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Van Gogh Tours - Cycling and Walking Tours - Europe

Southern Tulip Tour

From: $1,450 USD

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

Imagine Yourself…

  • Biking through beautiful sand dunes to the university town of Leiden
  • Standing before the organ Mozart played in Haarlem’s St. Bavo church
  • Daydreaming through the fairytale town of Gouda
  • Relaxing at a canal-side cafe in Amsterdam

Overview

The Netherlands in April and early May is ablaze with spring colors of tulips in full bloom. The awe-inspiring flower display is a must see. With its endless miles of paved bicycle paths and flat terrain, cycling is ideal, relaxing, and safe for cyclists of all ages. If you’re a novice biker or just don’t want to spend as much time in the saddle, this tour might be ideal for you. The cycling itinerary is not more than 28 miles per day which provides time for other fun activities: museum visits, people watching in outside cafes, relaxing by the sea, or wandering through an old town center. The emphasis of this tour, however, is tulip viewing during bulb season. Bring your camera and be ready for some of the most memorable photos in your collection!

Daily Itinerary

  • DAY 1 - Thursday: Amsterdam - Oude Wetering – 6 miles (10 km)

    Embarkation is between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM. The barge is moored at the Oosterdok in central Amsterdam, near the train station. After arrival on board, you can settle in and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the tour leader, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers.
    You will first cruise through Amsterdam before reaching the wetlands south of the city and the mooring place of today, the village of Oude Wetering. A relaxed way of starting your trip and get used to life on the barge.

    During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed. Instruc- tions on cycling and safely procedures will also be given. After dinner the tour leader will escort you on the first kilometers on your bike during a short ride around the village.

  • DAY 2 - Friday: Oude Wetering – Gouda – 28 miles (45 km)

    From Oude Wetering, we will continue our tour over country roads, banks and channels through the Green Heart and pol- ders to the city known for its cheese: Gouda.
    Your ride takes you through a typical Dutch landscape filed with green meadows, wetlands, canals, rivers and small villages. You will cross waterways on small ferries and over bridges. Before we reach Gouda you ride through the Reeuwijkse Plassen, a nature reserve and renowned wetland.

    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 center.
    The ‘St. Janskerk’, Gouda’s 123-metre-long church, with its renowned ‘Goudse Glazen’ (leaded light windows), the beauti- ful gothic town hall and the ‘Waag’ (a building once used for weighing cheese) are absolutely worth a visit.

    As on most evenings after dinner the tour guide will take you on a walk through the city.

  • DAY 3 - Saturday: Gouda – Delft – 25 miles (40 km)

    Today we cycle from Gouda over easy and quiet country roads past scenic polders via Kinderdijk to Rotterdam. Kinderdijk has a UNESCO cultural World Heritage listing and is the largest group of windmills in the Netherlands. The 19 windmills at Kinderdijk are an impressive sight and were still actively used until 1950. These days, a large pumping station is responsible for controlling the water level in the polder. Here you can visit a windmill from inside. An impressive piece of centuries old technique that is still functional today.

    From Kinderdijk you take the ferry to Rotterdam where the barge is waiting for you. From there the barge takes you to Delft, the town famous for its pottery, the ‘Delft blue’. The Prinsenhof Museum is housed in the former St Agatha’s monastery. In 1572 William of Orange chose the convent as one of his residences. It was from here that he led the revolt against the Spanish tyranny of Holland. He was murdered on the steps of the Prinsenhof on July 10, 1584, by Balthazar Gerards, a Spanish sympathiser. Two bullet holes in the wall of the stairs bear witness to this event.

  • DAY 4 - Sunday: Delft – Katwijk - Leiden – 22 or 30 miles (36 or 48 km)

    On Sundays the most Dutch take out their bikes for a ride. From Delft we cycle to Den Haag (The Hague), where you can visit the Binnenhof with the houses of parliament, the royal palace Noordeinde and the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis). You continue through the Haagse Bosch, a large park, and past the other royal palace Huis ten Bosch. A tranquil cycle path through the dunes leads you to Wassenaarse Slag. Here some remains of the WW II structure Atlantikwall can still be seen. Five bunkers are connected by nearly 3,000-feet-long brick tunnels. You continue through the dunes, to Katwijk aan Zee, an old fishing village. The old inhabitants of Katwijk still speak their own dialect, ‘Kattuks’. Following the course of the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) river we cycle to Leiden. The ship is moored near the Zijlpoort, a gate that once formed part of the city walls. The shorter route leads you inland after ‘Huis den Bosch’ and brings you along ‘Vlietlanden’ a 130 ha big recreational lake to Leiden.

  • DAY 5 - Monday: Leiden – visit to the Keukenhof Gardens by public transportation

    Today you visit the Keukenhof gardens, the most beautiful spring park in the world. An overwhelming blaze of colours of seven million flowering tulips, in a magnificent 80-acres’ background of traditional and modern gardening architecture. The many blossoms, the flowering rhododendrons and azaleas are a feast to the eye.
    The pavilions will surprise you with unique flower shows. And amidst the wealth of colours there are surprising objects of art. This unequalled combination is extremely pleasing to the eye. In the Keukenhof various gardens and gardening styles can be found: the English Landscape Garden, the Historical Garden, the Natural Garden, the Japanese Natural Garden, the Formal Garden and three special colours gardens. Spread throughout the entire park there are approximately eighty sculptures from well-known Dutch artists. There are also several other art objects, such as the collection ‘Surprising Tulips’.

    Click for more information on Keukenhof

  • DAY 6 - Tuesday: Leiden to Haarlem – 25 miles (40 km)

    From Leiden you cycle through wonderful flower beds in the direction of Haarlem. In the period of March to May the bulb fields are blooming, starting with daffodils and followed by hyacinths, tulips and lilies. The colors in the fields are over- whelming and look almost unreal. Once in the city of Haarlem you can make a short walking tour through the city to see some typical ‘hofjes’ (almshouses), old houses around a central courtyard, now usually housing elderly people.

    Haarlem, which rendered its name to Harlem, New York, is a lively city with good shopping possibilities. The barge is berthed in the city centre, with a view of St Bavo’s Church and with easy access to the Grote Markt with its many outdoor cafés. As on most evenings the tour guide will take you on a walk around the city after dinner.

  • DAY 7 - Wednesday: Haarlem – Zaanse Schans – Amsterdam – 25 miles (40 km)

    From Haarlem you sail to Spaarndam, a picturesque village on the edge of Haarlem. Spaarndam’s name comes from the dam built in the Spaarne River to limit the danger of flooding from the sea. Here you can find the statue of Hansje Brinker on the IJdijk. Hansje is a character from an American novel, which saved the country from flooding by putting his finger in the dike. The Buitenhuizen ferry takes you across the North Sea Canal and from there you cycle to the Zaanse Schans. The Zaanse Schans, with its traditional weatherboard houses, warehouses and windmills may give you the feeling of stepping back into the 17th or 18th century. Yet this is no open air museum, but a lively neighborhood where people live and work. Among other things a cheese farm, a clog maker and an old bakery can be visited here. The last kilometres are a leisurely ride into Amsterdam.

    Click for more information on Zaanse Schans

  • DAY 8 - Thursday: Tour Ends

    Our tour concludes after breakfast, with departure before 10 AM.

Dates & Prices

Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full

2025

Departure

Barge

Twin

Twin Superior

Bunk bed

Triple

Single use

April 3

Anna Antal

$ 1920

$ 1650

$ 2380

April 3

Wending

$ 1920

$ 1810

$ 2790

April 10

Anna Antal

$ 1920

$ 1650

$ 2380

April 10

Wending

$ 1920

$ 2790

April 24

Anna Antal

$ 1920

$ 1650

$ 2380

April 24

Wending

$ 1920

$ 1810

$ 2790

May 1

Liza Marleen

$ 2100

$ 2360

$ 1930

$ 2980

Prices are per person in US Dollars – inclusive bike rental

  • What's 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
    • 24speed bicycle, incl. helmet, pannier bags, lock, water bottle, & bike insurance
    • Admittance & public transportation to the Keukenhof Gardens
    • 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.  

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

    Electric bikes (brand Freebike) 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.

    Electric bike - Bike and Barge - Van Gogh Tours

    In addition, you can rent children’s bikes, child seats, bike trailers, and tag-alongs.

  • 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 per diet.

  • Not included

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

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

Every day was fun, the guide, the crew, the chef and the fellow passengers all combined to make each day a wonderful experience. Bikes were perfect for the terrain. Distance travelled each day were perfect.

Virginia Venslovaitis, April 2024


It is good value for the money

Karen Drayton, April 2022


 

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