Amsterdam to Cologne along the IJssel and Rhine

7 nights
24 miles/day
Guided from EUR € 2545
Countries: Germany and Holland
Rider Level: Leisure Electric bike tours Primarily bike paths Bike and boat tours

Amsterdam to Cologne along the IJssel and Rhine


Rider Level: Leisure Electric bike tours Primarily bike paths Bike and boat tours

7 nights
24 miles/day

Guided from EUR € 2545
Bike and Boat Tour aboard Merlijn
Countries: Germany and Holland

Tap above to jump to different sections of this tour

  • Cycle through quaint villages and historic cities from Holland to Germany.

    Hop aboard the majestic Merlijn for a journey from the world-renowned city of Amsterdam onward to Cologne, revered for the stunning High Gothic architecture, most notable of which is the twin spires of the Dom (Cologne Cathedral).

    Spend several days cycling along the river IJssel and through the rolling countryside of Eastern Netherland. Along the way, explore Hanseatic cities some of which date as far back as the 9th century! Before you know it, the tour crosses into Germany and the path leads along the scenic Rhine River. Pass through the Ruhr Valley which is steeped in history from both World Wars, where many industrial quarters were housed during the occupation. The tour finishes with two of Germany's largest cities, Düsseldorf and Cologne!

    The time passed on board can be spent on the terrace overlooking the river, in comfort of the lounge or the luxury of your cabin with private wash closet.

    • Deventer, Overijssel, the Netherlands. Nanda Sluijsmans@Flickr
    • Rhine River in Cologne, Germany. Roman Burki@Unsplash
    • Amsterdam, North Holland, the Netherlands. Jorge Royan@Flickr
    • Zwolle, Overijssel, the Netherlands. Bart Ros@Unsplash
    • Schnitzel, spargel & dark beer in Germany! Roland Tanglao@Flickr
    • Zwolle, Overijssel, the Netherlands. Bart Ros@Unsplash
    • Doesburg, Gelderland, the Netherlands. Anja van de Gronde@Unsplash
    • "Frikandel & patat" in Holland! CC:Guus Bosman

    View more photos


    • Scenic views of the Veluwe
    • IJssel and Rhine rivers
    • Hanseatic, medieval cities of Zwolle, Hattem, Deventer, Zutphen, and Doesburg
    • Düsseldorf and Cologne, two of Germany's oldest cities
    • Cologne Cathedral, UNESCO world heritage site

  • Amsterdam to Cologne

     Tour Description Daily Program 

  • Daily program

    Day 1: Amsterdam – Muiden

    Arrival in Amsterdam and board the Merlijn between 3:30 and 4:30. Join the crew and other travelers for a welcome drink. As you sip on bubbly, you will also receive tour information, details about the boat and a safety briefing in preparation for the adventures ahead. Dinner will be served as the Merlijn cruises for the overnight destination of Muiden. This evening you will have the opportunity to experience Muiden, the first of many Dutch cities. As you walk down these historic streets, you are sure to find Muiden charming and picturesque.

    Day 2: Muiden – Zwolle (15-19 mi/25-30 km)

    After breakfast, the crew will orient you to your bike and make sure it's the perfect fit before you set off for the first ride of the tour. Pedal past the new Dutch province of Flavoland across the water. Cycling through the diverse landscapes of the Veluwe is sure to impress as you pass by sparkling lakes, towering sand drifts (the highest in Europe!), woods, and shrublands that speckle the hillsides before arriving to the quaint fisherman's village of Elburg. Finish the ride in the Hanseatic medieval city of Zwolle, a city filled with innovation and a true sense of community.

    Day 3: Zwolle – Deventer (25-28 mi/40-45km)

    Today's ride leads alongside the scenic waterways of the IJseel river. As you follow the winding waters, you will again witness the beauty of the Veluwe as the cycle path leads along the border of this quaint landscape. The route concludes in Deventer, where you will have the time to stroll through the city, which was first established in the 9th century.

    Day 4: Deventer – Doesburg (19-22 mi/30-35 km; option to extend 16 mi/25 km)

    Two routes are offered today. The longer route will navigate from Deventer, all the way to the overnight destination of Doesburg, while the shorter one will cover a portion of the same route, before boarding the Merlijn and enjoying the cruise down the sparkling IJssel for the remainder of the day. Both routes promise scenic views of the countryside and the river, considered by many to be the most beautiful river in the Netherlands. After arriving in Doesburg, it is highly recommended that you take an evening walk along the cobblestone streets to admire the historic architecture.

    Day 5: Doesburg – Wesel (22-25 mi/35-40 km; option to extend 13 mi/20 km)

    This morning the boat will stay docked, so a sunrise stroll along the river is recommended. Today's cycling leads away from the river and further into the countryside of the eastern Netherlands. You'll visit the last major Dutch city of the tour as you cycle into Doetinchem, situated on the IJssel and along the border with Germany. Before crossing the border, you will pass through a few quaint towns and agricultural landscapes. Crossing into Germany, you will get a first glance of the majestic Rhine River. From here you may choose to continue cycling or to reboard the Merlijn for the rest of the cruise into Wesel.

    Day 6: Wesel – Düsseldorf (25-28 mi/40-45km)

    The Merlijn will set off in the early morning, heading down the Rhine while you enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a relaxing morning on the terrace overlooking the Rhine.

    The cycling route today will follow along the river all the way into Düsseldorf. Along the way, pass through the Ruhr area, a prosperous industrial area in the early 1900s. Due to it's success, Belgium and France attempted to occupy the area in order to collect war reparations from Prussia. Shortly after, it became a top target of the Allies during WWII due to its strategic position connecting major cities such as Essen, Duisburg, Oberhausen, and Dortmund.

    Tonight the boat docks in Düsseldorf, where the old town is bustling with nightlife and boasts its own variety of dark beer.

    Day 7: Düsseldorf – Cologne (19-22 mi/30-35 km)

    Following breakfast, pack the bike for one final ride down the Rhine all the way into Cologne. The oldest city in Germany, Cologne is well known for the domineering spires of the Cologne Cathedral (Dom). Don't forget to visit the Altstadt (old town center) and taste a locally-brewed Kölsch beer alongside the residents of this 2000-year-old city!

    Day 8: Cologne

    After breakfast, bid farwell to the other travelers and the crew. With many cultural and historical sites throughout the city, it is recommended that you spend some extra time exploring the city. There are many museums including the Museum Ludwig and High Gothic architectural wonders around every corner!

    Surface and terrain

    This cycling vacation features a beautiful route along the IJssel and Rhine rivers which is mostly flat and daily distances range from 15-37 miles (25-60 km).


    How to get there

    Tour start


    Nearest airport: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
    Nearest train station: Amsterdam Centraal

    Tour end


    Nearest airport: Cologne/Bonn or Frankfurt, Germany
    Nearest train station: Cologne, Germany

    Amsterdam to Cologne

     Tour Photos Dates & Prices 

  • Dates

    Sunday: June 22, 2025


    Tour package

    Twin/double €2545
    Single-use cabin On request

    Bike Rentals

    Standard, touring bike Included
    Electrically-assisted bike €180

    Included services

    • 7 nights accommodation in a climate-controlled cabin
    • 7 x breakfasts, 5 x packed lunches and 6 x three-course dinners
    • 1 traditional Dutch lunch along the route
    • Complimentary welcome beverage
    • Variety of complimentary beer, wine, and sodas (during open bar hours)
    • Complimentary toiletries, bathrobe, and slippers
    • 27-speed city touring bike
    • Coffee, tea and water
    • Daily cabin cleaning
    • Fees for harbors, bridges and locks
    • Ferries along bike route
    • Tour guide
    • Tourist information
    • Entrance to one castle along the route

    Bike rentals

    Bikes available and included in the tour package (must be reserved at time of booking) include:

    • Standard city touring bike: Jan Janssen C02 or similar
      • Unisex model
      • Lightweight frame (available in 4 different sizes)
      • 8- or 11-speed
      • Hydraulic disc brakes
      • Shimano Alfine gear hub
      • Max S5 Superflow saddle

    Bikes available to rent (must be reserved at time of booking):

    • Electrically assisted bike*: Gudereit, ISY, or similar
      • Unisex model
      • 7 gears
      • Bosch engine

    *More about electrically-assisted bikes >

    Included with the bike rental:

    • Pannier bag
    • Helmet
    • Fixed lock
    • Water bottle
    • Towel

    Bike Protection
    Can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.

    Tour Company

    Amsterdam to Cologne

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    Amsterdam to Cologne

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