiest cities during the medieval era and remains a showcase of Flemish architecture. Historic belfries pierce the sky, filling the air with their chimes, and ornate guild houses line the ancient harbor. Explore its historic sites with our guides. A gastronomic trip through Belgian cuisine has been specially arranged for lunch at the Belga Queen, set in a lovely 13th-century building. (B,L,D)
- Day 8 - Oostende / Brugge / London, UK
Dock in Oostende and drive to medieval Brugge, a UNESCO site known for its Gothic architecture and serene waterways. Brugge was also the birthplace of the school of Flemish Primitives, which include Jan van Eyck. After a walking excursion, board small boats and glide down swan-dotted canals to experience the gem-like old town from another perspective. Late afternoon, cross the English Channel to London, navigating up the Thames until midnight near the iconic LED-lit Tower Bridge. (B,L,D)
- Day 9 - London - Disembark / U.S.
Disembark in London and transfer to Heathrow Airport for flights home. (B)
Dates & Rates
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† Photo Cruise
National Geographic Explorer
National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship, and the latest addition to the Lindblad fleet. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world. View ship details...