country flag of HollandHolland
8 Days / 7 Nights
bike iconBike and Barge Toursbike icon
Guided

Level of Difficulties: Easy
Itinerary
expand the Itinerary tab

Overview

This tour begins and ends in Amsterdam but will take you north to the distinctly rural Island of Texel after visits to the architectural jewels of Edam, Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Alkmaar, as well as the fascinating outdoor museum, Zaanse Schans. In the 17th century this extensive area was recovered from the sea with the use of hundreds of windmills – many still in working order today. You will get a strong sense of the 17th century Dutch prosperity in Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam. Later, you’ll sail to Texel, an island with thousands of sheep and a magnificent nature preserve that makes it a bird lover’s paradise. Back on the mainland, the route will take you over small dikes and quiet country roads through vast polders and along beautiful sand dunes stretching from Schoorl to Bergen. Alkmaar is the capital of cheese making and has its own cheese market and historic Waag (weigh house). In the tulip months of April and May, you will also cycle through miles of colorful fields.

Imagine Yourself…

  • Cycling to the former island of Marken over a dike
  • Wandering the harbors where the Dutch East India company once traded exotic goods
  • Trying the unique cheese of the island Texel
  • Feeling inspired in the artist’s village of Bergen
  • Enjoying spectacular views from the country’s highest dunes

Daily Itinerary

expand allexpand all icon
Day 1
Saturday: Amsterdam – 9 miles (15 km)
expand itinerary day details

On Saturday afternoon you will be expected by 4 p.m. on your boat located close to the Amsterdam Central Station. After storing your luggage and meeting your cycling companions, guide, captain, and crew, you may join an optional bike ride around the northern part of Amsterdam. Dinner on the boat will be followed by a preview of the cycling itinerary for the upcoming week.

Day 2
Sunday: Amsterdam – Volendam – sailing to Hoorn - 28 miles (45 km)
expand itinerary day details

We will leave Amsterdam early, while the city is still quiet. A ferry will take us to the Amsterdam Noord quarter and soon we will be cycling through the rural area of Waterland. In this soggy peatland, the houses and villages are hardly above the level of the water. We will visit the former isle of Marken. It was only in 1957 that this island was connected to the mainland by a dike, and it’s retained its own particular character. The inhabitants are the only ones allowed to use their cars, so Marken can only be visited on foot or on bike. Our route continues to the historic village of Monnickendam, which received its municipal charter in 1355. We will continue along the Gouwzee dike to Volendam. Originally Volendam was a small fishing community. It started as a settlement when the nearby town of Edam dug its new, shorter waterway to the Zuiderzee in the 14th century. The old harbor became superfluous, a new dike was built, and soon farmers and fishermen settled down. In the second half of the 15th century a new village grew up: Volendam. After our visit, we will sail north towards Hoorn. During the evening walk we will get a good impression of this city with its rich past. The attractive city of Hoorn was given a municipal charter in 1357. In addition to Amsterdam, Edam, Monnickendam, Enkhuizen, and Medemblik, Hoorn was a major harbour in the 17th century. Ships sailed from here for the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), America, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean.

Day 3
Monday: Hoorn – Enkhuizen – 21 miles (34 km)
expand itinerary day details

Today we will continue on the dike with a wonderful view over the Markermeer on our right and West-Frisian villages on our left. The recently built dike from Enkhuizen to Lelystad (in the Noordoostpolder) will appear on the horizon. This was meant to be a polder dike for a huge new polder: the Markerwaard. However, the plans were never executed and over time, perception changed and the environment and fresh water supply became more important. Today the dike is there, but no polder. Today’s trip will end in Enkhuizen, a town which came into existence when two adjoining villages amalgamated. It was given a municipal charter in 1355. In the Golden Age, Enkhuizen had grown so much that its harbor was well-known internationally and the beautiful gables, town hall, and richly decorated churches all date from these times of growth. At the end of the 17th century a decline set in as a result of the wars with England and the growing importance of Amsterdam as a sea trading city. When the Zuiderzee was closed off in 1932 (by the Afsluitdijk) the herring fishing industry ended. In Enkuizen, you can visit the open-air Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum, which consists of indoor and outdoor parts, shows the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century. Amongst other things, exhibitions can be visited on the reclamation of the Zuiderzee, whale fishing, and the rich history of the United East Indian Company. Most emphasis is placed on the period between 1880 and 1932, and the distinctive smell of fresh tar, smoked fish, and peat-heated stoves wafts down the alleys between the 130 buildings.

Day 4
Tuesday: Enkhuizen – Medemblik – Oude Zeug – sailing to Texel – 22 miles (35 km)
expand itinerary day details

Our day’s tour starts on the IJsselmeer dike, which we will leave behind to go through a nature reserve and some typical West-Frisian villages. Then Medemblik will come into sight – the oldest city of West-Friesland (1289) with an illustrious past, and the Radboud castle which dates from the 13th century. After Medemblik, our trip continues through the Wieringermeer, the oldest of the IJsselmeer polders. At Oude Zeug we’ll board and sail to the isle of Texel.

Day 5
Wednesday: Roundtrip Texel – 22, 30 or 39 miles (35/48/62 km)
expand itinerary day details

Today you will have the option to choose from multiple route lengths. The isle of Texel, which is one municipality, is the largest of the Dutch Waddeneilanden (Wadden islands). The average length of Texel is 20 km and the average width 8 km. The first human inhabitants may date from the Middle Stone Age (8,000-4,500 BC). Texel also attracts many bird-watchers. In springtime, about 80 different birds breed here, mainly in the dune areas, but all in all about 300 different species have been spotted on this island. As early as the 16th and 17th centuries Texel sheep cheese was well-known abroad. This wasn’t the usual white cheese, but a special green cheese, colored by the juice of boiled sheep droppings which were stirred through the milk. If you want to try some, don’t worry: this was forbidden by the Dutch Food Inspection Department in 1930 for hygenic reasons. A tour around this island with its numerous cycle tracks is well worth the effort.

Day 6
Thursday: Texel – sailing to Den Helder - Alkmaar – 36 miles (58 km)
expand itinerary day details

The ship will take us back to the mainland, where we will disembark in the city of Den Helder, a Dutch naval port situated at the mouth of the Noord-Hollandskanaal. Today’s route will take us through the dunes. In the months of April and May, we will first cycle through the flower bulb fields around Anna Paulowna, the centre of the North Holland flower cultivation. We will pass by the unique nature reserve Het Zwanenwater (The Swans’ Water) with its lakes and boggy hollows in the dunes. A little further on we will cycle on the Hondsbossche Zeewering (Hondsbossche Sea Dike) with a spectacular view of the North Sea. We will enter the area of the Schoorlse Duinen (Schoorl Dunes) where we will find the highest dunes in the country. During the last century many pine trees were planted here so now it’s a rather woody region. Bergen is an artists’ village which attracts many painters, writers, and architects. Our final destination for today is Alkmaar, also called the City of Cheese. Its weigh-house, for the weighing and trading of cheese, was the first in the country.

Day 7
Friday: Alkmaar – Zaanse Schans – Amsterdam – 34 miles (55 km)
expand itinerary day details

You will have the choice of cycling the whole of the day’s journey or staying on board till Zaandam. Alkmaar‘s famous Friday cheese market starts at 10 a.m.. After leaving Alkmaar, we will head on through the “droogmakerij” land with the 17th century towns of Schermerhorn, Graft, and De Rijp. The last stretch will take us through ’t Twiske (the Twiske) Leisure Park. Since the beginning of the Christian era the peat region around the Zaan had been used for cattle grazing. In the peatland, ditches were dug to help drainage. The dried peat was used as fuel. Once we’re back at the barge in Amsterdam it will be time to take leave of our bikes. In the afternoon there will still be time to go into town, and after dinner you may want to finish your trip by going on a city walk or cruising on one of Amsterdam’s canal boats.

Day 8
Saturday: Tour Ends
expand itinerary day details

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

expand allexpand all icon
Dates & Prices
expand the Dates & Prices tab

Dates & Prices

Color Key :

Available
Available, But Almost Full
Full
Available
Available, But Almost Full
Full
2018 Tour Dates
May
expand itinerary day details
2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
June
expand itinerary day details
2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
July
expand itinerary day details
2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
August
expand itinerary day details
2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
September
expand itinerary day details
2018 Tour Dates DoubleSingleTripleSuperiorSup. Tpl.Bunk
May 19–26 Wending expand price detail for May 19–26
May 26–Jun 2 Liza Marleen expand price detail for May 26–Jun 2
Jun 2–9 Wending expand price detail for Jun 2–9
Jun 9–16 Liza Marleen expand price detail for Jun 9–16
Jun 16–23 Wending expand price detail for Jun 16–23
Jun 23–30 Liza Marleen expand price detail for Jun 23–30
Jun 30–Jul 7 Wending expand price detail for Jun 30–Jul 7
Jul 7–14 Liza Marleen expand price detail for Jul 7–14
Jul 14–21 Zwaan expand price detail for Jul 14–21
Jul 21–28 Wending expand price detail for Jul 21–28
Jul 28–Aug 4 Liza Marleen expand price detail for Jul 28–Aug 4
Aug 4–11 " expand price detail for Aug 4–11
Aug 4–11 Wending expand price detail for Aug 4–11
Aug 18–25 Anna Antal expand price detail for Aug 18–25
Aug 18–25 Wending expand price detail for Aug 18–25
Aug 25–Sep 1 Liza Marleen expand price detail for Aug 25–Sep 1
Sep 1–8 Wending expand price detail for Sep 1–8
Sep 8–15 Liza Marleen expand price detail for Sep 8–15
Sep 15–22 Wending expand price detail for Sep 15–22
Sep 29–Oct 6 " expand price detail for Sep 29–Oct 6
Reviews
expand the Reviews tab

This trip was very well run and just about perfect for our needs. We loved being able to unpack just once and have the barge for our home base. One minor comment – I gave the route Very Good only because they had to skip the 1st day from the published itinerary since there was a festival in Vollendam. Overall it was not much impact on our enjoyment. The country is beautiful; the infrastructure is ideal for this type of trip; the Dutch people are extremely friendly; the staff were very accommodating, and the biggest unknown – our fellow participants – were all great. We also got really lucky with the weather, which was fantastic. I think all these combined to make it a wonderful experience.

Amy Wong
Newton, MA

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I bicycled every day and enjoyed myself. I have told friends about this already. Having your room show up at the end of the day in a new town is really nice. The weather was cool, we had 2 rainy days and one windy day but I expected that (cool weather is delightful – I will take rain over heat any day). We had our tour changed but got a superior room out of it and I think a more plus boat. I was very comfortable and the food was great. The tour leader was very knowledgeable and tried hard. The participants were a herd of cats and everything had to be said in French, then English. But I enjoyed the scenery, saw enough interesting things to be exhausted at bedtime, and I knew better than to expect a rigidly scripted event (having been on group tours before) Tides and the (lack of) strength of the average participant was the main cause of route changes. 3-4 very avid cyclists broke off but there was only one spare set of maps.

Liza Blaney
Sunnyvale, CA

Paul was a great leader and knew so much about the routes and history of Holland. He had a great smile and made the best of every situation. The bikes were very comfortable to ride once I got a new seat. Paul worked very hard to accommodate everyone’s preferences. Our chef was very innovative and we all enjoyed his meals. All the staff went out of their way to make our stay pleasant. Holland is a great place to bike. I was worried I might not be able to do the distances but the relaxed pace was great. It was a great way to see Holland without the worry of finding accommodations.

Mary Londry
Stittsville, Ontario

Fantastic trip!! The accommodations were simple but comfortable, the bike riding was relaxed and very informative! Holland, what a beautiful country to explore on a bicycle. It really was my dream trip. Outdoors, exercise, great company, excellent food, and a very experienced guide who taught us a great deal about the country and the Danish people. I absolutely am in the process of booking another trip with them. Top notch!!!

Traci O'Donnell
Centerville, MA
Accommodations
expand the Accommodations tab

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

Liza Marleen

20 people – The “Liza Marleen” is a luxury motor passenger barge, built in 1997-98 on the completely dismantled shell of a seafaring freight logger. The tastefully decorated lounge is equipped with an audio installation, television and video. In the evenings it is possible to come together in the spacious sitting area. In the Winter of 2015 to 2016 The Liza Marleen was converted to a more luxurious barge with twin beds and updated cabins.

Eight cabins have two low beds, which can be placed together. Two superior cabins are so spacious, that they can expand with 2 lower beds or a third bed and a cot. All cabins have a private bathroom with sink, shower and toilet, heating and air conditioning.

Twin bed cabin
Dining room
Deck
Dining room
Lounge

Wending

24 people – The Wending is a former freight barge that started a new life in the early nineties as a luxury passenger motor barge. In 2015 the barge was renovated. The Wending has a roomy and cozy salon, equipped with a complete music installation and TV. After a strenuous bike ride it is a great place to relax. The barge also has a small deck where you can sit in the sunshine.

The Wending has 10 double and 2 triple cabins. The twin beds are side by side. In the triple cabin one bed is placed over the other two. All cabins have a private bathroom and central heating with small windows which can be opened.

Double cabin
Triple cabin
Dining area
Dining area

Anna Antal

18 people – The Anna Antal is a former shuttle barge which was converted into a luxury motor passenger ship in the winter of 1994-95. In 2012 the saloon and cabins were renovated. The Anna Antal has a cozy salon/lounge, a sun deck, and a storage deck for the bicycles.

All cabins are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower and toilet, 220 voltage and central heating. There is limited storage space in the cabin, so we recommend one suitcase per person. You can slide the suitcase under the bed.

Covered deck
Outside deck
Twin bed cabin
Twin bed cabin - style II
Bunk bed cabin
Dining room
Dining room
Lounge
What's Included
expand the What's Included tab

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
  • 24-speed bicycle, incl. helmet, pannier bags, lock, water bottle, and bike insurance
  • 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. If you prefer to bring your own bike you’re welcome to do so at a discount of $85 each. Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($115 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.

Batavus - Female
Batavus - Male
Batavus - Electric

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 gluten-free diet there is an additional charge of $60 per week.

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Drinks from bar on board or when cycling
  • Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about €15)
  • Trip cancellation insurance
Getting There
expand the Getting There tab

Getting There

The barge embarks from the Oosterdok (next to the science center Nemo) near the Central Railway Station in Amsterdam. Departure time on Saturday is at 4 p.m.. If you want you can bring your luggage in advance, from 12 noon onwards. A map, detailed instructions, and the name of your boat will be provided after final payment is received.