17 days in France, Belgium & Amsterdam Itinerary

17 days in France, Belgium & Amsterdam Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in France, Belgium & Amsterdam Itinerary

Start: Chicago, United States
Fly:  11 h
1
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
2
Ghent, Belgium
— 2 nights
Train:  30 min
3
Bruges, Belgium
— 1 night
Train:  1 h 15 min
4
Brussels, Belgium
— 2 nights
Train:  3 h 45 min
5
Strasbourg, France
— 1 night
Fly:  3 h 15 min
6
Nice, France
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
7
Marseille, France
— 2 nights
Fly:  3 h 30 min
8
Paris, France
— 3 nights
Fly:  11 h 30 min
End: Chicago, United States


Learn more about your trip

3
nights
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam ©
Known as one of the greatest small cities in the world, Amsterdam charms visitors with its cool and cozy atmosphere.
Get outdoors at Zandvoort aan Zee and Hoge Veluwe National Park. Do some cultural sightseeing at Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. And it doesn't end there: explore the world behind art at Rijksmuseum, take in the views from Blauwbrug, see the interesting displays at Museum of Prostitution - Red Light Secrets, and take a stroll through The Jordaan.

For more things to do, photos, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Amsterdam online trip builder .

Chicago, USA to Amsterdam is an approximately 11-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train. You'll lose 7 hours traveling from Chicago to Amsterdam due to the time zone difference. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Chicago in December: high temperatures in Amsterdam hover around 47°F and lows are around 38°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) early enough to drive to Ghent.

Things to do in Amsterdam

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Hoge Veluwe National Park, Zandvoort aan Zee
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Anne Frank House ©
Anne Frank House
Van Gogh Museum ©
Van Gogh Museum
Rijksmuseum ©
Rijksmuseum

2
nights
Ghent, Belgium

Ghent ©
Ghent melds the fairy tale-like beauty of Bruges with its stunning Flemish architecture, while at the same time supporting a vibrant cafe and bar scene.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen Nature Reserve, contemplate the long history of Saint Bavo's Cathedral, then wander the streets of Patershol, and finally browse the exhibits of Gravensteen. On your second day here, wander the streets of Post Plaza, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, enjoy breathtaking views from Belfry and Cloth Hall (Belfort en Lakenhalle), then head outdoors with Lieve Canal Bicycle Trail, and finally take a leisurely stroll along Graslei and Korenlei.

For reviews, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Ghent driving holiday planner.

Drive from Amsterdam to Ghent in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 47°F in December, and nighttime lows around 38°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can catch the train to Bruges.

Things to do in Ghent

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Parks
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Saint Bavo's Cathedral ©
Saint Bavo's Cathedral
Gravensteen ©
Gravensteen
Graslei and Korenlei ©
Graslei and Korenlei

1
night
Bruges, Belgium

Bruges ©
The medieval town of Bruges centers around a canal, and the architecture of its historical district has made it a World Heritage Site.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): see the interesting displays at Choco-Story - The Chocolate Museum, make a trip to The Markt, make a trip to Oude Griffie, take in panoramic vistas at Belfry of Bruges, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Basilica of the Holy Blood, and finally indulge your thirst for a good beer at Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan.

To find reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Bruges trip itinerary builder tool .

Bruges is very close to Ghent. December in Bruges sees daily highs of 47°F and lows of 38°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) to allow enough time to take a train to Brussels.

Things to do in Bruges

Historic Sites Breweries & Distilleries Museums
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Basilica of the Holy Blood ©
Basilica of the Holy Blood
Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan ©
Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan
Belfry of Bruges ©
Belfry of Bruges

2
nights
Brussels, Belgium

Brussels ©
The allure of the multi-cultural capital, Brussels, stems from its mix of political intrigue, artistic influence, historical significance, and a thriving social scene.
On the 23rd (Mon), wander the streets of Place St. Gery, steep yourself in history at Grand Place, then sample the tasty concoctions at Cantillon Brewery, and finally see the interesting displays at Atomium.

To find maps, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Brussels trip site .

You can take a train from Bruges to Brussels in 1.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 43°F, and evening lows to 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) to allow enough time to take a train to Strasbourg.

Things to do in Brussels

Neighborhoods Breweries & Distilleries Museums
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Place St. Gery ©
Place St. Gery
Grand Place ©
Grand Place
Atomium ©
Atomium

1
night
Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg ©
Strasbourg is famous for its beautiful historical center, the Grande Île, which was the first city center classified entirely as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
On the 24th (Tue), make a trip to Barrage Vauban, appreciate the extensive heritage of Centre-ville de Strasbourg, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, and finally wander the streets of La Petite France.

For maps, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Strasbourg route website .

Take a train from Brussels to Strasbourg in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 44°F in December, and nighttime lows around 33°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can travel to Nice.

Things to do in Strasbourg

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg ©
La Petite France ©
La Petite France
Barrage Vauban ©
Barrage Vauban

2
nights
Nice, France

Nice ©
Well-known for the beautiful views of its famous Promenade des Anglais waterfront, Nice is an ethnically-diverse coastal port city on the French Riviera and the fifth most populated city in France.
On the 25th (Wed), kick back and relax at Blue Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Castel Plage, and then take a stroll through Vieille Ville. On the 26th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: head off the coast to Lérins Islands and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate.

To find maps, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Nice trip itinerary maker app .

Traveling by flight from Strasbourg to Nice takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Traveling from Strasbourg in December, things will get somewhat warmer in Nice: highs are around 58°F and lows about 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to drive to Marseille.

Things to do in Nice

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trip

Lérins Islands
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Castel Plage ©
Castel Plage
Vieille Ville ©
Vieille Ville
Lérins Islands ©
Lérins Islands

2
nights
Marseille, France

Marseille ©
The 2013 European "Capital of Culture," Marseille is the largest port city on the breezy Mediterranean coast and the second largest city in France.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Fri): admire the masterpieces at Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Cathédrale La Major, and finally take a stroll through The Panier. On your second day here, make a trip to Chateau d'If and then explore the striking landscape of Parc national des Calanques.

For ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read Marseille trip maker .

You can drive from Nice to Marseille in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Nice in December, Marseille is little chillier at night with lows of 40°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Paris.

Things to do in Marseille

Nature Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Chateau d'If ©
Chateau d'If
The Panier ©
The Panier
Parc National des Calanques ©
Parc National des Calanques

3
nights
Paris, France

Paris ©
A beautiful and romantic city fit for any itinerary, Paris brims with historic associations and remains vastly influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, food and design.
Eiffel Tower and Musee d'Orsay are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Escape the urban bustle at Île de la Cité and Seine River. When in Paris, make a side trip to see Palace of Versailles in Versailles, approximately 48 minutes away. There's still lots to do: explore the galleries of Louvre Museum, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre, admire the striking features of Arc de Triomphe, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Montmartre.

To find where to stay, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, read Paris trip planner .

You can fly from Marseille to Paris in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. When traveling from Marseille in December, plan for a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Paris: temperatures range from 47°F by day to 37°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Paris

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Palace of Versailles
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Louvre Museum ©
Louvre Museum
Eiffel Tower ©
Eiffel Tower
Musee d'Orsay ©
Musee d'Orsay

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