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Holland and Belgium Bike & Boat: Bruges

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On this popular itinerary we bike and boat through a serene landscape of canals and dikes, gardens and windmills with fields of fattened cows and sheep.

  • Duration: 11 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 10 - 38|
  • Biking: 2 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
4.8 out of 5 stars.
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

Bike Vacation + Air Package

$4,545

Bike Vacation Only

$3,495

(per person, double occupancy)

Holland and Belgium Bike & Boat: Bruges

On this popular itinerary we bike and boat through a serene landscape of canals and dikes, gardens and windmills with fields of fattened cows and sheep. Pausing often to explore medieval cities and villages, you will cruise at a gentle pace that lets you linger in the moment – chocolates and all. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the locks, find out why we bike below sea level, and cruise by boat through Ghent’s medieval canals plus a few other Low Country treats. And, what could be better than sampling Belgian beer? Sampling it often.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain on bike paths and roads through both urban and rural areas. You will encounter traffic, especially in urban areas. Some of the bike paths are unpaved and the terrain can lack shelter from the wind. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated points for those who need assistance.

  • Duration: 11 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 10 - 38|
  • Biking: 2 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Bus Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Spend time with a local family in their home
  • Visit Antwerp the “Diamond City” and admire the art of Peter Paul Rubens
  • Cycle along rivers, through lush farmlands, on top of dikes and along canals
  • Spend leisurely time in the medieval Belgian cities of Bruges and Ghent
  • Cross the original “Breukelen Bridge” by bike
  • Visit the ancestral hometown of the Roosevelt family
  • Taste Dutch cheese on a working dairy farm
  • Learn how Dutch engineers “reclaim” land from the sea
  • Visit the historic 19th century Kinderdijk windmills, a UNESCO site
  • Enjoy a classic VBT picnic lunch alongside historic locks
  • Take a guided boat excursion to medieval Ghent's historic center
  • Sample Belgian beer and chocolates

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

May63º/47º

Jun67º/52º

Jul72º/56º

Aug72º/55º

Sep66º/52º

Oct58º/46º

Average
Precipitation:

May2.9 in

Jun2.9 in

Jul2.3 in

Aug1.7 in

Sep2.7 in

Oct3.3 in

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Bruges and one night in Amsterdam in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
7 nights aboard a private canal barge Check Check
15 meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Step-Through Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Thu, May 30 to Sun, Jun 9 - 2019

Show Itinerary:

Depart from home for Belgium. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the Brussels airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If any portion of your luggage appears to be lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area — VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.)

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative holding a VBT sign. Please wait here while your representative helps make arrangements for your transfer via taxi or minibus to your Bruges hotel (transfer time is approximately 1 hour, depending on traffic). The transfer company’s name is Taxi Snel, telephone number +32 50 36 36 49.

Please note: Hotel check-in time is 3:00 p.m. There will be a VBT group checking out of the hotel, so please do not plan for your room to be available earlier. VBT and the hotel appreciate your understanding and cooperation. You may leave your bags with reception while you explore Bruges. There is so much to see and do just around the corner. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations.

Seek out a restaurant for dinner on your own tonight.

Hotel: Hotel Navarra

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, spend more free time in Bruges. Make sure your luggage is packed and ready to be transported to the barge before 9:45 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., join our VBT Trip Leader in the hotel lobby and walk together to our barge in time for a 2:00 p.m. departure. At the docks, meet the barge crew and our second VBT Trip Leader, who welcome you aboard with refreshments.

You will cruise out of Bruges on a charming canal. The barge stops before dinner so you can join your Trip Leaders for a warm-up ride into the heart of Flanders.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner on board and learn a bit of Flemish and Dutch during a fun language class. You will moor in Ghent, one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities.

Please note regarding Wi-Fi onboard the barge: Due to the nature of the barge movements, internet access is not always available. As such, if stable internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: Due to the limited Wi-Fi on board, VBT also recommend downloading your VBT Maps & Routes Notes from a WI-FI zone prior to arrival on the boat if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes available on tour.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B (included for Air Package guests only), D
Daily Options: 12 miles (19km)

After breakfast, embark a local boat excursion to the center of Ghent with a guide, then explore on your own. Located at the confluence of the Schelde and Leie rivers, this “City of 200 Bridges” was founded around 600 AD and boasts many beautiful buildings dating to medieval times, when the textile industry brought great wealth to Ghent’s merchants. Many old patrician houses have been preserved in the city center. One historic building is the Cloth Makers’ Hall, built in 1425. The city’s major church is St. Baaf’s Cathedral, constructed and enhanced in various styles over many centuries. In the cathedral, admire a number of masterpieces of medieval painting, including Jan van Eyck’s famous Adoration of the Lamb. (On Sunday morning there is a service in the cathedral, and it is not possible to see this famous painting—only the replica.) Lunch is on your own in Ghent.

After lunch, enjoy a scenic ride out of the city. Your bike path parallels the Schelde River. You will cycle through small “polder” villages and past marshy grasslands, ponds and picturesque creeks. A Berlare-Appels ferry takes you to the south shore of the Schelde, where you will cross the Dender River locks system and rejoin your barge. Your destination today is Dendermonde, a centuries-old city with a Benedictine abbey and pretty market square at its center. This evening, enjoy a Belgian beer tasting and crew presentation.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 18 or 20 miles (28.9 or 31.6 km)

Cycle from Dendermonde via Temse along the Sheldt River. You will ride through the village of Rupelmonde, pausing to admire its unique tidal watermill and statue of the mathematician and mapmaker Mercator. He was the world’s premier geographer in the 16th century and created both the terrestrial and celestial globes. Arrive in Bazel for lunch on your own, with time to explore its picturesque church square and Wissekerke castle. Continue cycling through farmland and tiny villages to Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city.

Meet the barge at one of Antwerp’s historic docks in the afternoon, then walk into town to dine on your own in one of the many restaurants and enjoy a free evening.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B
Daily Options: 15.5, 23 or 36 miles (24.7, 36.3 or 58.4 km)

Today is a non-biking day. This morning, you will visit Antwerp, known as the “Diamond City” and the hometown of the painter Peter Paul Rubens. In the middle of the city, you’ll find the Cathedral of Our Lady and beautiful old townhouses around the Market Square. You’ll have plenty of time to explore all of the delights during free time this morning.

After enjoying lunch on your own in Antwerp rejoin the barge and relax while cruising through the impressive port and along the quieter canals to Tholen. After dinner onboard the barge, we’ve invited some local families to meet you at the barge and accompany you back to their homes for an evening of camaraderie and cultural exchange.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: Non-biking day

This morning, cycle from Tholen to Willemstad through tranquil agricultural land on the western edge of Brabant province, passing through the small town of Oud-Vossemeer. Claes van’t Rosevelt, ancestor of the American presidential family, emigrated from this village in 1649 for a better life. Later, you will coast into Willemstad, an old fortified town on the Haringvliet. The massive walls were laid out in the shape of a seven pointed star, each rampart named for one the seven provinces of the Republic of United Netherlands.

Meet your barge here and set sail during lunch to Dordrecht. The barge moors in the city’s historic center, making for an easy and delightful afternoon of exploring. Dordrecht is one of Holland’s oldest towns and birthplace of the state of The Netherlands, founded by William of Orange. This evening, explore more of the town on your own and find a restaurant for dinner.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 28 or 29 miles (44.8 or 46.8 km)

During breakfast, you will sail the River Noord to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, 19 of Holland’s famous windmills — some more than 260 years old — adorn the horizon. After your visit, cycle through the beautiful canal and meadow landscapes of Alblasserwaard to Schoonhoven or “Silver City” for its long silversmithing tradition. Here re-board the barge and enjoy lunch. After lunch you have the option to cycle or cruise to Vianen.

If you choose our longer option, you will pass a landscape of wide polders separated by numerous canals. These patches of land reclaimed from the sea average an elevation of six feet below sea-level. An afternoon route leads through a series of villages and hamlets, where your trails skirt the backyards of locals. You will also ride along the Lek River dike and gain clear views of the different water levels.

Spend the night in Vianen, a small city on the River Lek.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 17 or 33 miles (27.3 or 53.1 km)

During breakfast this morning, you will cruise to Breukelen, a charming little town after which Brooklyn in New York is named. Begin cycling across a white drawbridge, the original “Brooklyn” Bridge, toward Amsterdam. Follow the beautiful rivers Vecht and Amstel, which lead right into the city. Along the river Vecht, pass magnificent 17th-century mansions and country estates built by prosperous Amsterdam merchants. You will stop for a picnic lunch along the way. Tonight, enjoy our last dinner on board.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 15, 20 or 27 miles (23.3, 32.2 or 44.2 km)

VBT Air Package guests and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your barge crew and VBT Trip Leader, then join your other Trip Leader for an orientation walk through Amsterdam’s canal-lined streets to your hotel. Please note that check-in time is 3:00 p.m., but the staff will do their best to get you to your rooms as soon as possible. After checking in, explore Amsterdam and enjoy dinner on your own. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in the city.

Hotel: Hotel Vondel
Meals: B

After breakfast,* meet in the hotel lobby to transfer to the Amsterdam airport and your departing flight back home.** Be sure you are waiting at the designated time and transfer location.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

Sat, Jun 1 to Sat, Jun 8 - 2019

Show Itinerary:

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: You are responsible for making your own way to meet the barge, between 1:00 and 1:45 p.m. Please note that you cannot embark before this time as the barge is being prepared for you. If you are late, you must contact the barge as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements. We sail at 2:00 p.m.

The barge will be moored next to bus parking Buiten Katelijnevest in central Bruges.

You will cruise out of Bruges on a charming canal. The barge stops before dinner so you can join your Trip Leaders for a warm-up ride into the heart of Flanders.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner on board and learn a bit of Flemish and Dutch during a fun language class. You will moor in Ghent, one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities.

Please note regarding Wi-Fi onboard the barge: Due to the nature of the barge movements, internet access is not always available. As such, if stable internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: Due to the limited Wi-Fi on board, VBT also recommend downloading your VBT Maps & Routes Notes from a WI-FI zone prior to arrival on the boat if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes available on tour.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B (included for Air Package guests only), D
Daily Options: 12 miles (19km)

After breakfast, embark a local boat excursion to the center of Ghent with a guide, then explore on your own. Located at the confluence of the Schelde and Leie rivers, this “City of 200 Bridges” was founded around 600 AD and boasts many beautiful buildings dating to medieval times, when the textile industry brought great wealth to Ghent’s merchants. Many old patrician houses have been preserved in the city center. One historic building is the Cloth Makers’ Hall, built in 1425. The city’s major church is St. Baaf’s Cathedral, constructed and enhanced in various styles over many centuries. In the cathedral, admire a number of masterpieces of medieval painting, including Jan van Eyck’s famous Adoration of the Lamb. (On Sunday morning there is a service in the cathedral, and it is not possible to see this famous painting—only the replica.) Lunch is on your own in Ghent.

After lunch, enjoy a scenic ride out of the city. Your bike path parallels the Schelde River. You will cycle through small “polder” villages and past marshy grasslands, ponds and picturesque creeks. A Berlare-Appels ferry takes you to the south shore of the Schelde, where you will cross the Dender River locks system and rejoin your barge. Your destination today is Dendermonde, a centuries-old city with a Benedictine abbey and pretty market square at its center. This evening, enjoy a Belgian beer tasting and crew presentation.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 18 or 20 miles (28.9 or 31.6 km)

Cycle from Dendermonde via Temse along the Sheldt River. You will ride through the village of Rupelmonde, pausing to admire its unique tidal watermill and statue of the mathematician and mapmaker Mercator. He was the world’s premier geographer in the 16th century and created both the terrestrial and celestial globes. Arrive in Bazel for lunch on your own, with time to explore its picturesque church square and Wissekerke castle. Continue cycling through farmland and tiny villages to Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city.

Meet the barge at one of Antwerp’s historic docks in the afternoon, then walk into town to dine on your own in one of the many restaurants and enjoy a free evening.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B
Daily Options: 15.5, 23 or 36 miles (24.7, 36.3 or 58.4 km)

Today is a non-biking day. This morning, you will visit Antwerp, known as the “Diamond City” and the hometown of the painter Peter Paul Rubens. In the middle of the city, you’ll find the Cathedral of Our Lady and beautiful old townhouses around the Market Square. You’ll have plenty of time to explore all of the delights during free time this morning.

After enjoying lunch on your own in Antwerp rejoin the barge and relax while cruising through the impressive port and along the quieter canals to Tholen. After dinner onboard the barge, we’ve invited some local families to meet you at the barge and accompany you back to their homes for an evening of camaraderie and cultural exchange.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: Non-biking day

This morning, cycle from Tholen to Willemstad through tranquil agricultural land on the western edge of Brabant province, passing through the small town of Oud-Vossemeer. Claes van’t Rosevelt, ancestor of the American presidential family, emigrated from this village in 1649 for a better life. Later, you will coast into Willemstad, an old fortified town on the Haringvliet. The massive walls were laid out in the shape of a seven pointed star, each rampart named for one the seven provinces of the Republic of United Netherlands.

Meet your barge here and set sail during lunch to Dordrecht. The barge moors in the city’s historic center, making for an easy and delightful afternoon of exploring. Dordrecht is one of Holland’s oldest towns and birthplace of the state of The Netherlands, founded by William of Orange. This evening, explore more of the town on your own and find a restaurant for dinner.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 28 or 29 miles (44.8 or 46.8 km)

During breakfast, you will sail the River Noord to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, 19 of Holland’s famous windmills — some more than 260 years old — adorn the horizon. After your visit, cycle through the beautiful canal and meadow landscapes of Alblasserwaard to Schoonhoven or “Silver City” for its long silversmithing tradition. Here re-board the barge and enjoy lunch. After lunch you have the option to cycle or cruise to Vianen.

If you choose our longer option, you will pass a landscape of wide polders separated by numerous canals. These patches of land reclaimed from the sea average an elevation of six feet below sea-level. An afternoon route leads through a series of villages and hamlets, where your trails skirt the backyards of locals. You will also ride along the Lek River dike and gain clear views of the different water levels.

Spend the night in Vianen, a small city on the River Lek.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 17 or 33 miles (27.3 or 53.1 km)

During breakfast this morning, you will cruise to Breukelen, a charming little town after which Brooklyn in New York is named. Begin cycling across a white drawbridge, the original “Brooklyn” Bridge, toward Amsterdam. Follow the beautiful rivers Vecht and Amstel, which lead right into the city. Along the river Vecht, pass magnificent 17th-century mansions and country estates built by prosperous Amsterdam merchants. You will stop for a picnic lunch along the way. Tonight, enjoy our last dinner on board.

Hotel: Barge Fiep
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 15, 20 or 27 miles (23.3, 32.2 or 44.2 km)

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: After breakfast, your tour ends. It is important that you leave the barge no later than 9:00 a.m. so the crew can prepare for their next guests.

Meals: B

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

Pre-Trip Extension - Bruges

1 Nights From $145 per person, double occupancy

  • 1 night at the Hotel Navarra
  • Continental breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Depart from home for Belgium. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the Brussels airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.)

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative holding a VBT sign. Please wait here while your representative helps make arrangements for your transfer via taxi or minibus to your Bruges hotel (transfer time is approximately 1 hour, depending on traffic). The transfer company’s name is Taxi Snel, telephone number +32 50 36 36 49.

Please note: Hotel check-in time is 3:00 p.m. There will be a VBT group checking out of the hotel, so please do not plan for your room to be available earlier. VBT and the hotel appreciate your understanding and cooperation. You may leave your bags with reception while you explore Bruges. There is so much to see and do just around the corner. This is an independent extension, there is no VBT representative or Trip Leader. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Bruges. You have the rest of the day to relax or to begin your independent exploration of the city.

Hotel: Hotel Navarra

From your centrally located hotel, walk the cobbled streets of this enchanting town. Be sure to go to the top of the Belfort Tower for a panoramic view of the splendid medieval cityscape. You may want to visit the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood, said to contain a small vial of Christ’s blood that was brought to Bruges from the Holy Land in 1149. Or stop by the Memling Museum, housed in one of the oldest surviving medieval hospitals in Europe.

VBT Air Package guests will arrive throughout the day. Tonight, try one of Bruges’ wonderful restaurants for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Hotel Navarra
Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

Post-Trip Extension - Amsterdam

2 Nights From $495 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Vondel
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Spend the next few days exploring at your own pace, using your VBT City Information as your guide.

Delve into Amsterdam’s cultural and historic riches at your own pace during this independent trip extension. From the Van Gogh Museum to Dam Square, you can expect to find an inexhaustible variety of delights in this cultured capital. Take in the superlative collection of art by Dutch Masters in the Rijksmuseum. Visit Anne Frank’s house, including the attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis until they were betrayed (pre booking is required). Your hotel is located near the major points of interest, and you have ample time to browse Amsterdam’s huge array of elegant shops and take in the city’s animated street life.

Hotel: Hotel Vondel
Meals: Breakfast

Continue your independent exploration of the city’s amazing cathedrals, art galleries, museums and shops.

Hotel: Hotel Vondel
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast,* transfer to the airport for your flight home.** Earlier in your trip, your VBT representative will have told you what time to expect your final hotel/airport transfer. A taxi will meet you on the last day of your extension at the hotel’s reception area and will transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the U.S. Be sure that you are waiting at the designated time and transfer location.

*Please note: For guests with early morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 55 out of 58 (95%) of reviewers recommend this tour

4.8 out of 5 stars.

Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

11 days, includes round-trip international airfare, airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: $1,095

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

8 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: $845

Limited Availability

Thu, May 30 - Sun, Jun 9

From
$4,795

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Limited Availability

Sat, Jun 1 - Sat, Jun 8

From
$3,545

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Limited Availability

Thu, Jun 13 - Sun, Jun 23

From
$4,795

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Limited Availability

Sat, Jun 15 - Sat, Jun 22

From
$3,545

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Limited Availability

Thu, Jul 11 - Sun, Jul 21

From
$4,795

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Limited Availability

Sat, Jul 13 - Sat, Jul 20

From
$3,545

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Limited Availability

Thu, Aug 8 - Sun, Aug 18

From
$4,795

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Limited Availability

Sat, Aug 10 - Sat, Aug 17

From
$3,545

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Sold Out

Thu, Aug 22 - Sun, Sep 1

From
$4,795

Join Waitlist
Sold Out

Sat, Aug 24 - Sat, Aug 31

From
$3,545

Join Waitlist
Limited Availability

Thu, Sep 19 - Sun, Sep 29

From
$4,795

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Limited Availability

Sat, Sep 21 - Sat, Sep 28

From
$3,545

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Thu, Oct 3 - Sun, Oct 13

From
$4,545

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Sat, Oct 5 - Sat, Oct 12

From
$3,495

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

Please note: Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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