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. You’ll start the tour in Bruges, whose picturesque town center makes it one of the most beautiful historical Flemish cities. After that you will bike through the pretty countryside of West-Flanders to Ghent in order to breathe in the atmosphere of the days of old in the town center, with its impressive Belfort and the St. Baafs-cathedral, where you can admire the famous triptych of painter Jan van Eyck. You’ll bike from Ghent along the beautiful tidal river Nederschelde, to Antwerp, the city of Rubens, whose paintings you can admire in the cathedral. Then we head for the Netherlands, first to Tholen, where many people fished for their living. We will visit Dordrecht and the windmills of Kinderdijk. The bike tour continues along the winding river Vecht with its impressive castles on its banks, then you visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. In Amsterdam you have time for a canal tour or a visit of the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum.
Saturday: Bruges – Ghent – 9 miles (15 km)
On Saturday afternoon you’re expected at 1:00 PM on your boat in Bruges located near the buiten Katelijnevest. 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 start our cycling tour through the pleasant country side of Western Flanders. During dinner the barge sails into Ghent. 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. After dinner we take a canal trip through Ghent.
Sunday: Ghent – Dendermonde – 25 miles (40 km)
In the morning we spend some time in Ghent. Later the bike route follows the beautiful but capricious tidal river Schelde downstream to Dendermonde. There is a beautiful bike path along the river, and the landscape around the Schelde is magnificent. In Dendermonde, the city of the legend of the royal children and the horse Bejaart, we will marvel at the large market square and the city hall and also have a little beer tasting.
Monday: Dendermonde – Antwerp – 19 or 34 miles (30 or 55 km)
Today we will depart for a day trip again along 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 Antwerp. 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 there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants of Antwerp.
Tuesday: Antwerp – Tholen – 22 miles (35 km)
In the morning we stay in Antwerp. Around lunchtime we cruise through the impressive port of Antwerp and have a small lunch on board. Afterwards 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 defense. 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.
Wednesday: Tholen – Willemstad – Dordrecht – 22 miles (35 km)
Today we cruise the big streams of Zeeland. The bike route goes over Oud-Vossemeer to Willemstad, an old fortified town on the Haringvliet. From here we cruise to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, and an important junction for shipping traffic. There we spend the night in the historic port of Wolwevershaven. After dinner we take a walk around the town.
Thursday: Dordrecht – Vianen – 22 or 34 miles (35 or 55 km)
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 Schoonhoven, the “Silver Town”. From Schoonhoven we bike to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek. You can also join the barge from Schoonhoven to Vianen.
Friday: Vianen – Amsterdam – 28 miles (45 km)
Today’s bike tour, that starts in Breukelen (Brooklyn) leads along the winding river Vecht to Amsterdam. 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. Final destination is Amsterdam, where you can take a tour through the canals or visit the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. After dinner we take a walk through part of the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
Saturday: Tour concludes after breakfast. Departure by 9:00 AM
Amsterdam to Bruges Daily Itinerary:
The previous week’s tour will have a reverse itinerary: starting in Amsterdam and ending in Bruges. The itinerary is reversed with the order of the sights changed slightly. Please ask for the Amsterdam to Bruges Luxury Route 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.