Want to briefly escape the daily grind? Looking for rewarding destinations for your future vacations? Travel to Benelux and consider tours to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg! All three are perfect to be included in your longer trip to Europe or be explored on their own. Often overlooked because of neighboring France and Germany, these countries have incredible charm and so many experiences to offer - picturesque cities and small towns to wander in, incredible architecture, natural and cultural delights, and comforting food. In this piece, we want to introduce you to the must-sees for a quick visit, as well as name the top experiences that will turn your travel itinerary into one unforgettable and glorious vacation.
When it comes to visiting new destinations, don't limit your itinerary to just the capitals. Nevertheless, not to put Amsterdam on your bucket list would be one big mistake. Historic 16th-century architecture, 165 romantic canals, fascinating museums, plenty of parks and gardens - the city is perfect for everyone looking for entertainment and a moment of peace. We suggest starting exploring Amsterdam from its canals, if the weather permits, don’t miss your chance and take a breathtaking canal cruise on a public boat to enjoy Amsterdam from the water.
Are you a museum fan? Then make sure to pay a visit to the Anne Frank Museum, built around the secret apartment where Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager, wrote her famous diary during the Second World War and hid with her family from the Nazis. Two more Amsterdam museums that we highly recommend are Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history, and the Van Gogh Museum, among the most famous ones on the planet, housing the world's most extensive collection of Van Gogh paintings.
We also suggest you take more time to explore the old town and saunter through Jordaan, a district famous for its charming canals, narrow streets, and cozy restaurants. And, of course, no visit to Amsterdam is complete without tasting some of its famous foods: Stroopwafel (two cookies and a hot caramel syrup), street food delicacy, herring (salted and frozen for a minimum of two days), Poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes), chicken satay, and cheese. Like beer? Here in Amsterdam, you can get a first-hand look at the brewing process in the historic brewery “Heineken Experience.”
Another magical experience in the Netherlands is, of course, visiting the Keukenhof Tulip and Flower Gardens in South Holland. It claims to be the world’s most substantial flower garden but no awards and titles can explain what a magical feeling it is to see so many colorful tulips, crocuses, and daffodils in one place. You can easily reach Keukenhof from Amsterdam by bus or, as we suggest, with a guide-driver. If you also think that this is an experience that has to be ticked off, make sure you plan your trip for spring. The tulip fields are only open during the flowering season from mid-March till mid-May.
Are you looking for more unique experiences? Set off on a day trip to authentic Zaanse Schans, located just north of Amsterdam. Once an important industrial center with over 1000 windmills dotting the riverbank, today this town offers a glimpse into the Netherland’s industrial past. The city looks and feels like an open-air museum full of traditional Dutch handicrafts like wooden clogs, authentic houses, and 17 windmills. Our travelers enjoy this perfectly preserved destination!
Wonder what other cities to include in a 7 to 9-day Benelux travel itinerary? You won’t regret spending time in Utrecht, an ancient city which dates back to the Middle Ages and has the country’s oldest old town. And the exciting destination of the Hague cannot be left unmentioned. It's the country’s political center, often called a more "laid-back” alternative to Amsterdam.
If traveling with your family, or have little time for your Netherlands tour, visit the miniature city Madurodam and see everything that Holland has to offer in a few hours: canal houses, tulip fields, cheese market, a wooden shoes factory, windmills, and so much more! If you still have a day to spare, definitely visit Rotterdam, not only a beautiful destination but also the most important river port in Europe!
Belgium is so interesting! Traveling there you will be rewarded with medieval cities and quaint towns, as well as plenty of architectural treasures, castles, and cathedrals, and, of course, its fries, waffles, and world-famous chocolates. We recommend spending at least 3 or 4 days to see the best in the country. And here is a list of places and experiences that deserve a spot on your Belgium itinerary.
Most of our destination specialists name Bruges as the number one destination for authentic Belgium tours, and it is easy to see why! Bruges is a unique medieval town, often referred to as the "Venice of Belgium", and indeed is delightful with its historical houses lining the canals, cobbled streets, and impressive architecture. What not to miss there? Definitely visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the 83-meters tall Belfort Tower, and enjoy the Historic Centre of Bruges which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that seems like it just came out of a fairy tale.
If you are the romantic type, you won’t regret visiting the gorgeous old port of medieval Bruges (the Minnewater) also called the “lake of love”. The lake has many legends explaining its origin, one of which is a tragic love story between a young lady called Minna, and a man called Stromberg. Plus, Bruges can be done as a day trip from Brussels and is easily accessible by train. But if you really want to enjoy this city to the fullest, stay for the night! In the evening you can feel the lovely atmosphere of the city even more.
Stroll along the Bruges canal and discover the charming corners of the city, take pictures at the Rozenhoedkaai, and Groene Rei (a tree-lined bank), and take a walk in the city center to enjoy its enchanting labyrinth of winding stone streets, and shimmering lights.
Are you interested in fashion? Then we suggest you make a short stop in Antwerp, which is considered to be one of the top fashion cities in Europe! You'll definitely enjoy its pleasant atmosphere and the shopping street called "Meir", the biggest one in Antwerp. Of course, the city has many picturesque squares and amazing architecture too, so we highly recommend exploring its sights such as the Brabo's Monument, Antwerp City Hall, the famous Belgian painter's House called Ruben's House.
Want an amazing panoramic picture? Go to the district het Eilandje, find the museum “MAS” (Museum aan de Stroom) and make one in its panoramic terrace on the tenth floor.
Belgium may be small but it's packed with sights, and some of the best ones live in charming Ghent. During your stay, we suggest starting from its old town and visiting the three famous Gent towers: Saint Nicholas' Church, the Belfry, and Saint Bavo's Cathedral.
Like Bruges, it is full of tangled canals and bridges, and its idyllic atmosphere is what makes us fall in love with it. Ghent will surprise you with its street art, flower markets, its Citadelpark, a magnificent medieval port Graslei, Gravensteen Castle, its lively streets, and museums. If you have a sweet tooth, try Ghent’s signature candy “neuzeke”!
In case you're wondering whether it is worth visiting Brussels, the answer is "yes". Your trip to Belgium won’t be complete without it. We recommend you spare one or two days to explore its legendary landmarks and impressive monuments. Begin your exploration of the capital from the Grand-Palace Square, enjoy its ornate Gothic and Baroque-style buildings, grab a cup of coffee and continue your journey.
Don’t miss out on the “Manneken Pis”, a sculpture of a little boy that has put Brussels on the tourist map, and the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral. Want to make your trip even more memorable? Add a fun activity such as Belgium's chocolate-making and tasting or visit Mini-Europe Miniature Park!
Luxembourg, also called the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a tiny and hilly country. Many even wonder, what does such a small and often overlooked country have to offer? But rest assured, once there, you will be pleasantly surprised by its natural landscapes, quirky towns, ancient cities and all the things you could do there. You can’t go wrong by dedicating at least 2 days for exploring this petite country in Europe or at least planning a Luxembourg day trip from Brussels.
As for the most visited attractions of Luxembourg, you should certainly go to its cliff-top capital, the Luxembourg city. The capital is truly unique, overlooking the Alzette River and is a real blend of ancient and modern. When there, stroll its old town and stop by the Notre Dame Cathedral, the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg (The Palace of the Grand Dukes) which is among the major Luxembourg landmarks. If you want to learn more about the city, don’t miss the Luxembourg City History Museum and The National Museum of Art and History.
We suggest you also discover one of Europe’s most formidable medieval fortresses - the Casemates du Bock, it'll surely be a highlight of your Luxembourg travel. If this destination has already got your attention, enrich your Luxembourg sightseeing by exploring beyond this city and visiting the pretty town Clervaux, located in the north. It is nestled in the valley of the "Clerve" River and impresses its visitors the most with an impressively large white castle and the Abbey of St. Maurice and St. Maurus of Clervaux.
We hope that this travel advice was helpful and wish you an outstanding vacation, possibly, including the Benelux countries (the Netherlands, Belgium or Luxembourg)! If you have more questions about Benelux travel or would like to start putting together your personalized travel itinerary, feel free to contact our dedicated travel specialists who would be glad to assist!