Famed Kuekenhof Gardens, Holland’s Bulb Fields & Opening Day at the Ghent/Gent Flower Show/Gentse Floralien!
8 days from Amsterdam
Why not travel on this special tour with members of your gardening club?
Highlights of the Gardens in Holland and Belgium
This is a suggested tour itinerary for private departures, adjustable to best suit your specific wishes. Price based on how many travelers, your chosen package inclusions and your chosen level of accommodation.
This tour begins and ends in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of Holland’s Art Cities and is best explored by foot, tram or boat.
Spoilt for choice in Amsterdam! Why not spend free time in the wonderful city pre-tour? If you are up for an early morning venture, nearby Aalsmeer Flower Auction is an option, opened Monday through Friday from 7 – 11am only.
NOTE: This garden tour involves ample walking and visits many rural locations and places of interest with several steep inclines, many with pathways of grass, stone, gravel and dirt which can be very slippery when wet. Suitable footwear is essential. Those with mobility issues may not find this itinerary suitable. If in doubt, please discuss conditions with us. It can be modified appropriately.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE that Kuekenhof is only opened for a few months each spring, typically from mid March through early May. This tour is designed to operate during that time frame to hopefully capture the best of springtime.
Arrival Day in Amsterdam
Today is your arrival day into the Dutch capital, and guests are free to explore as they choose. What you do is up to you! This capital city offers a variety of choice – garden fans should enjoy the immaculate 18th Century garden at the Willet-Holthuysen Museum. Then there’s the Anne Frank Museum (advanced booking strongly recommended to go inside,) the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum for the finest collection of Dutch old masters… This is very much a walking city but there are trams and also the option of a canal barge tour too.
Orchid Farm & Palace Het Loo
We will depart from our central Amsterdam departure point at approximately 9am, our route today takes us to a unique garden property. The Tropical Gardens in Luttelgeest, ‘Orchideeën Hoeve,’ is one garden of interest. Here is the largest collection of orchids in The Netherlands. An astounding wealth of orchids, at least 2500 different species arranged on tree trunks and amid water streams and other tropical plants. The gardens complex also features Malaysian and Taiwanese style spaces and an extensive Butterfly Valley where thousands of colourful butterflies live.
Our main visit today will be Palace Het Loo, a vast place with beautiful formal gardens. The palace was designed in the 17th century for William III and his Queen Mary. No longer used by the Dutch royal family but as a national museum, a place to experience pure opulence and to perhaps play royalty for a while!
Stay: Amsterdam, same property as above
Kuekenhof & bulb fields, Leiden
Keukenhof is our main destination today, making our way there via the stunning Holland tulip bulb fields. Certainly an unforgettable spectacle! We will spend ample time in Keukenhof but will also have some time for wandering off the beaten track, seeking out some excellent photo opportunities and hopefully meeting some locals. The gardens of Keukenhof will surely be the highlight of our day, bursting with millions of tulips and other spring bulbs – what one guide book calls ‘the rainbow of natural beauty.’ The gardens here, described as one of the most photographed places on Earth, also offers one of Holland’s largest sculpture gardens.
Leiden is another beautiful Dutch town with charming canal lined streets and lovely architecture. The birthplace of Rembrandt and the current home to the oldest university in the country, this was also home to the original Mayflower Pilgrims for 12 years prior to boarding The Mayflower. We will have a short visit as we make our way to our next overnight location.
Upon arrival into Delft, we will enjoy a brief orientation walking tour. Tomorrow is a full day to explore as individuals choose.
PROPERTY SUGGESTION: Hotel Koophandel or similar http://www.hoteldekoophandel.nl/
Full day Delft/Den Haag
Delft is popular with tourists but, as this is our base town, guests can hopefully miss the main and maddening throng. There is the full day free for indivuduals to explore as they choose. This place is almost unchanged since Vermeer painted it in the 1600s, you will have free time to relax in a canal side cafe, explore the quaint shops or visit the Vermeer Museum and Blue Porcelain Museum as you wish. The Botanic Garden of Delft at the University of Technology was founded on its present location in 1917 and is well worth some time for those that wish more garden time.
Those that wish may perfer to take a tram the short distance to another wonderful Dutch city. The Hague/Den Haag is home to the Royal Family, the seat of Dutch government, the international criminal court and the Peace Palace. There are fabulous medieval Parliament buildings and the ‘Lange Verhoot’ area with its spectacular homes. The highlight of course though isMauritshuis, home to famous works including Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring,’ ‘View of Delft’ and Rembrandt’s ‘Dr Nicolas Tulp.’
Tonight, perhaps choose to try an Indonesian rice table dinner, now considered a typical Dutch dinner. A rice table consists of rice served with approximately 10-15 different spicy vegetables, pork, fish, chicken and beef dishes to sample. A day spoilt for choice!
Overnight: Delft, same property as above
We will cross the border from The Netherlands into Belgium today. Our route is via a bit of the traditional Dutch countryside with a stop at the windmills of Kinderdijk. Yes, it’s touristy but it is lovely and pretty for all of that!
Kalmthout Arboretum is our first Flemish garden visit. It has been described as the best example of the gardenesque style of garden design; its oldest trees were planted over 150 years ago. Strolling through this 12 hectare gem, expect to see flowering magnolias and cherries plus diverse flowering borders with over 7,000 varieties of plants. There is also a butterfly garden.
Accommodation for these next few nights can either be in a picturesque stop by the river in the town of St Martens-Latem, a few minutes outside of Gent/Ghent, or in Gent/Ghent itself.
Overnight: in/near Gent/Ghent
Bruges/Brugge & tulips of Groot–Bijgaarden
Perhaps the most famed of all Flanders cities is Bruges/Brugge. This medieval gem with its scenic canals and cobbled streets, beautifully decorated houses, old guild halls and churches never fails to surprise and delight its visitors. After an orientation walking tour with your guide, guests are free to explore as they please - take an optional horse drawn carriage ride around the city, go shopping in the famous lace shops or simply wander the cobbled streets, soaking up the lovely atmosphere or munching a waffle or some frites. Your guide will be on hand for assistance and advice on how best to explore but what you do is up to you.
Today walk the flower labyrinth of Groot–Bijgaarden in the spring flower show. Discover 500 varieties of spring bulbs including 300 tulip varieties. Belgium’s answer to Kuekenhof, here is another special treat for visitors only available for a few weeks each year!
Overnight: in/near Gent/Ghent, same property as above
OPENING DAY of the Ghent Flower Show/Gentse Floraliën
We will spend the entire day in Gent/Ghent to enjoy the flower show events and the city highlights.
Gent/Ghent is one of the country’s noted art cities, a university city, a port city and the capital of East Flanders. In addition to the flower show, we recommend you spend a bit of time in the city itself, perhaps enjoy the stunning city views from St Michael’s Bridge, a walk through the Grote Markt or visit inside St Bavo’s Cathedral featuring the VanEyck masterpiece, the ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.’ There is much to discover in this lovely little city!
Of course priority is the Gent Floralies - 2020 dates are 01 - 10 May, 2020
The first FLORALIES Ghent were organised in 1808. The organisation behind the floralies Ghent is the Royal Society for Agriculture and Botany. Over the years the event has built up a strong reputation for itself as the must-attend event of the horticultural industry in Belgium. Its values can be summarised as follows: trend-setting, creative & innovative, open, sustainable, informative & interactive, co-operative, proud & dynamic.
Overnight: in/near Gent/Ghent, same property as above
This morning, the charming city of Antwerp and a panoramic look around the city. This fantastic place has much to offer visitors! Our focus will be Rubenshuis, the painter Rueben’s home where he lived for 29 years, now a museum dedicated to his life and work. His garden is an enclosed renaissance style, typical of its time, with straight walks and parterres bounded by yew hedges. Faithfully reconstructed from engravings, this home and garden is a rare insight into Renaissance daily life. Antwerp is also home to a lovely cathedral and world class shopping.
De Tuinen van Appeltern is a ‘must-see’ Dutch garden, housing the largest collection of plants in the country with over 200 model gardens. This 15 hectare park was designed as an experience for all senses, intended to be an inspiration for gardeners and garden lovers.
We will return to Amsterdam this evening, where our tour concludes. Optional airport transfers possible tomorrow, or guests are welcomed to extend their stay independently.
Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times beyond our control.
Please note that your final day to day itinerary may fluctuate to accommodate variable opening times/days for listed attractions, special events and places of interest. Please discuss your needs with us for an individual itinerary with rate quote.
Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.
This is a suggested tour itinerary and can be modified to best you your individual wishes.
Suggested tour package includes: # of touring days with vehicle & exclusive services of your driver/guide/companion, your accommodation for # nights while on the tour including full breakfasts, all taxes and tips other than those you may wish to give your guide. Your price also can include dinners and/or entrance fees to attractions or these items can be left out of the up front package/to be paid directly for maximum flexibility. Airport transfers, accommodation pre and post tour, scheduled city day tours/attraction passes/transport passes or theatre/event tickets can be added to your package as you wish, subject to availability.
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