Stride climate

Independent Amsterdam: The Best of Dutch Art and Architecture

Road Scholar Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
91%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
9 days
From: $ 1,799 $ 200 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Enjoy an expert-led city excursion highlighting the history of Amsterdam through its architecture
  • Local scholars discuss Dutch painting and add context to independent visits inside the city’s greatest art museums
  • Explore the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh and the incredible impact he had on 20th-century art

Short Description

Discover Amsterdam — once home to artistic greats including Rembrandt and Van Gogh, and now a thriving city known for its rich, modern culture.

A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Trip Type Self-guided / Independent Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City N/A
End City N/A

Destinations

Netherlands

Cities & Attractions

Amsterdam

Activities

Culture Independent

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1
In Flight

Day 2
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Amsterdam D Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in the neighborhood of the hotel.

Afternoon: We will meet at 4:00 PM in the hotel lecture room for an introduction to the program. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Hotel dining room. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 3
Architecture of Amsterdam
Amsterdam B Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: Attend a lecture on the "Architecture of Amsterdam." Each century has left its unique hallmark on the city landscape, from the one-time fishing village to the charming gabled facades, the luxurious canal houses of the Golden Age to the buildings of the Amsterdam School, and today's cutting-edge modern design. Afterward, take an expert-led walking excursion of Amsterdam's old city center. Begin your walk at the Floating Flower Market. See the city's famous signature buildings - the colorful 17th century merchants' mansions along the canals - Dam Square with the National Monument and Royal Palace, and the unique Begijnhof which has one of the oldest remaining wooden houses.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 4
Historical Amsterdam
Amsterdam B Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Activity note: Museum passes are not included in the program, so please be prepared to purchase a ticket at each museum you visit during self-guided excursions, unless you plan on purchasing the Museumkaart. Please see the Museum Passes Note in this booklet for more information on the Museumkaart.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Take in a lecture on "The History of the Netherlands." This lecture will introduce you to an egalitarian society where people cooperate despite differences and do not tolerate intolerance.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free afternoon for a self-guided field trip. You may wish to expand on your morning lecture with a visit to the Amsterdam Museum to take in the history of this great city. Explore the museum's permanent art exhibition, learn about Amsterdam's rich history, and gain insight into the city's people and culture.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 5
The Golden Age
Amsterdam B Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Attend a lecture on "The Art of the Golden Age." Painters in the Dutch Republic during the 17th century created approximately 5 to 7 million paintings in the distinct genres they specialized in, such as history, portraits, scenes of peasant life, landscapes, townscapes, landscapes with animals, maritime, flowers, and still life paintings.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time for a self-guided field trip. After this morning's lecture, you may wish to visit the Rijksmuseum. The entirely renovated museum's world famous collection takes you on a journey through time. 8,000 objects in 80 rooms tell the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history with must-see masterpieces, such as Rembrandt's "Night Watch" or Vermeer's "Milkmaid."

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6
Jewish Amsterdam
Amsterdam B Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Attend a lecture on "The Jewish Heritage of Amsterdam." For centuries Amsterdam was a safe haven for Jews escaping persecution in Portugal, Spain, and Eastern Europe. This unique blend of Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions has left an irremovable impression on Amsterdam, despite the terrors of the Holocaust.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free afternoon for a self-guided field trip. You may wish to visit the Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue. In the 16th century many Jews fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. The Jewish Historical Museum, which lies in the quarter where they settled, tells of their faith and history. The Amsterdam Sephardic community was one of the largest and richest Jewish communities in Europe during the Dutch Golden Age. Their wealth is reflected in the nearby Portuguese Synagogue, a late 17th-century Sephardic Synagogue completed in 1675.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7
Vincent Van Gogh
Amsterdam B Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Take in a lecture on "The Life and Art of Vincent Van Gogh," the 19th-century Dutch post-impressionist painter. He did not paint until his late twenties and completed many of his best known works during the last two years of his life. His works had an incredible influence on 20th-century art; however, he was little appreciated during his own lifetime. He only sold one work of art!

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free afternoon for a self-guided field trip. Perhaps you'll want to use this time to see Van Gogh's paintings up close at the Van Gogh Museum. No other place in the world has so many paintings of Vincent Van Gogh under one roof. The collection consists of more than 200 canvases, 500 drawings, and 750 written documents. Together these provide a fantastic insight into his life and work.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 8
Daily Life
Amsterdam B,D Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Attend a lecture about "Daily Life in The Netherlands." The Netherlands is known for its tolerance. Issues still controversial in most countries are regulated here by law: drugs, abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage have all been legalized. Then, leave the center of town behind and see how the locals of Amsterdam live their daily lives. Enjoy a guided excursion in the Oostelijk Havengebied (Eastern Harbour Area), known for its modern architecture.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9
Departures
In Flight B
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for departures. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,799
Price Per Day: $ 200 per day
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45 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

91%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 38
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Independent Amsterdam: The Best of Dutch Art and Architecture

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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Lodging5.0
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Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
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Activities5.0
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Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

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Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Trip ID#:

roadscholar-558

Meals Included:

  • 9 Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 0 Lunches
  • 2 Dinners
  • The following choices may be available when requested in advance: Low Fat, Low Salt, Vegetarian, Gluten Free
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