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
5/5 (4 ratings)

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 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.

    Highlights:

    • 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.

  • Guided

     May 11 and May 18All other departures
    Twin cabin £ 816 $ 1,645 944 NOK 9047 kr 8351 $ 1,086 £ 929 $ 1,871 1074 NOK 10293 kr 9501 $ 1,235
    Single/twin cabin for single use £ 1032 $ 2,080 1194 NOK 11443 kr 10562 $ 1,373 £ 1145 $ 2,307 1324 NOK 12688 kr 11712 $ 1,523
    Triple cabin £ 730 $ 1,471 844 NOK 8088 kr 7466 $ 971 £ 842 $ 1,697 974 NOK 9334 kr 8616 $ 1,120

    Self-guided

     June 22 - Aug. 31Sept. 7
    Twin cabin £ 851 $ 1,715 984 NOK 9430 kr 8705 $ 1,132 £ 773 $ 1,558 894 NOK 8568 kr 7908 $ 1,028
    Single/twin cabin for single use £ 1188 $ 2,394 1374 NOK 13168 kr 12155 $ 1,580 £ 1076 $ 2,168 1244 NOK 11922 kr 11005 $ 1,431
    Triple cabin £ 808 $ 1,627 934 NOK 8951 kr 8262 $ 1,074 £ 730 $ 1,471 844 NOK 8088 kr 7466 $ 971
    Quadruple cabin £ 764 $ 1,540 884 NOK 8472 kr 7820 $ 1,017 £ 687 $ 1,385 795 NOK 7619 kr 7033 $ 914

    extra options

    Electric bike: £ 86 $ 174 100 NOK 958 kr 885 $ 115 Helmet rental, must be reserved at time of booking: £ 9 $ 17 10 NOK 96 kr 88 $ 12 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.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Amsterdam (Schiphol).

    Local Travel

    Shuttle train to Amsterdam Central Train Station. Taxi or public transportation to boat.

    Climate

    Please check local conditions before arrival. A good web site to research the weather in the area in which you will travel is www.weatherbase.com. Here you can see average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more.

    Remarks

    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.


Tour Dates

Guided tours:
Wapen fan Fryslân: May 11 and May 18, 2019
Leafde fan Fryslân: May 25, June 1, June 8, July 13, July 20, July 27, August 17, and August 24, 2019
Self-guided tours:
Elizabeth: Saturdays from June 22 to August 31 and September 7, 2019

Where You’ll Stay

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

What’s Included

  • Guided
  • Accommodation on board for 7 nights
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches during bike tours, 7 three course dinners
  • Change of towels on request
  • Daily cleaning of cabin
  • 7 gear bicycle with hand- and/or pedal brakes with pannier bag and lock
  • Welcome drink and -speech on the first evening
  • Fully guided cycling tours
  • Cycling tour guide (Leafde fan Fryslân)
  • Printed instructions and detailed maps for self guided cycling (one set per cabin)
  • Daily coffee and tea till 4 pm
  • Wifi
  • Fees for ferries
  • Some short walking tours
  • 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 gear unisex bikes 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

TourBike+Boat
TypeBoth
SkillEasy
Length8 days
From944 Rates
Client 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 - Monnickendam or 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)
Day 7: Zwartsluis - Lelystad | Lelystad - Blocq van Keffeler, 12 or 24 mi. (20 or 39 km) | Blocq van Kuffeler - Amsterdam
Day 8: Amsterdam

On days where two distances are offered, guests can choose to cycle the shorter or longer routes. Guests can choose to stay on board on any day they do not wish to cycle.

While adventure is part of every Bike and Sail tour, departure and arrival days as well as the location, Amsterdam are a 100% fixed. As for the rest, 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 likes to help the crew sail and steer the boat is welcome to do so. Of course this is absolutely up to you. Sailing experience is not necessary.

Day 1: Amsterdam - Monnickendam or 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. Once all guests have checked in, the ship sails under motor to Monnickendam or 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 harbour 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 mil (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 a 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 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 harbour 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 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!

Self Guided:

Day 1: Amsterdam - Monnickendam or Volendam, 6 mi. (10 km)
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

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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Customer Feedback

  • Merinda N. 8 months ago

    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 Fran Fryslân

  • Paul V. 8 months ago

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

    Boat: Elizabeth

  • Geoff 10 months ago

    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 Read more… consider repeating this trip/ship with other friends and family, it was that good.

    Boat: Leafde Fran Fryslân

  • Rebekah R. 2 years ago

    The most memorable part was hoisting sails as a team.

    Boat: Elizabeth

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Bike and Sail the Ijsselmeer Boats + Barges

Leafde Fran Fryslân Photo

Leafde Fran Fryslân Netherlands Comfort Class Boat The Leafde Fran 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 12 well-appointed twin cabins with two separate beds, and one single cabin.

Wapen Fan Fryslân Photo

Wapen Fan Fryslân Netherlands Comfort 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 Comfort 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.

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