This bike and boat tour in Holland and Begium is a unique 11 day experience. It provides more time to enjoy this classic route. Think of Holland, and inevitably what comes to mind is windmills and water. Belgium? Chocolate and beer! But there is so much more. This tour will showcase both countries, as well as feature World War sites, Holland's Delta Works, Belgium's Flanders Fields, and two cities on either end that are as different as they can be. If you are interested in history, art, architecture, engineering feats, or you simply love to bike, this tour is for you!
Delta Works and Zuiderzee Works, technological wonders
The windmills of the Kinderdijk
Last post ceremony
Haagse Bosch (Quo Vadis)
Delft and the famous Delft pottery
Charming Dutch villages
Vist to cheese farm
Antwerp, hometown of Rubens
Province of Zeeland
This tour is also offered in reverse. See dates and itinerary below.
The closest international airport to your tour start is Amsterdam Schiphol. Most people do fly into and out of the same airport. If you prefer, you can also fly out of Brussels at tour end.
From the airport in Amsterdam, you can access the train station on the lower floor and take a 20 minute shuttle to Amsterdam Central. At the end of your tour, if flying out of Amsterdam, you will take a train from Bruges back to Amsterdam. Depending on time of departure, and type of train, your train travel time ranges from 2 3/4 hours to 3 1/2 hours with one to three transfers. If flying out of Brussels, from Bruges, train travel time is about 1 1/2 hour to the Zaventem Airport. The train departs every hour and costs about €20 per person. You can check departure times by visiting the website: http://www.belgianrail.be/.
Please check local conditions before travel. The climate in Holland is considered maritime, greatly affected by the sea. Belgium as well is influence by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. A very good website to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more is: weatherbase.com.
Before you travel, please check your country's passport and visa requirements and the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc.
*Important note: Beginning July 1, 2021, additional documentation from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.
Quo Vadis: Amsterdam to Bruges: Saturday, May 11, 2019 Bruges to Amsterdam: Tuesday May 21, 2019 Gandalf: Amsterdam to Bruges: Saturdays, August 24 and September 14, 2019 Bruges to Amsterdam: Wednesday, September 4 and September 25, 2019
Gandalf: Amsterdam to Bruges: August 26 and September 16, 2020 Bruges to Amsterdam: August 15 and September 5, 2020
This is an easy guided or self-guided bike tour in which you will traverse mainly flat terrain. The majority of the cycling is on designated bike paths or well marked lanes. When entering or exiting towns, traffic will be encountered but always following the well-developed infrastructure for bicycles. There are many paths, signs, signals, and traffic lights designated solely for cyclists.
Where You’ll Stay
Aboard the Quo Vadis, a Comfort Plus Class boat or the Gandalf, a comfort class vessel.
This tour is offered on two different boats, the comfort plus vessel the Quo Vadis, and the comfort vessel, the Gandalf. Be sure to read the itineraries for each boat, what is inlcuded, not included, etc.
Day 1: Arrival to Amsterdam, barge departs at 2:30 pm Day 2: Haarlem - Leiden, 27 mi. (43 km) Day 3: Leiden - Katwijk - Delft, 30 mi. (48 km) Day 4: Delft - Rotterdam - Kinderdijk - Alblasserdam - Willemstad, 26 mi. (42 km) Day 5: Willemstad - Zierikzee, 25 mi. (40 km) Day 6: Zierkzee - Veere - Middelburg, 26 mi. (42 km) Day 7: Middelburg - Blissingen (Flushing) - Sas van Gent - Ghent, 28 mi. (45 km) Day 8:Gent - Machelen - Kortrijk, 25 mi. (40 km) Day 9: Tour around Ypres, Flanders Fields, 27 mi. (43 km) Day 10: Kortrijk - Lichtervelde - Bruges, 20 mi. (32 km) Day 11: Departure from Bruges
Distances are approximate. All intineraries are subject to change due to variables in wind and weather and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, lock repairs, etc.
Day 1: Arrival to Amsterdam, barge departs at 2:30 pm. Amsterdam - Spaarndam - Haarlem, 10 - 15 mi. (6.2 - 9 km) You are able to board the Quo Vadis and check in from noon onwards but please try to be on board by 2 pm. The boat will depart promptly at 2:30 pm for Spaarndam. Upon arrival, you will be fitted with your bike and begin a short ride to the oldest lock of Europe and the famous statue of Hans Brinker. You will then bike along a dune landscape to the historical city of Haarlem.
Day 2: Haarlem - Leiden, 27 mi. (43 km) Today is a day to enjoy the coast and the water. You will pedal through the dunes, along sandy beaches, and quaint harbor villages, like Zandvoort and Noordwijk. You will end in the historic city of Leiden, birthplace of Rembrandt van Rijn. The origins of this university town is about 800 AD and became a marketplace at the confluence of the Old and New Rhine Rivers, the Vliet River, and the Mare. For many years, it was the second most important city in Holland with Amsterdam being the first. In medieval times, it was the center of the textile industry. A well-known episode from the history of Leiden is the siege of 1574 by the Spanish, who were driven from the area when the dikes broke through. The history of this is fascinating if you have some time for pre tour reading.
Day 3: Leiden - Katwijk - Delft, 30 mi. (48 km) From Leiden you will follow the course of the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) through the dunes, to Katwijk aan Zee, an old fishing village. From here you bike in the direction of the Hague, through the Haagse Bosch, a large park, and past the Royal Residence, Huis ten Bosch. A tranquil cycle path through the dunes leads to Wassenaarse Slag and the remnants of the Atlantikwall, the 1900 mile long coastal fortification built by the Nazi Third Reich. Passing the Hague you will arrive in Delft, birthplace of Vermeer, known for its Delfts Blue ceramic, the Nieuwe Kerk with its historic link to the royal House of Orange. Relive its glorious past as you wander along canals, churches, mansions, and courtyards.
Day 4: Delft - Rotterdam - Kinderdijk - Alblasserdam - Willemstad, 26 mi. (42 km) From Delft, you’ll bike to Rotterdam, also known as "Manhattan on the Maas". This bustling city has many architectural highlights, interesting museums, and is the main port of Holland. On the Maas River, the Erasmus Bridge is the gateway to the Kop van Zuid district. From here you will take the high-speed ferry to famous Kinderdijk, where the biking begins anew through the Alblasserwaard, situated in between rivers. You'll enjoy the lovely scenery of water and meadows. The many inundations and the slowly sinking surface made water management essential in this fenland. Canals and ditches were dug and windmills were constructed. Nineteen of these windmills remain today. After visiting one of the windmills you bike to Alblasserdam. Here the Quo Vadis waits you. You will enjoy a sailing dinner while motoring along the industrial area south of Rotterdam to the old fortress town Willemstad.
Day 5: Willemstad - Zierikzee, 25 mi. (40 km) From Willemstad, 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, the largest flood protection system in the world. This imposing project, also referred to as one of the seven wonders of the world, illustrates how the Dutch deal with water. In addition, it is a gorgeous environment with wonderful beaches and beautiful nature featured as you tour the island of Schouwen-Duiveland. Your destination for today is the well-preserved historical town of Zierikzee.
Day 6:Zierkzee - Veere - Middelburg, 26 mi. (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. Be sure to take a closer look at the interior and exterior of the storm surge barrier. 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 original character. With a strong headwind, this trip can be quite 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 Veere and end in Middelburg. This town became, after Amsterdam, the most important center for the Dutch East India Company and also played an important role in the 17th century slave trade.
Day 7:Middelburg - Blissingen (Flushing) - Sas van Gent - Ghent, 28 mi. (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 (the Dutch part of 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. In Sas van Gent, the Quo Vadis waits for you and brings you to Ghent. 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 8:Gent - Machelen - Kortrijk, 25 mi. (40 km) This morning the ship will bring you to Machelen on the Leie River, the eastern border of the Western Front of WW1. The first stop will be at the Flanders Fields American Cemetery. This peaceful site includes an impressive Memorial. From here you will follow the Leie River to Kortrijk. This town originates from a Gallo-Roman town, at the crossroad of two Roman roads. In the Middle Ages Kortrijk grew to one of the biggest and richest cities in Flanders because of the flax and wool trade with France and England.
Day 9:Tour around Ypres, Flanders Fields, 27 mi. (43 km) After breakfast you’ll go by train to Ypres where your bike is already waiting for you. Today the Peace Tour brings you along many historical sites and Memorials of WW1.
In the late afternoon you’ll be back in Ypres. Here you can enjoy the regional cuisine in one of the city's restaurants. At 8:00 pm you should visit the Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate. This ceremony is a tradition since 1929, every night and in all weathers! After this event you’ll be brought back to the Quo Vadis.
Day 10:Kortrijk - Lichtervelde - Bruges, 20 mi. (32 km) Today a shorter trip is on the schedule so that you will have ample time to explore Bruges. 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 11: Departure in Bruges Departure is after breakfast by 9:30 am.
Bruges to Amsterdam
Day 1: Arrival in Bruges. You are able to check in beginning at 3 pm. Day 2: Bruges - Machelen - Kortrijk on the Leie River, 27 mi. (43 km) Day 3: Kortrijk – Menen – Wervik, 26 mi. (42 km) Day 4: Wervik, 25 mi. (40 km) Day 5: Kortrijk – st.Baafsvijve – Ghent, 27 mi. (43 km) Day 6: Ghent – Dendermonde - St Amands, 20 mi. (48 km) Day 7: St Amands – Temse – Antwerp, 26 mi. (42 km) Day 8: Antwerp - Tholen - Willemstad – Dordrecht , 26 mi. (42 km) Day 9: Dordrecht - Gouda, 25 mi. (40 km) Day 10: Gouda – Alphen - Amsterdam, 21 mi. (34 km) Day 11: Departure in Amsterdam.
Day 1: Amsterdam - Weesp | Test ride in Weesp, 6 mi. (11 km) Day 2: Weesp - Utrecht | Utrecht - Vianen, 28 mi. (47 km) Day 3: Vianen - Schoonhoven - Kinderdijk - Alblasserdam | Alblasserdam - Dordrecht (waterbus ferry), 13 or 36 mi. (22 or 57 km) Day 4:Dordrecht - Willemstad | Willemstad - Tholen, 28 mi. (44 km) Day 5: Tholen - Kreekrak lock | Kreekrak locks - Antwerp, 13 or 23 mi. (20 or 36 km) Day 6: Antwerp Day 7: Antwerp - Temse - St. Amands, 21 or 31 mi. (34 or 49 km) Day 8:St. Amands - Dendermonde | Dendermonde -Ghent, 32 mi. (52 km) Day 9: Ghent- Bruges, 13 or 28 mi. (22 or 45 km) Day 10: Tour around Bruges to the North Sea, 23 mi.(38 km) Day 11: Bruges
Distances are approximate. All intineraries are subject to change due to variables in wind and weather and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, lock repairs, etc. Parts in Italics are by boat.
Day 1:Amsterdam - Weesp | Test ride in Weesp, 6 mi. (11 km) Embarkation and check-in. The crew will welcome you on board are between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Around 2 p.m. the ship sails to Wees so be on time! This small city on the banks of the river Vecht has a historical center with many canals and buildings dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It also has a few beautiful windmills. The scenic river Vecht and the small roads along the river attract yachters and cyclists. As soon as you arrive, the tour leader will organize a test ride. After dinner, you will have time to stroll through this charming city.
Day 2: Weesp - Utrecht | Utrecht - Vianen, 28 mi. (47 km) Your bike tour starts in Weesp along the beautiful meandering river Vecht with impressive mansions on its banks. Along the way, you will visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. You will meet the ship in the city of Utrecht and from there, sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 3:Vianen - Schoonhoven - Kinderdijk - Alblasserdam | Alblasserdam - Dordrecht (waterbus ferry), 13 or 36 mi. (22 or 57 km) Today you will cycle a beautiful route along the Lek River to Schoonhoven, a city renowned for its talented silversmiths since the 17th century, earning it the nickname Zilverstad (“Silver City”). Later in the day, as you cycle through the Alblasserwaard region, you will reach Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. These 19 windmills are also UNESCO cultural heritage attractions and are a definite highlight of The Netherlands. You will have the opportunity to go inside one, so don’t forget to bring your camera! From nearby Alblasserdam, you will take the “Waterbus,” a fast ferry that carries you and your bicycle in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht. Dordrecht, or “Dordt,” as it is called by insiders, is one of the oldest Dutch cities, and sits on the confluence of three major rivers. In the evening, after dinner, you can join your guide for a short city walk visiting some of Dordt’s 1600 monuments and the picturesque point where the waterways meet.
Day 4: Dordrecht - Willemstad | Willemstad - Tholen, 28 mi. (44 km) As you relax with a tasty breakfast aboard your ship, the Gandalf, it will sail onwards to Willemstad where you will start your day’s cycling. Willemstad is a beautiful old fortified town on the Haringvliet waterway. From here, your bicycle tour for the day heads to Tholen, which once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland stream system — a place where many people fished for their living. Nowadays, Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways, but it is still a picturesque village with many relics from an eventful past.
Day 5: Tholen - Kreekrak lock | Kreekrak locs - Antwerp, 13 or 23 mi. (20 or 36 km) After coffee and breakfast, you will leave the barge for a bicycle tour through the “Wouwse Plantage” forest, heading south to the impressive Kreekraksluis, or Kreekrak lock.
In the afternoon, you will once again board the ship to cruise to the port city of Antwerp, which is situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and is a city with a long list of delightful attractions in store for you. These include the City Hall — one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period — the Grote Markt historical city square, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral, and the medieval Steen Castle.
Day 6: Antwerp Today the barge stays in Antwerp. This means you will have an entire day to discover this city of culture, cobblestones, and Flemish Baroque masterpieces. You can visit the Rubens House, the palazzo where the brilliant and versatile artist lived with his family. You will find some of his paintings to admire just a ten-minute walk away in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe (Our Dear Lady) Cathedral.”
Other ideas for spending a pleasant afternoon here are to visit the famous beer brewery of ‘de Koninck’ for a tour and tasting, explore the fascinating Museum on the Scheldt River (MAS — Museum aan de Stroom) or go shopping in Antwerp’s welcoming shopping area. Dinner tonight is not included as you have the chance to dine at a restaurant of your choosing. If needed, your crew can provide restaurant recommendations.
Day 7: Antwerp - Temse - St. Amands, 21 or 31 mi. (34 or 49 km) This morning, you will cycle out of Antwerp along a striking section of the Schelde River to St. Amands, where your home away from home will dock for the night. There is only one way to describe the scenery along the Schelde, and that is “magnificent.” Its natural splendor is, without doubt, one of the highlights of the tour. In the evening, if you haven’t already taken the chance to taste one of Belgium’s incomparable “biers,” then make sure you give them a try. The famous Duvel brew is a specialty of the region.
Day 8:St. Amands - Dendermonde | Dendermonde -Ghent, 32 mi. (52 km) During breakfast, the ship will bring you to the city of Dendermonde. Here you’ll disembark and continue to bike along the Schelde River to Ghent, where the ship will moor for the night at a lock in a suburb of the city. Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history: Since Roman times, Ghent’s position at the confluence of the Leie and Schelde rivers has ensured its success as a trading port, at one point making it the second biggest city in Europe. The old city features an Opera House, a total of 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Two of the major attractions are St. Bavo Cathedral — where a number of medieval art masterpieces are kept, including the world-famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck — and the 91-meter-tall belfry of Ghent, which is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center. Tonight, your floating hotel will be docked close to the city center of Ghent, giving you the chance to explore at your leisure.
Day 9:Ghent- Bruges, 13 or 28 mi. (22 or 45 km) After a fortifying breakfast, you will cycle onwards from Ghent through the beautiful Flemish countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges, which is widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts a great many European and foreign holidaymakers thanks to its picturesque, UNESCO-listed medieval city center and a wealth of attractions for history lovers. An outstandingly-preserved example of a medieval settlement, Bruges has managed to maintain its historic fabric as it has evolved over the centuries, with the result that today the city’s original Gothic buildings form an integral part of its identity. While you are here, you can visit one of Bruges’ many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café. In the evening, your guide will take you for a walk to show you some beautiful parts of the city center — and maybe you can even taste a ‘Brugse Zot,’ a famous local beer.
Day 10:Tour around Bruges to the North Sea, 23 mi. (38 km) Today your barge will stay in Bruges, giving you the choice of how you would like to spend the day. The tour leader will offer a morning bike tour of about 37 km. Your final cycle will set out along a quiet canal, past beautiful poplar trees, and through attractive landscapes of flat green polder fields dotted with small farmhouses (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments). On the return ride to Bruges, you will cycle along a charming little canal.
Day 11: Bruges The end of your tour: Enjoy one final breakfast and disembark by 9.30 a.m.
Bruges to Amsterdam
Day 1: Bruges, 6 mi. (11 km) Day 2: Roundtrip from/to Bruges and North Sea, 23 mi. (38 km) Day 3: Bruges - Aalterbrug | Aalterbrug - Ghent, 23 or 28 mi. (37 or 45 km) Day 4: Ghent - Dendermonde/St. Amands, 24 or 34 mi. (40 or 55 km) Day 5: St. Amands - Temse - Antwerp, 21 or 31 mi. (33 or 49 km) Day 6: Antwerp Day 7: Antwerp - Kreekrak Locks | Kreekrak Locks - Tholen, 13 or 23 mi. (20 or 36 km) Day 8: Tholen - Willemstad |Willemstad -Dordrecht, 23 or 26 mi. (36 or 44 km) Day 9: Dordrecht - Alblasserdam (waterbus ferry) | Alblasserdam - Kinderdijk - Schoonhoven - Vianen, 19 or 36 mi. (32 or 57 km) Day 10: Vianen - Breukelen | Breukelen - Amsterdam, 22 or 29 mi. (37 or 47 km) Day 11: Amsterdam
Parts in Italics are by boat.
If you're looking for a different flavor, check out our full list of bike and boat tours or view all our featured bike trips, specials, and news.
Quo VadisBelgium, Netherlands, GermanyComfort Plus Class BoatThe beautiful MS Quo Vadis, a refurbished cargo barge, was put into service in April 2006 as a bike and boat vessel.
GandalfNetherlands, BelgiumComfort Class BoatThe classic MS Gandalf is a comfort class passenger ship that can accommodate 20-22 guests. Almost everything on this barge is on one level, including the comfortable salon which has scenic panoramic windows.
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