Tulip fields near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Photo courtesy of Jantien Wondergem from the Merlijn ship.

Riverside in Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium. Photo via Wikimedia Commons:Gregd1957
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Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges

Belgium, Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours

Come see the beautiful spring flowers of this famous cycling route!

In April and May all of Holland is blooming. Therefore, this is the perfect time to see the famous bulb fields showing the colorful tulips and hyacinths. Furthermore, this tour shows you some lovely old Dutch towns like Dordrecht and Gouda, famous for it's delicious cheese! Crossing the border to Belgium takes you to the Belgian pearls of Antwerp, Ghent and on top of that, Bruges!

Want to see more bike and barge tours in Holland?

Tour Dates

2016 Dates:
On Comfort Plus boat:
Quo Vadis:

Merlijn:

On the Standard Plus class boats:
Clair de Lune:
Tijdgeest:

2017 Dates
On Comfort Plus boat:
Merlijn: April 15, 2017
Quo Vadis: April 29, 2017

Skill Level

Easy, guided bike & boat tour. Bicycle routes follow mainly flat bike paths & country lanes with little traffic. Occasionally heavier traffic is encountered when entering the bigger cities. Daily cycling distances range from approximately 16 to 25 miles (25 to 40 km). Guide bikes with the group but it’s also possible to cycle on your own.

Where You’ll Stay

Click barge information for further details about the classes of boats.

What’s Included

  • On the Quo Vadis:
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • 8-speed hybrid bike rental with helmet
  • Tour guide
  • Daily cycling meeting
  • Tourist-tax
  • Admission tickets for the Keukenhof and the Cruquius
  • On the Merlijn
  • Accommodations for 8 days/7 nights on board
  • Welcome drink
  • All meals: breakfast, packed lunches and three-course dinners (excluding one dinner)
  • Entrance fee to the Keukenhof
  • 24-gear tour bike, incl. water bottle, universal sized helmet and bike bag
  • Tour guide
  • Unlimited coffee, tea and hot chocolate during the trip on board and potable ice water during meals
  • Harbor fees
  • On the Tijdgeest and Clair de Lune:
  • Accommodations for 8 days/7 nights on board
  • Breakfasts, packed lunches, and three-course dinners
  • 7 gear hybrid bicycle rental
  • Bicycle protection
  • Tour guide
  • Entrance fee to the Kinderdijk
  • Entrance fee to Keukenhof
  • Horse and carriage ride in Bruges
  • Bus transfer from Ghent to Amsterdam Airport

What’s Not Included

  • On the Quo Vadis
  • Drinks on board
  • Bike protection
  • Trip insurance
  • On the Merlijn
  • Excursions not mentioned
  • Drinks on board
  • Biking maps (for sale on board)
  • 1 dinner
  • Bicycle protection
  • Trip insurance
  • On the Tijdgeest and Clair de Lune
  • Drinks on board
  • Trip insurance
TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillEasy
Length7–8 days
From815 Rates
Client Reviews

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Day-To-Day Itinerary

Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges Map

Aboard the Quo Vadis
Day 1: Amsterdam - Haarlem, 16 miles (26 km)
Day 2: Haarlem - Oude Wetering - Gouda, 26 miles (42 km)
Day 3: Gouda - Willemstad - Zierikzee, 25 miles (40 km)
Day 4: Zierikzee - Veere - Middelburg, 26 miles (42 km)
Day 5: Middelburg - Vlissingen (Flushing) - Terneuzen - Gent, 28 miles (45 km)
Day 6: Gent - Bruges, 27 miles (43 km)
Day 7: Bruges and the North Sea, 30 miles (48 km)
Day 8: Bruges departure

Day 1: Amsterdam - Haarlem, 16 miles (26 km)
After embarkation in Amsterdam, the Quo Vadis will depart for Spaarndam at 1 pm. From there, you start a short bike trip to the oldest lock of Europe passing by the famous statue of Hansje Brinker. From there, you will go on along the river Spaarne to Cruquius where you'll participate in a guided tour through the oldest and largest steam machine in the world

Day 2: Haarlem - Oude Wetering - Gouda, 26 miles (42 km)
After breakfast, you will bike through beautiful polders full of tulips and hyacinths. The first stop will be at the famous Keukenhof. After visiting the beautiful Flower Gardens, you will continue on to Oude Wetering, where the ship will be waiting. The Quo Vadis will sail over Alphen aan de Rijn – the River Rhine during the Roman Empire – to the famous Cheese town of Gouda.

Day 3: Gouda - Willemstad - Zierikzee, 25 miles (40 km)
Starting early from Gouda, you will enjoy a sailing breakfast while motoring along the industrial area of Rotterdam to the old fortress town Willemstad. From there, you will start biking mostly below sea-level to the delta of the great rivers. There used to be many open connections with the sea here, but after the big flood disaster of 1953, the Delta Works plan was initiated. As a result, most tidal inlets are now closed off from the sea by dams. Be sure to take a closer look at the interior and exterior of the storm surge barrier. A beautiful tour on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland comes next. Your destination for today is the well-preserved town of Zierikzee.

Day 4: Zierikzee - Veere - Middelburg, 26 miles (42 km)
Today's bike tour will start by taking you towards the western part of the island, Schouwen. At Westenschouwen, you will begin crossing the Oosterscheldedam. Halfway along the dam, you can spot the former artificial island, Neeltje Jans. Although all the islands of the provinces Zuid-Holland and Zeeland are now connected, and should no longer be called islands, they have all retained their own character. With a strong headwind, this trip can be very strenuous. In that case, you may prefer to do the first part of today's route on board the ship and start cycling at Zandkreek. Quiet country roads will take you into Middelburg.

Day 5: Middelburg - Vlissingen (Flushing) - Terneuzen - Gent, 28 miles (45 km)
By ship or on the bike, you will head to Vlissingen (Flushing), an important port at the mouth of the Westerschelde. Here, you will take the ferry to Breskens in Zeeuws Vlaanderen (Zeeland's Flanders), which takes about twenty minutes. Belgium is now getting close. While cycling through the spacious land and scattered villages, you may not even notice that you are crossing the Dutch-Belgian border. The city of Ghent is proud of its rich past, but is much more than just a museum town. This lively city has numerous squares and cozy pubs and is an excellent mixture of medieval edifices, stylish shopping streets, splendid mansions, working-class quarters from the beginning of the 20th century which now often house students, and busy little squares where people eat out till the wee hours during the summer.

Day 6: Gent - Bruges, 27 miles (43 km)
Today you will bike from Gent through the Belgium polders, partly along the Gent-Oostende canal. Starting from Lovendegem, just outside the city, you will cycle through the beautiful country of Western Flanders to Bruges, the Venice of the North. This town is one the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. Bruges was, in old times, a metropolis and center of commerce and art. Bruges historic center with its numerous canals, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 7: Bruges and the North Sea, 30 miles (48 km)
The last bike tour takes you to a quiet canal from Napoleon, along where you’ll find lots of poplars, through an attractive polder landscape with nice small farm houses to the North Sea coast. A 12-kilometer long sandy beach, numerous cafés, and the attractive dune landscape of Knokke/Heist provide enough variety during your lunch break. Then back to Bruges.

Day 8: Bruges departure
Departure after breakfast

Aboard the Merlijn
Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam, cruising to Harlem
Day 2: Haarlem - Lisse - Keuhenhof - Leiden, 18 mi. (30 km)
Day 3: Leiden - Gouda - Dordrecht, 21 mi. (35 km)
Day 4: Dordrecht - Willemstad - Tholen - Antwerp, 27 mi. (45 km)
Day 5: Antwerp - Baasrode, 21 mi. (35 km)
Day 6: Baasrode - Merelbeke - Ghent, 27 mi. (45 km)
Day 7: Ghent - Bruges, 24 mi. (40 km)
Day 8: Departure from Bruges

Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam, cruising to Harlem
The Merlijn, your sailing hotel, awaits you in Amsterdam. Embarkation is between 1 and 1:30 PM. The barge departs at 2PM to Haarlem. It is necessary to leave on time because of the operating hours of the bridges. The crew will welcome you on board and while you enjoy a welcome drink, you will be informed about the barge and the daily tours. The barge stays overnight in the neighborhood of Cruquius, just past Haarlem.

Day 2: Haarlem - Lisse - Keukenhof - Leiden, 18 mi. (30 km)
During breakfast, the Merlin will take you a little closer to the Keukenhof and docks at Lisse. Here, your first bike tour will begin to the Keukenhof. After this visit, you will cycle to Leiden.

Day 3: Leiden - Gouda - Dordrecht, 21 mi. (35 km)
Enjoy breakfast while the boat cruises to the starting point of the bike tour at Gouda. You will begin by biking through one of the most beautiful parts of Holland, the"Green Heart of Holland " en route to the Kinderdijk, world famous for its impressive row of large windmills. They were built to drain the Alblasserwaard. You have the opportunity to take a tour inside one of the mills. From here, board the Merlijn and cruise to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns of Holland, where you will enjoy a walking tour through this charming old city

Day 4: Dordrecht - Willemstad - Tholen - Antwerp, 27 mi. (45 km)
During breakfast the boat cruises to Willemstad, where your bike tour to Tholen starts. Tholen was once an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people were fisherman by trade. Today, Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways, but it is still a picturesque village with many relics of an eventful past. Today's bike tour ends here and the barge takes you into the Willemdok of Antwerp. Antwerp is not only known as the diamond city, but also as the native city of the painter Rubens. In the Rubens House, you can admire his work. In the heart of the city you will see the Cathedral of Our Lady and beautiful town houses from a rich past are situated around the Market Square. Tonight you will enjoy your dinner on your own in one of the many local restaurants in Antwerp.

Day 5: Antwerp - Baasrode, 21 mi. (35 km)
After breakfast, you will have more time to explore the city of Antwerp. At around 9 AM you will board a tram that brings you into the heart of Antwerp. You may want to visit the Rubens House if you did not get an opportunity earlier, or a diamond factory. You can also go shopping in the lively center. After your visit, board the Merlijn and have lunch on board while cruising to Rupelmonde. Here, your bike tour for today begins. The tour follows the river Schelde further upstream via Temse to Baasrode.

Day 6: Baasrode - Merelbeke - Ghent, 27 mi. (45 km)
After breakfast, bike along the river Zeeschelde. Our first stop will be in Dendermonde, a nice country town on the Dender estuary. The route follows this beautiful but capricious tidal river, Schelde, upstream to Ghent, a lively university city. This city has a rich past with origins in Roman Times, and is located at the place where the rivers, Leie and Schelde converge. This favorable situation brought a great deal of prosperity over the years, which had its peak late 13th, early 14th century. The textile industry brought great wealth. In the city center, many old patrician houses have been preserved. In the Clothmakers’ Hall (1425) textile merchants used to meet. The major church is St. Baafs’ Cathedral, built in various ages and in various styles. In the cathedral, you can admire a number of medieval paintings, including, ‘Adoration of the Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck. 

Day 7: Ghent - Bruges, 24 mi. (40 km)
During breakfast, the barge cruises to Aalter, where your last biking tour begins and leads through the pleasant countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges. Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, maybe is the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At the time, Bruges was a metropolis, the center of trade and art. Bruges is also great for shopping. In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour through this city. You may even want to include a ride through the canals. Farewell dinner on the Merlijn and your last overnight stay on board.

Day 8: Departure from Bruges. Disembarkation after breakfast, approximately 9AM.

Please note, 2017 itineraries are subject to change. 

Aboard the Tijdgeest and Clair de Lune
Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam, sailing to Oude Wetering, 6 mi. (10 km)
Embarkation and check in aboard the hotel barge. In the afternoon, the barge crosses the center of Amsterdam and heads for the village of Oude Wetering. In the evening, there’s an opportunity to test ride the bikes to ensure that everything is working correctly.

Day 2: Oude Wetering - Gouda, 15 mi. (25 km)
Enjoy easy cycling through picturesque Dutch meadowlands and end today's ride in the cheese town of Gouda. After dinner on board, you are free to explore the town. Also scheduled today is a visit to the Keukenhof Flowerpark.

Day 3: Gouda - Willemstad, 25 mi. (40 km)
First, the barge takes you to the world famous windmills of the Kinderdijk. Via the old Dutch town of Dordrecht, the route leads to the natural reserve Biesbosch to Moerdijk where the barge will pick you up. At the end of the cycling day, relax on the barge while it takes you to the beautiful walled town of Willemstad.

Day 4: Sailing to Antwerp, 27 mi. (45 km)
Today the barge motors across the impressive waterways of Zeeland. At the Kreekrak locks, you'll get on your bike to head for the lively town of Antwerp in Belgium. In the evening, your guide invites you for a short city walk and you will have some free time to explore this lively port town.

Day 5: Antwerp - Dendermonde, 31 mi. (50 km)
Cycle out of Antwerp for a ride through the pretty Flemish countryside alongside the river Schelde. You spend the night in the provincial town of Dendermonde.

Day 6: Dendermonde - Ghent, 22 mi. (35 km)
The river Schelde is a tidal river and thus the barge may have to wait for the high tide to continue. Therefore, you disembark and cycle directly to the old city of Ghent. The tour leader will invite you for a walk across the wonderful town center.

Day 7: Train to Bruges, return by train to Ghent
By train you go to Bruges and your tour leader will make you acquainted with this unique town. You have plenty of time to discover Bruges before making your return to Ghent by train. An added bonus is a horse drawn carriage ride through the center of Bruges. ABOARD THE CLAIR DE LUNE: Tour ends following the return train to Ghent and then transfer to the airport. You will arrive around 7 PM.

Day 8: Transfer by bus to Amsterdam Airport

Important note for Passengers aboard the Tijdgeest and Clair de Lune: Due to restrictions by Belgian naval authorities, passengers are no longer allowed to remain on board while the barge motors the Belgian waterways. Non cycling participants will be required to take a taxi or public transportation at their own expense. The tour leader will provide details on board. 

Looking for more?  Check out our full list of bike and boat tours or view all our featured bike trips, specials, and news.

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Customer Feedback

  • A. Miller 1 week ago

    We loved the trip. Hank, Jantien, & staff were super as usual. The electric bike was a bit heavy. My(Anita) electric bike at home feels much lighter--it's smaller. Look forward to another trip on Merlijn & with Jantien & Hank. --Anita & Duncan

    Boat: Merlijn

  • L. Reisinger 1 week ago

    The staff of the Merlijn were delightful and very personable. Enjoyed them thoroughly.

    Boat: Merlijn

  • J. Klok 1 week ago

    Travel aboard the Merlijn is always a wonderful experience. Our guide, Felix, was excellent. This was our fourth trip and we will return for more.

    Boat: Merlijn

  • C. Martin 2 months ago

    I really enjoyed this trip. The barge was very spacious and the food was excellent. The staff were friendly and the atmosphere was very relaxing. The biking was just right and our bike guide was wonderful. Felix was knowledgeable and very helpful to all. I will certainly recommend this trip to others and can hardly wait to do another bike and barge trip.

    Boat: Merlijn

  • S. Carlson 2 months ago

    Some of the other people that came on the trip were not prepared to ride a bike 20-25 miles per day. They said that they had not ridden a bicycle since they were a youth. Consequently, this significantly held up the entire group. I would recommend emphasizing the importance of being in good riding condition for the bike/barge trips. Thank you.
    The staff of the Merlijn absolutely made the entire trip a pure delight! We would definitely sail with them again in the future!

    Boat: Merlijn

  • R. Modi 2 months ago

    The entire trip for all 13 of us was superb !!! From the quality of the boat, the skipper, the chef, the cycle route, the guide, the food on board, all excellen !! A must do!! The quality of the cycles were excellent ! Which made the experience memorable! I did get a chance to compare it with other boat and bicycle tours, ours was far superior, practically new bicycles.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • J. Shah 2 months ago

    Best time we ever had. It was like coming back to home after the day cycling. Staff was very friendly and felt at home. Food was good. Look forward to come again in future for sure. The E-bikes were too good and very good for us who are not regular cyclist.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • L. Chandler 2 months ago

    I loved this trip. The Merlijn was well-above my expectations. Very clean and well setup. Everything on the boat was perfect. Now if only we had had better weather. :)

    Boat: Merlijn

  • Derek Gee 8 months ago

    Both my wife and I were very happy with the overall experience. The crew, barge, daily itinerary and especially the food were all top notch. It was more then we could reasonably expect. We would and have recommended the experience to others. We hope to return soon on another bike and barge trip.

  • Mary Barchiesi 8 months ago

    We loved our trip so much that I just chartered another boat for 36 people in Croatia for September 2016 with another company. Better working deal than tripsite. The boat owners were rigid and probably not as congenial as they could have been. It was their boat, not our trip. I organized a group of 12 and were not demanding at all. The tour guide was over the top just amazing!!!! All in all a wonderful experience!

    Boat: Merlijn

  • Elizabeth Yates 8 months ago

    Yes, I have recommended this trip to several people and will continue to do so. So many people have never heard of such a trip. One of my friends has already booked on our same barge (Merlijn) for next year! The staff, the rooms, the food and scenery were absolutely wonderful.

    Boat: Merlijn

  • Linda Scotten 8 months ago

    Though not a 'delux' trip the staff and other passengers made it such a memorable trip! It might not suit everyone but we loved it!

  • James Dowie 2 years ago

    the captain was wonderful and the nice part was he had his two daughters on for a few days and they were lovely. They also had there small dog who was great. Missed the dog when he went with the girls. The guide Lia was excellent and very helpful at all times. They rearranged the direction of the tour to cope with the wind and to go to the Keukenhof on a day when it was not so busy. The Keukenhof Gardens were at its peak the day we went. We will never forget that day. There were many highlights the cheese farm, the floralies were flowers are sold world wide, and so many other things like a barge tour at night in one town. I could go on for pages.

    Waldy the helper was always there with a smile and never did he let me carry a bag. The cabins were neat and clean. Alf the cook who did the food was sensational every day . Alf and I had a birthday on the same day (April 21st) and they had a party for us. It was my 82nd birthday one I will never forget. All the other guests were great and we mixed so well. We bonded the first day even though we were from many different backgrounds. The e-bike you arranged allowed me to keep up with everybody. It was always ready and charged up each morning. I had a minor tumble in Amsterdam landed on my head and the helmets provided did the job. Guess I have a hard head too. Only damage is a sore thumb. When it hurts from time to time it brings back fantastic memories of our wonderful trip a very positive feeling. My wife and I really hope life will let us take another bike and barge trip in Europe.

    I really can not thank you all enough for the wonderful happiness you provide.

  • Mary & Bill Perkins 3 years ago

    The tour was packed with history, beauty & a real feel of how the people live there lives - thanks to Lia our guide. Food, decor & Jantien's hospitality aboard the Merlijn was second to none. The crew went out of there way to make this truly a memorable cycling vacation.

    Thank you!

    Boat: Merlijn

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Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges Boats + Barges

Merlijn Photo

Merlijn Germany, Netherlands Comfort Plus Class Boat The Merlijn has 12 luxurious cabins with two comfortable airbeds that can be pushed together or separated, a desk, a wardrobe closet, a hairdryer, and a safe. The lounge is comfortably furnished in a modern style with a restaurant area and lounge near the bar. You can enjoy fresh air, water, and nature in all weather on the sun deck. The entire ship is climate controlled and you can adjust the temperature in your own cabin.

Tijdgeest Photo

Tijdgeest Belgium, Netherlands Standard Plus Class Boat Built in the year 1897, the Tijdgeest was one of the first passenger barges on the river Rhine in Germany. More than 100 years later, in 1998, the ship was completely renovated and rebuild into a hotel ship. On the lower deck you’ll find the cabins, all with private facilities. A number of cabins have twin beds, while others use bunk beds. On the upper deck you'll find a very spacious living/dining room with panoramic view. An on-board computer is available for you to use.

Quo Vadis Photo

Quo Vadis Belgium Comfort Plus Class Boat The beautiful MS Quo Vadis, put into service in April 2006, is comfortably furnished and so cozy you will feel right at home. It is equipped with 12 spacious cabins with private bath, two single beds that can be pushed together, and air conditioning (windows cannot be opened). Each cabin has a safe for valuables. The ship offers a gorgeous open salon with corner seats, a restaurant, a small bar, and a sundeck with umbrellas. With a guitar and piano right on board, you can enjoy regular live music during downtime.

Clair de Lune Photo

Clair de Lune France Standard Plus Class Boat In May 2014, Marco Pouw and his wife Astrid assumed ownership of the ship Clair de Lune. In the winter of 2014, the ship was renovated and made ready for a new bike and boat adventure in and around Paris, launching in the spring of 2015.Marco has great experience as a skipper on freighters in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and looks forward to this venture with great anticipation and enthusiasm.

PWPC