Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands Itinerary: Experience the Liberation Route
Experience the Liberation Route in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands for yourself with Rough Guides tailor-made trips. The itinerary below has been prepared to give you an idea of what we could arrange, but each trip is completely built around you. So if there is a particular location that you wish to visit or that is important to you or your family, let your Local Expert know and we’ll do our best to incorporate it.
Day 1: Brussels – Belgium
Following your arrival at the airport, you’ll be transferred to your downtown hotel in Brussels. You’ll have some leisure time to explore the city – which is famous for its chocolate, beer and has beautiful parks and architecture to discover. Next, you’ll begin the journey along the Liberation Route, starting with the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. This museum is located in Brussels’ Jubelpark and displays thousands unique objects from its military history, with a gallery dedicated to World War II.
In the evening there will be a Welcome Dinner at a restaurant in the centre of Brussels. Overnight in Brussels.
Day 2: Luxembourg
After breakfast, you will pick up your rental car in central Brussels and begin a tour of World War II sites in Luxembourg, a country that despite its neutrality, was invaded by Germany in May 1940 and had no army to defend itself. After a relaxing drive through Belgium, the first stop on your mini road trip will be to the Luxembourg American Cemetery, where over 5,000 American servicemen are buried, surrounded by tranquil forest and manicured gardens.
After this, you’ll drive to the National Museum of Military History, which focuses on the Battle of the Bulge and the Liberation, complete with atmospheric photographs that bring the history to life. Overnight in Bastogne, back in Belgium.
American Cemetery in Luxembourg © Liberation Route Europe
Day 3: Bastogne – Belgium
Once you’ve enjoyed your breakfast, you’ll continue your exploration of the Liberation Route in Bastogne. At the Bastogne War Museum, you’ll have an immersive experience of wartime in Belgium, via an Ardennes forest and Belgian café. Nearby is also the Mardasson Memorial, inaugurated in 1950 as an expression of Belgium’s gratitude to American soldiers who fought and lost their lives on Belgian soil.
Next up – and also in close vicinity – is the Bastogne Barracks, a key command centre during the Ardennes Offensive, with a vast collection of military vehicles. A 15 minute drive will then take you to the German War Cemetery Recogne, where nearly 7,000 German soldiers are buried. Overnight in Bastogne.
Day 4: Ardennes – Belgium / Maastricht – Netherlands
After breakfast, start your journey to the north to visit the La Roche Museum of the Battle of the Ardennes, a museum which tells the story of the battle and liberation of La Roche and other nearby villages on the bank of River Ourthe between 3-16 January 1945. La Roche had an incredibly sad history before its liberation, with almost all of the town destroyed and over 100 inhabitants killed between 1944 and 1945.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial. Set on 57 acres, this is where the remains of 7,992 American soldiers are interred, with most having lost their lives during the advance of US forces into Germany before the site was liberated in 11 September 1944.
Your last stop will be across the border at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. Here, 8,301 soldiers are buried. Overnight in Maastricht surroundings.
Day 5: Limburg – Netherlands
The Netherlands was invaded and occupied by Germany in May 1940, and south Limburg has the historical significance of being where liberation began in the country, witnessing the the first incursion of the Allied Forces into the Netherlands. Once you’ve finished breakfast, you’ll drive north to the city of Beek to visit the Eye Witness Museum. This fascinating museum provides information about the various battlefields during World War II through the compelling story of fictitious character who is a German paratrooper fighting across multiple destinations, a unique way to portray how the war progressed.
Afterwards, you will continue to the city of Roermond, which became a frontline city in December 1944 when the Allied advance stalled after liberating parts of south Limburg. You’ll stop by the German War Cemetery Ysselsteyn and the War Museum in Overloon, one of the biggest war museums in the Netherlands, with an impressive array of military machinery. Overnight in Venray surroundings.
War Museum, Overloon © Liberation Route Europe
Day 6: Groesbeek / Nijmegen / Arnhem – Netherlands
Today you will drive up to Arnhem, following the Allied forces’ route. On the way, you will visit the National Liberation Museum 1944-1945 in Groesbeek. Interactive displays, dioramas and archive footage evoke the sights, sounds and even smells of the military campaign in the Netherlands. Your next stop will be the Canadian War Cemetery, the biggest Commonwealth war cemetery in the Netherlands.
Spend some time in the beautiful town of Nijmegen before making your way to Airborne Museum “Hartenstein” in Oosterbeek, which neighbours Arnhem. Here, you can view various displays which examine the course of the Battle of Arnhem. In the Oosterbeek area, you can also find the Schoonoord Cross-Roads and the Oosterbeek Airborne Cemetery. Overnight in Arnhem.
Day 7: Amsterdam / The Hague / Rotterdam – Netherlands
After breakfast, you’ll say goodbye to Arnhem and make your way to Amsterdam. Here, you’ll visit some of the important sites and monuments related to Nazi occupation, including a visit to the Anne Frank House.
In the afternoon, you’ll head south along the coast to The Hague, the seat of the Dutch parliament, the king’s workplace and home to the UN’s International Court of Justice. You’ll step inside the visitor’s centre of the most photographed building in the city, the Peace Palace. Next, you’ll drive to Rotterdam and take a walking tour. The city centre was almost completely bombarded during World War II so has now become the Netherlands’ city of innovation and modern architecture. A couple of buildings survived, like the city hall and the Laurence Church, the former of which still has bullet holes in it from when Allied Forces shot the walls to chase away the Germans who used the building as one of their offices. Overnight in Rotterdam.
Rotterdam has rebuilt itself as a city of innovation and modern architecture after being destroyed in the war © Brian S / Shutterstock
Day 8: Brussels – Belgium
You’ll begin your journey back to Brussels after breakfast. On your way, visit the Liberation Museum Zeeland, which has a range of outdoor exhibits, including bunkers, a Sherman tank and an original Bailey bridge. Stop off in Ghent before arriving back in Brussels to enjoy one last evening in this fascinating city. Overnight in Brussels.
Day 9: Return home
A private transfer will take you from your hotel to Brussels Airport for the journey home.
Prices start from €1,649 per person based on two travellers sharing a room. This includes accommodation, rental car for seven days, transfer to/from airport, private guided tour in Rotterdam, all applicable taxes, some meals. Flights, personal expenses, museum and site entrance fees and travel insurance are not covered.
Top image: Wild flowers in Gelderland, Netherlands © HildaWeges Photography / Shutterstock
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