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Amsterdam – Gouda – Bruges by Bike and Boat

  • 5

    (5)

  • 7 nights | 25 miles/day
  • Difficulty Level: 2
  • Guided from: €820
  • View Dates

Tours using road, hybrid or touring bikes:

  1. Mostly flat
  2. Flat with some gentle slopes
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs
  5. Extensive climbing

Tours using mountain bikes:

  1. Mostly flat, wide trails
  2. Some gentle slopes, wide trails
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain and/or narrow trails
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs and/or technical trails
  5. Extensive climbing and/or highly technical trails
  1. Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  2. Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  3. Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge.
  4. Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year.
  5. Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  6. Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.

Tour description

Two countries, Holland and Belgium, united in one route. Combining the highlights of the Netherland's Golden Age and the heydays of the Flemish trade cities in the Middle Ages on this bicycle tour. And of course, Holland's own world wonder: the Delta Works.

The Dutch 17th century Golden Age and the heyday of the Flemish trading cities of the Middle Ages are united in this route. Notice the difference between the green polder landscape abounding in water, with its tranquil roads and villages and the old world of islands in Zeeland with its pastures, creeks, winding dikes and dams.

Explore the picturesque Flemish countryside between the Belgian cities of Ghent and Bruges. The great rivers are a prominent feature in this part of the Netherlands and Belgium. You will get to know our own, Dutch Wonder of the World: the Delta Works, evidence of the eternal battle against the waters of the sea.

Daily program

Day 1: Arrival/Embarkation in Amsterdam – Uithoorn (9 miles/15 km)
When you arrive on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. During this coffee break, you have an opportunity to get to know your guide, the crew, and your fellow passengers. Embarkation at 2:00pm.

In the 12th century Amsterdam was no more than a modest settlement at the mouth of the river Amsteel, with open connection to the sea. In those days fishermen and craftsmen built a dam in the Amstel (now the site of the National Monument) and Amstel-re-damme was born. Amsterdam was granted a municipal charter in 1275 and has since expanded continually. In the 17thand 18th century Amsterdamers were the most prosperous Europeans. The famous rings of canals were dug in the Golden Age, the 17th century. Powerful merchants had their abundantly ornamented mansions built here, thus manifesting their riches.

Amsterdam is a city to be explored on foot and we recommend the following places of interest: the rings of canals; the Jordaan area, with its many pubs, outdoor cafés and quaint shops; Vondelpark with its open air concerts; Leidseplein; Rembrandtsplein; the antique shops in the Spiegel district; Museum Square with the Rijksmuseum (National Museum), Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art), Van Gogh Museum and off course the Anne Frank House. Other typical features of Amsterdam are its numerous "hofjes" (almshouses), the floating flower market, and the hundreds of houseboats lining the canals.

Amsterdam is inextricably related to the diamond-cutting industry, which has brought much fame to the city since the 17th century. The palace on Dam Square is sometimes called the eighth Wonder of the World as it was built on 13,659 piles.

During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed. After dinner, you will make your first kilometers on your bike.
Overnight in Uithoorn

Day 2: Uithoorn – Gouda (28 miles/45 km)
From Uithoorn you will continue your tour over country roads, banks, and channels through the Green Heart and polders to the city known for its cheese: Gouda. This day is Sunday, the day many Dutch take out their bikes for a ride, and you can join them! Whoever thinks of Gouda, thinks not only of cheese, pipes, stroopwafels (treacle-waffle) and pottery, but also of stained-glass windows, a fairytale-like town hall and atmospheric canals. Gouda is a beautiful Old-Dutch city with a mostly intact city center.

The "St. Janskerk," Gouda’s 123-meter-long church, with its renowned "Goudse Glazen" (leaded light windows), the beautiful gothic town hall and the "Waag" (a building once used for weighing cheese) are absolutely worth a visit. Furthermore, one should not forget the Goudse Kaas-en Ambachtenmuseum (Museum of Cheese and Crafts museum), the Museum of Dutch Resistance, the "Weeshuisplein" (famous square), the Catharinatuin, patios around the city and the Museumhaven, a harbor where historical ships are moored. As on most days, after dinner you will take a walk through the city.
Overnight in Gouda

Day 3: Gouda – Alblasserdam – ferry to Dordrecht (24 miles/39 km)
Today you will cycle along the Dutch IJssel, through the deepest lying polder of the Netherlands: Krimpenerwaard and over narrow cycling paths to the river Lek. Here you will cross the river by ferry to Kinderdijk, a unique and renowned monument where Holland’s largest number of historical windmills is found.

From the embankments of the river Lek, you will witness an amazing view of the 19 windmills, which are now listed as a UNESCO's World Heritage site. This is where you will take a break and visit the interior of a windmill. After a beautiful tour through the Alblasserwaardpolder you will arrive at the banks of the river Beneden-Merwede.

A modern, fast ferry will take us over to Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities of the Netherlands, situated at a busy crossing of fairways. Dordrecht was known as "Thuredrech" in the eleventh century. In the year 1220, it received its municipal laws from Count Willem I of Holland. In the Middle Ages, around the year 1350, Dordrecht grew to be an important port town with Staple rights, allowing ships to transport and sell their goods in its harbor.

The fifteenth century was a time of disasters for this city: siege, floodings, and the city fire. The city survived all of its troubles and played an important role in Dutch politics. The first open State assembly with representatives of Holland was held here in 1572 in the Hof, a former Augustine monastery. This assembly can be seen as the start of Holland as an independent country as the resistance against Spain was formed here. In the sixteenth century, Dordrecht loses its leading position as trade city to Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In 1618-1619 an influential protestant church meeting was held about the indifferences among believers of this church about its doctrine. The stricter believers won, resulting in the "Dordtse Leerregels," known as the Canons of Dort. Another decision made during this synod was to translate the Bible from Hebrew/Greek into Dutch. This resulted in the first Dutch Bible, now known as the Statenvertaling. Buildings worth a visit are the gothic church Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, with its unfinished tower (14th century) which has become a trademark. Another eye-catcher is the Groot-hoofdspoort, from which one has stunning panorama over the busy river.
Overnight in Dordrecht

Day 4: Dordrecht – Willemstad – Zierikzee (33 miles/54 km)
From Dordrecht, you will sail to the Delta area of the Dutch greater rivers during breakfast. Years ago, an open connection existed with the sea due to the many tributaries in this area.

After the disastrous flooding in 1953, the Deltaplan was developed and most tidal outlets were closed from the sea by dams. Most parts of Zeeland were, and still are, under sea level and in 1953 the embankments were too weak and too low, causing this area to be at risk for floodings once in every 80 years. Now, because of the flood barriers, that chance is reduced to less than once every 4000 years.

In Willemstad, an old fortified town, we start our cycle tour and ride over the Volkerakbrug (with beneath it, one of the busiest locks in the world) to the former island of Goeree-Overvlakkee. Nowadays, this land is easy to reach by embankments and bridges, all part of the Deltaplan of 1953 now protecting the southwestern part of the Netherlands against the rough sea.

Just before reaching our destination of today (Zierikzee, on the island of Schouwen-Duivenland) we will visit the Watersnoodmuseum. This museum tells the tragic events of 1953 and is built in recently renewed caissons, once used for the last closure gap. This was done in November 1953, ten months after the storm surge which broke through more than 300 embankments.

A shorter version of today's route is offered by sailing to Bruinisse, from where the group of remaining cyclists can be joined to Zierikzee, after which the Watersnoodmuseum is visited. Zierikzee is a beautiful town and the center of the "mussel culture." The Zeeuwse mosselen (blue mussels) are a renowned delicacy.
Overnight in Zierikzee

Day 5: Zierikzee – Middelburg – Vlissingen (20-32 miles/32-51 km) 
On this day, you will cycle towards the North Sea, along the Oosterschelde to the Oosterscheldedam. Enormous locks are built in this embankment that can be closed during storms and high tides protecting the southwest of the Netherlands against the sea.

This embankment was one of the last in a series of barriers against the sea. When cycling along the embankment, one will realize why this has been one of the most difficult and costly challenges to protect the country now and in the future and to let seawater into the widespread Delta area. It is precisely why the Deltaworks are referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

After this dam you will paddle to Middelburg, but not without visiting the picturesque port town of Veere. Middelburg is the lively principal town of Zeeland with many old houses, churches, the beautiful town hall and a pleasant shopping. Also to be found in Middelburg is the Roosevelt Academy, a liberal arts college, located in the former late-gothic town hall on the market of Middelburg.

If possible, during dinner we will sail to Vlissingen. This lovely port town is situated at the Westerschelde and at sea. A walk through the town and over its boulevard is absolutely worth a visit!
Overnight in Vlissingen

Day 6: Middelburg – Ghent (30 miles/48 km)
With the unique cycle ferry to Breskens in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (Dutch-Flanders), we are getting to close to Belgium. You will arrive at the Dutch-Belgian border in Sas van Gent, the former gateway to the harbor of Ghent, through an area with small villages, along creeks, bending embankments and beautiful panoramas.

After a short journey of 1.5 hours, you will arrive in Ghent. From the pier, you can simply take the tram to the medieval center of this beautiful city.

The city of Ghent has approximately 250,000 citizens. Its name, presumably derived from the Celtic word Ganda, means mouth or junction. Indeed, in the city the rivers Leie and Scheldt merge. In 630 Saint Amand established the St. Baafsabdij. In medieval times, Ghent grew to be one of the most important cities of Europe (with approximately 56,000 citizens in 1350) due to its linen industry. From the 14th-16th century conflicts occurred in the city and battles were often fought with Lords of Flanders.

Ghent experiences an economic drawback from 1584 (captured by the Spanish during the resistance against King Philips II) until the nineteenth century. After this period, Ghent developed into an industrial city, with strong socialist beliefs. The old city offers many well kept craftsmen houses, Patrician houses and old storehouses, the Gravensteen (medieval castle), the St. Niklaaskerk (Saint Nicholas' church, dating from the year 1200), St. Baafskathedraal (Saint Bavo Cathedral from the fourteenth century, with the painting "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Van Eyck, internationally known as the Ghent Altarpiece) and last but not least, the Belfort (Bell Tower, fourteenth century). Furthermore, the city center has many squares and pleasant pubs.

Ghent is a lively town, and although Ghent is proud of its rich past, the role of the city is no means restricted to a museum-city. The city is a stunning mixture of medieval buildings, chic shopping areas with beautiful mansions, old workers districts from the early twentieth century which now house hundreds of students and busy squares where one can sit and enjoy warm summer nights until the early hours.
Overnight in Ghent

Day 7: Ghent – Bruges (28 miles/45 km)
This morning you will cycle through Ghent to the scenic countryside of Oost-Vlaanderen (East-Flanders). Characteristic for this are the woods, fields, small villages, and castles.

From the Aalterbrug (also for the shorter route) the last part of this route takes us over the former tow-path along the canal of Oostende-Gent, the oldest canal of Belgium, to Bruges.

The impressive city of Bruges is the end destination of this bike and barge trip. You will pay a visit to the medieval city of Bruges at the end of this day and many of you are likely to stay another day in this beautiful city.

Bruges is known for its production of linen that used to be distributed all over Europe. Around 1350 the city counted more than 40,000 citizens, double the number of citizens that live in the city center now. During the 14th century the second city wall was built. Four mills still stand upon that wall today. In the fifteenth century, Bruges was under the control of dukes of Burgundy. They brought luxury and prosperity to the city: the growth of arts and banking. From this period much has remained: the town hall, the many "natiehuizen" en churches, mausoleums of Marie of Burgundy (Duchess of Cleves) and Charles the Bold.

At the end of the fifteenth century, the Burgundy court disappeared in Bruges, which marks the end of a prosperous period. Due to the silting of the coastal area, the city was no longer accessible for vessels, which resulted in Bruges losing its position to Antwerp. In 1584 the city was concurred by the Spanish. Religious wars and the closing of the sea caused Bruges to fall into decay. Bruges developed into a poor city in the nineteenth century and missed the industrialization. It is partly because of the novel "Bruges la Morte" (1892) from G. Rodenbach, that brought Bruges back into the picture, growing into a city of arts and later into a touristic center. Some sites of interest are Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of our Lady), Belort and Hallen, Gruuthusemuseum (museum of applied arts of Bruges) and the Kantcentrum (Lace Centre).
Overnight in Bruges

Day 8: Bruges
End of this trip after breakfast (disembark before 10:00am).

Dates

Saturdays: May 5*, 12, 19*, 26*; Jun 2, 9*, 16, 23*, 30; Jul 7, 14, 21, 28*; Aug 4, 18, 25; Sep 1, 8, 15*, 22, 29; Oct 13, 2018 (*indicates fully booked date)

Prices

Sailing Home (Comfort DeLuxe class)

2-berth cabin. Bookable: Jun 23*; Jul 7, 21; Aug 4, 18; Sep 1, 15*, 29; Oct 13, 2018 (*indicates fully booked date)

Per person, double occupancy
€1085
Single cabin surcharge (1 person/1 cabin)
€485
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike
€80
Electrically assisted bike
€160
Helmet (must be booked in advance)
€10
Children's bike
€55
Child's seat
€15
Tag-along
€50
Bike trailer
€85
Bike insurance, hybrid touring bike
€15
Bike insurance, electrically assisted bike
€40
Bike maps (must be ordered when booking)
€48
Discounts
Child, ages 0-2 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
100%
Child, ages 3-11 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
30%
Zwaan (Comfort Plus class)

2-berth cabin. Bookable: May 12*, 26*; Jun 9*, 2018 (*indicates fully booked date)

Per person, double occupancy
€1085
Single cabin surcharge (1 person/1 cabin)
€485
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike
€80
Electrically assisted bike
€160
Helmet (must be booked in advance)
€10
Children's bike
€55
Child's seat
€15
Tag-along
€50
Bike trailer
€85
Bike insurance, hybrid touring bike
€15
Bike insurance, electrically assisted bike
€40
Bike maps (must be ordered when booking)
€48
Discounts
Child, ages 0-2 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
100%
Child, ages 3-11 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
30%
Per person, triple cabin (on base package price)
€-30
Liza Marleen (Comfort class)

2 low beds. Bookable: May 12, 2018

Per person, double occupancy
€1065
Single cabin surcharge (1 person/1 cabin)
€465
Cabin upgrade (2-bed large cabin)
€100
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike
€80
Electrically assisted bike
€160
Helmet (must be booked in advance)
€10
Children's bike
€55
Child's seat
€15
Tag-along
€50
Bike trailer
€85
Bike insurance, hybrid touring bike
€15
Bike insurance, electrically assisted bike
€40
Bike maps (must be ordered when booking)
€48
Discounts
Child, ages 0-2 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
100%
Child, ages 3-11 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
30%
Per person, triple cabin (on base package price)
Anna Antal (StandardPlus/Comfort class)

StandardPlus-bunk bed cabin. Bookable: May 19*; Jun 2, 16, 30; Jul 14, 28*; Aug 25; Sep 8, 22, 2018 (*indicates fully booked date)

Per person, double occupancy
€820
Single cabin surcharge (1 person/1 cabin)
€256
Cabin upgrade (Comfort cabin: 2 low beds)
€155
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike
€80
Electrically assisted bike
€160
Helmet (must be booked in advance)
€10
Children's bike
€55
Child's seat
€15
Tag-along
€50
Bike trailer
€85
Bike insurance, hybrid touring bike
€15
Bike insurance, electrically assisted bike
€40
Bike maps (must be ordered when booking)
€48
Discounts
Child, ages 0-2 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
100%
Child, ages 3-11 sharing a room with at least 1 full paying adult (on base package price)
30%
Please note: Instead of operating bicycle tours ourselves, BikeTours.com represents local bicycle tour operators around the world. Review the tour operator's information and terms below, then submit your booking request through BikeTours.com. The primary benefits of booking your tour through BikeTours.com include:
  • Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge
  • Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  • Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  • Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year. Or pay in euros!
  • Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  • Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Contact us with any questions about booking and paying for your tour through BikeTours.com. We look forward to serving you!

Cycletours Holidays Terms and Conditions

Charge for Changes
If after booking a trip, you wish to make changes, bear in mind that you can be billed a surcharge to cover the costs of changes, This amounts to € 14,-. According to the ANVR terms and conditions, changes can generally be made up to 28 days prior to the departure date.

Cancellation conditions

  • Until 60 days before day of departure: € 65
  • 59-45 days before the day of departure: € 135
  • 44-30 days before the day of departure: € 270
  • 29 days before the day of departure- no show: 100% of the fare
    (Different conditions apply to group reservations/chartering a ship)

The conditions of all tours act on the Dutch jurisdiction. Any liability of the tour operator (the transporter) is limited to the amounts of the concerned insurance-company(s) of the tour operator / the transporter is (are) willing to pay, taken into account the maximum overages. The parties agree that the Dutch law applies to this agreement. Any conflicts arising out of this contract will be brought solely before a competent judge in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Travel Agreement
A travel agreement is reached with the traveler's acceptance of our offer. Acceptance can take place either directly through us or via the intermediary service of a booking office. As soon as you make a reservation, your accommodations will be arranged. When these arrangements have been settled, you'll receive word from us and thereupon, the invoice will be sent.

A confirmation of your booking together with the invoice will be sent within 72 hours. Travel documents will be sent via e-mail 3 weeks prior to departure. When booking more than 2 months before departure, payment in terms is possible. Deposit is 15% of the total amount. Second payment needs to be done at least 6 weeks prior to departure.

Travel Conditions
The tour operator is a member of the General Dutch Association of Tour operators (ANVR). This association publishes the ANVR-travel condition that includes the rights and duties of both the tour operator and the participant. These conditions are available upon request.

Travel Conditions
The tour operator is a member of the General Dutch Association of Tour operators (ANVR). This association publishes the ANVR-travel condition that includes the rights and duties of both the tour operator and the participant. These conditions are available upon request.

Cancellation of the tour
The tour operator reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure. The tour operator will offer an adequate alternative in case of such cancellation.

All photos used by permission. ©Cycletours Holidays

Ratings

Ratings Snapshot

  • 5 Star 5
  • 4 Star 0
  • 3 Star 0
  • 2 Star 0
  • 1 Star 0

Average Ratings

  • Overall

    5

  • Difficulty level (Actual vs. expected) 2.2
  • Value 4.6
  • Included meals 4.8
  • Bikes & equipment 4.8
  • Hotels or boat 4.6
  • Scenery 4.8
  • Ease of navigation 5
  • Tour documents 4.2
  • Local tour company services 4.8
  • Route selection 4.8
  • Guides (if applicable) 5

Reviews

Hutch September 8, 2017

What a Great Experience!!!

This trip exceeded all my expectations. The "Barge" was quaint (but professional), the rooms were VERY clean and comfortable with good shower. Dining area was nice and best feature was sitting deck where we all gathered after a day of biking and enjoyed a "beverage". The Crew was fantastic. Always with a genuine smile and seemed to enjoy their work almost as much as we did. The chef did an amazing job with great food and really neat presentation added to the charm. With a small "boat" we got to know all the other passengers and by the end of the week we were friends. Such a great time. Oh and by the way, the actual bike riding was good also. We saw and experienced a Netherlands and Belgium that only a trip like this could offer. Daily rides were easy enough for any cyclist and our guide could not have been more concerned that we were enjoying ourselves. He became part of our "Group" and a friend.

Responses from Biketours.com

Jim Johnson, Founder and president April 26, 2018
Hutch, thanks so much for your feedback. I'm delighted you had such a great time! As a bike tour "veteran," you really know the ins and outs and pros and cons of a bicycle tour, so I'm especially gratified to read your positive comments!
P111 August 18, 2017

Great trip for casual cycler

My wife and I enjoyed our trip through the Netherlands. Great guide. Food and accomadations above expectations.

Elena October 12, 2016

Great experience!

Perfect way to experience a country. The staff of the boat was the best, very friendly and always trying to pleased you.

cyclist September 18, 2016

Very well organized and planned

It was very well organized and people on the boat and in the group were really super nice. Each day was a feast at night, and a treat to the eyes when it comes to biking. We went through a lot of pretty open fields, historic sights and picturesque landscapes. It was like riding through a wallpaper. It was quite easy to finish it, given the flat terrain, and was not a really hard tour.

dmoise April 27, 2016

Highlight of our trip to Europe!

During our long-awaited 7 week European trip, our Bike/Barge adventure was the best part. The local NL based company that organized the tour is great. From the comfy accommodations, to the well planned biking, our week was filled with memorable adventures.

With warm and friendly fellow travelers and an outstanding skipper and crew, we enjoyed delicious meals, informative city walks, fun bike routes with some challenging weather and amazing sights on the land and water. Our biking guide led us with confidence and patience (despite widely varying experience/strength) and added important information on culture and history wherever we traveled.

The smaller size of the barge with only 9 guest rooms, made the entire experience that much more personal. This was also the most affordable week of our vacation! We couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the Netherlands, Belgium and to the wonderful bike/barge experience. Outstanding; we can't wait to go again.