8 Day Netherlands – Belgium Itinerary

Netherlands and Belgium are very close to each other, and more often, travelers come here to visit both countries for a week. My itinerary below is quite extensive, includes the Keukenhof Tulip Festival in Netherlands, key cities in Belgium such as Brussels, Bruges and hidden gems like Antwerp. Don’t shy away from including all of these cities especially if you can drive a car.

Best time of the year to travel: For Netherlands, April – May is advisable due to the tulip season. But you can get that dark academia aesthetic and autumn vibes for Belgium in the fall.

Number of days: 8

Where to start: Fly to Amsterdam Schiphol airport and make your way down south.

Which airline to fly: This depends on your origin country. But I do have a preference for middle eastern airlines, as they have unparalleled meals and service among all airlines, at a reasonable cost. You’ll soon discover during your trip planning that Asian airlines price tickets exorbitantly, American airlines not too excellent in service, and European airlines, a little unstable if there are labor union strikes. Emirates has some of the best service in the sky from Economy to Premium Economy and Business Class. If you have budget to spare, fly from Dubai to Amsterdam onboard their Airbus A380. You get an inflight bar / lounge and even sample Amsterdam’s famous dutch cheese.

Day 1: Keukenhof Gardens at Lisse, Netherlands and Tulip Farms

Arrival in Amsterdam. Do a half a day centraal tour or travel directly to Lisse see the Tulip Festival in Keukenhof Gardens. You can find Tulip Farms at Bolleenstreek, Beemster, North Holland. Keep in mind that you have to get permission to enter tulip farms from the farmers. Be respectful and sensitive of their trade and pay them for their efforts to let you enter the tulip farm.

Day 2: Zaanse Schans and Volendam

Windmills at Zaanse Schans – Climb a windmill and see a spectacular view of the tulip fields if you’re coming in Spring at Zaanse Schans (or even at Keukenhof Gardens).

Dutch cheese at Henri Willig. Henri Willig sells the wildest flavors of dutch cheese you can imagine: coconut, truffle cheese, beer, goat gold and even lavender! Don’t forget to buy a pocket cheese slicer, because ordinary knives can’t easily slice through cheese wheels.

Tip: Here’s a GetYourGuide Tour that combines both Zaanse Schans and Volendam so you don’t have to take the train or rent a car.

Visit the Clogs Museum – The Clogs Museum in Zaanse Schans, Netherlands, offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the traditional Dutch craft of wooden clog making. Visitors can witness skilled artisans demonstrating the intricate process of crafting wooden clogs, from selecting the right type of wood to the final finishing touches.

Farm animals like goats are so adorable to watch.

Explore Volendam – Another place travelers miss out! Volendam is a mere 20 minutes away. This seaside town is picturesque; grab a plate of Kibbeling, a dutch fried fish dish that’s usually served with their famous fries and some dutch small pancakes topped with whipped cream and blackberries.

Day 3: Explore Amsterdam

Places to see:
– Herengracht
– Prizengracht
– Spiegelgracht
– Amsterdam Centraal

– Damrak
– Anne Frank House
– Heineken Experience
– Rjiksmuseum – you might end up spending half a day for this!
– Red Light District
– Van Gogh Museum
– Where to Eat: Foodhallen
What to eat: Bitterballen, Heineken Beer, Mannekin Pis frites, Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, FEBO, The Pancake Bakery, Van Stepele Koekmakerjj

Day 4: Amsterdam to Baarle Nassau

Baarle Nassau / Baarle Hertog is the border between Netherlands and Belgium. You can find out more about the history of this town in this blog, but this is a great stopover for anyone doing roadtrips. Also, you’ll find that Belgium – Netherlands flights are expensive, so driving a car may be more economical.

– Find the house that straddles on both Netherlands and Belgium!
– Do a hike along the borders of Baarle Nassau and stand on both countries Netherlands and Belgium!
* Eat local produce at the market
* What to eat: Dutch baby pancakes at Da Pannekenkoekenbaker

Day 5: Amsterdam to Antwerp

Make your way to the world’s diamond capital and watch Antwerp blossom with genuine fashion vibes from the Grote Market to the fashion district.

– Grote Markt
– Brabo Fountain

– Antwerp’s Fashion District
– Drive to Brussels and explore Grand Place at night. It has a different character at night!

Day 6: Brussels

– Explore Grand Place during the day

– Manneken Pis – the famous pissing boy is always a must when in Brussels
– Jeanneke Pis
– Royal Palace of Brussels
– Atomium
– Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert
– What to eat: Belgian Waffles at Maison Dandoy, Belgian Fries, Moules et frites, Black and White Burger

Day 7: Brussels to Bruges

– Bruges Markt
– Basilica of the Holy Blood

– Ride around Brugges in horse drawn carriage or take a canal boat tour

– What to eat: Liege Waffles at Chez Albert, Dumon Chocolatier, Flemish Beer Stew at Hof Van Rembrandt
– If you can afford it and have the luxury of time, get an overnight stay in Bruges and watch the narrow streets turn into the idyllic setting of Colin Farrell’s In Bruges.

Day 8: Bruges to Ghent

– Gravensteen Castle
– Graslei and Lorelei
– What to eat: Aux Marvellieux des Fred