Acres of colorful tulip fields, picturesque windmills, rich artistic history, charming towns, delicious hardy cheeses, specialty microbrews and artisan chocolates are things that make barge cruising in Holland and Belgium a delight for the senses. Holland is reserved for April and May, when the tulips are blooming in all their glory and the Kuekenhof Gardens, a showcase of the Dutch flower industry, are most beautiful. A canal cruise in Holland also includes the Allsmeer Flower Auction (a “bucket list” visit for any garden lover) and day excursions into a variety of charming towns including Haarlem and Gouda, renowned for not only cheese but also beautiful stained glass windows.
Barges depart from and return to scenic Amsterdam. In this historic city, you can't miss a visit to Cafe Chris, the city's oldest bar, for a taste of tradition. Another stop for your list is the Anne Frank House, where faded floral wallpaper, narrow passageways, and magazine clippings of Anne herself harken you back to the 1940s.
The canals that intersect Holland and Belgium are as vital to their cultural identities as tulips, windmills, chocolates and wheat beers. What better way to explore the heart of these regions than from the waterways aboard your own private floating villa?
Click to view our selected barge, the La Nouvelle Etoile, in Holland.
Photos Courtesy of: La Nouvelle Etoile