pijl

Deluxe Springtime Tour

From: $1,840 USD

8 Days / 7 Nights
Type: Guided
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Imagine Yourself…

  • Strolling through rows of tulips and bulbs in a unique flower musuem
  • Watching the lights of Leiden reflecting on the water at night
  • Discovering traditional Dutch ways of life in the Zaanse Schans
  • Drinking a cup of coffee surrounded by the beautiful wooden facades of traditional buildings

Overview

This wonderful bike and barge trip starts and ends in Amsterdam, taking you through the provinces of South and North Holland while spring flowers are in bloom. You will spend time in the historical cities of Haarlem, Leiden, Gouda and Alkmaar, and learn about the water management of these lowlands near the North Sea. You will also visit the famous Keukenhof gardens, known for their thousands of blooming tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and other bulb flowers. The world-famous Aalsmeer flower auction is also on the program, where an astonishing volume of beautiful flowers are traded daily and exported all over the world. You will visit the open-air museum of the Zaanse Schans with its windmills, cheese farm, and picturesque wooden houses. The beautiful, varied scenery and wonderful bikeways of this tour of Holland will surprise and delight you.

Daily Itinerary

  • DAY 1: Amsterdam – Haarlem – warmup ride

    When you arrive on board the ship at 1.30 p.m., you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while becoming acquainted with the guide, crew, and of course your fellow passengers. We will then leave Amsterdam, cruising on the river Amstel to Spaarndam. From Spaarndam we will cycle our first kilometers to Haarlem. At dinnertime, the program for the next day and the routine for the rest of the week will be explained. After dinner, we will take a walk through the charming and quaint city of Haarlem.

  • DAY 2: Haarlem – Keukenhof – Leiden – 23 miles (38 km)

    Today’s trip will take us through the oldest tulip fields of Holland to the world-famous Keukenhof gardens. This is considered the most beautiful flower bulb park in the world. The Keukenhof is the place where the spring comes to life. We will see an overwhelming blaze of colors: seven million flowering tulips on a magnificent background of 80 acres of traditional and modern gardening architecture. You’ll be able to admire hyacinths, daffodils and many other colorful flowers. After our visit to the garden, in the afternoon we will bike to the city of Leiden where our lovely barge awaits. Tonight there’s a town walk through the historical city of Leiden, the oldest university in the country, and also the birthplace of Rembrandt.

  • DAY 3: Leiden - Gouda – 19 or 24 miles (32 or 40 km)

    In the morning, as we enjoy breakfast, the barge will leave Leiden. Our bike tour will start not far outside of Leiden and leads us through the “green heart” of Holland. Near Zoeterwoude, we will visit a cheese farm where we will learn about the cheese-making process and have the opportunity to taste the results! In the afternoon we reach Gouda, famous for Gouda cheese. This town has an attractive, compact center with a pretty market square and Gothic town hall. The main church of Gouda, devoted to Saint John, is world famous for its stained glass windows. After dinner there is a walk through town.

  • DAY 4: Gouda - Kudelstaart – 12 or 27 miles (20 or 44 km)

    In the morning we will stay in Gouda, where you’ll have time to admire the stained glass windows in the St. John’s Church or to enjoy one of the sidewalk cafés in Gouda’s famous main square. In the market square you’ll find the beautiful Town Hall, one of the few remaining examples of Gothic architecture in Holland. Every hour the city hall’s chimes sing out, and you’ll have the option to watch a puppet show depicting the moment city rights were given to Gouda back in 1272 by Earl Floris V. We will leave by barge around noon and have a light lunch on board. From Alphen aan de Rijn we will have a beautiful bike ride through the green heart of South Holland via the river Drecht and the Amstel-Drecht channel to Kudelstaart.

  • DAY 5: Kudelstaart - Amsterdam – Zaanse Schans – 18 miles (31 km)

    Early this morning (7 a.m.) we will have a coffee, and then begin biking to the flower auction of Aalsmeer, the largest of Europe. Here, huge quantities of flowers are trucked in and sold every day, after which they’re distributed all over Europe. After our visit we will return to our ship for a late breakfast. Our bike tour then continues through the Amsterdamse Bos, west of Amsterdam, to Zaanse Schans, a unique hamlet with original houses and windmills from the river Zaan area and where people live and work. The hamlet is dominated by operating windmills (the oldest built in 1673) which grind mustard, spices, paint, and oil, and also saw wood into planks. As we walk through the village we will see a clock museum, an old-fashioned grocery store, a house with period furniture, a clog maker, and a cheese farm.

  • DAY 6: Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar – 18 or 24 miles (29 or 40 km)

    After breakfast our bike tour leads us to the beautiful town of De Rijp. Centuries of history are still evident here in De Rijp’s wooden facades, beautiful church, lock, and town hall. Our ride continues across the Beemster Polder, an almost untouched open polder landscape. Our next stop will be at the former windmill complex of the Schermer Polder. Here we will visit the Schermerhorn Windmill Museum. After that we will bike to Alkmaar, the town known as “Cheese City.” As we wander through the streets, the beauty of Alkmaar’s Old Town with its well-preserved 17th century buildings and narrow, winding canals will amaze you. Today there will be no dinner on board, and you can select one of the local restaurants of Alkmaar.

  • DAY 7: Alkmaar – Amsterdam – 22 or 33 miles (37 or 54 km)

    This morning we will bike to the Hortus Bulborum, a unique garden museum dedicated to the preservation of rare and historic bulbs. More than 4,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowers are planted here. Next, we will cycle through the unique area of Waterland back to Amsterdam. During the afternoon and evening you will have time to visit the city. 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’s built on 13,659 wooden piles. Amsterdam today is a cosmopolitan city with 40 museums, close to one million inhabitants, and a thriving economy.

  • DAY 8: Tour Ends

    Our tour concludes after breakfast, with departure around 9 a.m.

Dates & Prices

Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full

2024

Prices are per person in US Dollars  – inclusive bike rental

Departure

Barge

Twin

Suite upper deck

Junior Suite

Split Level

Twin for Single use

March 30

La Mar

$ 1,840

$ 1,840

$ 2,690

March 31 

Fleur

$ 1,840

$ 2,690

April 1 

Magnifique I

$ 1,890

$ 2,350

$ 2,780

April 6 

Zwaantje

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 7 

Fleur

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 8 

Magnifique I

$ 2,070

$ 2,530

$ 3,040

April 13

La Mar

$ 1,950

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 13

Zwaantje

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 14 

Fleur

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 15 

Magnifique I

$ 2,070

$ 2,530

$ 3,040

April 20 

Zwaantje

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 21 

Fleur

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 22 

Magnifique I

$ 2,070

$ 2,530

$ 3,040

April 23 

Magnifique III

$ 2,070

$ 2,760

$ 3,040

April 27 

Zwaantje

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 28 

Fleur

$ 1,950

$ 2,870

April 29 

Magnifique I

$ 2,070

$ 2,530

$ 3,040

Terms and Conditions

Accommodations

The accommodations listed below are examples of those usually used on the tour. Depending on availability, you may be booked in a different accommodation of equal quality.

Reviews

Despite the size constraints of the ship, everything was comfortable. The crew did an excellent job being helpful and friendly. The food was great. We enjoyed the daily rides.

Linda and Scott Wolpert, April 2023


Thank you for expertly planning our tour –the Deluxe Springtime Tour was simply wonderful!  The Sarah crew and cycling guides were professional, knowledgeable, attentive, and friendly.  The food was delicious, the accommodations were clean and comfortable, and the bicycles and cycling accessories were in excellent condition

Janira and Robert Dickerson, April 2022


Although we have been on organized bike trips in the past, this was the first bike/barge trip which we loved. The guides and staff on the barge were excellent. The chef did a wonderful job providing great meals with a lot of variety along with serving local specialties. The Deluxe tour lived up to its expectations with beautiful flowers and great bike rides

Mary-Ellen and Wayne Heike, April 2022


Great guides, variety of landscapes

Bill and Barbara Roerink, April 2022


The daily trips were well planned, not rushed, informative, with pleasant breathtaking views. Intimate friendly groups, knowledgeable informative pleasant guides. Excellent food and accommodation on the boat. Well organized with good communication with passengers. Tours were superb.

Roz and Jeffrey Therrien, April 2022


We had a wonderful tour, perfect weather, great staff on the boat. The day to day guidance was fantastic and staff’s sense of humor and joy was just great. The food was amazing and Chef Frank prepared food for guten-free, vegetarian, pre-diabetic and “regular” meals with flare! The guides were just great, knowledgeable, fun, and energetic. We had long and shorter ride options each day. The captain, first mate, and “boat mom” Karen, took wonderful care of everyone. Our group were mostly in the 50-70’s with one couple in their 30’s. You could ride on your own using the “Ride with GPS” or with the two guides. We all road with he guides as they provided narration as we went. 3 individual chose the ebike option.

Anna and Jay Keller, April 2022


I appreciated all the walking tours at night and stops we made along the route, like the family cheese farm, flower auction and other stops. It was a great opportunity to learn about the history of Holland and how people are currently thriving. I was so impressed with how much pride the Dutch people have. It shows in their homes, businesses, farmland, streets, bike-friendly communities, and centuries of harnessing their abundant water resources.

Lisa and Steve Nute, April 2022


Our experience with VGT was very good. It was one of the best vacations I have taken with just my husband. We liked that the groups were small and that we had guides who knew where they were going and could discuss the areas in which we biked. The people in the group were congenial, so we enjoyed getting to know everyone. Although the weather was somewhat chilly, I was prepared for cooler days than my husband who could have used a warmer jacket. He basically only had a wind breaker and that didn’t keep him warm at night as we visited the various towns. The packing list was very thorough; I didn’t have too many extraneous clothes, and the communication was superb. Given that we booked this tour in 2019, VGT stayed in touch with us and gave us options regarding changing or refunding our tour. We had only heard good things about the tour, so we just waited. Also, the bikes were in good shape. If one doesn’t bike often, I recommend using the e-bike; it helped me to stay up with the group. We had so much fun that we have been recommending it to all our friends and would like to take another tour in the not too distant future.

Melissa Holiday, April 2022


Excellent tour. The food was varied and delicious. The guide had an in depth knowledge of our route plus gave walking tours with interesting facts each evening. The boat captain dealt efficiently with the challenges of last minute changes out of his control in order to ensure we saw everything. . Van Gogh is an excellent company to deal with, we had no issues at all and Denise even met us at the boat prior to departure to ensure everything was fine. Bikes we had reserved were there waiting for us as well. Really recommend Van Gogh.

David & Chelle Leadbetter, April 2022


 

Related tours

WHY Van Gogh Tours

Van Gogh Tours - bike and barge tours

Included

  • 7 nights on board the ship 
  • Welcome drink
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches, and 6 dinners (one dinner on your own)
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Use of bed linen and towels
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Climate-controlled cabin
  • Entrance to the Keukenhof garden
  • Visit original Dutch cheese farm
  • Entrance North-Holland Dune reserve
  • Entrance flower auction Aalsmeer
  • Fees for ferries
  • 11speed bicycle, incl. helmet, pannier bag, water bottle, & bike insurance
  • Multilingual tour guides (2 guides when over 18 participants) 
  • Route information and road book
  • Reservation costs

Bikes

A well maintained, comfortable 7 or 11-speed hybrid bicycle is available free of charge for each participant. These are well-suited for the flat Dutch terrain. Unisex models are available in sizes appropriate to your height (For the very large bikes they are men’s style). 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’re welcome to do so at a discount of $95 per person. Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($170 per person). We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They’re heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver.

Meals

The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a three-course dinner of very high quality. A packed lunch may be prepared after breakfast. Tea and coffee will be ready when you arrive on board in the afternoon. There’s a bar on board with reasonably-priced beer, wine, and soft drinks. 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’s an additional charge of €50 per week. You’ll need to pay this in cash on board.

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
  • One dinner (Alkmaar)
  • Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest
  • Trip cancellation insurance
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