Amsterdam to Bruges - Comfort

Amsterdam to Bruges - Comfort

Trip Highlights

  • Discovering the vibrant cities of Amsterdam and Bruges by bike and on foot
  • Cycling through the countryside of Holland and Belgium past locks and windmills and cheese farms to reach interesting towns such as Antwerp, famous for its nightlife and Ghent with its cobble stone streets
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow passengers aboard a comfortable barge
  • Sampling local specialties including Belgian waffles, beer and mussels

Trip Summary

Experience the great cities of Holland and western Belgium on this classic barge and bike trip between Amsterdam and Bruges. En route visit Antwerp and Ghent whose historic centres will enchant you with their history and refined culture. Wind your way by bike along the Vecht river with its impressive mansions and country houses, visit a cheese farm and the 19 windmills in Kinderdijk. Via Dordrecht and Kreekrak lock, the barge cruises through the 'delta' province of Zeeland to Belgium. Cycling with the group and guide or on your own with a set of maps and directions - the choice is yours. In the evenings, relax on board your comfortable barge or explore the towns on foot.

Suitability

INTRODUCTORY - GRADE 1

The cycling is introductory (1) grade with daily cycling distances from 15 to 64km (9 to 39mi). 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. Electric bikes are available for a supplement and when used will ensure the cycling is comfortable for less physical cyclists - however it is still essential that you are comfortable cycling on roads and in light traffic in variable weather conditions. *For safety reasons, we highly recommend that cycle helmets be worn during cycle sections.

Itinerary

At 1:00pm, please board the barge in Amsterdam. Between 1:30pm to 2pm (MS Gandalf) and at 2:00pm (MS Fluvius) the barge sails to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek. On arrival, the bikes will be distributed and you can enjoy a short bike ride.

Meals:  D

In the morning we cycle through beautiful Dutch meadowlands to the silver city Schoonhoven. We continue through the Alblasserwaard region to the impressive 19 windmills of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO site. There will be an opportunity to visit one of the mills. From nearby Alblasserdam catch a “Waterbus”, a fast ferry, that will take and your bike in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, which holds a strategic location along three rivers. Overnight Dordrecht.

Meals:  B,L,D

During breakfast the barge sails to Tholen. After arrival you will cycle past the village of Bergen op Zoom and through the forest area "Wouwse Plantage", continuing south to the impressive Kreekraksluis (lock). The barge is docked here at the end of the dam and will take us to the lively port town of Antwerp in Belgium situated on the river Schelde. It is known as the diamond city with an abundance of jeweler's shops, and also the native city of painter Rubens. You will find some of his paintings in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe" (our lady) Cathedral. Its other attractions include the City Hall, one of many majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period; the historical City Square Grote Market; and the medieval Steen Castle. After dinner there will be a visit to the beautiful old city centre.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast you cycle out of the port to the Schelde River, and follow this beautiful tidal river upstream on a bike path to Dendermonde. Along the way we will admire the magnificent Flemish countryside around the 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. You will cycle to Dendermonde, a friendly provincial town along the river, for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Dendermonde the bike tour again follows the river Schelde in the direction of Ghent, a lively university city with a rich past. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to discover more of the city, or to shop in the lively centre. The city was founded in Roman times, where the rivers Leie and Schelde converge. The convenient location has over the years brought much prosperity, culminating in the late 13th and early 14th century. The textile industry brought great wealth, with the Cloth Hall established in 1425 bringing many merchants together, and many aristocrats remain today. The main church St. Bavo Cathedral reflects different periods in history and building styles, and houses some masterpieces of medieval art, the most famous of which is "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyck. The barge is docked at the lock in Merelbeke, a suburb of Ghent approx. 30min by bike to the city centre.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning the cycle route leads us through the pleasant Flemish countryside, or Western Flanders, to Bruges. You will have ample time to explore Bruges, the Venice of the North or "Pearl Flanders", perhaps the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its Old Town, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. At that time the city was a metropolis and center of commerce and art, and you can still see this glory in the beautiful buildings. Bruges is also a nice town for shopping or going out - sample a waffle, coffee or traditional Belgian beer around the Grote Markt (the big market place).

Meals:  B,L,D

Today your last cycle takes you to a quiet canal where you’ll find lots of poplars (flowering plants), through an attractive polder landscape with nice small farm houses, and on to the North Sea coast. A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments. A 12 kilometre (7.5 mile) long sandy beach, numerous cafés and the attractive dune landscape of “Het Zwin” (a unique nature reserve) provide enough variety during your lunch break. Return cycle to Bruges for our last evening aboard. Alternatively the day is at your leisure if you choose to spend more time in Bruges.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast the journey comes to an end as you say farewell to the guide and crew. Check out until 9:30am.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches, 7 dinners (does not include drinks) Continental breakfasts are served and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. At breakfast you will prepare your packed lunch for the day which will be sandwiches, fruit & juice. If you choose not to cycle on a particular day, the crew will serve lunch on board. Dinner will consist of three courses inclusive of either a pasta, vegetarian or meat dish.
  • 7 nights accommodation aboard a Category A or B+ barge with ensuite facilities on a twin share basis. Category A (Fluvius): all twin cabins are configured with two lower beds, while double cabins are configured with a double bed. The trip price is based on a standard twin cabin below deck - supplement applies for other cabin categories except a small twin cabin main deck where a discount applies (twin cabin upper deck, double cabin upper deck or single cabin). Category B+: all cabins are configured with two lower beds. We do not match clients together so if you are travelling solo you will need to book a single cabin, below deck only (limited and on a request basis).
  • 7 speed trekking bike rental with handbrake or backpedal brake and pannier (electric bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (one set per cabin)
  • Welcome drink and briefing on the first evening
  • Experienced multilingual guide for fully guided cycle tours and daily briefings - extra cycle guide for group sizes of 22 passengers or more on board the Fluvius.
  • Several city walking tours
  • Linen and change of towels as required
  • Daily cabin cleaning (Cat A) or mid week cabin cleaning service (Cat B+)
  • Daily tea and coffee during breakfast and 3-4pm
  • Fees for ferries (approx. €5) and Waterbus (€4)
  • WIFI (Cat B+ only)

What's Not Included

  • Travel to Amsterdam and from Bruges
  • Meals not detailed in the itinerary
  • Drinks and other items of a personal nature
  • Helmets - mandatory on all bike tours, these can be pre-booked for an additional cost
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specified
  • Transfers not specified
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Tips - while tipping is not obligatory, it is customary to offer a tip if the guide and crew have done a good job. As a guide we would recommend EUR30-60 per person (to be distributed between the guide/s, captain and crew).
  • Catering for special diets (except Vegetarian). A supplement is payable for lactose or gluten free diets - EUR50pp (subject to change) paid locally on board. See below for further details regarding catering for dietary requirements.
  • Optional canal tour of Amsterdam - tickets can be purchased on board
  • WIFI (Cat A) - unlimited data pack can be purchased for EUR10pp on board, subject to change

Upcoming Travel Dates

Reviews

The bike and barge part of the trip was wonderful...the guides knowledgeable and the meals on the barge beautifully done.

S. Griessel, Nanoose Bay, BC Canada, 18 May 2019

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:Holland and Belgium
Starting Point:Amsterdam
Finishing Point:Bruges
Activities:GUIDED CYCLING
BARGE
Grade:introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:UAM
Prices From:GBP£1000 Per Person
Single Supplement (below deck only) -2019:GBP£240  Click for more information
Single Supplement (below deck only) - 2020:GBP£450  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.