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France, Belgium, and the Netherlands: Northern Europe Deluxe

The high speed trains of northern Europe make this trip a breeze, and you can zip along from one cultural capital to the next for a nice taste of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Northern Europe is a beautiful place: trains run on time, the streets are swept, and the French fries are served with mayo. This itinerary through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France combines a few big cities and a couple smaller towns, so whether you like the hustle-and-bustle or the wait-and-relax, you will enjoy this journey through the Old World. Bring a sweater, as even summer nights can get chilly in this part of the world, and prepare to cram your head full of masterpiece paintings, cobblestone streets, and history in the flesh from the canals of Bruges to the cafes of Paris.

Note: This itinerary can be done in either direction, make sure to check flights both ways to see which will be least expensive for you. Alternatively you can fly in and out of the same city- the train between Amsterdam and Paris (Thalys) is relatively cheap and only takes four hours, with Brussels right in the middle of the trip.


Watch street artists in Amsterdam create masterpieces 2.0 with chalk on the sidewalk. Rent a bicycle and cruise past windmills, flea markets, the Torture Museum, the Sex Museum, and the Marijuana Museum. Stopping is optional. Enjoy a pickled herring beside a canal. Check out the unique cafes of the original Harlem. Dazzle your mind and crane your neck in the greatest square in Europe in the Belgian capital of Brussels, then search for and find the beloved monument, Mannekin Pis- or “little pee man”. Relax next to the canals of Bruges, and realized that you LOVE French-fries with mayonnaise. Arrive in Paris and go straight to the Eiffel Tower: yes, you are really here. Window shop at the houses of haute couture and the giant gourmet grocery stores of the Right Bank, then eat an inexpensive three-course dinner with the students of the Left Bank. Visit Versailles and discover what the fuss is about. Pet a poodle, have another sip of red wine and realize that life really is this good.

Suggested Route

Starting point: Amsterdam

Ending point: Paris

Time Frame: 10-14 days

The Netherlands: Fly into Amsterdam and get busy exploring the city, which is dense and easy to cover- if the many pleasurable distractions don’t sidetrack you! Stay at least three days, and one more for cute and cultural Harlem, a suburb only ten minutes away.

Belgium: Take the train to Brussels where the wonderfully nice people, clean streets, and waffles will win you over. Stay for a couple days and then head over to Bruges, a smaller town that epitomizes Old World charm with quaint canals and historic architecture.

France: The Thalys continues on to Paris; step off the train into the most beautiful city in the world. Spend at least three days in Paris with one full day for the magnificent chateau and grounds at Versailles, the former residence of King Louis XIV.

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