Amsterdam glowing at night! Photo via Flickr:Moyan Brenn
Amsterdam's famous gables! Photo via Flickr:maurobrock

Arnhem, Open Air Museum. Photo via Flickr:bertknot
4.5/5 (6 ratings)

Amsterdam to Cologne

Netherlands, Germany Bike + Barge Tours

Cycling from Holland’s capital to Germany’s fourth largest city

Brand new in 2015, this bike and boat tour in Holland and Germany showcases two diverse cultures. Cruising on a boat and cycling through a colorful countryside is the perfect recipe for a successful holiday. As you cycle from city to city during the day, the boat accompanies you along the river to welcome you at day's end!

If you do not want to cycle you can enjoy the tour on board, admiring the passing scenery. First, you will bike through the flat, peaceful countryside of Holland, passing the famous windmills along the way. You cycle along the winding Vecht River, through National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant scenic beauty, and the gorgeous river scenery of the IJssel and Rhine. The charming old cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne are highlights for sure!

Apart from the beautiful landscape, enjoy the cultural highlights, art treasures, and of course, regional culinary specialities!

A full list of our Bike and Barge tours in Holland can be found here.

Tour Dates

2017 Dates

On the Sailing Home:
Amsterdam to Cologne: May 13, June 24, August 5, and September 16, 2017
Cologne to Amsterdam: May 20, July 1, August 12, and September 23, 2017

On the Zwaan:
Amsterdam to Cologne: August 12, 2017

Where You’ll Stay

Aboard the Sailing Home, a Comfort Plus Class boat or the Zwaan, a Comfort Class boat.

What’s Included

  • Accommodations aboard selected ship for 6 or 7 nights
  • Breakfast, packed lunches, and dinners on board
  • Tour guide
  • Welcome drink
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Detailed route description, maps, info-pack
  • Harbor charges
  • 24 gear hybrid bicycle equipped with pannier bags, lock, and water bottle

What’s Not Included

  • Beverages other than coffee or tea
  • Bicycle protection
  • Trip insurance
  • Route maps for self-guided option (please see pricing)
  • Museum entrance fees (approximately €15)
TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillEasy
Length7–8 days
From1170 Rates
Client Reviews

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Skill Level

Easy, guided bike and boat tour

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Amsterdam to Cologne Map

Amsterdam to Cologne:

Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam, embarkation at 2 PM
Day 2: Amsterdam, sailing to Nigtevecht - cycling to Wijk bij Duurstede, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 3: Wijk bij Duurstede - Arnhem, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 4: Arnhem, sailing to Pannerden, cycling to Rees, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 5: Rees - Ruhrort, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Ruhrort - Dusseldorf, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 7: Dusseldorf - Cologne, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 8: Cologne, departure

Day 1: Amsterdam 
Individual arrival in Amsterdam, embarkation at 2 PM. If you arrive earlier, your luggage can be dropped off beginning at 12 PM. There is free time to explore the city and visit one of the famous museums like the Rijksmuseum, the van Gogh museum, or the ‘Stedelijk museum’ of modern art. Enjoy a welcome drink and crew introduction followed by canal trip and city walk through the center of Amsterdam.
 
Day 2:  Sailing to Nigtevecht and cycling to Wijk bij Duurstede, 34 mi. (40 km)
Enjoy breakfast on board while the boat cruises to Nigtevecht, where your cycling tour begins. The route leads to Breukelen (known in New York as Brooklyn) along the meandering Vetch River.  On the way, a visit is scheduled at a traditional  Dutch cheese farm. Then, it's on to Utrecht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands that contains a beautiful cathedral. Today’s tour ends in Wijk bij Duurstede, an old settlement Lek River. 

Day 3: Wijk bij Duurstede – Arnhem, 31mi. (50 km)
Enjoy breakfast while the boat cruises to the city of Wageningen and then cycle along the Nederrijn River through a wonderful river landscape. Later, you bike through National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant beauty. You can visit the Kröller-Möller  museum  right in the middle of the park. Your bike tour ends today in Arnhem, famous for its role in WWII.

Day 4: Sailing to Pannerden and cycling to Rees, 25 mi. (40 km) 
After a wonderful sailing breakfast once again, biking begins in Pannerden. Before the German border, the route leads through Doornenburg, with its wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene of many movies. From Doornenburg, you take the right bank of the Rhine and pass the border at Lobith. On the way to today's destination, Rees, you pass Emmerich, a larger town with a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. It is possible to stop at Kalkar. This beautiful town is also known for the failure of the German Nuclear Energy program in the 1970s. A completely finished nuclear processing plant was never put into operation and has been re-opened as an attraction park! The day ends in Rees, a town with an impressive and fortified town. 

Day 5: Rees  -  Ruhrort, Sailing to Wesel and Cycling to Ruhrort, 25 mi. (40 km) 
From Wesel, the focus is on the Ruhr area where Germany’s, and perhaps even Europe’s largest industries are housed. On a surface of  4.600 km2, very rich in coal, a vast landscape folds out of steel plants and textile industries, combined with chemical industrial plants. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhaussen, and Dortmund are tied together through a maze of highways, railways, and waterways. Once very prosperous, it was a target in 1923 during WWI and WWII. The German government put a lot of effort into developing the area after numerous factories had closed down. In the afternoon, there is a visit to the enormous landscape park of Duisburg-Nord. The boat is waiting for you in Ruhrort. 

Day 6: Ruhrort – Düsseldorf, 26 mi. (42 km) 
Leaving the Ruhr-area , the route leads to Krefeld. In the 18th century, Krefeld grew thanks to the textile industry. Velvet, silk, and brocade were sold to emperors and kings from all over the world. There is still the statue of a silk weaver. The weavers worked in small houses that simultaneously served as a factory and house. In Krefeld, one can still see some of these houses. Today's destination is  Düsseldorf. In the evening, there will be time to visit the Altstadt and to taste the famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed at what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners 
  
Day 7: Dusseldorf to Cologne, 19 mi. (30 km)
Today's route is along the Rhine in the direction of Cologne. This is is the oldest of the larger German cities, founded by the Romans. It received its city rights in 50 AD as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippa. Later, Cologne became one the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. One highlight is, of course, the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248, they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed but the city hall, however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored. 

Day 8: Cologne 
Departure from Cologne after breakfast.

Cologne to Amsterdam:

Day 1: Embarkation in Cologne
Day 2: Cologne - Dusseldorf, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 3: Dusseldorf - Ruhrort , 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 4: Ruhrort - Rees, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 5: Rees - Arnhem, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Arnhem - Wijk bij Duurstede, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 7: Wijk bij Duurstede - Amsterdam, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 8: Amsterdam, departure


Day 1: Arrival in Cologne
Individual arrival to Cologne and embarkation at 4 PM. Welcome drink and crew introduction. You will have free time to explore the city. Cologne is the oldest of the bigger German cities, founded by the Romans and later became one the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. An important highlight hereis of course the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248 they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in the 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored.

Day 2: Cologne - Dusseldorf, 19 mi. (30 km)
Cycling in the direction Düsseldorf,  you will stay close to the Rhine, arriving at the day's destination in the afternoon so there will be time to visit the Alstadt. You can try their famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed at what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners.

Day 3: Dusseldorf - Ruhrort, 26 mi. (42 km)
First, on the agenda is Krefeld. In the 18th century, Krefeld grew thanks to the textile industry. Velvet, silk, and brocade were sold to emperors and kings from all over the world. The weavers worked in small houses that simultaneously served as a factory and house. In Krefeld, one can still see some of these houses.
Leaving Krefeld behind, you will then enter the Ruhr-area.

Day 4: Ruhrort - Rees, 31 mi. (50 km)
 The focus today is on the Ruhr area where Germany and probably Europe’s largest industries are housed. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhaussen and Dortmund are glued together through a maze of highways, railways, and waterways. Once very prosperous and therefore a target in 1923 when Belgium and French troops tried to enforce WW 1 payments of Prussia,and a number 1 target in 1944-1945 for sure. Hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort in re-developing the area after the closing down of many factories. In the afternoon we visit the enormous landscape park of Duisburg-Nord, where we get to see huge former industrial plants and more detailed explanation and information about this area. It may not be always scenic, but it is an impressive landscape indeed and not to be missed when one visits the Rhine.
You will board the boat once again inWesel and sail to Rees, a town with impressive remains of fortification.

Day 5: Rees - Arnhem, 25 mi. (40 km​)
First, on the agenda is Kalkar. This beautiful town is also known for the failure of the German Nuclear Energy program in the 70s. A completely finished nuclear processing plant was never put into operation to massive protests and has recently re-opened as an attraction park! The town of Emmerich is next, with its lovely boulevard along the Rhine. We pass the border at Lobith, a village every schoolchild in Holland knows and we take the right bank of the Rhine to Doornenburg. This town has a wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene of many movies.
In Pannerden the barge is waiting to sail to Arnhem, famous for her role in the second World War

Day 6: Arnhem - Wijk bij Duurstede, 31 mi. (50 km)
First, you bike through scenic National Park de Hoge Veluwe.  You can visit the Kröller-Möller Museum, followed by biking along the river Nederrijn, where you can enjoy the river landscape. At Wageningen you go on board and sail to today’s destination: Wijk bij Duurstede, an old settlement at the river Lek.

Day 7: Wijk bij Duurstede - Amsterdam, 25 mi. (40 km)
You will enjoy Utrecht today,  one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands with her beautiful cathedral, continuing on to  Breukelen (known in New York as Brooklyn) along the meandering Vecht River. You will visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to the traditional method.
The bike tour ends in Nigtevecht and by boat , you arrive in Amsterdam. After dinner, you have the option to take a canal cruise through the canals of Amsterdam.

Day 8: Departure

**All distances are approximate. The above-planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc

Looking for a different flavor? Check out our entire list of bike and boat tours or view all our featured bike trips, news, and specials.

Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064

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Customer Feedback

  • Robin V. 4 months ago

    Fantastic dinners & wonderful guide, captain, staff!

    Boat: Sailing Home

  • Julie M. 4 months ago

    The trip was an awesome experience! Loved everything!

  • Susan B. 4 months ago

    Loved the Netherlands countryside. Beautiful flowers and farmland and great trails.
    Also the friendly and professional staff.

    Boat: Sailing Home

  • David Fish 1 year ago

    It was our first bike and barge trip and we loved it so much we've already booked next years trip!

    Boat: Sailing Home

  • John Heinze 1 year ago

    Our guide was ok but I've had better ones on previous trips. It was a lot of going through the motions since he had done 15-20 trips prior to ours it was maybe a case of being burned out. A bit more interaction on where we were going and what we were seeing would have been nice. Overall trip was top notch though as usual.

    Boat: Sailing Home

  • Craig Morrison 1 year ago

    The Amsterdam to Cologne Bike and Barge trip overall was very nice. I would have altered some of the biking to avoid Dusseldorf's industrial areas which were not very appealing. Otherwise the barge and their staff were excellent, the guide was good, but got lost a few times. In any case I would recommend it to friends.

    Boat: Sailing Home

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Amsterdam to Cologne Boats + Barges

Sailing Home Photo

Sailing Home Netherlands, Belgium Comfort Plus Class Boat Built in 2001, the Sailing Home was designed specifically to provide a more attractive hotel ship during your carefree vacation. It was built to meet the latest wishes and ideas with respect to comfort and service. The experience of a lifetime: cycling through the most beautiful spots within the Netherlands while residing on a very comfortable, newly built and well-furnished ship.

Zwaan Photo

Zwaan Belgium, Netherlands Comfort Class Boat Once a cargo boat, the Zwaan (Swan) was completely renovated and converted into a comfortable passenger barge. On board you will find seven comfortable cabins allowing a total capacity of 16 passengers.

PWPC