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Setting sail from Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of our very favourite cities to visit, and comes alive with vibrant spring colours during tulip season. The Amsterdam canal belt is now officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and from them there are so many neighbourhoods to explore, such as the Jordaan with its higgledy-piggledy streets and its famed garden courtyards (hofjes). There are also a wealth of famous museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, not to mention some more, shall we say, quirky options.
The quaint cobbled streets that straddle Amsterdam’s grandest canals, known as De Negen Straatjes, are awash with history and contain some of the most unique shops in the city.
Dordrecht was first granted a town charter in the 13th century, and its importance as a merchant city is reflected in the delightful historic architecture of the old harbour. Just outside the city is the watery expanse of Biesbosch National Park, a freshwater delta criss-crossed by walking trails and cycle paths.
One of the great ports of Europe, Rotterdam’s impressive skyline can be seen from far and wide. With great architecture both ancient and modern, fantastic exhibition and concert halls, theatres, pretty galleries and numerous museums, there is so much to do when you stay here.
Situated just to the north of Dordrecht, the UNESCO-listed Kinderdijk is one of the most photographed locations in the Netherlands. This is a quintessentially Dutch landscape of canals, marshes and 19 beautiful windmills that were built to protect the land from flooding.
Nijmegen is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, and was the site of a Roman military camp in the 1st century BC. Nowadays it’s a bustling city with a charming medieval centre, home to Holland’s oldest shopping street and the fascinating Freedom Museum, which documents the Dutch experience during the Second World War.
The vibrant city of Maastricht is sandwiched between Belgium and Germany in the southeastern corner of the Netherlands, and has a real multinational, multilingual feel. Highlights include romantic cobbled streets, fascinating Roman history, fantastic shopping and a lively restaurant and bar scene.
Arriving in Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium's principal port, is a city bound up with the arts, once home to Flemish masters such as Rubens and Van Dyck. More recently Antwerp has carved out a reputation as the fashion capital of Belgium, and it's also a magnet for shopaholics, with designer boutiques and jewellers galore. The historic centre retains much of its medieval charm in spite of Antwerp's heavy bombardment during the Second World War, and the soaring Cathedral of Our Lady, completed in 1521, is quite magnificent.
The fabulous Museum Plantin Moretus is a work of art in itself, with medieval building and courtyard garden, before you even start to explore its wonderful contents.
Your home from home
Viking’s award winning Longships are the success story of river cruising with sleek Scandinavian design and innovative engineering.
What we love
Viking Longships have led the way in the expansion of the river cruise industry. With understated interiors, comfortable staterooms and suites, a great main restaurant and excellent terrace offering a lovely spot for a casual meal al fresco, they operate on Viking's most popular itineraries and consistently deliver to Viking's ever increasing clientele.
|Style||Understated, elegant on board environment where you can relax after an enriching day of sightseeing.|
Tailor-make your trip
Two nights in Amsterdam
There is a fantastic range of canal front hotels to choose from, but we love the new Waldorf Astoria.
Visit windmills in Zaanse Schans, the flowers at Keukenhof, or the cheese market in Alkmaar.
Where to stay in Antwerp
We like De Witte Lelie, just eleven rooms in three 17th-century houses around a paved courtyard.
Day trips from Antwerp
If you’ve time to leave Antwerp, we recommend Ypres, a key historical centre and a genuinely moving memorial to the war dead.