Van Gogh Tours - Friesland and Lake IJssel - Bike and Barge Tour Netherlands

Friesland and Lake IJssel

From: $1,380 USD

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

Imagine Yourself…

  • Biking through the peaceful nature of Amazing Friesland
  • Enjoying the picturesque towns and villages
  • Exploring Hoorn with its rich history
  • Visiting beautiful harbor villages and tasting the local fare


Van Gogh Tours - Friesland and Lake IJssel - Bike and Barge This popular tour starts and ends in Amsterdam. After crossing the IJsselmeer you arrive in the province of Friesland. The peace and nature have made Friesland extremely popular with sailors and skaters, but certainly also with cyclists. The Frisian towns owe their rise to shipping and trade and its heyday lies between 1000 and 1500, Our route leads you through towns and villages, with the green watery countryside in between, where farming usually determines the horizon.

Other important parts of the scenery consist of the numerous little bridges, that ‘leap’ the ditches and the sailing boats that cross the vast lakes like white swans. The picturesque villages, historic towns and the original Frisian traditional costumes complete the image of the greenest province of The Netherlands. The last part of the tour you cycle along the Ijsselmeer back to Amsterdam again. One of the highlights on this tour is a visit to het Zuiderzeemuseum‘ in Enkhuizen. Crafts typical of the time are practiced in this open-air museum, and houses, boats and costumes can be admired.

Daily Itinerary

  • DAY 1: Amsterdam – Lelystad - 9 miles (15 km)

    On Saturday afternoon you’re expected between 1 and 2 p.m. 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 we will sail to Lelystad and from here we will make a short bike ride. Back on board the program for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained at dinner time.

  • DAY 2: Lelystad – Sneek – 28 miles (45 km)

    From Lelystad, the barge sails across the IJsselmeer to Lemmer from where we continue by bike to Sneek. We ride via the wooded Gaasterland region. In this region you will find the old village of Balk. Later on you pass through IJlst, an idyllic little town with a narrow town canal, low houses and a ribbon of linden trees. The banks of the connecting waterway between IJlst and Sneek are covered with a fringe of reeds and the occasional willow and alder. Riding through this green landscape you can enjoy the abundant flora and fauna special to this region. You end the day in Sneek, a town living within the surrounding water. In the local museum you can get an impression of the Frisian history of seagoing and inland shipping as well as of shipbuilding and the ice-skating sport.

  • DAY 3: Sneek – Leeuwarden – 25 miles (40 km)

    Riding out of Sneek you first pass through Boazum. Boazum offers you a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture: the church St. Maartenskerk. Further up the road you ride past several terp villages. You can recognise old dikes now meandering through the landscape, like the Slachtedijk. The Slachtedijk is a so-called inner dike, 42 kilometres in length. The dike makes an unforgettable impression on you as it winds through the landscape in a picturesque way. Today’s destination is Leeuwarden. It is the capital of Friesland and is a typically Dutch city with narrow streets, brick houses and canals, where you can visit various museums, shops and the historic town centre with a beautiful park.

  • DAY 4: Leeuwarden - Makkum – 28 miles (45 km)

    You ride out of the provincial capital Leeuwarden and enter the flat land with meadows again. After about an hour cycling you reach the old university town of Franeker. It is a lovely town to walk around in. Here you can visit the world famous 17th century planetarium of Eise Eisinga. Via lovely villages with age old churches you will reach Makkum, a town famous for its pottery. If you want, you can make a short detour to the interesting harbor of Harlingen, yet another of the famous Frisian Eleven Cities.

  • DAY 5: Makkum – Stavoren – 25 miles (40 km)

    From Makkum you continue riding through the meadows to Workum, a town that flourished around 1300 when other towns lost their connection to the open sea. Next comes Hindeloopen wich is a town with its own dialect, traditional costume and painting style. In earlier times Hindeloopen did not have its own harbour, but only anchorage. The fleet was in Amsterdam while the captains spent the winters in their ‘commandeurswoning’ (captain’s residences) in Hindeloopen. At Nieuwstad in the town centre you can admire these well-preserved houses. Today’s destination is the historical harbour town Stavoren. The city was granted city rights between 1060 and 1067, making it the oldest city in Friesland.

  • DAY 6: Stavoren – Hoorn - 19 miles (30 km)

    In the morning you sail to Enkhuizen crossing the IJssel lake, since 1932 the largest fresh water lake in the Netherlands. Enkhuizen is a nice old harbour town to explore, and after arrival in Enkhuizen you can visit the Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum shows you the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century. Today’s cycling stage will take you to Hoorn along the IJsselmeer dike with on your left the IJsselmeer en on your right the lower lying land. Hoorn was a major harbour in the 17th century. From here ships sailed for the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), America, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

  • DAY 7: Hoorn - Amsterdam – 28 miles (45 km)

    The first part you sail to Volendam, originally a small fishing community, now a tourist attraction. Here your last cycling stage starts. You cycle to Monnickendam where you can see the towns many old gables, plaques, chur­ches and towers. Then on to Marken, a former island with many green painted wooden houses and its own particular character. Near the lighthouse there is a nice little beach where you can enjoy your lunch and perhaps take a swim in the fresh water of the IJsselmeer. The last part of the stage takes you through an area called Waterland. You will understand why it is called that when you see that the houses and other buil­dings are almost at water level and that the ground is soggy. At the end of the afternoon you will reach Amsterdam. Once you are back at the boat in Amsterdam it is time to take leave of your bikes. In the afternoon there still is some time to go into town and after dinner you may want to finish off your trip by going on a city walk or taking a trip on one of Amsterdam’s canal boats.

  • DAY 8: Tour Ends

    Our tour concludes after breakfast, with departure before 10 a.m.

Dates & Prices

Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full







Single use

June 27

Liza Marleen

$ 1590

$ 1850

$ 1490

$ 2270

July 4


$ 1470

$ 1380

$ 1840

Prices are per person in US dollars /  inclusive bike rental


Coming soon!

  • What's included

    • 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets, and 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
    • GPS-tracks (on request)
    • Tour guide (multilingual)
    • Route information and road book
    • Ferry fares on the route
    • Reservation costs
  • Bikes

    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.  Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($130 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. In addition, you can rent children’s bikes, child seats, bike trailers, and tag-alongs.

    Women's bike - Van Gogh Tours - Bike and Barge Mens bike - Van Gogh Tours - Bike and Barge Electric bike - Bike and Barge - Van Gogh Tours

  • 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’s a bar on board with reasonably-priced beer, wine, and soft drinks. If you have special meal requirements, please mention this when booking. In the case of a Vegan/gluten-free and lactose free diet there is an additional charge of $85 per week.

  • Not included

    • Airfare
    • Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
    • Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about €25)
    • Trip cancellation insurance


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.


A magical journey through Friesland. The crew were extra special and engaged well with everyone.

Deb McMahon, 2023


Related tours

WHY Van Gogh Tours

Van Gogh Tours - bike and barge tours