Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels by First Class Rail
Prices from £995 per person
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Medieval Bruges is a perfectly preserved gem as befits one of northern Europe’s richest cities of the Middle Ages. The ‘Venice of the North’ is criss-crossed with attractive waterways and boasts some of the finest examples of Flemish and European art, including the richly detailed canvasses by Van Eyck and Memling and Michelangelo’s beautiful Madonna with Child. The heart of the city is dominated by the Markt Square and imposing Basilica of the Holy Blood, whilst step-gabled Merchants’ buildings line the pretty canals. All around cobbled streets, guild houses, palaces and stone bridges lead to tempting shops, historic cafés and indulgent restaurants.
Beautifully set within a network of attractive canals and lovely merchants’ houses, Amsterdam is the perfect short break destination by rail. This fascinating city boasts a vibrant atmosphere day and night, world-class museums, charming restaurants and cosy bars and cafés, all framed by delightful bridges and pretty canals. Despite its worldwide appeal the city still manages to feel quintessentially Dutch. The old crooked houses, the cobbled streets, the tree-lined canals and the generous parks all contribute to its relaxed atmosphere.
Visit poignant Anne Frank House and the pretty flower market or discover the quieter side of Amsterdam in interesting areas like the Jordaan or the Pijp, or feast on the cultural splendour of the Museum quarter.
Brussels is one of the most under-rated capital cities in Europe. Discover the magnificent Grand’ Place with its wide-open, cobbled medieval square of elegant guildhouses. Wander north among the narrow, atmospheric streets of the medieval lower town around the Ilot Sacré or venture south amid the tourist shops in the Rue de l’Etuve to find the little statue of the Manneken- Pis – the symbol of Brussels.
The upper town boasts the Royal Quarter, with the palace and the royal park leading through to the Belgian Parliament and a number of excellent museums, including the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts.
7 night holiday by First Class rail, including 2 nights in Bruges at the Oud Huis de Peellaert, 3 nights in Amsterdam at the Hotel Estherea and 2 nights in Brussels at the Marriott Hotel (all 4 star) from £995 per person.
Day 1 – London to Bruges
Your short break begins at iconic St Pancras International. Enjoy the beauty of London’s destination station before the Eurostar service speeds you to Brussels. Sit back in your spacious Standard Premier Class seat and make the most of the light meal and drinks. On arrival in Brussels, you change trains and join the Inter City train to Bruges. You will need to take a taxi (payable locally) for the short journey to your hotel for 2 nights, the charming Hotel Oud Huis de Peellaert (4 star), conveniently located in the heart of Medieval Bruges.
Day 2 – Bruges and the surrounding area
You have a full day in Bruges to explore the city and the surrounding area. The ideal way to get your bearings in the stunning city of Bruges is on a walking tour (payable locally). Uncover the fascinating history of this medieval masterpiece as you wend your way through hidden corners of this captivating city. You may choose to journey further afield to Yprès and visit some of the monuments that record the tragic events of the First World War, including the Menin Gate and the nearby ‘In Flanders Field Museum’ or perhaps head for Zeebrugge or Oostende on the coast? Why not indulge yourself with a visit to one of Belgium’s most celebrated traditions? Choco Story is Bruges’ museum dedicated to the history of chocolate, where you can see demonstrations of chocolate making. Whether your interests are cultural or culinary there is something for everyone in Bruges, from Flemish painters to Belgian chocolates.
Day 3 – Bruges to Amsterdam
This morning after a leisurely breakfast make your way to Bruges station for the journey by Inter City train via Antwerp to Amsterdam. On arrival at Amsterdam’s Centraal station take a short taxi ride (payable locally) or stroll to your hotel for the next 3 nights, the stylish, highly-rated Hotel Estherea (4 star) located on one of Amsterdam’s attractive canals.
Take a stroll from your hotel and find yourself on pretty, tree-lined canals or in the midst of Amsterdam’s bustling centre. This evening choose from the wealth of excellent restaurants, a cosy café or a bistro for dinner.
Days 4 and 5 – Amsterdam
Take some time to plan your day over a leisurely breakfast to ensure you make the most of this beautiful city. You may decide to explore Amsterdam on foot and wend your way along the enchanting network of canals or take to the water on a Dutch barge (payable locally). Amsterdam has some colourful and lively markets, including the pretty flower market or you might like to stroll around the attractive Vondelpark. Perhaps visit the Anne Frank House (payable locally) or seek out some of Amsterdam’s lesser-known and interesting quarters such as the Jordaan or the Pijp. The Museum Quarter gives you an excellent choice of cultural highlights, including the fabulous Van Gogh museum. You might prefer to simply amble across the criss-cross of bridges and canals from bar to café and soak up Amsterdam’s truly relaxing atmosphere.
Day 6 – Amsterdam to Brussels
This morning you have some time for last-minute shopping or a pleasant stroll to a different area of this fascinating city. You then head for Centraal station either on foot or by taxi (payable locally) to join the comfortable Inter City train to Brussels. On arrival at Brussels Midi station you can take the metro or a taxi (payable locally) for your two night stay at the smart and sophisticated Marriott Hotel (4 star), located in the heart of Brussels, just 300 yards from the famous Grand’ Place. Why not take a stroll from your hotel this evening and choose from a wealth of restaurants.
Day 7 – Brussels
Take some time to plan your day to ensure you make the most of this interesting city. Why not head for the Grand’ Place – one of Europe’s prettiest squares – or make your way to the Royal Quarter with its park and palace? You might like to visit the Musée des Beaux Arts or try something different like the Comic Strip Museum which features Hergé’s enduring heroes Tintin and Snowy. From your central position in the city you may decide to explore Brussels on foot and wend your way along the fascinating narrow streets of the lower town and perhaps head for the colourful ‘Rue des Bouchers’ or ‘Fish Street’ with a host of wonderful fish restaurants where you can sample some famous Flemish cuisine.
Day 8 – Free time in Brussels – Brussels to London – Homeward bound
This morning after breakfast you have some more time to explore a different area of this contrasting city. You then head for Brussels Midi (Zuid) station either by taxi/metro (payable locally) or on foot. As you make your way to Brussels Midi station it heralds the start of your journey home and time to bid farewell to Belgium’s capital city. Here you join the Eurostar service and head for home. Take time to reflect on the magnificent sights, sounds and tastes you have enjoyed on your short break to Bruges, Amsterdam and Brussels, as you sit back and relax with a light meal and drinks before your arrival into London St Pancras and the final leg of your journey home.