The highlights of Holland and Belgium are uncovered on this unique cycling tour of the lowlands and North Sea coast. Beginning in Amsterdam, we visit Gouda well known for its cheese and then cycle to the world famous windmills of Kinderdijk before heading through Dordrecht and the natural reserve of Biesbosch to Willemstad. We continue by barge across the impressive waterways of Zeeland and onto the lively town of Antwerp in Belgium. In the delightful town of Ghent we have a walking tour before continuing to Bruges where small chocolatiers and waffle sellers offer a great reward for your cycling efforts!
INTRODUCTORY - GRADE 1
The cycling is introductory (1) grade with daily cycling distances from 10 to 50km / 6 to 31mi. As with all of our cycling programs, wind and poor weather could make the trip grade change. Should you not wish to cycle there are walking options available. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos, visit a museum or enjoy the market places in many of the interesting towns visited. It is considered suitable for children, as long as they have road sense, are familiar with the workings of a bike (gear change etc) and are comfortable cycling alongside moving vehicles at times. *For safety reasons, we highly recommend that cycle helmets be worn during cycle sections.
At approximately 12:30pm, you can check into the barge - all ports are located near Amsterdam Central station. Later that afternoon around 1:30pm the barge crosses Amsterdam and heads for the village of Oude Wetering. During the sailing you will have a light snack on board (boarding in Amsterdam only - not lunch). In the evening there will be a warm up ride in the vicinity of the town.
An early start this morning as you pedal through the Dutch meadowlands en route to Gouda. There will be ample time to explore the town both before and after dinner. The famous St. Jans church with its beautiful stained glass windows is the longest church in the Netherlands and certainly worth exploring. Spring departures: a visit is included on this day to the Flowerpark Kuekenhof and the cycling tour will be shorter (25km / 15.5mi).
This morning the ship brings us to the world famous windmills of Kinderdijk. We plan to visit one of the mills, and then pedal to Dordrecht. In the afternoon we will meet the barge and sail to the beautiful walled town of Willemstad where we spend the night.
Today the barge sails right across the impressive waterways of Zeeland. At the Kreekrak locks, just before the Belgian-Dutch border, you will get on your bikes and cycle to the lively town of Antwerp in Belgium. In the evening join the tour leader for a short walk around this port town then free time to explore its interesting streets and abundance of jeweler’s shops. The city has a large Hasidic Jewish community who have traditionally controlled the thriving diamond industry.
Today we cycle out of Antwerp and through the pretty Flemish countryside alongside the river Schelde. The River Schedle stretches for 435km through northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands and is connected by several canals to the basins of the Rhine, Meuse and Seine Rivers. The Schelde has always had considerable commercial and strategic importance over the years. In the charming provincial town of Dendermonde you'll spend the night aboard the barge.
This morning we have an early departure as the ship needs around 7 hours to reach Ghent. The river Schelde is a tidal river and thus the barge may have to wait for high tide to continue. The cycle heads through terrain that is typical flat Flemish countryside. In the old city of Ghent we join the tour leader for a walk through the wonderful town centre. There are many interesting bars and shops dotted throughout and lovely old bridges.
The day starts with a train ride to Bruges. After arriving there is a short guided walk past the many historic monuments in the centre of Bruges. You have until mid afternoon to explore Bruges, sample some delicious waffles or chocolates before we return by train to Ghent.
Spring departures: a horse and carriage ride is included through the centre of Bruges.
This morning at 9:00am you check out and transfer by bus to Amsterdam Airport, approximate arrival time 12:00pm. Alternatively, you can disembark in Ghent for individual departure - please advise in advance if you will not be taking the group bus transfer.
Group transfer by bus at approximately 12:00pm from Amsterdam Airport to Ghent in Belgium. On arrival around 5:00pm, check in aboard the hotel barge. Please advise in advance if you will instead make your own way to the barge in Ghent (luggage can be dropped off from around 1:00pm). In the old city of Ghent we join the tour leader after dinner for a walk through the wonderful town centre. There are many interesting bars and shops dotted throughout and lovely old bridges.
This morning we take a train ride to Bruges. After arriving there is a short guided walk past the many historic monuments in the centre of Bruges. You have until mid afternoon to explore Bruges, sample some delicious waffles or chocolates before we return by train to Ghent. Later we take the train to Dendermonde where there will be an opportunity to warm up our cycle legs on a short evening bike ride to discover the town and surrounds.
note: Spring departures include a horse and carriage ride in Bruges
From Dendermonde the cycle route takes you through the pretty Flemish countryside alongside the river Schelde to Antwerp. The River Schedle stretches for 435km through northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands and is connected by several canals to the basins of the Rhine, Meuse and Seine Rivers. The Schelde has always had considerable commercial and strategic importance over the years. In the afternoon the tour leader will invite you on a short city walk in Antwerp and afterwards there is free time to explore this port town, with its interesting streets and abundance of jeweller’s shops. The city has a large Hasidic Jewish community who have traditionally controlled the thriving diamond industry. In the evening you may wish to visit some bars to sample the many excellent Belgian beers. Even if you do not drink the beer, the bars are always lively and interesting.
In the morning we will cycle from Antwerp over the Belgian-Dutch border to the large Kreekrak locks. Here we will meet the ship and sail to the beautiful walled town of Willemstad where we spend the night.
This morning you have a short sail on the barge before the day's cycle begins. Through the countryside you cycle to the windmills of Kinderdijk and later continue to the cheese town of Gouda. In the evening you may wish to join your tour leader for a short city walk, or explore the town for yourself. The famous St. Jans church with its beautiful stained glass windows is the longest church in the Netherlands and certainly worth exploring.
Today enjoy an easy bike ride right through some real Dutch meadowlands and end your trip in a small village called Oude Wetering. Be sure to enjoy the quietness of the rural Dutch countryside before you arrive in busy Amsterdam tomorrow.
Spring departures: a visit is included on this day to the Flowerpark Kuekenhof and the cycling tour will be shorter (25km / 15.5mi).
On the banks of the river Amstel you cycle in the direction of and then across the Amsterdam town centre to the mooring place of your barge, located near Amsterdam Central station. In the afternoon there’s time to explore the lively Dutch capital and do some shopping. In the evening there’s a city walk and you may wish to make a round trip of the famous Amsterdam canals.
The trip concludes after breakfast around 9:00am. Individual departure.
Most memorable moment? Cycling through the beautiful countryside and small villages of Holland. Seeing so many residents on bikes, young and old, and admiring the beautiful neat and tidy Dutch homes and gardens.
E. Rand., Banner Elk, USA
My husband and I along with two friends thoroughly enjoyed our week travelling the garden of Holland and Belgium with like minded individuals from Germany, USA,Canada and Australia. Although an easy grade there were some long days in the saddle for me but it was all worth it. Some damp days didn't dampen our spirits aboard The Tijdeest with its little dog Schnitzel and a small welcoming bar to arrive back to in the afternoon. This is a trip for people who want to ride bikes on mostly bike tracks and low volume quiet roads with great scenery without having to worry about navigating. There was also an opportunity most evenings to walk into town for a look around which was most entertaining if not moored in a town centre.
R. Wright., Glenbrook, NSW, Australia.
The trip was thoroughly enjoyable. Our guide had excellent local knowledge and was very amiable. The barge crew (captain and cook) were also very friendly and the meals were fantastic. All arrangements were flawless.
D.Randles, ACT, Australia
Great destination. Overall an excellent and invigorating holiday!
I Olivieri, NSW Australia
Our family of four had a wonderful experience on this tour. The food was excellent, the tandem bike worked well & the tour guide & crew had a good sense of humour & fabulous local knowledge... so much better than I expected - good fun & great people.
S. Moore., Glen Iris, VIC Australia
I have special dietary requirements and was very well accommodated.. most impressed with Marije.
K. Wuesteward., VIC, Australia
(It) was a beautiful barge with excellent food and atmosphere ...a lovely way to see Holland and Belgium but the riding expectations certainly are not suitable for beginners or children ..you need to be able to ride long distances and be confident in all sorts of traffic including large cities.
H. Naughtin., Mollymook Beach, NSW, Australia.
Pedalling through the Flemish countryside and the Netherlands with an experienced and informed leader has to be the best way to experience these countries, and appreciate the engineering marvel of water management through canals. The pastoral beauty was enhanced by the sweet smell of lilacs, hay, cows, sheep, and music of the songbirds. The rural experiences were interspersed with medieval cities where we had opportunity to participate in interesting walking tours of the old cities. This trip was an opportunity for meditative physical activity. The best of both!
E. Derksen., Morden, MB. Canada.
Most memorable moment? The sheer joy of riding a bike plus seeing all the beautiful towns and scenery
L. Sapp., Phoenix, AZ. USA.
Top feedback! We really enjoyed the whole trip and it was exactly right for us. The arrangements were good and the trip was very well planned. The cycling was the right level for us and the bikes were good. The barge was a bit basic, but you had warned us about that and it was what we expected. The other guests were good holiday companions too.
L Lermer, UK
Most memorable moments: We loved everything! The rural beautiful countryside was enchanting. A great group of other travelers; excellent bikes; leisurely pace and good meals on barge.The trip delivered on all it's promises. It was an easy route but full of memorable sites and scenery. We were well guided and had lots of opportunities to stop at cafes for coffee and apple tart. We loved the evening strolls into town with our guide. The barge accommodations were simple and yet the upper deck and dining area had charm! Always plenty to eat!
J. Fowler., Gainesville, Florida, USA
The food, the people... Hans and Ann Marie were absolutely fantastic hosts and their food was amazing, really enjoyed the company of all the other passengers, lovely people.
S. Caplis,, UK
The Amsterdam to Bruges Bike and Barge trip was a joy from beginning to end. I traveled with six friends, all of us in our fifties, only one of us being very athletic, but all of us adventurous and willing to experience sore muscles, sun, wind and rain. Every aspect of the tour met or exceeded my expectations. The barge, was clean, pleasant and comfortable with an experienced and friendly crew and good meals. The bikes were new and easy to ride. Our guide, Leon, was experienced, kept our group together and safe and was able to handle bike repairs and other concerns that would come up during our biking days. The countryside was interesting and beautiful.Biking is the perfect way to really experience the sights, sounds and even smells of the country. We were on cycle paths most of the time, so dealing with cars on the roads was not a concern. And, as a bonus, I met wonderful fellow travelers from New Zealand, Italy, England and Canada. It was a pleasure to relax with them in the evenings on the barge and make new friends. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
D. Perkins,, Provo, USA
Some wonderful memories, I would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend. Cycling 50 km per day is much easier than you think! Cycling through the lovely Dutch and Belgian countryside was very exciting. Very relaxed pace and enjoyable. The guide, the food, the service and the staff were all outstanding.
D. & A. Cliff,, UK
The friendly barge crew, incredibly beautiful bike trails through Holland and Belgium, and then the delicious meals prepared by the trip chef at the end of each day made this trip unforgettable. It was perfect!
J. Payne,, UK
Great ride, and manageable by all age groups as it was flat (no hills) and not demanding physically (we had 30 yr olds to 70s). The days can be long but again manageable as there were sufficient stops to rest.
Frank Sonego, Barrie, CA, 08 Dec 2016
Per Person, Twin Share