When looking for a river cruise, you might have noticed that most cruises are closely associated to the river that they are sailing on such as a Danube or Rhine cruise. However, this is not the case for a cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium as they’re commonly known as a “Tulip River Cruise”.
The main reason for that is that apart from a small stretch on the Rhine, you’ll be sailing on a network of smaller rivers, inland seas and canals which are commonly known as the Dutch Waterways.
Most people book a Tulip River Cruise not because of the waterways but because of the sights and historical cities along the way such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Arnhem.
Something to keep in mind is that Tulip River Cruises are only available from March to May. As the name already suggests this is to coincide with the tulip season in the Netherlands. The Netherlands in springtime is a riot of colour with bright tulip fields set amongst windmills and canals. It’s a sight that everyone needs to see once in their lifetime and should therefore be on everyone’s bucket list.
Nearly all of the on-shore experiences offered to you will be custom-tailored to make the most of this beautiful season in the Netherlands including visits to the Amsterdam flower market as well as to the unforgettable Keukenhof Gardens which are just outside of Amsterdam. The garden’s 32 acres are home to more than seven million flowers. It’s one of Europe’s biggest gardens and only opens during Spring time.
If you love gardening and flowers, you should keep in mind a river cruise around the Floriade which is an international garden and flower exhibition that only takes place every 10 years in the Netherlands. The next Floriade is booked for 2022 which seems quite far away but the last river cruises in 2012 which included itineraries for the flower exhibition were booked up very quickly. If you’re interested and want to experience and exclusive event, planning a river cruise around Floriade in 2022 (held in the city of Almere, Netherlands) is a must.
Admittedly, the main reason to book a “Tulip River Cruise” are the blooming tulips but that doesn’t mean you won’t be seeing anything else but flowers. Tours will be offered to other historic sights which include walking tours and canal rides through Amsterdam, a visit of Kinderdijk’s famous windmills which are a UNESCO world heritage site as well as stopovers as Brugge and it’s historical centre as well as Rotterdam which is home to Europe’s largest seaport.
Here is a short overview of the stopovers that are included in a Tulip River Cruise:
Amsterdam city centre is not very big, so you can see and do quite a lot in one day. One of our favourites things to do in Amsterdam is to wander around especially along the Canal Ring which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The Canal Ring includes the following canals: the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht. Most of them were all dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and surrounded by some of the most beautiful traditional Dutch houses that Amsterdam is famous for.
Another highlight is the Damrak – the big avenue running in the direction of the Central Station (Amsterdam Centraal) that is home to the former stock exchange building, the monumental Beurs van Berlage, and some other historic buildings that you often see on the postcards from Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is also famous for its museums. Which include the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House.
Designated by Unesco as a World Heritage City, Bruges feels like it popped out from a fairytale with its cobbled alleyways, charming squares, picturesque canals and beautiful architecture.
The compact historic centre of barely four-square kilometres makes it very easy to see the main Bruges attractions even if you only spend a limited time in Bruges.
Add good music, beer, waffles and chocolate to that and you pretty much have the perfect destination!
Antwerp is a buzzing portside city in the North of Belgium with a picturesque old town, great architecture, lots of art, the best shopping in Belgium and first-class food.
One of the main highlights is the recently restored central station of Antwerp. It’s one of the world’s most beautiful train stations. The building exterior is very impressive, but to truly appreciate it, you must see it from the inside.