Experience Holland in the best possible way: a gorgeous spring excursion with the theme of flowers. This 5-day mini-cruise takes you through the most beautiful season of the year and to gorgeous areas in the province of South Holland. On this active tour, you’ll bike every day and at night enjoy meals on board in the company of your fellow travelers and our charming crew and guide. 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, traditional and beautiful Leiden, 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!
- Cycling between bright fields of tulips
- Strolling along rolling dunes beside the North Sea
- Admiring thousands of tulips and seasonal flowers in the world’s most famous flower park
- Exploring the night time charms of the UNESCO heritage town of Leiden
At noon the crew of your barge will welcome you on board in Amsterdam. During lunch you’ll meet your fellow travellers and tour guide. In the afternoon we’ll bike together through the charming Dutch landscape to the open-air museum village of Zaanse Schans. There we’ll find beautiful windmills, an authentic Dutch village in the traditional style, a cheese factory, and clog making workshop. After our visit we’ll take a short bike ride to our barge in 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. At dinnertime, the program for the next day and the routine for the rest of the week will be explained.
After breakfast, La Belle Fleur sets sail to Spaarndam. After the locks of Spaarndam, our biking trip for the day will start. Our journey will take us along the North sea beaches. There will be time to enjoy a beach walk and afterwards we’ll bike to the city of Haarlem. This old city is famous for its courtyards. You can visit many of these, and doing this will also give you a view of the typical Dutch way of life. In Haarlem’s center we’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 center 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.
Today our bike trip will start in the direction of Lisse, where we’ll visit the most famous garden of Holland. The Keukenhof, arguably the most famous flower park in the world, is the former queen’s herb garden. Nowadays in the park you can admire hundreds of thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and many other flowers in bloom. 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 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 and head to Leiden. On the way, we’ll stop by one of the many tulip fields and take a photo in front of it. After dinner you can visit the Old City with the guide. Leiden is a city so beautiful it received the UNESCO protection title for the complete Old City. It’s home to the oldest university of Holland, and is also the birthplace of many of the Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Lucas van Leyden, and Jan Steen.
Today you’ll get to experience another aspect of typical Dutch culture – cheese! The ride today will take us along the beautiful countryside and farms of South Holland where we’ll see windmills, canals, sheep, and cows galore. During the day, we’ll stop at a cheese farm where you can learn everything about the process of cheese making and life on the farm. We’ll spend the night in Kudelstaart, a small village near Aalsmeer.
Today we’ll have an early start. We’ll begin with a visit to the Aalsmeer flower auction, the biggest flower auction in the world. Early in the morning millions of flowers are auctioned off here and immediately sent out to all corners of the world. Afterwards, we’ll return to the barge where we sail on to Amsterdam. As we cruise into the city, you can enjoy the old West part of Amsterdam from the sun deck. 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. Once the ship is moored we’ll go on a guided walk around Amsterdam, where you can admire the beautiful old canal houses or “grachtenpanden,” and also the small streets of the old city center. After coffee, the crew and guide will say goodbye and wish you a safe journey home.
Dates & Prices
Color Key :
|2018 Tour Dates|
|Apr 2–6||La Belle Fleur|
|Apr 30–May 4||"|
The barge listed below is one of those usually used on the tour. Depending on availability, you may be booked in a different barge of equal quality.
La Belle Fleur
19 people – The MS La Belle Fleur is a former cargo ship, built in 1929. In 1993 the cargo ship was turned into a passenger ship and during the winter of 2011 -2012 the interior was completely renewed and brought up to date to the nowadays wishes of the passengers.
On board you will find 8 double cabins and one triple cabin with bunk beds and a low bed. All double cabins are fitted out with an ensuite bathroom, split level beds and a wardrobe. The windows can be opened in the cabin as well as in the bathroom.
The sitting area of La Belle Fleur is very bright, because of the many windows. Just above the water there are some portholes, through which you can see the ducks passing during breakfast. This part of the boat is not only used for breakfast and dinner, but during the colder evenings you can find yourself a cosy seat to read a book or play cards with your fellow passengers. After a day of biking you can recline in one of the sun-chairs and dream away on our sundeck. On deck there are also tables and chairs so we can eat outside, weather permitting.
- 4 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets, and two towels)
- 4 breakfasts, 5 packed lunches and 4 dinners
- Entrance to the Keukenhof, Aalsmeer Flower Auction, and cheese farm
- Afternoon coffee and tea on board
- 8-speed bicycle, including pannier bags, lock, water bottle, helmet
- Bike insurance
- Tour guide (multilingual)
- Reservation costs
After arrival on board you’ll be allocated a bike suitable to your height. This bike is at your disposal during your trip until Friday at 3 p.m.. Your hybrid bike has 8 speeds, hand brakes, pannier bags, and a lock. Helmets are available free of charge. Before you make your first tour, the guide will give you instructions about the bike and traffic safety. We draw your attention to the fact that you will be held responsible for damage to or theft of the bike during the time it’s off board the barge (it’s a bike with a value of more than €800). Never leave it unattended, and always lock it to a fixed object. There are a few e-bikes available for rent for $120 for the trip, which need to be booked ahead of time.
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.
- Ferry fees (about €10)
- Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
- Gratuity for the guide and crew (optional!)
- Admission fees to extra museums in the Zaanse Schans or other places of interest
- Trip cancellation insurance
At 12 p.m. we ask that you arrive on board the barge, which embarks from 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.