Romancing the River - The Best of Holland & Belgium
Updated: Mar 20
With its medieval castles, historic city centers, idyllic landscapes dotted with picturesque windmills and, of course, chocolate, Holland and Belgium exude romance. Whether you’re cruising pretty canals or dining on fresh Zeeland oysters, the landscape, the cities and the villages are all tailor-made for quiet, intimate experiences that cater to your personal interests.
Focus on what makes you tick, individually and with your partner, whether that’s the beautiful architecture of Utrecht’s de Haar and Ghent’s Castle of the Counts of Flanders, or chocolate pralines, Belgian waffles and Dutch street fries. Today, we touch on the most romance-inspiring excursions couples can have when sailing Dutch and Belgian waterways. For even more European river cruising ideas for romantics, read the past few weeks’ worth of suggestions.
I highly recommend the Amsterdam canals cruise.
Cruise the Canals
The classic Amsterdam experience, this is undoubtedly a romantic way to see the city. Make your canal cruise private and enjoy an immersive tour with an expert guide who will glide you past the Dancing Houses, the Skinny Bridge, the 7 Bridges and then Golden Bend.
Paint Like a Master
Sign up for a private, hands-on painting workshop with an experienced art teacher who will show you how to express yourself in the style of famous post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Complement this with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, where a small-group tour will unveil the master, his works and his place in art history. Learn how he was influenced by the delicacy of Japanese prints and how his craft evolved over time.
Visit the Venice of the North
In Bruges, Belgium, take a private walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage historical city center. Discover the peaceful canals and winding, cobblestone alleyways that give the city such an alluring medieval essence. For history lovers, there’s the Church of Our Lady, the Market Square with its belfry, the Town Hall square with the Chapel of the Holy Blood, the Lake of Love and the Beguines cloister.
Walk Through a Flower Bouquet
Instead of simply offering your favorite person in the world a beautiful bouquet of flowers, walk them through Flora Holland, a flower auction that is comparable in size to the city of Monaco! A private driver and guided tour of the world’s largest flower auction can easily be arranged, mesmerizing both of you with the hustle and bustle of the traders and the gorgeous flowers in more than 30,000 varieties. You’ll view the excitement from a walkway above ground level, taking in the panoply of sound and color.
Savor a Market Meal
Sit for a spell and gush over what experience you’ve loved best so far at the Markthal in Rotterdam. This spectacular indoor food market offers fresh fish, warm bread, tender meat, countless cheeses, fresh vegetables and fruit, cappuccino, desserts and so much more. Take a guided tour, then sit down with your favorite items and soak up the atmosphere.
Delve into Delft
Visit the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century, Royal Delft. Your guide will reveal the authentic Dutch history and craftsmanship that defines Royal Delft, established in 1653 and still producing according to centuries-old traditions.
Indulge in Chocolate
The chocolate tradition in Belgium dates back to the 17th century when the country was under Spanish rule and explorers brought back cocoa beans from South America. In 1884, a law was passed that mandates that Belgian chocolates must be produced with 35% cacao. In Ghent and Bruges, take a special tour to meet a master chocolatier and taste a variety of the country’s famous pralines, first sold by an apothecary-turned-candy-shop in 1912.
Ready to find out just how romantic Dutch and Belgian waterways can be? Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page. I'd love to chat!