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Hidden Waterways of Flanders and Holland - Southbound 2024

USD $4,690

Dates & Prices

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Jul 28, 2024
Aug 04, 2024
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Oct 06, 2024
Oct 13, 2024
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Tour Itinerary

Be as active as you like as you venture off-the-beaten rivers to charming inland waterways in Belgium and the Netherlands.Here daily life unfolds in leisurely bicycle rides along country lanes, guided walking tours in quintessential Dutch villages steeped in history and cultural riches, a beer tasting at a Belgian brewery, a visit to the newly opened Royal Museum of Fine Art in Antwerp, a canal boat cruise in Amsterdam and an unforgettable dinner at a 14th-century castle on a private island open just for Tauck guests.

Countries Visited

Belgium , Netherlands

Cities Visited

Amsterdam , Antwerp , Bruges , Brussels

  1. Day 1
    Arrive Amsterdam / Embark riverboat

    Tour begins: 4:00 PM. A transfer is included from Amsterdam's Schipohl Airport or Centraal Train Station to your riverboat; check-in time is 4:00 PM. Join us for an onboard briefing, followed by a welcome reception and dinner tonight.

    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Artful Amsterdam

    Spend the day in the world-famous 17th century capital of Holland, known for its artistic heritage, historic canals, and narrow houses with gabled facades, living legacies of the city's Golden Age. Art masterpieces hang in its acclaimed museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, where the Old Masters hold court. Bicycles and canal boats are key to the city's character; gardens bloom with Dutch bulbs; and its cultural treasures are among the most significant Europe. View the sights aboard a canal boat cruise this morning, followed by a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum, seeing such works as The Milkmaid by Vermeer, Self-portrait by Van Gogh, The Merry Family by Jan Steen and Rembrandt's Night Watch, before time to explore on your own. Return to your riverboat for a musical performance and dinner. 

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Leiden or Rotterdam

    Enjoy a choice of guided shore excursions as your riverboat is docked in Rotterdam, founded as a fishing village in the 13th century. A living monument to Holland's Golden Age until it was bombed to rubble during World War II, the city today welcomes with world-class architecture and urban design, along with surviving traces of Old Rotterdam in Delfshaven (Delft Harbor) and Oude Haven (Old Harbor). You may choose to stay in town to explore the sights with a local guide, with time at leisure to explore as you wish. Or you may embark on a guided excursion to Leiden, the birthplace of Rembrandt, and home to charming architecture, canals and historic sights, including the country's oldest university. joining us for a Tauck Exclusive dinner at Slot Loevestein. Set in a nature reserve on a private island, the 14th-century castle has served as a prison, residence and toll taker; tonight it will be yours to enjoy as the island and castle are open for Tauck guests only.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  4. Day 4

    Voted "the most beautiful fortified town in the Netherlands," Gorinchem was founded in 1000 AD, fortified in the 13th and 14th centuries, and today boasts the largest fully intact fort in the Netherlands. A quintessentially Dutch town with flowers and windmills, it is surrounded by green polders with grazing cows. The city was originally part of the Dutch Waterline of defense and the historic city center is still a well-preserved walled fortress. Join our local guide for a walking tour of its historic heart, viewing its charming canals, the well-preserved Renaissance-style and medieval architecture, and pretty parks and gardens.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Discover the best of Bruges

    Arrive this morning in Ghent, Belgium, and drive to Bruges for a day of Belgian delights. Join our local guide for a walking tour of this fairy tale town, renowned as one of Europe's best-preserved cities. Stroll picturesque cobblestone lanes to market squares where medieval towers, churches and whitewashed alm houses reflect its storied past. Visit Old Market Square in the ancient heart of town and see the 13th-century belfry that soars over the rooftops. Enjoy lunch as you wish before time at leisure this afternoon. If you wish, join our local guide for a bicycle ride into the Belgian countryside. Have cocktails and dinner onboard as your riverboat charts a course towards Antwerp.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Architecture and Ale in Antwerp

    Belgium's largest port city, Antwerp has long been a magnet for art lovers and diamond traders. It was of Europe's most important – and one of its richest – cities in the mid-16th century when merchants traded sugar and diamonds here. Golden Age artists Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck and Frans Snyders called Antwerp home in the 17th century and Renaissance monuments and a still unfinished 13th-century cathedral enrich the variety of architectural styles that grace its medieval heart. Join a local guide on a sightseeing drive and walking tour that explores the historic gems of this lively town, from bustling Grote Market to medieval guild houses, baroque churches, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and atmospheric squares, or visit the newly renovated and recently reopened Royal Museum of Fine Arts to see its impressive collection of art from the 14th through the 20th century, with an impressive hall dedicated to the art of its native son, Pieter Paul Rubens Or, experience a brewery tour and tasting of the city's famous Belgian beers. Spend the afternoon exploring as you wish; a shuttle will be available to bring you back to the riverboat. Cocktails and dinner are at leisure tonight onboard ship; set sail for Bruges this evening. 

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    The best of Brussels

    Enjoy a day in Brussels, exploring the sights with local guides who share insider anecdotes about life here past and present on a choice of excursions. See landmark sights that speak volumes about history, from its Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture to the Guild Houses lining Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or experience culinary discoveries that tempt with a taste of chocolate, waffles and beer, perfected through the ages. After free time to enjoy as you wish, join us tonight for our farewell reception and dinner aboard ship.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Journey Home

    Tour ends: Brussels. Disembark your riverboat this morning by 9:00 AM. A transfer is included from Tauck's riverboat to Brussels Airport or train station. Fly home anytime. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in at the airport.

    Meals:   Breakfast

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Be as active as you like as you venture off-the-beaten rivers to charming inland waterways in Belgium and the Netherlands.Here daily life unfolds in leisurely bicycle rides along country lanes, guided walking tours in quintessential Dutch villages steeped in history and cultural riches, a beer tasting at a Belgian brewery, a visit to the newly opened Royal Museum of Fine Art in Antwerp, a canal boat cruise in Amsterdam and an unforgettable dinner at a 14th-century castle on a private island open just for Tauck guests.

  • Experience the storied 650-year history of Slot Loevestein, set on an island reserve that's yours to explore during an exclusive Tauck dinnerVisit the quintessentially Dutch town of Gorinchem, alive with flowers and windmills and surrounded by polders where doe-eyed cows graze, on a locally guided tour
  • All private Tauck shore excursions - $2,069 Value!
  • Enjoy a choice of guided excursions in Bruges, including a walking tour of its historic heart with a local expert or an active bicycle excursion out into the countryside led by an expert guide

Health and Safety Protocols for Tauck Tours

Traveling with Peace of Mind
Our commitment never wavers – to earn your trust by always doing the right thing. As we explore the world together again, this will be more important than ever as we adapt to living and traveling in the presence of COVID-19.

Tauck is 97-years young this year, and our ability to weather many storms over the decades is a result of our values and beliefs – as a family and as a family-owned and led company. In addition to the guiding light of these values, our extensive experience, local knowledge and global support network help to ensure your safety on every Tauck journey. Building upon our bedrock of award-winning guest care, we have worked tirelessly to prepare for your return following the COVID-19 hiatus in travel. With guidance from leading experts, including the CDC and WHO, together with our internal Global Response Team and, most importantly, with feedback from thousands of our guests, we have redefined how we will conduct our experiences as we resume travel.

Tauck is Prepared for the Unexpected
For decades, Tauck has operated in over 70 countries in all 7 continents. Over this time, our staff and network of supplier partners have always been there to support our guests and team on the road. Our guests travel with a comprehensive, built-in support system that starts with the care and local knowledge of our Tauck Directors and extends to our network of partners around the world, including hoteliers and transportation companies.

At the core of our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the unexpected is our Global Response Team - a group of over 50 employees across all departments who stand ready to spring into action around the world. This team has plenty of experience, from weather events, high and low water on rivers, earthquakes, volcanic ash, civil unrest and work stoppages. They have also dealt with past virus outbreaks including the SARS and Zika viruses.

The Tauck Travel Well Pledge
Before we operate tours and cruises, all Tauck employees, our supplier partners and our guests will take Tauck’s Travel Well Pledge.

As a company, we will follow our enhanced protocols with diligence and rigor; review them frequently as the landscape changes and always make common-sense decisions grounded in purpose and pride. We embrace these new and necessary measures to combat COVID-19 and will do our very best to provide the Tauck care we have been honored to deliver for 97 years.

Consistent with our commitment to the well-being of our guests, we are implementing enhanced health and safety protocols. These protocols may vary by geographic regions and will certainly evolve over time, as science and society respond to new realities:

Tauck Staff
Prior to interacting with guests, each member of Tauck’s field staff is trained in enhanced protocols and participates in a personal health screening.

Once on tour, our Tauck Directors and supporting staff are responsible for maintaining these protocols with a special focus on cleanliness and physical distancing. They will relay critical information regarding requirements, advise when protocols are mandatory – such as wearing a face covering in group settings – and help facilitate guest care through communication with appropriate parties should a guest become ill on tour. All Tauck staff will adhere to the same requirements.

Guest Responsibility
When joining a Tauck journey, every guest is responsible for their own health and, in turn, the protection of their fellow travelers, the Tauck staff, our suppliers and the places we visit. Guests will pledge to follow the direction of the Tauck staff and adhere to health and safety protocols.

Guests are expected to wear face coverings in all group settings, to wash their hands frequently and to adhere to supplier and government regulations. While supplies of face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available, guests are asked to bring such personal items for their own comfort.

Small is BIG
For many years, Tauck has emphasized and invested in more choices of activities, resulting in smaller groups for activities like sightseeing and events. This is consistent with our mantra that “Small is Big” – small groups and smaller ships with fewer guests.

We initially focused on these elements to improve the guest experience. Yet today they take on an additional dimension; small group experiences and more personal space are critical in providing the peace of mind our guests expect. Accordingly, we are offering even more small group experiences and limiting guest numbers across all of our journeys.

We have been working diligently with our partners to be prepared to welcome you back when the time is right.
Tauck has worked meticulously with our global supplier partners to plan for every itinerary following the hiatus in travel. All partners, whether they be a hotel, museum, small ship/riverboat, restaurant or other partner, have been thoughtful about how to provide a Tauck experience in this environment.

And while it's impossible to list all of the enhanced health and safety protocols for the hundreds of Tauck partners across the globe, we would like to share a representative sample of what you can expect:

Our hotel partners all have world-class health and safety protocols. However, these guidelines may vary depending on local situations and regulations. Here are some typical examples:

  • Upon-arrival, health questionnaires and temperature checks may be required. Some hotels may even require daily temperature scans.
  • Social distancing may be required in public areas, bars and restaurants.
  • High-touch areas such as railings, door handles and elevators will undergo enhanced cleaning.
  • In-room measures may include removal of tent cards and magazines. Common use items, such as coffee makers and minibar amenities may be on demand.
  • High-touch areas, such as light switches, thermostats, remote controls and door handles will be subject to enhanced and frequent cleaning.
  • Guests will have the option to determine housekeeping frequency.
  • All hotel staff will undergo daily health screenings.

Ships and Riverboats
We have worked closely with our cruise partners to ensure the best possible health and safety protocols and to ensure the care and service you expect from Tauck:

  • Guests on cruises and river journeys will be required to complete a health questionnaire and will undergo a temperature check prior to boarding. In some instances, our ship partners will conduct daily temperature checks.
  • Face coverings and physical distancing will be required in most public spaces for guests and crew alike.
  • Meals may be offered at staggered times and self-serve buffets will be eliminated.
  • In-cabin measures include removing common use items. Coffee makers, minibar amenities and housekeeping will be on demand at guest discretion.
  • Ship staff will undergo daily health screenings.
  • All vessels will have medical staff onboard.

Sightseeing and Local Activities
Many of our experiences are exclusive and/or private and that’s important in taking care of you. Whether it be a guided tour, a visit to an iconic museum or private home, a musical performance, or any other special Tauck activities, we are applying the same rigor to health and safety protocols:

  • Tauck listening devices will be sanitized thoroughly and frequently.
  • Sightseeing is being adjusted to ensure proper physical distancing.
  • Admission times at venues may be altered to ensure no crowding.
  • Paper tickets, handouts and the like may be eliminated.

Tauck has always been known for a la carte dining; having more freedom to decide when and with whom to dine now has more value than ever. Additionally, our partners whether they be hotels, ships, special venues or restaurants, are raising their already rigorous hygienic standards. Here are some examples:

  • Waitstaff will likely be wearing face coverings and gloves.
  • Seating will be adjusted to accommodate physical distancing.
  • Self-serve buffets will be eliminated. Common use menus will no longer be used unless sanitized.

On-Tour Transportation
Keeping on-tour transportation safe is a major focus of our team who has worked with hundreds of partners to ensure continuity in health and safety protocols:

  • On motorcoaches and other on-tour ground transportation, such as airport transfers, guest should expect physical distancing and will be required to wear face coverings.
  • Prior to each trip, our motorcoaches, vans, airport transfer vehicles and on-tour aircraft will undergo a deep sanitizing process.
  • Luggage may also be sanitized at each movement.
  • Drivers will wear gloves and face coverings during all guest-facing interactions.
  • Drivers will frequently clean handrails, door handles, arm rests, tables, seats, air conditioning/HVAC units, restrooms and overhead storage areas.

Our Supplier Partners are ready for you
Tauck is proud to have worked closely with our partners around the world, many of them for decades, to deliver the quality, comfort and safety you expect. Whether it be hotels and resorts, riverboats and small ships, restaurants, event venues or transportation companies, their meticulous health and safety protocols reflect their leadership and well-earned respect in the travel industry. The following are some select health and safety protocols. We will update these on a regular basis.

In addition to our supplier partners, we have also been actively engaged with global travel organizations to standardize health and safety protocols throughout the travel industry. TourCare is one example:

TourCare are health and sanitation guidelines developed by the tour industry's major global associations: the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Tauck, and our supplier partners, meet and exceed these guidelines that require members to adhere to the highest standards in the industry.

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ms Esprit

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Tauck Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
Professional Staff
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Ratings based off 890 reviews about Tauck Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

Always enjoy traveling with Tauck, this trip was no different. Our tour leasder was one of the best we have encountered. Weather cooperated very well for a perfect trip.

Can't go wrong with Tauck...outstanding!

We were very impressed with Tauck Tours and would book with them through you again!

We spent more money on this Tauck tour than a Luxury Gold trip to Spain and Portugal (top of the line) which required international travel and was for a longer duration. Also, I've said this before about Tauck. Although a good company, there is too much food offered and too much time spent sitting down to a meal when we could be sightseeing.

Our goals were met and exceeded by Affordable Tours.

Wonderful Tauck Tours..we will travel with them again..thank you for the suggestion..

This is our 7th Tauck tour/river cruise and they have never disappointed.

Our trip was amazing and we had to he most amazing guide Leah she went above and beyond

Ms Lawren Farias was our agent. She went out of her way to make sure that everything went smoothly and it did I would defiitely use her again. She was outstanding.

Maya was absolutely wonderful! I only want to book with her for any future travel.

The Tauck tour exceeded our expectations.Our tour director was exceedingly well informed and organized.She was the best.

The tour was one of our best. Tauck's attention to detail and covering nearly 100% of our costs or fees and booking 5* hotels is why we liked the trip.

Fantastic vacation! Exceeded all our expectations! Trip of a Lifetime!!!

Tauck delivered as promised and more. The tour director was very helpful and knowledgeable. We wouldn't hesitate to book with them again.

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