The horn sounded deeply into the darkening night as sea spray lashed the deck of the Pride of Rotterdam P&O Ferry. Sailing from George Dock in Kingston Upon Hull to Rotterdam, the Dutch port enticed sea-faring visitors to explore the Old Continent starting in the old low countries of Europe. I stared at the sunset in the west, slipping under the horizon on this peaceful Summer’s Day. It was a perfect start to my Low Countries Adventure!
Did you know you can visit four European countries in one trip in at least one week purely using the ferries to get from the UK or specifically Hull? I’ll show you what I mean.
Arriving in Rotterdam, it is up to you whether to stay to check out the maritime city (you must) or go straight on to Amsterdam. Check out the original seven windmills, a staple view of the Netherlands before seeing the architectural city from above by doing a skydive to get your journey started! If you want to do something tame, perhaps browse through the film festival at the mega-cinemas in Rotterdam. But hang around too long as you have an adventure to go on!
Only an hour away by train, Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a hotbed of eclectic vibes and scenic canal beauty. Hire a bicycle and cycle your way through the busy streets thronged with quirky trams, tulip-bearing locals, quaint bridges over calm waterways, historical buildings and interesting shopfronts. Drop into the Van Gogh Museum to find out more about art or be moved in the presence of Anne Frank’s hideaway Museum. Amsterdam is known for its famous coffee shops, found on every street corner and if you are feel daring, perhaps take a giggly wander through the Red Light District, which will open your eyes!
In just two hours from Amsterdam, you can reach the popular German city of Dusseldorf. Renowned for its fashion and trade fairs, it is quite right that Dusseldorf has truly become a modern city full of youth hotspots and popular drinking holes for their tasty Altbier. Don’t forget to check out their Media Harbour to observe their weirdly wonderful futuristic buildings before sampling the best of German bratwursts on their Promenade alongside the River Rhine. If you time your visit in July, you may just be wowed over by one of the biggest funfairs in Europe on the other side of the Rhine.
See More: Top Eight Youth Hotspots in Dusseldorf
Time to go to your next country and that is the sixth smallest country in the world – Luxembourg! It will be a longer journey at five hours but it will be totally worth it as you’ll be afforded epic sights on your journey before reaching one of the most romantic cities in Europe – Luxembourg City. The best way to see the city is to travel by foot, in which you can do so in just a few hours. Include in the Grand Ducal Palace and catch a glimpse of the Grand Duke or explore the underground tunnels of the Casemates Bock before chilling out in the lower city, the Grund, full of scenic and old-fashioned delights. Perhaps you would like to explore the European Quarter if you have spare time? It’s a city not to be missed.
See More: Luxembourg City In Pictures
A three-hour long train is just perfect to catch a quick nap as you race towards another capital in yet another country, Brussels of Belgium. There’s absolutely one reason why you should go there. Fites covered with Andalouse sauce at Maison Antoine, which will explode your tastebuds with delicious delights. After you’ve duly scoffed all four portions like I did, I think it’s best to work it all off by undertaking a very informative and funny three hour walking tour with Sandeman New Europe Tours to find out everything you need to know about Brussels. Oh, don’t forget to throw in a visit to the Beer Museum where you’ll be given copious amounts of beer. As you do.
A quick forty minute journey and bam, you’re in one of the top five places I love in the world – Ghent. I’m probably being mushy, but Ghent in Flanders of Belgium is something out of a fairytale. It has a fantastic castle, wide open squares, the best canals ever and also the gorgeous Flemish architecture with their ‘stepping stone’ roofs. I just loved taking a boat cruise in the sun before taking a pintage of Delirium beer advertised by their Pink Elephant Mascot. Catch one of the open-air concerts in the main square that sounds out lilts of opera and orchestra in French and you’ll sit back content in this Belgian affair of an experience.
See More: 33 Reasons Why Ghent Is Beautiful
Now, we all have heard about the famous city of Bruges. Go on a weekday to avoid the tourist crowds and amaze yourself with all the sights within its city walls once you climb over the canal. Full of eye-popping delicious Belgian chocolate shops, you’ll be in heaven as you gorge aplenty but remember to do that before attempting to climb up the steps of the towering belltower. If you’re feeling cheesy, jump on one of the horse-drawn carriages and you’ll sightsee the city from an unique perspective. But remember to try another Belgian Beer.
Now you’ve come to the end of your Low Countries adventure. Simply get on a bus to Bruges port – Zeebrugge and board the P&O Ferry from Zeebrugge to Hull. You don’t have to worry about getting home this way.
So what are you waiting for? Book your Low Countries adventure now for summer!
*This Article first appeared in the East Yorkshire’s luxury magazine: The Journal