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 included a visit to architecturally and cultural wonderful Antwerp where you can visit the famous Rubens House and Utrecht in Holland. 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. The mighty rivers in this part of the Netherlands and Belgium are a prominent feature along the route and you’ll be mesmerized by the Netherlands’ own world wonder: the Delta Works, which bears witness to Holland’s on-going battle against the sea.
Saturday: Bruges – Ghent – 13 miles (21 km)
When you arrive on board the ship in Bruges at 2 p.m. 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. Very soon you will start off the city walls of Bruges for a trip to Ghent. You will mostly be following the canal between Bruges and Ghent to Aalterbrug, which offers a beautiful, peaceful cycle route with an unexpected variety of experiences. After dinner you will have enough time to discover the old and characteristic city center. From our berth you can easily reach the city center of Ghent, a major trading center during the Middle Ages and still one of Flanders’ most important cities. Ghent had its origins in Roman Times, at the junction of the Leie and Schelde Rivers. The city center has many surprisingly well preserved patrician mansions and architecturally delightful civic and commercial buildings. Especially noteworthy is 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 Jan van Eyck.
Sunday: Ghent – St. Amands – 30 miles (47 km)
This morning we will take our bike out on a peaceful ride through the old center of Ghent which will still be covered under a blanket of Sunday morning quietness. After a tasty cup of coffee 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. In Wetteren we’ll have a break in a real Flemish bar and in Berlare you can enjoy a tasty Belgian monastery beer with your lunch. We will reach 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. There we will board the barge again, and from Dendermonde you we sail into the sleepy village of St. Amands where we will spend the night.
Monday: St. Amands – Antwerp – 25 miles (40 km)
Today we will take off to cycle along the river banks of the river the Schelde, which are connected by several small ferries. Via Temse we will cycle through a peaceful nature reserve to Steendorp. Here we will board the barge to cruise over to the historic center of Antwerp where we will hop off the boat to take a stroll through the city. You can marvel at the beautiful Onze-Lievevrouwen Church, the impressive market square and the famous Rubens House. At the end of the afternoon we will make our way to the Willems Quai where the barge has docked close to the stunning new Modern-Art museum the MAS.
Tuesday: Antwerp – Willemstad – 35 miles (56 km)
This morning you’ll sail through the big harbor of Antwerp, a big difference with the nature reserves and quite villages of yesterday. But due to the big sea-going vessels and large harbor cranes it’s a fascinating journey. The sail will bring you to Holland where you start your bike tour at the Kreekrak locks. By bike you will make a beautiful tour over the ‘Brabantse wal’ a sand wall dating back from the times when Mammoths roamed the area. Today you won’t find any big elephants but the area is perfect for strawberry and asparagus fields. From the woodlands around Bergen op Zoom, you continue through a polder landscape to the old fortified town of Willemstad, a charming old, fortified town next to the busiest locks in Europe, part of the Delta Works.
Wednesday: Willemstad – Gorinchem – 28 miles (45 km)
Our barge will depart early in the morning to Werkendam from where we will take an exciting cycle trip through the land of Heusden and Altene. We will pass the Bergse Maas to the rustic settlement of Heusden. When we continue our tour over the pleasant cycle lanes through the nature reserve and along the river the Maas River. During our trip we will also pay a visit to the picturesque town of Woudrichem. Here we will ferry across to reach Gorinchem where our barge will be waiting for us.
Thursday: Gorinchem – Vianen – Utrecht – 31 miles (50 km)
Today we will set off along the scenic, meandering River the Linge that flows through the Alblasserwaard towards the city of glass: Leerdam. We will continue our journey to past Culemborg that is idyllically situated on the shores of the river the Lek and carry on to Vianen where we will visit the impressive historic center. The barge will eventually cruise via the Merwede Canal and the Amsterdam-Rijn canal to Utrecht. After our delicious dinner you are free to take the bus to the center for a delightful stroll through city.
Friday: Utrecht – Amsterdam – 25 miles (40 km)
Today we sail to Breukelen (our Brooklyn is named after this quaint village) on the River Vecht. From here we’ll bike along the river banks admiring handsome mansions on our final ride back to Amsterdam. After arriving in Holland’s capital city and returning your bike, you can rest or perhaps visit the town center, which is close by. Amsterdam began as a simple village at the mouth of the River Amstel but expanded rapidly with its famous rings of canals during its Golden Age. The palace on the Dam Square is sometimes called the 8th wonder of the world because it is built on 13,659 wooden piles. Amsterdam as we know it today is a cosmopolitan city with 40 museums, close to one million inhabitants and a thriving economy. In the evening many guests like to take a sightseeing round trip on a lively Dutch canal boat.
Tour concludes in Amsterdam, near the Central Station, after breakfast. Departure before 10:00 AM
The barge embarks from Bruges, near the Buiten Kateliknevest. Departure time on Saturday is at 2:00 PM. A map 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.