Southern Route

This popular tour starts and ends in Amsterdam with visits to architecturally and culturally wonderful Delft, The Hague, Leiden, Gouda, Haarlem and the 19 working windmills of the Kinderdijk. These historic towns along with picturesque villages, classic windmills and delightful safe cycling along Cape Cod-like sand dunes and beautiful beaches guarantee a striking introduction to the heart of The Netherlands.

Daily Itinerary

Saturday: Amsterdam – Haarlem – 9 miles (15 km)
On Saturday afternoon you’re expected by 2:00 PM on your boat located across from the Amsterdam Central Station. After arrival you can meet your cycling companions, guide, captain and crew and store your luggage in your cabin. The first part of the tour you will sail to Spaarndam – known as the village of Hansje Brinker – and from here we make an easy ride into the beautiful city of Haarlem. In Haarlem’s center you’ll also find the famous St. Bavo Church, home to the organ Mozart played. Back on board, after the bike ride, the program for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you at dinner time.

Sunday: Haarlem – Leiden – 25 miles (40 km)
This morning you’ll cycle through Haarlem allowing a better look at some of the city’s typical ‘almshouses’. After Haarlem you can visit one of the imposing steam pump stations that pumped the area dry. The pump is called the ‘Cruquiusgemaal’ and was operational between 1849 and 1852. It has now been converted into an interesting museum showing Holland’s historical dependence on controlling the water levels and frequent flooding in the Netherlands. Later you’ll bike through the dunes to the university town of Leiden where the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt van Rijn, was born and the visionary botanist Carolus Clusius conducted his pioneering experiments in tulip development. After dinner you could “follow in the footsteps of Rembrandt”, see his first studio and the city sites he so often included in his paintings. A visit to the “Pilgrim’s Church”, where our American forefathers prayed before departing to Delftshaven, from where they sailed to Plymouth in Massachusetts, is also a treat.

Monday: Leiden – Delft – 30 miles (49 km)
You leave the city in a southerly direction and cycle along the Vliet canal. In Voorschoten you turn westwards towards the coastline. At ‘Wassenaarse Slag’ you can take a break on the beach. The Wassenaarse Slag is an entrance to the beach near the Dutch town of Wassenaar. The coastline is over 8 km. long. The beaches can be reached through the Meijendelse Slag on the southern end and the Wassenaarse Slag in the northern direction (or through Katwijk aan Zee, the Zuidduinen and then the beach). The route to Delft takes you along the water once again. The old center is well worth a visit. This is a well-conserved mediaeval city with canals, a magnificent town hall and a royal tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk.

Tuesday: Delft – rest day
In the morning you’ll have some extra time to explore the wonderful, historic center of Delft. The old center is well worth a visit. When the weather is clear the view from the New Church is spectacular. You can also visit a Delft Blue factory. In addition to the traditional blue and white china, colored pottery is now also produced in Delft. Optional is a visit to The Hague by public transportation. There is an easy tram connection from Delft to the center of The Hague. You can pass by the Peace Palace (housing the International Court of Justice) and visit the “Binnenhof” with the 13th century “Ridderzaal” (Knights’ Hall), seat of the Dutch Government. Next to the Binnenhof is the wonderful Mauritshuis, a former palace, now a famous museum with paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Rubens. Here you can admire the original “Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer.

Wednesday: Deft – Rotterdam – Kinderdijk – Gouda – 27 miles (44 km)
The first part of today’s route will be sailed through the center of Rotterdam, thus giving you the best view of the modern architecture of this port. You’re cycling day starts in Kinderdijk and then take you through the Alblasserwaard, situated in between rivers and showing you wide scenery of water and meadows. The many inundations and the slowly sinking surface made water management essential in this fenland. Canals and ditches were dug and windmills were constructed; of the latter nineteen remain today. Their job has nearly totally been taken over by electric pumping stations. After a visit to one of the mills you will continue on bike. The long route goes via the ‘storks’ village’ of Groot-Ammers you cross the river Lek and enter Schoonhoven renowned for its silver industry. Today you end in Gouda. Gouda is known for its cheese. Who thinks of Gouda, not only thinks of cheese, pipes, ‘stroopwafels’ (treacle-waffle) and pottery, but also of stained-glass windows, a fairy-like town hall and atmospheric canals. Gouda is beautiful Old-Dutch city with a mostly intact city centre. As on most days, after dinner you will take a walk through the city.

Thursday: Gouda – Uithoorn, 25 miles (40 km)
From Gouda you will continue your tour over country roads, banks and channels through the Green Heart and polders to Uithoorn. The name De Uithoorn (or also De Uythoorn) was used at the end of the Middle Ages for the location of the lower courts of the deanery of Saint John. The village was formed around its courthouse. People depended on agriculture and animal husbandry. Agriculture became increasingly more difficult due to the steady soil subsidence. From circa 1600 on, peat extraction became important and resulted in the formation of large ponds, which in turn would be made into polders later on. Circa 1885, several fortifications were built around Uithoorn as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam. As on most days, after dinner you will take a walk through this town.

Friday: Uithoorn – Amsterdam – 25 miles (40 km)
Today you will cycle into a polder and along the river Waver and Amstel. Amsterdam’s name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city’s origin as a dam of the river Amstel. Almost without noticing you enter Amsterdam, following the Amstel River. 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.

Saturday: Tour concludes after breakfast. Departure before 10:00 AM

Getting There

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.

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, 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
      – Ferry fares on the route
    – Reservation costs
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.

Excluded

– Airfare
– Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
– Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about €15)
– Trip cancellation insurance

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

Holland is close to the North Sea and has 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.

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