This wonderful bike and boat tour showcases authentic Holland and takes you through the central and Hanseatic region of the Netherlands. It cuts through the Rhine valley and its very beautiful tributary the IJssel, and across the "border lakes", which are situated between the “old” mainland with many beautiful harbor towns, and the “new” reclaimed land of the province of Flevoland, that was once the bottom of the sea.
This region thrived during the Middle Ages when rivers were the most important trade routes in Europe. The affluence of those years is visible everywhere in abundant civil and religious architecture.
The east-central mainland province, Gelderland is the least populated and the largest of the Dutch regions and is a lovely green area with several large national parks and lovely cycling.
The nature reserves of Achterhoek, Veluwe, and Gooi
Large and small Hanseatic cities and towns such as Deventer and Kampen
Sailing Home, Zwaan, and Wending: Children's discounts available Children's bikes, trailer bike, child seat, and trailers are available Electric bike: £70$155€83$124NOK777kr717$93Gluten-free/Celiac/vegan diet: £42$94€50$75NOK471kr435$57
De Nassau and Gandalf: Electric bike: £85$188€100$151NOK942kr869$113Helmet: £8$19€10$15NOK94kr87$11
Fly to Amsterdam International Airport (Amsterdam Schiphol)
Trains to Amsterdam Central leave from platforms 1, 2, or 3 which are all on the floor below the airport terminal. Tickets can be purchased either at the ticket desk on the arrivals level or at the yellow machines using Euro coins or credit/debit cards (pin required!) The direct trains to the Amsterdam train station run every 10 to 15 minutes between 6:00 AM and 12:30 AM and the trip takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Short taxi ride to mooring location, or depending on the boat, embarkation point may be within walking distance. We will provide detailed docking/mooring information in your final travel information.
Please check local conditions before your arrival. The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. A good website to use to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more is weatherbase.com. Don’t forget your rain gear! Average high/low temp in °F for the region is approximately April, 53/40°, May, 61/46°, June, 66/52°, July, 69/55°, August, 70/55°, September, 64/51°, and October, 57/46°.
On board the De Nassau, you can purchase a discounted ticket for a one hour canal cruise through Amsterdam. Please request this in advance and you will collect this on board the ship on your first day of the tour.
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.
De Nassau: Season A: April 18, 2020 Season B: September 26, 2020 Season C: May 9 and September 19, 2020 Season D: May 16, May 23 and May 30, 2020 Season E: All other departure dates, weekly from June 13 up to and incl. September 5, 2020 (excl. June 20 and July 4)
Sailing Home: Standard season: May 23, 2020
Zwaan: Low season: July 18 and July 25, 2020
Wending: High season: September 5, 2020 Gandalf: April 25, May 2, May 9, May 16, June 6, June 13, June 20, June 27, and July 4, 2020
This is an easy guided or semi-guided bike and boat tour on flat terrain along the network of cycling routes (fietsroutenetwerken) that makes Holland a cycling paradise! This cycling infrastructure consists of 30,000 km of cycle routes, cycle bridges, cycle tunnels, cycle ferries, and special signposting. Always keep in mind that you are sharing the road, either with other cyclists or at times with motor vehicles. A good command of your bicycle at all times is a requirement.
Where You’ll Stay
There are several boats of different categories that do this tour, each with its own unique itinerary. Be sure to check out the boat page, what is included, and not included and pricing specific to your tour date.
Each boat has a slightly different itinerary and also vary in what is included and not included.All distances are approximate. The planned itinerary is subject to change, even on very short notice, due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, docking location changes, lock repairs, etc.
Day 1: Amsterdam - Wijk bij Duurstede Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede - Amerongen - Arnhem Day 3: Arnhem - Deventer Day 4: Deventer - Hattem - Kampen Day 5: Kampen - Roggebotsluis - Harderwijk - Spakenburg Day 6: Spakenburg - Amsterdam Day 7: Departure from Amsterdam
Day 1: Amsterdam - Wijk bij Duurstede Check-in aboard the Merlijn begins at 4 PM. The boat will be docked at the Veemkade in Amsterdam which is approximately a 25-minute walk from the Central Station. Public transportation stops nearby. At 5 PM the barge starts cruising to Wijk bij Duurstede and arrives at approximately 8 PM. During the cruise, a welcome drink is offered while you receive information about the ship and the tour. Dinner is also served. After docking, you can stroll through the very charming city of Wijk bij Duurstede (Neighbourhood of Duurstede translated). Duurstede is the name of the nearby castle/ruin, where the bishop of Utrecht used to live. Wijk bij Duurstede is located at the place where Dorestad used to be, an important trade settlement that was pillaged around 850 by the Vikings. This city has the only drive-through windmill in the world.
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede - Amerongen - Arnhem Enjoy a sailing breakfast while the boat takes you to Amerongen, where the bike-fitting and your first bike tour will start. You will bike through the Betuwe, situated between the Waal and Rhine/Lek rivers, surrounding the Linge stream, and famous for its fruit production. The tour ends in Arnhem, the capital of the province Gelderland. Tonight you will enjoy your dinner at your own expense in one of the many restaurants in Arnhem and before or after dinner you will have time to stroll a little more through the city center. Your tour guide will show you around the city and recommend restaurants for dinner.
Day 3: Arnhem - Deventer While you enjoy your breakfast the boat cruises the beautiful river IJssel downstream to take you to Doesburg. This is one of the seven Hanseatic cities on the river IJssel. Here your bike tour starts along the sparkling river, described by many as the most beautiful river of the Netherlands. This week you will visit the medieval cities of Kampen, Hattem, Deventer, Zutphen, and Doesburg, all of which are beautiful gems. The river landscape is beautiful and from the dikes, you will have a marvelous view. Overnight is in Deventer. After dinner, you will visit this medieval city on a city walk with your guide.
Day 4: Deventer - Hattem - Kampen After breakfast, your bike tour starts and the ride will be from Deventer to Hattem. Another very charming Hanseatic city. After your visit, you will board the Merlijn and together we sail to the city of Kampen, where we will stay overnight. A city stroll will be offered through this ancient city, and afterward you will have dinner at your own expense in one of the many restaurants in Kampen.
Day 5: Kampen - Roggebotsluis - Harderwijk - Spakenburg Enjoy breakfast while the barge cruises to Roggebotsluis, where your bike tour starts. Across the water, you will see the eastern part of Flevoland, one of the new Dutch provinces. Your bike tour takes you to the Veluwe, and you will visit Elburg, a charming fishermen’s village. The Veluwe features many different landscapes including woodland, heath, some small lakes, and Europe's largest sand drifts. Your tour ends in Harderwijk, another charming medieval city, on the Veluwemeer (Veluwe lake). Here you will board the Merlijn while it takes you to Spakenburg, situated south on the IJsselmeer. It is one of the few places left in the Netherlands where some women still wear local traditional clothes.
Day 6: Spakenburg - Amsterdam Your last biking day begins in Spakenburg following breakfast. You will bike along the Gooimeer (Gooi lake) and through the beautiful Gooi, with its impressive houses. The Merlijn awaits you in Amsterdam. After dinner, your guide will take you on a walking tour through Amsterdam.
Day 7: Departure from Amsterdam Disembarkation at 9 am, after breakfast.
Day 1: Embarkation in Amsterdam Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede - Wageningen | Rhenen– Arnhem, 19 mi. (30 km) Day 3: Arnhem - Doesburg | Doesburg – Vorden – Zutphen. During dinner sailing from Zutphen to Deventer Day 4: Deventer – Hattem – Zwolle. Zwolle to Kampen, 30 mi. (48 km) Day 5: Kampen - Elburg - Elspeet - Harderwijk, 27 mi. (44 km) Day 6: Harderwijk – Bunschoten – Spakenburg, 31 mi. (50 km) Day 7: Spakenburg - Huizen; Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam
Parts in italic undertaken on board.
Day 1: Embarkation in Amsterdam Embarkation and check-in between 1 and 2 pm. Please be on time as the barge will leave Amsterdam at 2:15 pm to sail over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede on the Rhine. If you arrive a bit early, you can leave your luggage on board beginning at noon. The mooring place of the barge in Amsterdam is Oosterdok (near the Science Center: ‘Nemo’, Oosterdok 2)
Day 2: Wijk bij Duursteed - Wageningen | Rhenen - Arnhem, 19 mi. (30 km) 2019: While you are enjoying breakfast, the barge will sail to Wageningen where, following the distribution of bicycles, you are finally off and cycling through the picturesque river valley of the Rhine. Along the way, you will visit the protected nature reserve “De Blauwe Kamer” (the Blue Chamber), followed by the woods and moorlands of Veluwe National Park. The 5400-hectare park is home to many plant and animal species and, most importantly, the Kröller-Müller Museum, the largest private Van Gogh collection in the world (visiting this museum is about 20 km more cycling). Late in the day, you pedal through the suburbs and past lovely parks such as Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal to Arnhem, where you spend the night close to the city center. 2020: While you are enjoying breakfast, the barge will sail to Wageningen where, following the distribution of bicycles, you are finally off and cycling through the picturesque river valley of the Rhine. In Oosterbeek, you can visit the Airborne Museum. You ride through suburbs through lovely parks such as Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal to Arnhem, where you spend the night close to the center Arnhem is the capital of the province of Gelderland. In September of 1944, the center of the town was heavily damaged by the efforts of the Allies to conquer the bridge over the Rhine(Operation “Market Garden”). The plan failed. (The battle of Arnhem has been filmed in "A bridge too far"). Following the war, the city center was reconstructed to reflect its past patterns and design as closely as possible. Arnhem is generally known as the “Park City of the Netherlands” in large part due to its centuries-old city parks, which extend well into the town. Sonsbeek Park is the most important park of the city. It is located against the city’s dam walls and offers a multitude of breathtaking views with far-reaching vistas of the Rhine river on the one hand and hidden, intimate corners on the other. It contains waterfalls, a deer camp, a belvedere, and the watermill, “Arnhem”
Day 3: Arnhem - Doesburg – Vorden – Zutphen. Zutphen to Deventer, 28mi. (45 km) Today’s cycle tour takes you along the Hanseatic Town Route to the small village of Doesburg and along the IJssel to Bronkhorst, which has the distinction of being recognized as the smallest town in Holland. Guests will have two choices today – a shorter tour along the riverbank to Zutphen; or a longer bicycle trip via Vorden passing country houses, castles, and rural estates. During dinner the ship sails to Deventer. This city is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. It is therefore not surprising that the oldest stone house can be found in ‘Deventer (in the Sandrasteeg). Deventer is a prominent ‘Hanseatic Town'. In the Middle Ages, merchants from all over Europe came here to participate in the annual fairs.
Day 4: Deventer – Hattem – Zwolle | Zwolle to Kampen, 30 mi. (48 km) This morning you will enjoy a short bicycle ride along the IJssel riverbank before boarding a ferry at Wijhe to cross the river to Hattem. The 800-year-old town of Hattem has a rich history that is still clearly visible today. Guests have the opportunity if they want, to stretch their legs with a longer bicycle trip through east Veluwe. During dinner, the ship will sail to Kampen where you have the opportunity to go on an optional guided walking tour in the largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands has been declared a protected townscape. Kampen retained three of its original city gates from the Middle Ages: the Broederpoort, Cellebroederspoort and the Koornmarktpoort.
Day 5:Kampen - Elburg - Elspeet - Harderwijk, cycle around Harderwijk, 27 mi. (44 km) In the morning the barge will sail to the IJssel estuary and across the so-called border lakes of the IJssel to the fishing harbor of Harderwijk. In the 1500s Harderwijk boasted the largest fish market in the Zuiderzee region and is still a fascinating old city to explore. From Harderwijk you will cycle along Veluwe lake where swimming, boating, surfing, and fishing are favorite summertime activities. The longest cycle trip on the tour also takes in the woods and moorland at Elspeet. The night will be spent in Harderwijk’s lovely old fishing harbor.
Day 6: Harderwijk – Bunschoten – Spakenburg, 31 mi. (50 km) Today guests have two cycling choices: a short pedal along the coast (30 km)/19 miles) or a combination of the coast route and a longer alternative that also takes in adjacent woodlands. The night will be spent in Spakenburg, a village well-known for its traditional costumes.
Day 7: Spakenburg - Huizen; Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam, 36 mi. (57 km) Once again guests have a choice this morning. After breakfast you can cycle to Huizen or, if you prefer to take things easier (45 km/ 28 miles), you can enjoy the scenery from the comfort of the barge. From Huizen you will cycle to the beautiful fortress towns of Naarden and Muiden, famous for its historic castle. From Muiden you will cycle along quiet roads to your final destination, the world famous city of Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are spent in Amsterdam. While you are there take the opportunity to visit Anne Frank’s home, the Rembrandt House Museum, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Dam Square, the very center and heart of the city or maybe you could go on a canal tour (not included).
A knowledgeable and multilingual tour leader is available on board. He/she will provide you with all necessary tour information during daily briefings. You will cycle the tours independently, at your own pace, with the help of a detailed cycling map, GPS-tracks (to be downloaded before your arrival) and printed route notes (available on board). The tour leader will also be cycling the daily tours and can – for assistance – be reached on his/her mobile phone in cases of emergency or technical breakdown of the bicycle. During days when several bicycle options are possible, not all mentioned highlights can be visited during the shorter cycling options. On some dates, in 2019, there is limited availability to book a guided option. See dates.
Day 1: Amsterdam | Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem, 21 or 28 mi. (35 or 44 km) Day 3: Arnhem – Doesburg | Doesburg – Zutphen - Deventer, 27 or 35 mi. (44 or 56 km) Day 4: Deventer – Wijhe | Wijhe - Kampen, 25 or 35 mi. (40 or 56 km) Day 5: Kampen – Elburg – Harderwijk, 29 mi. (48 km) Day 6: Harderwijk – Spakenburg – Huizen, 28 or 35 mi. (45 or 56 km) Day 7: Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam, 21 mi. (35 km) Day 8: Amsterdam
Parts in italics undertaken on board.
Day 1: Amsterdam | Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede: Embarkation and check-in in Amsterdam. The crew welcomes you on board between 1 and 2 p.m. It is possible to leave your luggage on board at 11 am but the cabins will not be ready for check-in. At approximately 2 p.m. De Nassau sails from Amsterdam on the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede, a town on the Rhine River. Here, you will spend your first night aboard the ship.
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem, 21 or 28 mi. (35 or 44 km) While you are enjoying breakfast, the ship sails to Wageningen. From this town, your first cycling tour of the week takes you through the lovely valley of the Lower Rhine river, and then on through the Veluwe, a large area of woods and heathlands. At the end of the day, you pedal to Arnhem, via suburbs and past the lovely parks named Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal. Close to the center of this former Hanseatic city, the Nassau docks for the night. During World War II, Arnhem was the battle scene of Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history. It ended in a failure, as the inability to capture a bridge over the Rhine River resulted in the destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division.
Day 3: Arnhem – Doesburg | Doesburg – Zutphen - Deventer, 27 or 35 mi. (44 or 56 km) We leave Arnhem on the Nassau, and then today’s cycling tour starts in the small town of Doesburg. There are two cycling options to get you to Zutphen and Deventer. The shorter option goes along the Ijssel River to Bronkhorst, a seeming hamlet that's proud to be the smallest town in Holland. From Bronkhorst you continue to Zutphen along the riverbank. The longer trip goes via Vorden, where you will be passing country houses, castles, and rural estates. Both options end in Deventer, a city known for its delicious spicy gingerbread. In the evening, your tour leader offers a short guided walking tour of the city. Make sure to join!
Day 4: Deventer – Wijhe | Wijhe - Kampen, 25 or 25 mi. (40 or 56 km) During breakfast, the De Nassau will take you to Wijhe, where your bicycle ride begins. In the morning you will enjoy a nice bicycle ride to Hattem. You can choose a short option along the banks of the river, or opt for a long ride across the east Veluwe area. Hattem has a rich history, which is still clearly visible today. Leaving Hattem, it is only a short ride to the city of Zwolle, one of the most beautiful Hanseatic cities. From Zwolle, you continue to Kampen. In the evening, an optional guided walking tour takes you to some of the most interesting sights in this largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands.
Day 5: Kampen – Elburg – Harderwijk, 29 mi. (48 km) From Kampen, our cycling tour leads along the Border Lakes to the fishing harbor of Elburg. Here, swimming, boating, surfing, and fishing are favorite summertime activities. From Elburg the cycling tour continues through the woods and moorlands of the Veluwe to lovely Harderwijk, where the night will be spent in its old fishing harbor. In the 1500s Harderwijk boasted the largest fish market in the Zuiderzee region. Today, it is still a lovely old city very much worth exploring.
Day 6: Harderwijk – Spakenburg – Huizen, 28 0r 35 mi. (45 or 56 km) Again, you have two routes to choose from. A shorter bike ride along the coast of the Border Lakes, or a combination of the coast route and a longer alternative that runs through adjacent woodlands. In the afternoon you will pass Spakenburg, a fishing village well-known for its traditional costumes that are worn to this day. Docking destination for today is Huizen.
Day 7: Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam, 21 mi. (35 km) Huizen is the starting point for a ride to the beautiful fortress towns of Naarden and Muiden. The latter is famous for its historic castle on the waterfront. From Muiden you will cycle along quiet roads to your final destination, the world famous city of Amsterdam. You have the afternoon and evening to spend in the Dutch capital any way you like. Seize the chance to do a canal tour, to visit Anne Frank’s home or any of a number of world-renowned museums around the Museumplein. Or just enjoy looking at everyday life in this bustling city.
Day 8: Amsterdam Disembarkation in Amsterdam will take place after breakfast till 09:30 a.m. Please check your cabin for personal items. Before you leave, do not forget to hand over your cabin key to the crew. If you wish you can leave your luggage on board until noon. (please ask the crew).
Day 1: Amsterdam | Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem, 21 or 28 mi. (35 or 44 km) Day 3: Arnhem – Doesburg | Doesburg – Zutphen - Deventer, 16 or 26 mi. . (26 or 42 km) Day 4: Deventer – Hattam | Hattem - Kampen, 23 or 29 mi. (36 or 48 km) Day 5: Kampen – Elburg – Harderwijk, 29 mi. (48 km) Day 6: Harderwijk – Bunschoten - Spakenburg, 21 or 34 mi. (35 or 55 km) Day 7: Spakenburg - Huizen |Huizen - Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam, 21 mi. (35 km) Day 8: Amsterdam
During days when several bicycle options are possible, not all mentioned highlights can be visited during the shorter cycling options.
De NassauNetherlandsDeluxe Class BoatDeluxe class boats are very nicely furnished 5-star ships featuring large cabins with low beds, private bathrooms, a large dining area, separate saloon, and more.
MerlijnGermany, NetherlandsDeluxe Class Boat"The Divine Miss M" as we lovingly call the Merlijn is a diva, for sure. What can we say? Is it the luxurious cabins with most comfortable beds you have ever slept in? Is it the lovely dining area with the large windows and skylight that let the air, light, and sun pour in? Or perhaps it is the sun deck, where you can relax with newfound friends, sharing good wine and good conversation. We think you will find it is the entire divine package! Step onboard and discover for yourself!
Sailing HomeNetherlands, BelgiumPremium Class BoatBuilt 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.
ZwaanBelgium, NetherlandsComfort Class BoatOnce 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.
GandalfNetherlands, BelgiumStandard Class BoatThe classic MS Gandalf is a comfort class passenger ship that can accommodate 20 guests. Almost everything on this barge is on one level, including the comfortable salon which has scenic panoramic windows.
WendingNetherlandsStandard Class BoatThe Wending is a former freight barge that was converted into a luxury passenger motor barge in the early nineties and completely redecorated in 2002. The barge has a spacious salon equipped with a television and music installation. It is a great place to relax after a strenuous day of cycling.
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