Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours
Cycle Central and Northern Holland!
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 so-called border lakes. The east central mainland province, south of Overijssel, the province of Gelderland is the least populated and the largest of the Dutch regions.
Gelderland has several large national parks. The IJssel forks from the Rhine near Arnhem. Of great scenic beauty, the 125 km winding river valley offers the cyclist a fantastic area in which to take trips without the inconvenience of any difficult climbs.
This Dutch bike tour visits various Hanseatic towns that flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries. You then go on to visit the so-called border lakes of the IJssel lake which lie between the “old” land of many beautiful harbor towns and new Flevoland (once the bottom of the Ijssel lake) which was reclaimed in 1932. In this area you visit some picturesque fishing harbors.
During the whole tour you travel through wood and moorland sections of the Achterhoek, Veluwe and Gooi nature reserves; this area is very suitable for bike tours and also loved by the Dutch cyclists!
Want to see more bike and barge tours in the Netherlands?
Gandalf: May 6,
May 13, May 20, May 27, June 3, June 17, June 24, July 1, July 8, and September 23, 2017
Sarah: May 6, May 27, June 3, July 8, July 15, August 26, September 2, September 9, and September 16, 2017
Merlijn: May 19, 2018
Where You’ll Stay
Aboard the comfort vessels, the Gandalf or the Sarah or the comfort plus vessel, the Merlijn
- Aboard the Gandalf or Sarah
- Accommodations for 7 nights on board
- 7 x breakfasts, 6 x packed lunches, and 7 x three course dinners
- Daily coffee and tea on board until 4 pm
- Tour guide
- Route information and maps (one set per cabin)
- Ferry fares on the route
- 7 speed hybrid bicycle equipped with pannier bag
- Aboard the Merlijn
- Accommodation for 6 nights on board in a double room, with private bathroom, climate control, safe, hairdryer
- Breakfasts, packed lunches, and 4 x dinner
- Daily room cleaning
- Supply of bedding, towels, facial tissues, soap
- Unlimited coffee, tea and hot chocolate during the trip on board and potable ice water throughout the meals
- Harbor fees
- 24-speed bicycle, incl. use of helmet, towel, bike bag, and a personal water bottle
- Tour guide
What’s Not Included
Aboard the Gandalf or the Sarah
Day 1: Arrival and embarkation in Amsterdam; cruise Wijk bij Duurstede
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede - Wageningen/Rhenen. Cycling to Arnhem, 21 to 33 mi. (35 to 55 km)
Day 3: Arnhem - Doesburg. Cycling to Zuthpen, 24 - 33 mi. (40 - 55 km) During dinner sailing to Deventer.
Day 4: Deventer - Zwolle, 24 - 34 mi. (40 - 55 km). Evening cruise to Kampen
Day 5: Kampen - Harderwijk, 24 - 36 mi. (40 - 60 km)
Day 6: Harderwijk - Spakenburg, 15, 24, or 33 mi. (25, 40, or 55 km)
Day 7: Spakenburg - Huizen | Huizen - Naarden - Muiden - Amsterdam, 21 or 33 mi. (35 or 50 km)
Day 8: Amsterdam, debarkation before 10 AM near Central Station.
*All distances are approximate and subject to change due to weather conditions or mooring requirements.
Day 1: Arrival and embarkation in Amsterdam; cruising to Wijk bij Duurstede.
Embarkation at 2 pm in Amsterdam. At approximately 3 PM the boat motors from Amsterdam over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede on the Rhine.
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede - Wageningen/Rhenen. Cycling to Arnhem, 21 or 30 mi. (35 or 50 km)
During breakfast, the barge motors to Wageningen. Once there, the first bicycle trip is scheduled. Cycle first through the flat river valley of the Rhine, then along the protected nature reserve “De Blauwe Kamer” (the Blue Chamber), followed by the wood and moorlands of the Veluwe nature reserve. You ride through suburbs with lovely parks such as Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal to Arnhem, where you spend the night close to the city's center.
Day 3: Arnhem - Doesburg. Cycling to Zuthpen, via Vorden, 21 or 31 mi. (35 or 55 km) During dinner sailing to Deventer.
In the morning, the barge cruises to the small Hanseatic town of Doesburg. Then, via the Hanseatic Town Route, you cycle along the IJssel to the beautiful small town of Bronkhorst. A shorter variation is possible as well along the riverbank to Zutphen. The longer tour leads via Vorden, passing country houses, castles, and rural estates. During dinner, the ship sails to Deventer for an optional short guided walking tour in the evening.
Day 4: Deventer – Hattem – Zwolle, 24 or 33 mi. (40 or 55 km) | Zwolle – Kampen
Enjoy a short cycling trip along the IJssel riverbank and then you board the ferry at Wijhe to cross to Hattem; a longer bicycle ride follows through east Veluwe. During dinner, the ship sails to Kampen where you have the option to participate in a guided walking tour. Spend the night in the largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands.
Day 5: Kampen – Elburg – Elspeet – Harderwijk, 24 or 36 mi. (40 or 60 km)
On board, you will motor to the IJssel estuary and across the so-called border lakes of the IJssel lake to the fishing harbour of Harderwijk. The cycle portion leads takes us along the banks of the Veluwe lake. The longer option also takes in the wood and moorland at Elspeet. The night is spent in the lovely old fishing harbor of Harderwijk.
Day 6: Harderwijk – Bunschoten – Spakenburg, 15, 24, or 33 mi. (25, 40, or 55 km)
Today you have the option between a short Dutch cycle tour along the coast or a longer one through the woodlands. The night is spent in Spakenburg. Here, the women still go about their daily lives in traditional clothes. There are other aspects of life in Spakenburg which are still traditional as well such as strict observance of Sunday as the day of the Lord. The people of Spakenburg go to church twice and on special religious holidays, even three times. All establishments are closed on Sundays, even the ice cream bar or cafes.
Day 7: Spakenburg – Huizen | Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam, 21 or 33 mi. (35 or 50 km)
After breakfast, you can choose to stay on the boat and cruise to Huizen or cycle to today's destination. The bike tour leads to the beautiful fortress town of Naarden and the Muiderslot, the famous castle in Muiden and then along quiet roads to Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are spent in Amsterdam.
Day 8: Departure from Amsterdam
*Italicized portions are undertaken by boat.
** Where two distances are given, two options are provided for your cycling day.
Aboard the Merlijn
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 afterwards 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.
Authentic Holland Boats + Barges
Gandalf Netherlands, Belgium Comfort Class Boat The beautiful 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 gorgeous panoramic windows.
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.
Sarah Belgium, Netherlands Comfort Class Boat The Sarah is a very comfortable and spacious ship. After years of use as a cargo ship, the Sarah was transformed into a passenger boat in 2002. It is a very modern ship with tasteful accommodations, a spacious lounge, and large and inviting sun deck.