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

Bike and Sail the Ijsselmeer

Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours

Bike the beautiful harbors and varied landscapes 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 an authentic and lovingly restored "flat bottom" sailing vessel. 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 dyke. 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 dykes 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.


  • Waterland
  • Whaling village of de Rijp
  • Former islands Urk and Schokland
  • Province of Friesland

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

Where You’ll Stay

On board the comfort plus vessel, the Elizabeth, a restored Dutch clipper.

What’s Included

  • Accommodations on board for 7 nights
  • 7 x breakfast, 6 x picnic lunches during bike tours, 7 x three course dinners
  • Bed linen and towels (change of towels on request)
  • Cleaning of cabin on request
  • 7 gear bicycle with hand- and/or pedal brakes with pannier bag
  • Welcome drink and -speech on the first evening
  • On board tour guide who will provide detailed instructions of the day’s route
  • Printed instructions and detailed maps for self guided cycling
  • Daily coffee and tea between 3 and 4 pm

What’s Not Included

  • Beverages
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Ferries fees
  • Gratuities
Length8 days
From889 Rates
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Tour Dates

June 3, June 10, June 17, June 24, July 1, July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5, and August 12, 2017

Skill Level

This self guided bike and sail experience is rated easy. 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

Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam and embarkation
Day 2 Amsterdam – Waterland – Monnickendam, 22 - 31 mi.  (35-50 km)
Day 3: Monnickendam – Volendam – Edam – Hoorn, 33 mi. (52 km) 
Day 4: Hoorn – Enkhuizen, 18 mi. (28 km).  Sailing:  Enkhuizen – Urk
Day 5: Urk and Schokland, 21 mi. (34 km). Sailing:  Urk – Lemmer
Day 6: Lemmer – Frisian Lakes & Gaasterland – Stavoren, 30 mi. (48 km). Sailing:  Stavoren – Enkhuizen 
Day 7: Sailing:  Enkhuizen – Amsterdam
Day 8: End of tour

A Bike and Sail tour is an adventure! The sailing routes to be taken depend largely on the weather and the wind. The skipper will determine from day to day the exact sailing schedule and discuss the possibilities. The skipper and his crew will do everything they can to offer you the program as planned so you can enjoy a fascinating week with a variety of activities, nature and culture, but it is possible that the departure and sailing times and/or the order of the program might be altered.

Day 1: Arrival and embarkation in Amsterdam
Embarkation on board your sailing vessel is between 2 and 6 pm. In the afternoon and evening, there is ample opportunity to stroll about the city,  visit a museum, the flea market , or take a canal cruise in Amsterdam.

Day 2: Amsterdam – Waterland – Monnickendam (35-50 km / 22-31 miles)
The first cycling itinerary planned leads through  the magnificent nature reserve of Waterland with its many villages, canals and rivers.  A highlight this day will be Broek in Waterland, a charming, old village  with its wooden houses, canals and gardens. You can extend your cycling and visit Marken. This picturesque little village was originally situated on an island. Floods were regular and often disastrous. To protect their belongings and themselves from the water, the inhabitants created artificial dwelling hills on which they build their houses. The day's itinerary ends in the port town of Monnickendam.

Day 3: Monnickendam – Volendam – Edam – Hoorn (52 km / 33 miles)
Today the route is from Monnickendam via Volendam, Edam, De Rijp and Schermerhorn to Hoorn. Along the way, you can visit a  cheese factory, take a break in Volendam’s bustling harbor and stroll through the narrow streets of the old whaling village of de Rijp. The wealthy merchants of the 17th century built some splendid homes and warehouses, which are still well maintained today and characterize the image of the old towns. Also as you wander through Hoorn, the day's destination, you can marvel at many of these beautifully ornate buildings.  You can also opt for a shorter route  via Volendam and Edam,  across the IJsselmeer dike to Hoorn.

Day 4: Hoorn – Enkhuizen, 18 mi. (28 km). Sailing: Enkhuizen – Urk
Along the dike on the Ijsselmeer, the morning finds you cycling along the old dike on the IJsselmeer from Hoorn to Enkhuizen. Lunch today will be on board the ship in the port of Enkhuizen. Following which, on board, you sail across the Ijsselmeer to the traditional fishing village of Urk. You will want to stroll the narrow streets of this picturesque village and visit the beach and port. The houses in the old village of Urk were built very close together on elevated sites as protection from flooding, resulting in lovely winding alleyways.

Day 5: Urk and Schokland, 21 mi. (34 km).  Sailing:  Urk – Lemmer
After breakfast you cycle alongside the water to the former island of Schokland, which today, due to land reclamation, is now completely surrounded by terra firma. A museum documents the fate of this little island, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Attractive cycle paths run alongside the former coastline. You cycle back to Urk and then board the vessel for navigation to Lemmer in the province of Friesland, a famous spot for water sports. There are many cafes and quaint pubs along the canals to visit and enjoy.

Day 6: Lemmer – Frisian Lakes & Gaasterland – Stavoren, 30 mi. (48 km). Sailing:  Stavoren – Enkhuizen
This route begins in Lemmer on the rolling hills of Gaasterland,  with its idyllic villages alongside the Frisian lakes such as De Morra and Fluessen. Along the way you pass the historic center of the small town of Sloten. You then cycle via Molkwerum, a village with numerous small canals to Stavoren, the oldest town in Friesland. In the late afternoon the sails are hoisted and you will sail to Enkhuizen. The evening is the best time for a stroll through the port, in which many East India Company ships were once berthed.

Day 7: Sailing Enkhuizen – Amsterdam
With a stiff breeze and under full sail you return from Enkhuizen along the IJsselmeer coast to Amsterdam. If you wish, you can take an active part in sailing the vessel; no maritime experience is required. In the afternoon you reach the Dutch capital and still have time to explore the city center of the capital of the Netherlands.

Day 8: End of tour in Amsterdam
Disembarkation after breakfast.

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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Bike and Sail the Ijsselmeer Boats + Barges

Elizabeth Photo

Elizabeth Netherlands Comfort Plus 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.