Depart your Brussels hotel by private, air-conditioned vehicle for your 9-hour tour. If there’s anything you want to see more of, let your guide know: your tour is private, so the itinerary can be tailored to your interests.
The morning is spent in Brussels, with your first stop being at the Grand Place, Brussels' magnificent medieval main square. Stroll by the baroque and Gothic buildings as you hear about their history, and walk to the Statue of the Peeing Boy (Manneken Pis) to learn why this quirky monument of a urinating boy was placed here in the mid-1600s.
Drive to the Laeken district, home to the main residence of Belgium’s royal family. Pass St Michael’s Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Chinese Pavilion and Japanese Tower; and enjoy a photo stop at the Atomium, the stunning sculpture built for Brussels’ 1957 World’s Fair. Then, continue to the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Admire the art deco interior and visit the dome to absorb the bird’s-eye city views.
Check out the beautiful Royal Place (Place Royale) and Sablon Place (Place du Grand Sablon), with its impressive Gothic church and Law Courts, and after exploring the art nouveau district, drive around the European quarter past the buildings of the European Parliament and European Commission. Before lunch (own expense), admire the Cinquantenaire Triumphal Arch and Park, built to mark the 50th anniversary of royal Belgium in 1880.
After lunch, your guide takes you north to Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city. Home to the country’s largest port, Antwerp boasts maritime heritage as well as artistic history and, luckily for you, this private tour covers it all.
When you arrive, begin with a walking tour past the Vleeshuis, also known as the Butcher’s Hall. Work your way past the age-old houses of the city center, and pose for photos in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady — the city’s Gothic head-turner.
With your private guide to explain the cathedral’s architecture, you’ll head inside to scout out its internal treasures. Pay your entrance fee, and check out some of Ruben’s masterpieces including the triptych panel paintings of Descent from the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. Later, leave the cathedral to take a look at the so-called ‘master’s monument’ in downtown Antwerp.
Travel across town to the MAS and take in the views of the city from the building’s 9th floor. From there, carry onward to DiamondLand for a tour of the famous factory in the heart of the city’s diamond dealing quarter.
Travel back to Brussels via one last stop at Antwerp Central Station to see its fine art nouveau architecture, and then finish with a drop-off at your hotel.