Country of Tulips Tour

Your Tour Guides!

Your fearless tour guides in tulip fields near Lisse. Denise on the left, Emma on the right.

Biking along the dike near Vlaardingen

Keukenhof Garden

Flowering trees in the Keukenhof Garden

Posing with some hyacinths and daffodils near Lisse

Photo stop at the windmill in Rodenrijs!

Farmer’s art project in Vogelenzang

What a good-looking bunch!

Road block!

Road block near Nieuwveen!

Almost back to Noordwijk!

Hotel de Emauspoort, our hotel in Delft

Hotel de Emauspoort, our hotel in Delft

Typical Breakfast at the last hotel, Hotel de Watergues

Typical Breakfast at the last hotel, Hotel de Watergues

Celebrating nearing the end of the longest biking day outside of Nieuwkoop

There is no “typical meal” at the Hotel de Watergues, but it is always spectacular!

Learning how Delft Blue Pottery is made

Learning how Delft Blue Pottery is made

Taking a break with the van

Taking a nap in the sun after walking around the Keukenhof garden

A Dutch dessert called “hangop” at our first hotel, De Witte Raaf

Biking through the Queen’s woods in Wassenaar

Retired windmill in Nieuwkoop

This charming tour gives you a truly special Dutch experience. VGT’s owner, Emma, along with a local Dutch guide, will personally take you on this vacation that you will surely remember for a lifetime. Along the way, you will visit the captivating, visually stunning Keukenhof Tulip Exhibition Center, where many new and exotic bulbs are on display; the historic cities of Delft, Leiden and The Hague; and the uniquely Dutch, rural polder landscape with many windmills, lakes, baby lambs, charming unspoiled villages, and beautiful “Cape Cod-like” sand dunes. We stay two nights each at wonderful three and four-star hotels (the first on the ocean, close to the blooming fields of daffodils, hyacinths and tulips, the second in the historic center of Delft and the last hotel on a picturesque lake). After finishing a pleasurable day of biking along safe, flat bicycle paths and small roads, you will enjoy four dinners of superb three or four-courses (the Dutch really know how to cook!). If you get tired during the day, or if you buy a few souvenirs along the way, we always have the support van following close behind. Tours are 7 days and 6 nights in length, with two nights each in three and four-star hotels in Noordwijk, Delft and Noorden. The tour is limited to 14 people!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Noordwijkerhout Roundtrip – warm-up ride
We’ll meet at 11:00 AM in the arrival hall of the central station in Leiden, a short train ride from Amsterdam. After lunch and a brief orientation meeting we’ll stroll through Leiden’s beautiful city center. We’ll “follow in the footsteps of Rembrandt” and visit the “Pilgrim’s Church”, where the American forefathers prayed before departing to Delftshaven, from where they sailed to Plymouth in Massachusetts. In the late afternoon we’ll transfer to our charming, 4-star hotel in Noordwijkerhout, close to Holland’s famous tulip fields and bordering the beautiful dunes. After fitting your bike we’ll have an optional warm-up ride through the glorious tulip fields just inland from our sea front hotel. Tonight you will hear about the program for the next day and the routine for the rest of the week while enjoying your first scrumptious Dutch dinner in the restaurant of our hotel.

Day 2: Noordwijkerhout – Keukenhof – Vogelenzang – Noordwijkerhout – 22 miles (35 km)
In the morning we’ll “beat the crowds” as we make an early visit to the Keukenhof, the world’s most spectacular flower garden with over 6 million bulbs, fantastically arranged amid fascinating outdoor sculptures, ponds and fountains. Originally this was the 15th century kitchen garden of the Countess Jacoba van Beieren. You’ll certainly want to photograph this sensational display of color. After our Keukenhof visit, we’ll cycle north to Vogelenzang for lunch. We’ll guide you through the prosperous villages here where we’ll admire many blooming private gardens and impressive Dutch villas before we return to our beach hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 3: Noordwijk – The Hague – Delft – 28 miles (45 km)
We’ll depart Noordwijk and take a bike path through more of Holland’s most lovely sand dunes (rolling hills!). We’ll pass through Katwijk, a lovely former fishing village and continue on to the Wassenaarse Slag. Here we’ll leave the dunes and cycle past the elegant estates of Wassenaar. We’ll follow a winding bike path through lovely woods and finally arrive in front of King Willem Alexander’s private mansion. From here we’ll bike on to the center of The Hague where we’ll admire many handsome buildings of the Dutch Government and the official palace of the king. We will have a hearty Dutch pancake lunch before biking the twelve-kilometer distance from The Hague to Delft, where you’ll stay right in the center of town. Just before we reach our hotel we will have a chance to visit a Delft pottery factory where the world-renowned “Delft Blue” china is created. Our dinner tonight is an Indonesian “rice table,” typically Dutch since Indonesia was a former colony of the Netherlands.

Day 4: Delft Roundtrip – 20 miles (optional ride) (32 km)
In the morning you are free to visit the historic center of Delft by foot. You might like to visit the New Church (completed in 1380) where William of Orange is buried, or climb the steps to the bell tower where you’ll have a wonderful view over the red tiled roofs of Delft. You can also browse the numerous shops and boutiques Delft has to offer. For lunch, if you are brave enough, you could try the famous “new herring” at a six-hundred-year-old fish stand near the magnificent town hall. In the afternoon you may join us on an optional bike ride through charming Dutch countryside to Schipluiden, a quaint little village southwest of Delft, and then continue on to the Nieuwe Waterweg. This is the major connection between Rotterdam, the world’s number one harbor, and the North Sea. From the terrace of a Waterweg Restaurant you’ll have a marvelous view on an exciting parade of barges, riverboats and huge ocean cargo ships. Dinner is on your own tonight in one of Delft’s many fine restaurants.

Day 5: Delft – Noorden – 36 miles (58 km)
Our longest biking day will take us through the Westland, the fertile area full of greenhouses where delicious tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers that Holland is famous for are grown. We’ll continue through this abundant green area of Holland along the tiny River Rotte, which has recently become a nature and wildlife reservation. We’ll cruise by classic windmills and many cows, sheep and lambs grazing peacefully on our way. Later we’ll cycle through the “mecca of the flower growing industry” and arrive in our private hotel, with its well-known gourmet restaurant, beautifully situated on an idyllic lake in Noorden. You might rent a quiet electro boat this afternoon and visit the conservation area on the other side of the lake, which is also a bird and wild flower preserve, unique in all of Holland.

Day 6: Noorden Roundtrip – 28 miles (45 km)
Today we’ll follow the bucolic Jaagpad route through the surroundings of Noorden that the Dutch call the “Green Heart of Holland” and we’ll enjoy some of the best biking possible in the Netherlands. We’ll follow a curvy, picturesque little peat river, the Meije, a photographer’s paradise with charming small farms and meadows filled with wildflowers all along its banks. We’ll be biking along typical Dutch canals, passing by deep polders and beautiful lakes. Dutch farmers, who dug the peat to burn as fuel centuries ago, artificially created these lakes. We’ll stop for lunch before we bike back to the relaxing terrace of our hotel; then toast your Dutch biking accomplishments with a good Heineken or, we have to admit, a superb Belgian Palm Beer! Our farewell dinner again will be in the candlelit restaurant of our hotel, where the food is lovingly prepared and beautifully presented especially for this occasion.

Day 7: Early morning group transfer to Schiphol Airport for your flight home or the next leg of your European vacation. We recommend getting a flight that leaves after 11 a.m., however if you need to schedule an earlier flight, that is okay and we will arrange an appropriate transfer for you.

Getting There

Starting Point:
11:00 a.m. in front of the cafe in the arrival hall of Leiden Centrum Railroad Station, a short 17 minutes away from Schiphol Airport (35 minutes from Amsterdam). Trains leave every half-hour. For last minute train schedules visit the website of the Dutch Railways, www.ns.nl.

Ending Point:
The tour concludes the morning of day 7 after breakfast with group transfer by taxi to Schiphol Airport. From the hotel to the airport is about 40 minutes by van, making it possible to catch a return flight to the US after 11:00 AM. (Earlier flights are also possible) We will ask everyone the time of their flights, and book 1-2 taxis accordingly.

Meals

Included in the tour price you’ll receive daily buffet breakfast, 5 lunches, 4 coffee breaks and 4 dinners. For the buffet breakfasts there’s an assortment of cold meats and cheeses, eggs, bread, jams, cereal, yogurt, fruit, coffee, and tea. For lunches we’ll stop together at restaurants that feature local ingredients and typical Dutch menus. Since we’re a group of up to 16 people (with guides), there will generally be a limited menu of 4-6 options. We hand pick the choices and people have always found something they’re happy with. On Wednesday you’ll have a free morning and afternoon, so you can find lunch at one of the many restaurants in Delft. For our coffee breaks, you’ll have your choice of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, juice, or soda. If you need an extra pick-me-up you can always order some famous Dutch apple pie! Dinners are three- or four-courses with either a set menu or a choice of two options. The first night in Delft we eat Indonesian “rijstafel,” which is a large assortment of dishes. On this night dessert is not included. On two nights, dinner will be on your own, and you can choose one of many delicious restaurant options within easy walking distance from our hotel. We can accommodate many types of dietary restrictions including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy free. Please indicate these requests at the time of booking.

Prices and Dates

Check out “Tulip Tours” in our GUIDED Tour Calendar

Tour Length

7 days/ 6 nights

Included
    • – 6 nights lodging in three and four-star hotels with private facilities
    • – 5 dinners, 5 lunches, and 6 breakfasts
    • – Entrance to the Keukenhof
    • – Outstanding, personalized leadership by VGT’s owner and local Dutch guide
    • – Support van
    • – Daily route directions
    • – 24-speed hybrid bicycles
    – All taxes and gratuities for the hotel and restaurant portions of the tour
Bicycles

24-speed hybrid Specialized bikes are included on the tour. Bicycles come equipped with: grip shifters, handlebar bag, bell, cage and water bottle, optional toe clips, optional rear view mirror and rear pannier. It is also possible to replace our pedals with your own “clip on” pedals. Helmets are not included; please bring your own helmet! We do have a few helmets available for rent for $20 for the week. If you wish to rent one, please let us know ahead of time.

Level of Difficulty

Daily cycling distances are 22-36 miles on flat terrain and on mostly separate bike paths. Level of Difficulty is easy. Remember that the van is usually very close by and you can join the “lonely driver” if you need a break from riding!

Excluded

– Airfare
– Alcoholic and bar beverages
– One dinner
– One lunch
– Independent sightseeing
– Transportation other than scheduled VGT transfers

Weather

Holland is close to the North Sea and has a moderate sea climate. Average daytime temperatures in April range from 55-65F. Though rain is possible, statistically April and May are the driest months in Holland.

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