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Holland's history, cultural treasures, and natural wonders
Get ready for some great cycling and much, much more! On this incredible bike and boat tour, you'll find yourself out and about in authentic and historical Holland, exploring its past oceanic glory and enjoying its present day beauty and charm.
The Dutch call this itinerary The Hanseatic Tour, referring to the vast sea trade that once held immense importance. You'll visit major historical hubs, including Zutphen, Deventer, and Kampen. These cities played a pivotal role in connecting trade across a network of northern countries, spanning the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and even Norway!
You'll also delve into the maritime history of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) by visiting the three major harbor towns of Amsterdam, Enkhuizen, and Hoorn. These towns thrived during the 17th Century and the Hanseatic influence remains.
The itinerary also includes nature in the grandeur of Hoge Veluwe, the largest national park in Holland. Once shaped by the aftermath of the Ice Age, it's now a stunning nature reserve and home to an extraordinary museum showcasing a private collection of Van Gogh's masterpieces.
There is exceptional cycling on this tour, but also, a rich tapestry of history, art, vibrant culture, and the beauty of nature!
- Picturesque Wijk bij Duurstede, Deventer, and Kampen, each with its own rich history
- Maritime heritage of Volendam and Enkhuizen, once thriving fishing villages
- Hanseatic history
- Incredible cycling infrastructure along rivers, dikes, and countryside, showcasing the beauty of the Netherlands
- De Hoge Veluwe National Park
Interested in adding to your itinerary? Take a look at our cycling day tours in Amsterdam.
Day 1: Amsterdam
Today is for settling in, with no sailing or biking just yet! You can drop off your luggage after 9:15 am and official boarding begins at 1:30 pm. Explore the city center, conveniently close to the Oosterdok docking area. In the afternoon, you will join the crew for a welcome meeting followed by a guided walk through the charming streets of Amsterdam.
Day 2: Amsterdam - Wijk bij Duurstede
The Iris starts sailing along the Amsterdam Rijn Channel as you enjoy breakfast. Later, the cyclists will disembark, and the biking adventure begins. You decide if a pickup along the route is in order or if cycling to Wijk Bij Duurstede is what you would like. Situated at the confluence of the rivers Rhine (Rijn) and Lek, this charming town carries a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. Its walled inner city provides a glimpse into its medieval defensive history.
Day 3: Wageningen - Arnhem
Today you will bike through the largest national park in the Netherlands - De Hoge Veluwe - which boasts a remarkable variety of natural environments. You will find dense forests, vast heathlands, unique shifting dunes, and tranquil meadows. This diversity provides habitats for a wide array of flora and fauna. Nature is at its best here. A cultural highlight within the park will be your visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum, renowned for its extensive collection of art, including works by Vincent van Gogh. The museum also features an impressive sculpture garden showcasing sculptures by prominent artists.
After this artistic pause, you'll cycle down to the Rhine Valley to Arnhem. The city was a strategic location during World War II, particularly notable for the Battle of Arnhem, a part of the more extensive Operation Market Garden. You will find the Iris next to the John Frost Bridge, also known as the "Bridge Too Far". The bridge and the adjacent Airborne Museum pay homage to the bravery and sacrifices made during the battle.
Day 4: Arnhem - Deventer
Sailing along the Rhine and entering the IJssel, you pass through picturesque meadows and along dikes. Your cycling starts at Doesburg, with Zutphen providing a delightful break en route to Deventer. This town's narrow streets transport you back in time, inviting you to unwind at the town square. And guess what? The ship's conveniently docked nearby!
Day 5: Deventer - Kampen
Today will be a perfect blend of history and natural beauty. The route unveils scenic landscapes, dikes, and the meandering IJssel River. The day's destination, Kampen, was once an influential member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval trading alliance. Its strategic location on the river IJssel contributed to its prosperity as a trading hub, and remnants of its Hanseatic history can still be seen in its architecture and layout.
Day 6: Kampen - Hoorn
After some pleasant sailing, the cycling will begin, following the dike connecting Lelystad and Enkhuizen in the province of Flevoland. Both Lelystad and Enkhuizen have undergone transformations that reflect the dynamism of Dutch society and culture. Lelystad's reclamation of land through the massive Zuiderzee Works Project and planned urban development exemplify the Netherlands' innovative engineering, while Enkhuizen's preservation of its maritime heritage showcases the country's deep historical roots.
The Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen is a renowned open-air museum that showcases life around the former Zuiderzee. The final destination, Hoorn, is a town of monumental beauty, invoking the splendor of the 1800s.
Day 7: Hoorn - Volendam - Amsterdam
A final morning sail leads to the iconic Volendam. Historically, Volendam was a thriving fishing village, and its maritime heritage is deeply ingrained in its culture. The town's waterfront and harbor continue to be central to its identity. A stroll through this unique former fishing village is a must before you cycle into the tranquil countryside. You would never guess from the serenity how close you now are to Amsterdam. You'll pedal along canals, returning to the city via ferry, where the Iris awaits at the harbor.
Day 8: Farewell Amsterdam
It's time to bid farewell. Enjoy your last breakfast at 8:00 am, departing by 9:00 am. Reflect on the memories of your Dutch adventure as you head homeward or extend your stay in Holland, perhaps with a cycling day tour.
Surface and terrain
The terrain is primarily flat. You will enjoy Holland's excellent cycle path infrastructure.
How to get there
Tour start and end:
Nearest airport: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS)
From AMS airport, it is just a short train ride to Amsterdam Central Train Station, close to the center where the ships are moored.
Friday, May 24, 2024
Per person, double occupancy €1780 Twin/single-use On request
City touring bike €110 Electrically assisted bike €220
- 7 x nights on board the Iris
- 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunches, 5 x three-course dinners
- Welcome meeting and complimentary beverage
- Coffee, tea and hot chocolate available 24/7
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Route information
- Cycling tour guide (a second guide will be added with more than 18 guests)
- Entrance to National Park Hoge Veluwe and Kroeller Mueller Museum
- Fish tasting
- Entrance to the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen
- Wifi on board
- 8-speed city touring bike
- 9-speed electric bike
- Water bottle
- Safety lock
Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.
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