The following planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances.
You are expected on the barge on Saturday by 2:00pm, at which time the boat leaves its mooring place in Amsterdam. The barge cannot wait due to the opening hours of bridges and locks, so plan your arrival accordingly.
Day 1: Arrival and embarkation in Amsterdam – Spaarndam (9 miles/15 km)
You are expected on the barge between 1:00-2:00pm. When you arrive on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the guide, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers.
The first part of the tour you will cruise to Spaarndam – known as the village of Hans Brinker – and from here we make an easy ride into the beautiful city of Haarlem.
Haarlem, which rendered its name to Harlem, New York, is a lively city with good shopping possibilities. At the same time there are many interesting 17th-century sights here. Back on board, after the bike ride, the programme for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you at dinner time.
Day 2: Haarlem – Keukenhof Leiden (25 miles/40 km)
Today's trip leads you through the oldest tulip fields of Holland, including a visit the most beautiful spring park in the world. Keukenhof is the place where the spring breaks. An overwhelming blaze of colors; seven million flowering tulips in a magnificent 80-acres background of the Keukenhof gardens, traditional and modern gardening architecture. You can also admire the various hyacinths, narcisses, and many other colorful flowers.
You spend the night in Leiden, which is a historic city with many little courtyards, façades, and historical buildings built between the 15th and 18th century. Leiden, meaning "built on waters," came into existence around 800 AD as a marketplace at the confluence of the rivers Old and New Rhine, the Vliet and the Mare. It was a center for the medieval linen industry. For a long time, it was second only to Amsterdam in importance.
A well-known episode of Leiden's history is the Spanish occupation in the 16th century. In 1574 the Spanish siege was eventually broken as a result of a deliberate inundation and the assistance of the Protestant fleet called the "Geuzenvloot." This fact is still celebrated annually on October 3rd. As a reward for its courage in the face of the Spaniards, Leiden was given the right to found a university in 1575. Leiden is also the city where Rembrandt van Rijn was born.
Day 3: Leiden – Kudelstaart (28 miles/45 km)
Today you continue your tour around the Haarlemmermeer. Imagine that this polder once was the biggest lake in Holland and nicknamed "the waterwolf." The cycle route leads you through the green heart of Holland, an area characterized by small cycle paths, black and white cows, and despite the work of Mr. Leeghwater, a lot of water. Your destination for today is Kudelstaart: a small town bordered by the Westeinderplassen.
Day 4: Visit to flower auction; cycling Zaanse Schans – Wormerveer (28 miles/45 km)
In the early morning, you can visit one of the many flower auctions in Aalsmeer. Every day "Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer" sets the world price for flowers and plants. This happens by bringing supply and demand together by means of the auction clock- a fascinating process during which large and small batches of flowers are sold within fractions of seconds. As a visitor to Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer, you will walk over a specially designed gallery.
Enjoy the gorgeous flowers; experience the hustle and bustle of the auction. The flowers and plants that are sold at the auctions are exported all over the world, a logistic wonder. Afterwards, you will have breakfast while cruising in the direction of Amsterdam.
From the lock at the Nieuwe Meer, you can cycle along the borders of the Amstel River into the city, and after the ferry into the green again to the Zaanse Schans, a unique hamlet where people live and work, with original houses and windmills from the river Zaan area. The hamlet is dominated by three operating windmills, the oldest built in 1673, for grinding mustard, spices, paint and oil and for sawing wood into planks. As you walk through the village you will see a clock museum, an old-fashioned grocery store, a house with period furniture, a clog-maker and a cheese farm. Afterwards to Wormerveer.
Day 5: Wormerveer – Alkmaar (28 miles/45 km)
From Wormerveer you will cycle to and through the most beautiful dunes of the Netherlands and if weather permits, you may like to swim in the North Sea during your lunch break at the beach. Today's overnight stay is in cheese town Alkmaar. An historic lively city with many small and bigger shops. Nearly 400 heritage sites, canals, and harbors dominate the townscape.
Day 6: Alkmaar – Purmerend (22 miles/35 km)
Today time to cycle into the polder landscape of the Beemster and Purmer, part of a big green polder area. The Beemster Polder, dating from the early 17th century, is an exceptional example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes, and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles. Also, time to visit one of the big water mills at the Rijp.
Graft and De Rijp are two proud, typical 17th-century villages that enjoyed great prosperity at the heyday of the fishing and whaling industries. You spend the night in Purmerend.
Day 7: Purmerend – Amsterdam (12 or 22 miles/20 or 35 km)
Purmerend lies at the edge of an area called "Waterland" where roads and water are nearby on the same level. We visit the nice village of Zunderdorp and Ransdorp. The better cyclists can cycle the long route to Edam and Volendam and if time permits you can cross the lake Gouwzee to admire the traditional fisherman’s village Marken with its typical wooden houses. In Amsterdam, you can look back at cycling seven days in great variation of typical Dutch landscapes, towns, and many highlights.
Day 8: Departure from Amsterdam
After breakfast, the tour ends (disembarkation by 10:00am).