Two famous cities in Belgium and the Netherlands are the first and last stops on this fascinating Bike and Boat holiday. Enjoy Bruges, one of the most beautiful, historic cities of Belgium and Amsterdam, the architecturally and culturally wonderful capital of the Netherlands. Also delightful are the beautiful cities of Gouda and Dordrecht and the renowned 19 windmills of Kinderdijk that you will visit. You’ll notice subtle differences between the green Dutch polder landscape with water aplenty, quiet roads and villages, the old island world of Zeeland, with fields, creeks, winding dikes and dams, and the picturesque but drier countryside between the Flemish cities of Ghent and Bruges in Belgium. These two Belgian cities experienced their golden age long before the emergence of the Dutch as a mercantile powerhouse. This is clearly evident in the architecture and paintings of the Flemish school. The mighty rivers in this part of the Netherlands and Belgium are a prominent feature along the route and you’ll be impressed by the Netherlands’ own world wonder: the Delta Works, which bears witness to the Holland’s on-going battle against the sea.
Saturday: Amsterdam – Ouderkerk a/d Amstel – Uithoorn – 9 miles (15 km)
When you arrive on board the ship in Amsterdam you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the guide, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers. At 2 PM you will leave Amsterdam cruising on the river Amstel to Ouderkerk a/d Amstel. After dinner you will cycle your first kilometers through the polder Ronde Hoep to Uithoorn. During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed.
Sunday: Uithoorn – Gouda – 28 miles (45 km)
From Uithoorn you continue on country roads and along canals and rivers to the cheese town Gouda. You’ll have time in the late afternoon and after dinner to admire the stained glass windows in the St. John’s Church or to enjoy one of the sidewalk cafés in Gouda’s famous main square. Here in the square you’ll find the beautiful Town Hall, one of the few remaining examples of Gothic architecture in Holland. Every hour you’ll hear the city hall’s chimes and can watch the puppet show depicting the moment “city rights” were given to Gouda back in 1272 by Earl Floris V. After dinner we will take a walk through the city.
Monday: Gouda – Alblasserdam – Dordrecht – 24 miles (39 km)
Today we will cycle along the Dutch Ijssel, through the deepest lying polder of the
Netherlands: Krimpenerwaard and over narrow cycling paths to the river ‘Lek’. Here we will cross the river by ferry to Kinderdijk, a unique and renowned monument where Holland’s largest number of historical windmills is found. You’ll visit a working windmill that is now a small museum. It is well worth the climb up the narrow steps to the top. After the Kinderdijk you’ll tour through the Alblasserwaardpolder, then take a ferry which will bring you to the banks of the river ‘Beneden-Merwede’ in Dordrecht. Dordrecht is one of the oldest cities in Holland, which lies at the intersection of three busy waterways.
Tuesday: Dordrecht – Willemstad – Zierikzee – 20 or 32 miles (32 or 51 km)
From Dordrecht the ship sails during breakfast to the delta region of Holland’s large rivers. The many small waterways here used to have an open connection with the sea. But after the flood of 1953, large civil engineering works were carried out as a part of the Delta Plan, so that dams closed off most tidal inlets from the sea. Revised plans have produced a number of dams and bridges in a second line of defence. You will find yourself surrounded by concrete that is built to last for 200 years. In Willemstad, an old fortified town, we start our cycle tour and ride over the Volkerakbrug (with one of the busiest locks in the world) to the former island of Goeree-Overvlakkee. Our destination today is Zierikzee, a beautiful town and the center of the ‘mussel culture’. The blue mussels are a renowned delicacy.
Wednesday – Zierikzee – Middelburg – Vlissingen: 20 or 31 miles (32 or 51 km)
Today you’ll encounter one of the ‘wonders of the world’ as we bike across the great dam that was built after the devastating flooding of Zeeland in 1953. Now all the islands of Zeeland are connected by dams but each has retained its own character. Cycling on quiet country roads, we head for Middelburg, the capital of the province of Zeeland, a small city with another lovely town center. If possible, during dinner we will sail to Vlissingen. This lovely port town is situated at the Westerschelde and at sea. A walk through the town and over its boulevard is absolutely worth a visit!
Thursday: Vlissingen – Ghent – 28 miles (45 km)
We will arrive at the Dutch-Belgian border in Sas van Gent, the former gateway to the harbor of Ghent, through an area with small villages, along creeks, bending embankments and beautiful panoramas. In case you choose the shorter cycle route, we will embark here, and during our journey we will witness the lively maritime traffic in the canal from Ghent to Terneuzen, with impressive industrial buildings along the shores. After a short journey of 1.5 hours, we will arrive in Ghent. From the pier, we will take the tram to the medieval center of this beautiful city. We’ll spend the night in Ghent, a major trading center during the Middle Ages and still one of Flanders’ most important cities. The city center has many well-preserved patrician mansions and architecturally delightful civic and commercial buildings.
Friday: Ghent – Bruges – 28 miles (45km)
Today we cycle straight through the beautiful center of Ghent on a peaceful route. We pedal past the Leie Bridge and enter the tranquil countryside of East Flanders. Traveling down winding roads, through patches of woodland, we head to Bruges. The final section of the route takes us along the towpath next to the canal running from Ghent to Oostende. In the afternoon and evening enjoy the heart of the fascinating city of Bruges.
Saturday: Tour concludes after breakfast. The barge will be moored near the Buiten Katelijnevest in Bruges. Departure before 10:00 AM
The barge embarks from the Oosterdok (next to the science center “Nemo”), near the Central Railway Station in Amsterdam. Departure time on Saturday is at 2:00 PM. If you want you can bring your luggage in advance, from 12 Noon onwards. A map, detailed instructions, and the name of your boat will be provided after your final payment is received.
The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a three-course dinner of very good quality. A packed lunch may be prepared after breakfast. Tea and coffee will be ready when you arrive on board in the afternoon. There is a bar on the boat with beer, wine and soft drinks at reasonable prices. If you have special meal requirements, we ask you to mention this when booking. In the case of a gluten-free diet there is an additional charge of $60 per week.
Check out our Tour Calendar under “Bike and Barge Tours”
8 days/7 nights
- – 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets and two towels)
- – 7 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches and 7 dinners
- – Coffee and tea on board
- – 24-speed bicycle, incl. helmet, pannier bags, lock, water bottle, and bike insurance
- – Tour guide (multilingual)
- – Route information and road book
- – Reservation costs
A well maintained, comfortable 24-speed hybrid bicycle is available free of charge for each participant. Men and women’s models are available in sizes appropriate to your height. The bikes come with helmets, grip shifters, hand brakes, carrier bag, lock, repair kit, water bottle holders, water bottle, and bike insurance! If you prefer to bring your own bike you are welcome to do so at a discount of $85 per person. Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($115.00 p.p.). We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They are heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver.
This tour is rated “easy” for its flat terrain and low mileage. All distances are approximate. The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.
– Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
– Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about €15)
– Trip cancellation insurance
WiFi is available on a limited basis on board, only in the lounge and on deck. Up to 50 MB is free, for more than 50 MB there’s a surcharge.
Holland and Belgium are close to the North Sea and have a moderate sea climate. Average daytime temperatures in April range from 55-65F, in May it starts to get a little warmer. From June-September, temperatures range from 55-70. Rainfall is about 10 days per month.