1. Amsterdam: Guided Keukenhof and Zaanse Schans Tour
Begin your day with a pickup from one of the pickup points in central Amsterdam. As you leave Amsterdam, gaze out at the vivid flower fields of the Dutch countryside, which are awash with colorful crocuses, tulips, and daffodil. These blooming fields are remarkably beautiful, and as you admire them you can listen to your guide reveal more about the history of this region. Depending on the time, you might also stop to take photographs of this stunning landscape. When you arrive at Keukenhof Gardens, step off the bus and embark on a guided tour of the grounds. Covering an area of more than 79 acres (32 hectares), these magnificent gardens are home to innumerable blooming bulbs, all meticulously landscaped into aesthetically pleasing patterns. The gardens are filled with delicate blossoms of all sorts of colors and textures, which emanate a gently perfumed fragrance. After soaking up the garden vistas, continue to Zaanse Schans. The windmill village of Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum that has a collection of working windmills, wooden houses, barns, and shops dating back to the 18th and 19th Century. These buildings were brought there from 1961 onward, bringing back to life this most prosperous period of the Zaan region. The prosperity of the 18th and 19th century can be seen in the Zaanse Schans windmill village in several ways. Alongside windmills, barns, and other buildings, you will see beautiful houses that were originally built as homes to rich windmill owners and merchants. These houses have attractive facades and have been painted in traditional colors such as green, beige, and light blue. Upon arrival to the village, your guide will take you on an orientation tour. You will visit the clog museum and annex wooden shoemaker shop, and will also get to taste Dutch farmer cheese in the cheese farm. It is then time to further explore the village on your own. Before you set off to discover Zaanse Schans, your guide will provide you with further information on the unique character of Zaanse Schans, teach you the local history and culture, and give you insider’s tips about what to do and where to go.