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. This tour offers a deluxe barge which will make your trip through Holland and Belgium even more pleasant. To start the tour, you’ll bike along the winding river Vecht with its impressive castles on its banks, you’ll visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods and later you’ll visit the Dutch world famous windmills in Kinderdijk. From the fortified town Willemstad, which is situated on the impressive wide Zeeland streams, we head for Belgium. There we spent the night in Antwerp, the city of Rubens, whose paintings you can admire in the Ruben’s house. You will bike from Antwerp to Ghent along the beautiful tidal river Nederschelde. In Ghent you will be impressed with the beautiful architecture and history, with its impressive Belfort and the St. Baafs-cathedral, where you can admire the famous triptych of painter Jan van Eyck. Your final destination is Bruges, whose picturesque town center makes it one of the most beautiful historical Flemish cities.
Saturday: Amsterdam – Vianen – 9 miles (15 km)
On Saturday afternoon you’re expected at 1:00 PM on your boat in Amsterdam at the Oosterdok. A map and the name of your boat will be sent to you after you make your final payment. After meeting your cycling companions, guide, captain and crew and storing your luggage in your cabin, we’ll sail to Nigtevecht. Here the bike tour to Breukelen (Brooklyn) along the River Vecht begins. The river leads you past panoramic views of low- lying meadows, magnificent country mansions and houses with manicured gardens that grace its banks. You’ll visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. By the end of the afternoon the barge takes us to peaceful Vianen on the peaceful River Lek. After dinner we will take a walk through the town center.
Sunday: Vianen – Dordrecht – 31 miles (50 km)
In the morning our beautiful bike ride leads us to Schoonhoven, the “Silver Town”. From Schoonhoven we continue to Kinderdijk, a small village along the River Lek. There is no other area in Holland – or the world – with so many windmills in one place – 19 in all. Electric pumps now do the drainage work, which is still necessary today as you definitely will be below sea level. We can visit one of the mills before we glide on to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, and an important junction for shipping traffic. There we spend the night and you’ll have time to explore this interesting city with the guide on an evening walk.
Monday: Dordrecht – Tholen – 22 or 31 miles (35 or 50 km)
During breakfast we cruise to Willemstad, an old fortified town on the Haringvliet. From there we bike along the impressive complex of locks ‘de Volkerak’ to Tholen. 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. Tholen once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people fished for their living. Nowadays Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways. But it is still a picturesque village with many relics of an eventful past.
Tuesday: Tholen – Antwerp – 22 miles (35 km)
After breakfast we bike through a beautiful forest area, “the Wouwse Plantage,” towards the south. The barge waits for us at the end of the dam and from there we cruise to the impressive port of Antwerp to the center of the city. Antwerp is not only known as diamond city, but also as native city of painter Rubens. In the Cathedral of Our Lady we can admire his work. Around this church and the Market Square beautiful town houses from a rich past are situated. Today lunch is on board and there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants of Antwerp.
Wednesday: Antwerp – Dendermonde – 19 or 34 miles (30 or 55 km)
After breakfast we lock out of the port to the Zeeschelde. We follow this beautiful but capricious tidal river upstream to Dendermonde. Today we will depart for a daytrip along one of the most beautiful rivers of Europe: the Schelde. This tidal river meanders all the way to Antwerp where it meets the sea. We can join the barge halfway in Temse or continue all the way to Dendermonde, the city of the legend of the royal children and the horse Bejaart, where we will marvel at the large market square and the city hall and also have a little beer tasting. After dinner there is a walk around town.
Thursday: Dendermonde – Ghent – 22 miles (35 km)
The bike tour follows again the river Schelde in the direction of Ghent, a major trading center during the Middle Ages and still one of Flanders’ most important cities. In the afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city or to shop in its lively center. Ghent had its origins in Roman Times, at the junction of the Leie and Schelde Rivers. This favorable location and a developed textile industry brought great prosperity to Ghent over the years, which had its peak in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The city center has many surprisingly well preserved patrician mansions and architecturally delightful civic and commercial buildings. Especially noteworthy are the Cloth makers’ Hall (1425) where textile merchants gathered and the impressive St. Baafs’ Cathedral, built in various periods in a variety of styles. In the cathedral you can admire a number of masterpieces of medieval painting, including the renowned “Adoration of the Lamb” by Hubrecht and Jan van Eyck.
Friday: Ghent – Bruges – 28 miles (45 km)
Today we cycle straight through the beautiful center of Ghent through the pleasant country side of Western Flanders. Today our final destination is Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, possibly the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At the time Bruges was a metropolitan center of trade and art, which we can still fully enjoy. After dinner there is a walk through town.
Saturday: Tour concludes after breakfast. Departure by 9:00 AM
Bruges to Amsterdam Daily Itinerary:
The following week’s tour will have a reverse itinerary: starting in Bruges and ending in Amsterdam. The itinerary is reversed with the order of the sights changed slightly. Please ask for the Bruges to Amsterdam itinerary if you are interested in the exact daily itinerary.
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 10 a.m. 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 or lactose-free diet there is an additional charge of $60 per week. If you want to drink a bottle of wine that you did not purchase from the ships bar, the barge will charge a corkage fee of 5 euro per bottle.
Check out “Holland/Belgium Tours” in our GUIDED Tour Calendar
8 days/7 nights
- – 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets and two towels)
- – 7 breakfasts
- – 5 packed lunches (one lunch on board)
- – 6 dinners (one dinner on your own)
- – Coffee and tea on board
- – 7-speed bicycle, incl. pannier bag, water bottle, HELMET
- – Tour guide (multilingual)
- – Reservation costs
- – Welcome drink
A well-maintained, comfortable 7-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, water bottle, and bike insurance! If you prefer to bring your own bike you are welcome to do so at a discount of $80 per person. Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($95.00 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.
– One dinner
– Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
– Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about 35 euros )
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.