Cologne to Amsterdam

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Two famous cities in The Netherlands and Germany are the first and last stops on this fascinating Bike and Boat holiday. Starting in Cologne, We follow the Rhine valley downstream, first through industrial areas where we learn about the important history of the river, later wide and flat along farmland and meadows. You will enjoy the gorgeous river scenery of the rivers Rhine and IJssel, first in Germany and later in the Netherlands. We also bike through National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant scenic beauty and we can visit the famous Kröller-Möller museum. The last part of the tour you will bike through the flat, peaceful countryside of Holland, with the famous windmills along the way. You bike along the winding river Vecht with its impressive mansions on its banks and you visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional method. Apart from the beautiful landscape, you will see cultural and architectural highlights, art treasures, and you will enjoy regional culinary specialities.

Daily Itinerary

Saturday: Cologne – no cycle ride
When you arrive on board the ship in Cologne at 4 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. In the evening there will be enough time for you to take a city walk through the center of Cologne. During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed. Cologne is the oldest of the bigger German cities, founded by the Romans. It got it’s city rights 50 years after Christ as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippa. Later Cologne became one the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Two of the most famous landmarks of the city are the Cathedral and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248 they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored.

Sunday: Cologne – Zons – Düsseldorf – 19 miles (30 km)
Cycling in the direction of Düsseldorf, you will stay close to the Rhine so that we can be in Düsseldorf not too late in the afternoon. There is time to visit the Altstadt, one of the 49 boroughs of Dusseldorf. You can try the famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed to what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners.

Monday: Düsseldorf – Ruhrort – 26 miles (42 km)
Today we head first for the town of Krefeld. In the 18th century Krefeld grew thanks to the textile industry. Velvet, silk and brocade were sold to emperors and kings from all over the world. In the town square there is still the statue of a silk weaver. The weavers worked in small houses that simultaneously served as a factory and house. In Krefeld, one can still see some of these houses. Later we will leave Krefeld behind us, we enter the Ruhr-area.

Tuesday: Ruhrort – Orsoy – Rees – 25 miles (40 km)
Today our tour focuses on the Ruhr area where Germany and probably Europe’s largest industries are housed. With a surface of 4600 square kilometers, very rich in coal, a vast productive landscape emerges out of steel plants, textile industries, and chemical industrial plants. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhaussen and Dortmund are glued together through a maze of highways, railways and waterways. Once very prosperous, this area was a target in 1923 when Belgium and French troops tried to enforce WWI payments of Prussia. During WWII the area was again targeted mercilessly. It is hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort in redeveloping the area after the closing down of many factories. In the afternoon we visit the enormous landscape park of Duisburg-Nord, where we get to see huge former industrial plants and more detailed explanation and information about this area. It may not be always “typically” scenic, but it is an impressive landscape indeed and not to be missed when one visits the Rhine. We will find the barge in Rees.

Wednesday: Rees – Emmerich – Arnem – 25 miles (40 km)
In the morning we sail to Emmerich, a bigger town with a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. At Tolkamer the Dutch used to impose tolls on incoming ships. We pass the border into The Netherlands at Lobith, a village every schoolchild knows. We bike along the right bank of the Rhine to the old town of Doornenburg, with a wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene for many a movie. We continue cycling to Arnhem, famous for her role in the second World War.

Thursday: Arnhem – Wijk bij Duurstede – 31 miles (50 km)
First you bike through National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant scenic beauty. You can visit the Kröller-Möller museum right in the middle of the park. Later you bike along the river Nederrijn where you will enjoy great river landscape. At Wageningen you go on board and sail to today’s destination: Wijk bij Duurstede, an old settlement at the river Lek.

Friday: Amsterdam – Breukelen – Wijk bij Duurstede – 25 miles (40 km)
As you have breakfast this morning, the barge will sail to Breukelen, along the meandering river Vecht. Later we get off to bike along the river. On the way we visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional method. Here we can learn about the cheese making process and sample some of the product. Then we continue to biking into Amsterdam. After dinner you will have the option to take a canal cruise through the narrow canals of Amsterdam.

Saturday: Tour concludes after breakfast. Departure before 10:00 a.m.

Note: The following week’s tour will have the reverse itinerary; starting in Amsterdam and ending in Cologne. The itinerary is reversed with the order of the sights changed slightly. Please look at the Amsterdam to Cologne Route if you are interested in the reverse itinerary.

Getting There

The barge embarks from Cologne, about a 30-minute walk (2km) from the main train station. Departure time on Saturday is at 4 p.m. (note that on August 13 the meeting time is 2 p.m.). If you want you can bring your luggage in advance, from 12 Noon onwards. A map, detailed instructions, barge location, and the name of your boat will be provided after your final payment is received.

Meals

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.

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar under “Bike and Barge Tours”

Tour Length

8 days/ 7 nights

Included
      – 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets and two towels)
      – 7 breakfasts, 7 packed lunches and 7 dinners
      – Coffee and tea on board
      – 24-speed bicycle, including helmet, water bottle, pannier, lock, and bike insurance
      – Tour guidance (multilingual)
      – Ferry fees
      – Reservation fee
Bicycles

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.

Level of Difficulty

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. A good basic physical fitness means more fun during your bike vacation.

Excluded

– Airfare
– Drinks (other than coffee or tea)
– Transfer between airport and barge
– Gratuity for the guide
– Trip cancellation insurance
– Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about € 15 per person)

Wifi

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.

Weather

Average daytime temperatures in April and May are 50-60, June, July, and August 60-75, September and October 55-70. Average rainfall is 10 days per month.

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