Amsterdam is always brimming with life in the Netherlands! Photo via Flickr:Moyan Brenn

Bike path in scenic Schokland, Holland. Photo via Flickr:bert knottenbeld
4.6/5 (5 reviews)

Bike and Sail the Ijsselmeer

Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours

Bike the beautiful harbors and varied landscapes and sail the waters of Holland’s largest lake

  • This Bike and Sail experience in Holland will alternate biking on lovely trails, paths, and quiet roads with sailing on Holland's largest lake. Similar to our bike and boat tours, this adventure offers accommodations on authentic sailing vessels. You will even be offered the opportunity to hoist the sails if you like!

    Once a part of the Southern Sea, the Ijsselmeer now covers an area of an astonishing 1100 m2, formed when the sea water was closed off and sealed out by a man-made dike. Standing on the shore, with the immense sweep of water and the great expanse of the dramatic Dutch skies overhead, it is hard to remember that it is a lake.

    The landscape of this area is rich in history and nature. The polders, dam, and dikes testify to the ingenuity of the Dutch as they reclaim the land from the sea. There is bio-diversity to be enjoyed, as this is a favored area for birds and wildlife.

    The many old fishing and trading towns all have a story to tell and after this bike and sail adventure, you will understand more the Dutch rural life and culture and their history of the struggle with the sea.


    • Raise the sails along Ijsselmeer's coast
    • Harbor towns like Volendam with a guide
    • Gentle rides in Weeribben National Park

    Looking for more? All of our bike and boat tours in the Netherlands are here.

  • 2020

    GuidedMay 9May 16 - September
    Junior Suite (Leafde) $ 2270 £ 1123 $ 1,962 1239 $ 2342 kr 13806 $ 1,393 $ 2453 £ 1214 $ 2,120 1339 $ 2531 kr 14920 $ 1,506
    Twin cabin $ 1922 £ 951 $ 1,661 1049 $ 1983 kr 11688 $ 1,180 $ 2105 £ 1042 $ 1,819 1149 $ 2172 kr 12803 $ 1,292
    Small twin cabin (Leafde) $ 1574 £ 779 $ 1,360 859 $ 1624 kr 9571 $ 966 $ 1720 £ 851 $ 1,487 939 $ 1775 kr 10463 $ 1,056
    Single cabin (Leafde) $ 2472 £ 1223 $ 2,136 1349 $ 2550 kr 15031 $ 1,517 $ 2655 £ 1313 $ 2,294 1449 $ 2739 kr 16145 $ 1,630
    Twin cabin for single use $ 2791 £ 1381 $ 2,412 1524 $ 2880 kr 16976 $ 1,713 $ 3066 £ 1517 $ 2,650 1674 $ 3163 kr 18647 $ 1,882
    Triple cabin $ 1739 £ 860 $ 1,503 949 $ 1794 kr 10574 $ 1,067 $ 1922 £ 951 $ 1,661 1049 $ 1983 kr 11688 $ 1,180

    1 junior suite, 1 small twin cabin, 1 single cabin, and 1 twin cabin for single use available per departure.

    Self-guidedJune - Sept. 5Sept. 12
    Twin cabin $ 1940 £ 960 $ 1,677 1059 $ 2002 kr 11800 $ 1,191 $ 1757 £ 869 $ 1,518 959 $ 1813 kr 10686 $ 1,079
    Single/twin cabin for single use $ 2819 £ 1395 $ 2,436 1539 $ 2908 kr 17143 $ 1,730 $ 2544 £ 1259 $ 2,198 1389 $ 2625 kr 15471 $ 1,562
    Triple cabin $ 1849 £ 915 $ 1,598 1009 $ 1907 kr 11243 $ 1,135 $ 1665 £ 824 $ 1,439 909 $ 1718 kr 10129 $ 1,022
    Quadruple cabin $ 1757 £ 869 $ 1,518 959 $ 1813 kr 10686 $ 1,079 $ 1574 £ 779 $ 1,360 859 $ 1624 kr 9571 $ 966

    extra options

    Electric bike: $ 183 £ 91 $ 158 100 $ 189 kr 1114 $ 112 Helmet rental, must be reserved at time of booking: $ 18 £ 9 $ 16 10 $ 19 kr 111 $ 11 Children's discount available: 15% reduction for children up to and incl.15 yrs old only applicable on base cabin price and when staying in the cabin with 2 adults ( triple or quadruple cabin).

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    A non-refundable admin fee of 20 Euros per person is included in the deposit amount.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport (AMS).

    Local Travel

    There is a direct train that leaves 6 times per hour from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station. It takes about 16 minutes. The price for a train ticket Schiphol-Amsterdam Central is € 4,20 per person for a single journey. We will inform you of the exact docking location of your barge with your final travel information. Some boats moor within walking distance, and others will require a short taxi ride. If you prefer to travel by taxi from the airport to the barge, this takes about 30 minutes and costs about €45.


    Please check local conditions before your arrival. The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean and Cologne as well has a mild continental climate. A good website to use to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more is 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°.


    Children are very welcome on board, however, before booking, we advise you to assure yourself that your child is able to manage a cycle trip of ca. 30-55 km. Children’s bikes, tandems, parent-child-tandems, slip streamers, etc. are available on request. Of course, you may stay one or more days on board instead of cycling (children under the age of 18 years must be under supervision). Life jackets for children can be arranged on request.

    Travel Documents:

    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. For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    *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.

Tour Dates


Leafde fan Fryslân:
May 9, May 16, May 23, May 30, and June 13, 2020
Wapen fan Fryslân: July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, and August 1, 2020

Elizabeth: June 13, June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 22, August 29, September 5 and September 12, 2020

Where You’ll Stay

On board the comfort class vessel, the Leafde fan Fryslân, an imposing, three-masted barquentine, or the standard class Wapen fan Fryslân, the largest two master schooner on the Dutch waterways, or Elizabeth, an impressive clipper.

What’s Included

  • Guided
  • Accommodation on board for 7 nights
  • Welcome drink and -speech on the first evening
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches during bike tours, 7 three-course dinners
  • Coffee and tea on board till 4 pm
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Change of towels on request
  • 7-speed bicycle (Gazelle Espirit C7)unisex city touring bike with hand brakes with pannier bag and lock
  • Fully guided cycling tours
  • Printed instructions and detailed maps for self-guided cycling (one set per cabin)
  • Fees for ferries
  • Some short walking tours
  • GPS tracks
  • Wifi
  • Self-guided
  • Accommodation on board for 7 nights
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches during bike tours, 7 three-course dinners
  • Coffee and tea on board till 4 PM
  • Welcome drink
  • Cleaning of the cabin once a week
  • Daily briefings by the crew
  • 7-speed unisex bikes (Gazelle Chamonix or Velo de Ville C100) with hand brakes equipped with back rack and pannier
  • Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
  • GPS tracks
  • Wi-Fi

What’s Not Included

  • Beverages with dinner
  • Coffee and tea after 4 pm
  • Electric bike (Gazelle Orange C330 HMB, unisex frame with four levels of support). Available with supplement. See pricing.
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Bicycle Protection
  • Travel Insurance
TourBike + Boat
Length8 days
From859 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Skill Level

This self-guided or guided bike and sail experience is rated easy. Tours on the Elizabeth are self-guided and tours on the Leafde fan Fryslân and Wapen fan Fryslân are guided. The route leads on quiet country roads and paths through a flat landscaped through picturesque villages.

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Bike and Sail the Ijsselmeer Map

Guided Tours:

Day 1:
Amsterdam - Volendam, 6 mi. (10 km)
Day 2: Monnickendam/Volendam -  Volendam | Volendam - Hoorn, 22 or 31 mi. (36 or 49 km)
Day 3: Hoorn - Enkhuizen, 17 or 24 mi. (28 or 39 km)
Day 4: Enkhuizen - Stavoren | Stavoren loop 15 or 23 mi. (25 or 37 km)
Day 5: Stavoren - Lemmer, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Lemmer - Zwartsluis, 32 mi. (51 km)
2020: Lemmer - Urk | Urk loop, 12 mi. (20 km)
Day 7: Zwartsluis - Lelystad | Lelystad - Blocq van Keffeler, 12 or 24 mi. (20 or 39 km) | Blocq van Kuffeler - Amsterdam
2020: Urk - Lelystad |
Lelystad - Blocqu van Kuffeler (12 or 24 mi. (20 or 39 km) | Blocqu van Kuffeler - Amsterdam
Day 8: Amsterdam

On days where two distances are offered, guests can choose to cycle the shorter or longer routes.  Not all highlights mentioned will be featured in the shorter itinerary. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board). GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour.

Guests can choose to stay on board on any day they do not wish to cycle.

The planned daily sailing routes partially depend on the strength and direction of the winds. The skipper decides day by day on the best route and discusses the options with his guests. The crew does whatever it can to run the program according to plan and to offer you a fascinating, varied and active week, in which nature and culture play a major part. It is, however, possible that departure times and the time spent on the water – and even the order of the program itself – have to be adjusted. So, enjoy the ride and let yourself be led by the elements! Whenever possible, various passages will be undertaken fully rigged. Anyone who would like to help the crew sail and steer the boat is welcome to do so. Sailing experience is not necessary.

Day 1: Amsterdam - Volendam, 6 mi. (10 km)
Your week of biking and sailing starts in Amsterdam. The crew welcomes you on board between 1 and 2 P.M. You may bring your luggage on board beginning at 11 am but do note that the cabins will not be ready to check in at that time. Once all guests have checked in, the ship sails under motor to  Volendam. From the port of one of these former fishing villages, a short warm-up ride leads you through the rural nature reserve of Waterland with its many villages.

Day 2: Monnickendam/Volendam -  Volendam | Volendam - Hoorn, 19 or 31 mi. (32 or 51 km)
A very Dutch start of the day: you cycle to a nearby, family-run cheese and clog shop for a short demonstration of cheese and clog making, and of course a cheese tasting. Continue pedaling along the dikes to Purmerend, in the heart of a polder named De Beemster, 11½ feet (3.5 meters) below sea level. It was created more than 400 years ago when the Dutch transformed an inland lake into pasture land. Divided into a tight geometric pattern of squares and quadrants, it is recognized by UNESCO as “a creative masterpiece”.

Your next destination is Edam, a lovely town whose lanes and canals deserve a stroll. Edam is known worldwide for its cheese covered in red or yellow wax. This practical solution keeps the cheese fresh for a long time, so 17th-century sailors could take it on their voyages or trade it for spices and other riches of the East.

Via the main dike of the IJsselmeer, you arrive at the promenade of Volendam, where the ship is docked. You will have some time on your own to check out the souvenir shops. After dinner, let the historical city center lure you into a digestive walk. Later in the evening, the ship sails to Hoorn.

Day 3: Hoorn - Enkhuizen, 17 or 24 mi. (28 or 39 km)
Through small rural hamlets and villages, today’s ride brings you to Enkhuizen. Pass by windmill De Krijgsman (The Warrior), the highest windmill in the province of North-Holland and one of a handful of old Dutch windmills still in use to produce flour commercially. The area is also known for its many greenhouses, where vegetables are grown.

In the 17th century, Enkhuizen was one of the wealthiest cities in Holland, thanks to its harbor that shipped then-costly spices from Asia. Be astonished by the stately mansions, canals, churches and city walls that to this day reflect the city’s rich history and wealth.

Day 4:  Enkhuizen - Stavoren | Stavoren loop 15 or 23 mi. (25 or 37 km)
Weather permitting, we sail across the IJsselmeer to the port of Stavoren in Friesland (approx. 4 hours). On board, you can help the captain sail the ship if you wish. Or you can simply sit back on deck and enjoy the invigorating journey while keeping watch for marine bird life. Upon arrival, a bike tour is planned that first takes you to Hindeloopen, a picturesque and lively fishing village. From there you go to Workum, home to the Jopie Huisman Museum. This museum is dedicated to the work and life of the Frisian realist painter Jopie Huisman, whose work is very much loved by the Dutch.

Day 5: Stavoren - Lemmer, 25 mi. (40 km)
Following the dike along the IJsselmeer, we arrive in Gaasterland, renowned for its sandy heights that are over 32.8 feet (10 meters) high. The name Gaasterland derives from gaasten, the Frisian word for these elliptically shaped heights. They were formed during the Ice Age when boulder clay from Scandinavia was deposited on this terrain.

Leaving the dike, you enter the Rijsterbos, a 300-year-old forest. Through this wooded area, you ride to the town of Balk and along the tree-lined river Luts, that flows through the center of town. Shortly afterward, you’ll arrive at the fortress city of Sloten. With less than 800 inhabitants, it is one of the smallest cities in The Netherlands. Take the time to leisurely wander the narrow streets, to relax and to find a spot for lunch on your own.

The last stretch of today’s tour brings you to the fishing port of Lemmer, where the ship moors for the night. Dinner will be served on board. An after-dinner stroll into town is definitely worth your while.

Day 6: Lemmer - Zwartsluis, 32 mi. (51 km)
From Lemmer, cycle paths through open polder countryside and a forested area lead you to the small town of Ossenzijl. This is where you enter the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, the largest freshwater wetland in northwestern Europe and a peaceful oasis for plants, animals, and humans.

A bicycle path through the center of the park takes you far away from roads, immersing you in the tranquility of this region. Keep your eyes peeled for a fleeting kingfisher or—if you’re really lucky—an otter, the symbol of the park. Your morning ride ends with lunch in Kalenberg, a village that till the fifties of the last century could be reached by boat only.

Once out of the park, the extremely pretty town of Blokzijl invites you to stop and take a good look around. A twisting route through an agricultural landscape of narrow strip fields surrounded by dikes takes you first to the town of Sint-Jansklooster and subsequently to the small city of Zwartsluis. Here you’ll get back on the ship.

Day 6:  Lemmer - Urk | Urk loop, 12 mi. (20 km)
In the morning you sail across the IJsselmeer to the port of Urk. On board, you can help the captain sail the ship if you wish. Or you can simply sit back on deck and enjoy the invigorating journey while keeping watch for marine bird life. In Urk, you may stroll through the narrow streets and alleys. The houses in this picturesque fishing village were built close to one another on elevated grounds to protect them against the water, and that is still visible today. In the afternoon a short optional bike ride is planned through the Northeast polder (Noordoostpolder).

Day 7: Zwartsluis - Lelystad | Lelystad - Blocq van Keffeler (12 or 24 mi. (20 or 39 km) | Blocq van Kuffeler - Amsterdam
The day starts with approximately four hours of sailing to Lelystad, capital of the province of Flevoland that was entirely reclaimed from the sea. In its harbor, you’ll disembark for your last half day of cycling. You’ll ride through the Oostvaardersplassen—a nature reserve on new land left to find its own balance like nature did in old times on old land. Sections of the ride wind through forested areas, while others give you panoramic views of expansive reed beds and marshes. This is a birdwatchers’ paradise.

The ship picks you up in the small harbor of Oostvaardersdiep for the return voyage to Amsterdam. Celebrate this marvelous week around the Ijsselmeer while having a farewell dinner aboard the ship.

Day 7: Urk - Lelystad | Lelystad - Blocqu van Kuffeler (12 or 24 mi. (20 or 39 km) | Blocqu van Kuffeler - Amsterdam
After breakfast, you’ll disembark for your last half day of cycling. You’ll ride through the Oostvaardersplassen, a nature reserve on reclaimed land. Sections of the ride wind through forested areas, while others give you panoramic views of expansive reed beds and marshes. This is a birdwatchers’ paradise.

The ship picks you up in the small harbor of Oostvaardersdiep for the return voyage to Amsterdam. Celebrate this marvelous week around the Ijsselmeer while having a farewell dinner aboard the ship.

Day 8: Amsterdam
Disembarkation after breakfast by 9.30 am. End of your trip. A beautiful journey full of new experiences has come to an end!

2019 Self Guided:

(Itinerary may be subject to slight changes in 2020)

Day 1: Amsterdam - Monnickendam or Volendam, 6 mi. (10 km), Check in a 2 pm. You may bring luggage on board at 11 am.
Day 2: Monnickendam/Volendam -  Volendam | Volendam - Hoorn, 19 or 31 mi. (32 or 51 km)
Day 3: Hoorn - Enkhuizen - Urk, 17 or 24 mi. (28 or 39 km)
Day 4: Urk - Vollenhove, 27 mi. (37 km)
Day 5: Vollenhove - Zwartsluis, 34 mi. (55 km)
Day 6: Zwartsluis - Lelystad, full day of sailing and relaxing
Day 7: Zwartsluis - Lelystad - Blocq van Kuffeler | Blocq van Kuffeler - Amsterdam, 12 or 18 mi. (20 or 29 km)
Day 8: Amsterdam

The daily bike tours are self-guided, conducted at your own pace and without a tour leader. There are daily briefings on board and detailed bicycle maps and route notes are available. GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour. During the days when 2 bicycle options are possible, you can make a choice for the longer or the shorter option. Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bike option.

Be sure to check out all of our featured bike and boat tours, or our full list of bicycle tours.

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

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Tour Reviews

  • Andrea S. 6 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    This is our 5th bike and boat trip, and all of the others have been 5 star experiences. This tour was very nice, but we had one major problem. We were absolutely unable to keep up with the tour guide. Another Canadian couple was in the same boat. Many of the German guests brought their own e-bikes along. Thankfully, the Dutch wayfinding system is excellent, but we really missed going with the group. Also, the tour guide did not stop at cafes, churches, wineries, breweries, etc. like we have had on other tours. He did make reservations for an interesting water works plant, but the entire group needed to pedal as fast as possible to get there by 2PM. I went to see the plant the next morning on my own. The boat was super fun, especially when the sails were hoisted. The food was great, the crew was great. I would urge anyone looking at this tour to rent an e-bike to keep up, or not pay extra for the tour guide, and just do the trip on your own.

    Boat: Leafde Fan Fryslân

  • Merinda N. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    It is difficult to highlight one part of the trip as the whole experience was excellent. I have done bike/boat tours before and the accommodation on this historic ship was by far the best ever. The rural scenery in the Netherlands is extraordinarily beautiful and the Issjelmeer is stunning. Actually, perhaps the best thing was the staff. We felt like personal guests on this trip and as if the staff were long time personal or family friends. The organization was informal but efficient and the food was home cooked and excellent. There was a variety of activities from cycling to sailing; exploring historic villages and towns and swimming in the sea. Best ever trip.

    Boat: Leafde Fan Fryslân

  • Paul V. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Great scenery, wide, flat, bike paths along with pleasant sailing in lovely weather.

    Boat: Elizabeth

  • Geoff 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Fantastic trip! The biking was great...very serene and relaxing thru small towns and villages thru farmland and along the coast.
    The best part was the socializing with felllow travelers and the crew. The ship is huge for a sailboat, but much smaller than the big barges. Between biking and the ship, we all spent a lot of time together, and had a lot of fun getting to know each other. My cruise happened to be on a German holiday...I was the only non-German on the tour. It worked out fine, everyone was welcoming and willing. Between a bit of Ge-english and sign language we shared many laughs (and beers!) together.
    Ilse led our tour-her knowledge of the area was great, even opened her riverboat home to us during our stop there.
    The ships crew was terrific. Captain Eelke, first mate Annemaj, and Thabea all made us feel at home. Chef Alf served up restaurant quality meals, this was an awesome surprise.
    Would absolutely return to Netherlands...would even consider Read more… repeating this trip/ship with other friends and family, it was that good.

    Boat: Leafde Fan Fryslân

  • Rebekah R. 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The most memorable part was hoisting sails as a team.

    Boat: Elizabeth

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Bike and Sail the Ijsselmeer Boats + Barges

Leafde Fan Fryslân Photo

Leafde Fan Fryslân Netherlands Comfort Class Boat The Leafde Fan Fryslân is an imposing, three-masted barquentine, managed by its owner/operators, Joris and Rinske de Wit, who bring years of maritime experience. The ship has 13 well-appointed cabins, ten twin cabins, 1 smaller twin cabin, 1 junior suite, and 1 single cabin.

Wapen Fan Fryslân Photo

Wapen Fan Fryslân Netherlands Standard Class Boat In 1965, the sailing ship was launched as a freight ship and then in 2003 it was completely transformed into a sailing passenger ship. On board, you will immediately notice its warm and luxurious atmosphere. On deck there is a the large pilothouse with a cozy and stylish bar and seating area. The panorama windows offer a perfect all around view of the water. The afterdeck has an outdoor cafe with draught beer taps and a Jacuzzi, and on the middle deck with plenty of seating allowing you to enjoy a lovely meal outdoors The sundeck offers plenty of seating including comfortable deckchairs.

Elizabeth Photo

Elizabeth Netherlands Standard Class Boat The impressive clipper ELIZABETH was built in 1913 and boasts a plush interior design. The vessel is equipped with 10 roomy guest cabins all with an en-suite shower and lavatory. The large salon features a bar and seating area to ensure you will feel right at home.