The Dutch Waterways

The Netherlands has the densest network of inland waterways in Europe, with around 6,000 kilometres of rivers and canals crisscrossing its gentle lowlands and reaching into neighbouring Belgium. Winding from Amsterdam in the north to Belgium in the south and west, the pretty Dutch Waterways reveal sweeping panoramas of big skies, vibrant bulb fields, quaint villages and beautiful medieval cities. Our Dutch Waterways river cruises trace this picturesque maze of rivers, unfurling bright tulip fields, gabled waterfront towns and rows of wooden windmills. In the 17th century the Dutch began to use their rivers to control access to the River Rhine. This helped to feed the great commercial wealth of cities such as Amsterdam, Ghent and Antwerp, which became thriving hubs of colonial power, trade, art and culture. These days the Dutch Waterways make a wonderfully tranquil and picturesque destination for a river cruise.

Highlights of our Dutch Waterways river cruises

  • Amsterdam
    • This lovely city is a feast for the eyes, with its tall, 18th-century patrician houses, tree-lined canals and arched bridges. Rich art museums and poignant Anne Frank’s house make this a fascinating place to visit.
  • Friesland
    • This postcard-pretty region is known for its pastures dotted with black-and-white cows.
  • Edam
    • Famed for its round cheese and quirky ‘Waterland’ houses.
  • Keukenhof Gardens
    • A springtime showstopper with its glorious parklands and tulip displays.
  • Ghent
    • Home to Flemish medieval architecture and a fine cathedral.

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Dutch Waterways river cruises

Tulip Time

New for 2018

from £2,243 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 23 Mar 19
  • 8 dates available

This European river cruise in Holland gets underway in its popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. This 700-year-old city offers an abundance of classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants to explore before you embark on your river cruise through Holland and Belgium. Sail through Rotterdam’s harbor, said to be the world’s busiest port. Garden enthusiasts will delight in a visit to see the breathtaking colors of Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.” With 70 acres of parkland and lakes, it’s one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Alternatively, an excursion to the city of Gouda, famous for its cheese, is available, before sailing to Antwerp—Belgium’s second-largest city, combining ancient buildings and monuments with modern architecture. In Ghent, Belgium, join a local expert for a guided tour of the city, including a visit to St. Bavo’s Cathedral. Back in Holland, Middelburg was formerly an important trading city and you’ll get a sense of its wealth today with its impressive structures like the gothic Town Hall, Abbey Tower, and bustling Market Square. No trip to Holland is complete without a visit to the technical miracle that is the Delta Works, a storm flood barrier almost six miles long, constructed after the floods of 1953. This beautiful and historic springtime river cruise during tulip season in Holland and Belgium concludes with more chance to explore the colorful city of Amsterdam. See the most fascinating areas of the city on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” From seemingly unending fields of color from Holland’s gardens, to windmills and waterways of Amsterdam, to the ancient and modern mix of Belgium’s architecture, this European river cruise is sure to grow in your memory for endless seasons to come.

Tulips of Northern Holland

from £2,273 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 29 Mar 19
  • 7 dates available

Explore the well-known sites of Holland, plus some off the beaten path, for a unique and fascinating river cruise. In northern Holland, you may opt to see the colourful fields of tulips that make this part of the country so beautiful. Alternatively, in Enkhuizen, you may prefer to visit the Zuiderzee Museum to experience the local culture and history. Also, there’s an opportunity to meet some of the locals before continuing your river cruise through the area of Friesland. Here, you’ll visit the Royal Planetarium, nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll visit the Batavia shipyard in Lelystad and board an exact replica of the Batavia ship itself. Get a true taste of the culture with an introduction to local cheese and genever! Cruise through the modern harbour of Rotterdam and go on a guided excursion to Gouda, famous for its cheese of the same name. For garden enthusiasts, you may, instead, choose to see the breathtaking colours of Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.” With over 70 acres of parkland and lakes, it’s one of the world’s largest flower gardens. A river cruise through Holland would not be complete without some time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. The city combines its historical 17th-century buildings, sculptures, and museums with a modern feel. See the most fascinating areas of the city on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” Sail into new worlds to discover the stunning beauty, ancient history, and welcoming traditions that await you!