Enjoy a delightful spring weekend break with a distinctive Dutch flavour visiting the magnificent, world-famous bulb fields at Keukenhof and, also, the Netherlands' capital city Amsterdam, the town of Delft, famous for its blue ceramics for more than 400 years, the seat of the Dutch government The Hague and the quaint fishing village of Volendam.
Keukenhof is one of the largest and most famous spring gardens in the world and each year the flower festival takes on a different theme which in 2014 will be highlighting traditional and modern symbols of 'Holland'.
Take a journey of discovery into the heart of Amsterdam and immerse yourself in the delights of Dutch culture. You will find a wealth of museums and art galleries, eclectic shopping and authentic caf�s. The best way to experience the city, including seeing its classic windmills and traditional gabled houses set alongside the canals that divide up the capital, is either on foot or by canal boat. There are also plenty of places to hire bikes, and clearly marked cycle lanes stitch the city together. Amsterdam’s more unusual structures include Singel 7 and Oude Hoogstraat 22, the world’s narrowest house and Europe’s smallest house respectively. Both are well-known despite their diminutive sizes and contrast greatly to the wonderfully opulent showrooms of Amsterdam's world-renowned diamond businesses. If you are looking for a souvenir and one of Amsterdam's glittering rocks or an original Van Gogh is a little out of your price range, why not instead hunt for the perfect souvenir in the shopping heaven of Kalverstraat where you will also find Amsterdam’s Historisch Museum. Alternatively, as the city is host to several breweries and liqueur manufacturers such as The Heineken Experience, you could buy a bottle or two to take home. As the Dutch would say, "Proost!"
The Hague is often known as 'the City of Peace and Justice' due partly to the many international courts located in the city, but also because the ideals of pacifism and world peace bloomed here at the end of the 19th century, resulting in the building ofThe Peace Palace (Het Vredespaleis). The city is also home to more than 150 international organizations and multi-national companies and embassies, giving it a character distinctly different from Amsterdam. The architecture particularly reflects these differences – wide streets and avenues instead of canals, and 18th century baroque and classicist mansions instead of 17th century step-gabled houses. For the visitor, the attractive shopping streets, museums, and historic squares offer plenty to see and do.
Most people will have heard of Delft for the blue-and-white pottery which has been made in the town since the 17th century, but this fine little town is an interesting place to visit for other reasons too. Some say it is like Amsterdam in miniature, and if you are standing by one of the canals which run through the town it is easy to see why. There have been strong connections with the Dutch royal family since 1572 when William of Orange made the town his home, and even today the burial vault of the Dutch royal family is found in the Niewe Kerk (New Church). One of Delft's most famous sons was the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and many of his paintings feature the famous Delftware pottery in the backgrounds. His final resting place may be found at the Oude Kerk (Old Church).
The old fisherman's village of Volendam is situated along the former Zuiderzee and is a well-known tourist location. The older inhabitants are still proud to wear traditional Dutch clothing, and on Sundays and holidays you may even see the women wearing the famous winged lace cap prevalent in so many illustrations of Dutch costume. Volendam's bustling harbour is still a major attraction, though these days pleasure craft jostle for space with old fishing boats.
Keukenhof is one of the largest and most famous spring gardens in the world. More than seven million flowering bulbs combine in such an abundance of colour and fragrance that your senses are sure to reel! The 32 hectare park's speciality is the Netherlands' national flower, the tulip, and it can be found in a hundred different varieties, boasting both common and unusual shades. True to the Dutch love of the flower, over half of the bulbs planted each year are tulips. Keukenhof even has its own "Walk of Fame" consisting of tulips named after famous people! In many areas of the park, these beautiful and distinctive blooms are complemented by 87 different varieties of tree, as well as many other species of flowering and perennial plants, ornate water features and inspirational sculptures. Don’t forget your camera - this garden is a photographer’s dream! Each year Keukenhof takes on a different theme and uses its flora to create artwork based around it. The Keukenhof theme for 2014 is "Holland", in which both traditional and modern symbols will be highlighted. The park hosts nine weeks of exhibitions between March and May from a wealth of breeders, growers and sellers, most of which are connected to the theme. Previous shows have seen weeks dedicated to carnations and chrysanthemums, asters and amaryllis, hyacinths and hydrangeas to name but a few! As well as viewing the blend of traditional and futuristic exhibitions, a spot of shopping is always encouraged with the opportunity to buy bulbs to take home and create a visually delicious morsel of Keukenhof in your very own garden.
Return flight from your chosen airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol†
Two nights stay at the 4 star Van der Valk Hotel Almere with dinner and breakfast
Visits to Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft and Volendam
Entrance to Keukenhof
One piece of hold luggage (an allowance of at least 15kgs per person, dependent on airline, to be confirmed on receipt of itinerary)
Services of an Omega Tour Manager
All airport taxes and security charges and the government tax on air travel (APD)
VAT at the government's prevailing rate at the date of travel
† Our price includes your flights for which we have allowed a reasonable budget However, at your time of booking, should the cost of your flight exceed this budget, we reserve the right to charge a supplement, which we will advise you of before we confirm your reservation. Flight supplements are payable in full at the time of booking. The date of operation, and flight times are subject to change and availability will be confirmed at the time of booking.
# Due to operational reasons, there may be a short wait of up to approximately one hour at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for clients arriving on other flight(s).
+ A Dutch twin/double bed is one structure with two separate mattresses and separate bedding.
Day 1 - Gather at your chosen airport for your flight to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. On arrival, you will be met by our English-speaking representative and transferred by coach to the centre of Amsterdam where you will have some free time to immerse yourself in the delights of Dutch culture, and explore this cosmopolitan city and its famous canals. If you wish, you may join our optional canal boat tour of Amsterdam◊. In the late afternoon, we will depart for your hotel for dinner and the first of your two nights stay.
◊ One hour canal boat tour of Amsterdam; £10 per person.
Day 2 - After a leisurely breakfast we will depart for the historic capital of the Netherlands – The Hague. There will be time to explore this delightful city before we continue to the picturesque town of Delft, after which we will return to your hotel to relax before dinner and your second night’s stay.
Day 3 - After breakfast, we will make the short journey to Volendam, an old fishing village with an array of shops, bars and coffee shops. At about 12 noon we will continue our journey to the renowned show gardens at Keukenhof. We will leave Keukenhof in the late afternoon and commence the return journey home via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, after a most enjoyable holiday with fond, colourful memories of a floral and cultural spectacle.
Please note: details of this itinerary were correct at the time of printing. The tour order and content may be subject to change due to local conditions, and Omega Holidays reserves the right to make such changes if necessary.