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Take a tour of the Dutch Golden Age
Take a tour of the Dutch Golden Age on this River Vecht Bike Tour from Utrecht. On this bike tour, you'll travel through 2,000 years of history as you learn about the role the river played in connecting the Roman Empire and northern Europe. On this ride, you'll pedal along the Vecht, stopping at several mansions on its banks, before arriving at the charming, traditional Dutch town of Maassen, and rounding the tour off with a stop at Van Zuylen castle. You'll also stop at a local cafe en route for a drink that's included in the price of the tour.
Riding along the river, your guide will offer a compact but fascinating history of the Netherlands, showcasing how the country was formed on land below sea level, thanks to an intricate water management system. But the main attraction of the tour lies in the captivating country houses built by wealthy merchants who'd made their fortune trading sugar, coffee, and cacao in a period so prosperous it became known as the Golden Age.
These wealthy men controlled much of Dutch society, and their trade and influence was centered in Amsterdam. However, the crowded Dutch capital became unpleasantly pungent every summer, and so they built magnificent mansions on the banks of the River Vecht to escape the heat and unsanitary conditions of the city. Over 100 villas once existed, but only 40 remain today. On this bicycle tour, you'll stop outside a handful, and admire their beautiful gardens, as your guide tells the story of the period that transformed the Netherlands from a small, parochial European country to a dominant, global power.
Cycling on, your guided tour will take you to the charming town of Maarssen, where vast green spaces and tranquil canals punctuate the characterful Dutch townhouses. Cycling north from Maarssen, you'll next stop at the magnificent Van Zuylen Castle. The current structure dates from around 1510, and you’ll get a chance to walk around the tranquil gardens, admiring the castle's symmetrical facade and fairytale turrets. Your guide will introduce you to the life and work of Belle van Zuylen, a famous Enlightenment writer who was born in the castle.
Before the end of your bike tour, you'll stop for a drink at a local cafe, where you can ask your guide for recommendations for the rest of your time in Utrecht. Follow the River Vecht to witness the story of the Netherlands unfold in front of your handlebars on this fascinating family-friendly bike tour.
Days Start Finish Daily 10:00 am ~1:30 pm
Rate EUR Adult €42.50
Minimum of 4 participants required to start this tour.
River Vecht, Golden Age mansions, Maarssen, Van Zuylen Castle, Stop at cafe with drink
- Bike and helmet rental
- English-speaking guide
Meeting place & directions
Utours - Domplein 4 (at the statue of Jan v. Nassau), 3512 JC Utrecht, Nederland
★★★★★ Graham Gockley 6 months ago
The perfect day in Utrecht
What a wonderful way to see the city, explore the countryside, and learn a ton of history. Raphael was an excellent and thoughtful guide, ensuring that we safely navigated the city and saw as much as possible. I’d highly recommend to anyone.