country flag of HollandHolland
5 Days / 4 Nights
bike iconBike and Barge Toursbike icon
Guided

Level of Difficulties: Novice
Itinerary
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Overview

Experience Holland in the best possible way: a gorgeous spring excursion with the theme of flowers. This 5-day mini-cruise plows through the most beautiful season of the year and will take you to gorgeous areas in the province of South Holland. You’ll enjoy a few unforgettable days on board a premium passenger barge with excellent service and a diverse itinerary. Visit the famous flower market in the center of the capital and discover the Zaanse Schans with its windmills, a traditional cheese maker, a clog maker, and an authentic traditional Dutch village. Other highlights of this trip are the historic city of Haarlem, the world famous flower park Keukenhof near Lisse, and the spectacular Aalsmeer flower auction, the largest flower auction in the world. Bring your camera and be ready for some of the most memorable photos in your collection!

Imagine Yourself…

  • Wandering through the vibrant, seasonal colors of the Keukenhof gardens
  • Cruising over dinner towards the historical windmills of Zaandam
  • Biking along smooth paths beside bright tulip fields
  • Enjoying a canal-side coffee amongst Amsterdam’s famous waterways

Daily Itinerary

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Day 1
Amsterdam - Zaandam
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In the afternoon, between 2 and 4 p.m., we ask that you arrive on board your barge in Amsterdam, located near Central Station. By 5 p.m. we’ll start with a short dinner cruise to the charming city of Zaandam. In the Golden Age, Zaandam served as a large milling center, making it one of the oldest industrial centers in the Netherlands. Thousands of windmills powered saws that processed Scandinavian wood for the shipbuilding and paper industries. Zaandam is both historically and architecturally interesting, with a combination of traditional houses, windmills, and modern buildings. The barge moors in the center of the city, and in the evening we’ll take a short walk through the center. At dinnertime, the program for the next day and the routine for the rest of the week will be explained.

Day 2
Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Haarlem – 10 or 23 miles (17 or 39 km)
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A short bicycle ride will take us to the open-air museum Zaanse Schans that features beautiful windmills, an authentic traditional Dutch village, a cheese factory, and a clog maker’s workshop. We’ll then return by bicycle to the barge. In the afternoon you can choose between a boat trip of approximately 2.5 hours or a bicycle trip (about 14 miles) to the beautiful city of Haarlem. In Haarlem’s center you’ll find the famous St. Bavo Church, home to the organ Mozart played. You could also visit the Grote Markt, the Teylers museum, and the French Hals-museum. Our barge will be berthed in the centre of Haarlem for the night, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy a short city walk in the afternoon or in the evening.

Day 3
Haarlem – Keukenhof – Oude Wetering – 25 miles (40 km)
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After breakfast we’ll ride to the Keukenhof garden, arguably the most famous flower park in the world, where you can admire hundreds of thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and many other flowers in full bloom. In the Keukenhof (approximately €18), various gardens and styles can be found: the English Landscape Garden, the Historical Garden, the Natural Garden, the Japanese Natural Garden, the Formal Garden, and three special color gardens. Spread throughout the entire park are approximately eighty flower sculptures from well-known Dutch artists. There are also several other art objects, including the collection Surprising Tulips. After taking our time for a visit, we’ll get back on our bicycles at noon and head to Oude Wetering where our floating hotel will be waiting.

Day 4
Oude Wetering – Aalsmeer – Amsterdam – 16-22 miles (27-35 km)
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his morning you’re in for a real treat – an early visit by bus (6.30 a.m.) to observe the biggest flower auction in the world at Aalsmeer (€7, not open in weekends and public holidays*). Early in the morning, millions of flowers are auctioned off and immediately sent out to all corners of the world. By 9 a.m. we’ll return to our barge in Oude Wetering where a late breakfast will be waiting for us. Next, the barge will take us through the canals to Amsterdam. During the afternoon and evening you’ll have the opportunity to either make a last beautiful cycling tour through the wetlands of Waterland or to discover this amazing 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 as we know it today is a cosmopolitan city with 40 museums, close to one million inhabitants, and a thriving economy. In the evening you’ll have the chance to take an optional canal tour of the city (approximately €10).

*The Aalsmeer flower auction is not open in weekends and on public holidays. For this reason, for tours where such a visit is scheduled for a weekend or holiday we’ll change the order of the program slightly and offer the visit of the flower auction on a weekday instead: this way, for each departure date, all highlights can be included.

Day 5
Tour Ends
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Tour concludes after breakfast. You’ll need to leave your cabin by 9.30 a.m., but it’s possible, upon consultation with the crew, to leave your luggage on board until approximately 3.30 p.m. so you can head out and explore Amsterdam some more.

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Dates & Prices
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Dates & Prices

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2018 Tour Dates
March
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2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
April
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2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
Mar 31–Apr 4 Magnifique II expand price detail for Mar 31–Apr 4
Apr 2–6 Magnifique I expand price detail for Apr 2–6
Apr 3–7 Magnifique III expand price detail for Apr 3–7
Apr 4–8 Magnifique II expand price detail for Apr 4–8
Apr 5–9 Fluvius expand price detail for Apr 5–9
Apr 6–10 Magnifique I expand price detail for Apr 6–10
Apr 7–11 Magnifique III expand price detail for Apr 7–11
Apr 10–14 Magnifique I expand price detail for Apr 10–14
Apr 11–15 Magnifique III expand price detail for Apr 11–15
Apr 13–17 Fluvius expand price detail for Apr 13–17
Apr 14–18 Magnifique I expand price detail for Apr 14–18
Apr 15–19 Magnifique III expand price detail for Apr 15–19
Apr 17–21 Fluvius expand price detail for Apr 17–21
Apr 18–22 Magnifique I expand price detail for Apr 18–22
Apr 23–27 Magnifique III expand price detail for Apr 23–27
Reviews
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Completely exceeded our expectations. The barge & staff were comfortable and welcoming. It was great to bike during the day and enjoy the diverse people in the evening over dinner and drinks. From the moment we were welcomed by our tour lead and the barge captain/staff on board, the holiday was wonderful. Every day was a mini adventure from navigating the bike ways, enjoying the country side, flower market and park, and the dutch villages–it was remarkable. Breakfast and dinners were family ample and delicious and we enjoyed the on board beverage service.

Ben & Kathy Shaw Green
Wynnewood, PA

We really appreciated the way the entire team worked together to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The bikes were very comfortable. The other guests were a lot of fun. The cabin was lovely and the food was great! Our guide did a great job of explaining each days itinerary.

Freda and Mike Tallmadge
Port Angeles, WA

We did not expect such “luxe” accommodations…the staterooms were lovely and the salon of the “barge” was gorgeous. Crew were friendly and helpful, and our guide was superb. Really liked the casual atmosphere and yet attention to detail. Repeat for sure! There is a certain degree of fitness and pace that is necessary to keep the group together; this could maybe have been emphasized in the booking info. Having said that, 5 of our group used the e-bikes that were really appreciated. Also, a map holder on the handlebars of the bikes should be provided. Due to a bridge malfunction, our 4 night tour was re-routed, so cannot comment on original itinerary, but we had 3 very good days riding (40k/50k/30k) through tulip fields, small towns, countryside, plus excellent trips to Keukenhof, the flower auction, Zaanse Schans, and my favourtie, the trip through the small dorps in north Amsterdam.

Ingrid Owsiacki
Victoria, BC

Everything about this trip was “magnificent”!! We weren’t too sure what was involved with a barge tour but the barge itself was beautiful, the cabins were very spacious, the staff was outstanding, the mix of guests was perfect, the whole experience was fantastic. It was sad to leave, we wanted to keep going another few days at least! Cycling through the tulip fields was an absolute highlight of this trip. There was a wide range of experienced versus recreational cyclists and the first day was a bit intimidating trying to keep up. When some of us were offered an e-bike on the second day I jumped at the chance and it made a world of difference to my overall cycling experience. I loved it from that point on!!

Lee Peacock
Victoria, BC

We loved the biking, Keukenhof, Zaanse Schans and all the beautiful tulip fields along the route. We also thought the Magnifique was beautiful as well as our cabin with all the little extras laid out. We loved the country, barge, café stops, bikes and sites that we saw. Unfortunatly, we were told a bridge was down so had to stay in Haarlem for 2 nights and didn’t get to see the Westeinder Lakes as our route was changed, but realize that could not be helped.

Marilyn & Brian Wilds
Accommodations
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Barges

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

Barges

Fluvius

36 people – The comfortable Dutch river cruiser Fluvius has been a popular choice for guests for a number of years now on the Amsterdam/Bruges cycle tour. On board this cozy ship, there are a total of 18 twin and 4 double bed cabins, spread over a lower and upper deck. In winter 2017-2018, 4 additional upper deck double cabins with a large panoramic window (ceiling to floor) will be created.

All cabins have low beds, an air-conditioning unit that is individually adjustable, a ventilation system, and a window (windows in twin cabins are fixed) and en-suite bathroom with shower/toilet and hairdryer. The salon with bar is a large room for common use and has a designated restaurant area. On the large sun deck of the 70 meter-long ship are sitting tables and chairs and storage room for the bikes.

Floorplan
Lounge
Lounge
Dining room
Bar
Twin bed cabin
Twin bed cabin - style II

Magnifique

35 people – The barge Magnifique is 63 meters long and accommodates 35 guests. Other features include a beautiful salon with a spacious bar, a sun deck equipped with comfortable chairs, and a small whirlpool to relax in at the end of a long day of cycling. Delicious meals are served daily in the restaurant area. The boat was completely renovated in 2010 and extended by 14 meters in 2013.

The 15 individual cabins offer flexible accommodations: two of the twin bed cabins can be converted to triple with bunk bed. In several other cabins, twin beds can be pushed together to create a double bed. All cabins have portholes however, they can not be opened for safety reasons. Cabins also come with a mini safe, hairdryer, WiFi, and individual air conditioning.

Floor plan
Dining room
Dining room
Second dining area
Twin bed cabin
Twin bed cabin - style II
Bathroom
Hot tub

Magnifique II

38 people – The premium barge Magnifique II launched in 2016 to wonderful reviews. The ship boasts a classical style with emphasis on superior comfort. Highlights of the barge include 4 upper deck suites, with cozy seating area and a large panoramic window, half of which can open. On the upper deck there is a tastefully furnished salon with restaurant, bar, lounge with wide screen TV, large windows. You will also enjoy a partly covered teak wooden sun deck with chairs and tables on the back deck and a cycle shed (front deck).

On the lower deck, you will find 14 cabins: 12 regular twin cabins, 1 single cabin, and 1 premium twin. The lower deck cabins have portholes which cannot be opened. A number of the cabins can be converted to triples with an extra lofted bed above one of the beds. All cabins have en-suite facilities (shower + toilet), individually regulated air conditioning, unlimited WiFi, and flat screen satellite-TV.

Dining room
Lounge bar
Food
Twin bed cabin
Bathroom
Upper deck superior cabin

Magnifique III

40 people – Following the success of her sister ships, Magnifique I and Magnifique II, this deluxe vessel will not disappoint. All cabins and suites have en-suite bathrooms with shower and toilet, individually regulated air conditioning, flat screen (satellite) TV, a small safe, and a hair dryer. On request, an extra bed is available in some twin cabins (above one of the other beds). Most cabins can also be booked in advance as cabins with a double bed. WiFi is available throughout the ship, although may be a weak signal due to the steel construction of the vessel.

The upper deck features a small seating area with large, operational windows. There is a spacious salon that combines a restaurant area, bar, and lounge. Large doors open to the partially roofed sundeck, with a whirlpool/jacuzzi and deck chairs to relax.

Floor plan
Lounge
Dining area
Twin cabin, lower deck
Upper deck suite
Upper deck suite
Bathroom
What's Included
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What's Included

  • 4 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets, and two towels)
  • 4 breakfasts, 3 packed lunches and 4 dinners
  • Coffee and tea on board (until 4 p.m.)
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • 7speed bicycle, including pannier bags, lock, water bottle
  • Admittance to the Zaanse Schans museum
  • Two tour guides (multilingual)
  • Route directions and detailed maps (one per cabin)
  • Reservation costs

Bikes

A well maintained, comfortable 7-speed unisex hybrid bicycle is available free of charge for each participant. These German models are available in sizes appropriate to your height. Bikes come with grip shifters, hand brakes or pedal brakes, a carrier bag, and a water bottle. Bike helmets are included in the price of the tour. If you prefer to bring your own bike you’re welcome to do so, but there is no discount.

Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($60 per person). We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you’ve first tried one at home. They’re heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver.

Veloville - 7-Speed - Female

Meals

The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a high quality three-course dinner.  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 gluten-free or lactose-free diet there’s an additional charge of $45 per tour.

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Entrance to the Keukenhof garden (about €18) and Aalsmeer Flower Auction (€7)
  • Admission to canal tour in Amsterdam (about €10)
  • Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
  • Ferry fees (about €7)
  • Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest
  • Trip cancellation insurance
Getting There
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Getting There

In the afternoon, between 2 and 4 p.m., we ask that you arrive on board your barge. It’s moored at the Veemkade, about a 25-30 minute walk from the Central Railway Station in Amsterdam. If you want you can bring your luggage in advance, from 9.30 a.m. onwards. A map, detailed instructions, and the name of your boat will be provided after your final payment is received.