Tradition reigns in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands. Flickr:Heribert Bechen

Glimpsing Vermeer through the window in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Flickr:Francesca Cappa

Epic Tour of Holland

Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and Boat through seven provinces in the Netherlands

  • Epic, unique, and authentic are three words that come to mind when describing this fifteen-day bike and boat voyage through Holland. You will cycle through the eastern and central part of the country in an area that is generally not on the typical tourist radar. This bike and boat tour features picturesque Dutch villages and pristine countryside on excellent cycling roads and lanes. You will traverse almost a thousand kilometers visiting ten out of the twelve Dutch provinces! This is indeed an epic bike and boat tour in Holland.

    Highlights:

    • 1000 kilometers of cycling exploration of the "land of bicycles"
    • Lake Friesland and Lake Ijssel
    • Historic towns including large and small Hanseatic villages
    • Focus on authentic Holland
    • Natural beauty of the Rhine and Ijssel Valley
    • Border Lake region of reclaimed land
    • Flat, easy cycling on the infamous Dutch cycling infrastructure

    Click this link to browse all of our bike and boat tours in Holland!

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    ZwaanPer person
    Luxury double cabin $ 5086 £ 2649 $ 4,612 3085 $ 5294 kr 33008 $ 3,479
    Twin cabin $ 4558 £ 2374 $ 4,134 2765 $ 4744 kr 29585 $ 3,118
    Triple cabin $ 4426 £ 2305 $ 4,014 2685 $ 4607 kr 28729 $ 3,028
    Small double/front of boat $ 3961 £ 2063 $ 3,593 2403 $ 4123 kr 25711 $ 2,710
    Small double for single use/front ot boat $ 5762 £ 3001 $ 5,225 3495 $ 5997 kr 37395 $ 3,941

     

    extra options

    Electric bike: $ 272 £ 142 $ 247 165 $ 283 kr 1765 $ 186 Special meal requirements (celiac, gluten free, vegan): $ 165 £ 86 $ 150 100 $ 172 kr 1070 $ 113

    please note

    Our operator reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure. Pricing is based on fuel costs as of January 2019. If fuel price increase more than 5%, a supplement may be required, even for already confirmed departures.

    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

    The nearest airport to the embarkation and disembarkation point of the barge is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (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 € 4.30 per person for a single journey. Walking distance to the barge is about 10 to 15 minutes. A taxi from the airport to the barge in Amsterdam takes about 30 minutes. It costs about € 45. The mooring place of the barge in Amsterdam is Oosterdok.

    Climate

    The weather mid-May in Holland is typically pleasant, as the days are usually pleasantly warm without ever becoming uncomfortably hot. The average high temperature for the month of May is 17°C (62°F) with most days reaching 12°C (53°F). August is the warmest month in Holland but typically the average is 22° C (72°F). Please do check local conditions before you book and don’t forget your raincoat! A good website to use to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more is weatherbase.com.

    Remarks

    Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. Bike and boat tours are for people who really enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury.

    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.


Skill Level

The average daily distance of this extended bike and boat tour is 70 + km on mainly flat terrain. As we always say, the wind is Holland’s hills so you will want to consider that fact as you will most likely encounter wind. Sometimes, they may be tailwinds! You will enjoy carefully selected routes leading through the most beautiful spots of the country. Most participants prefer riding in a group with the guide, but you can also ride individually. A road book is included (one per cabin). Bike maps can be purchased when booking and will be handed over to you on board. Electric bikes are available. And remember that you can always stay on board on any day you wish!

Where You’ll Stay

You will be accommodated on board the Comfort class vessel, the Zwaan

What’s Included

  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner on board
  • Lunch packages when on the road
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Tour guide
  • Some guided city walks
  • Ferry fares on the route
  • 24 gear hybrid touring bike rental including helmet
  • Free limited WiFi in the lounge and on deck
  • GPS tracks on request

What’s Not Included

TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillModerate
Length15 days
From2403 Rates
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Tour Dates

Saturdays: May 9 and August 1, 2020

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam, embarkation at 2 pm, cycling to Vianen, 11/25 mi. (17/40 km)
Day 2: Vianen - Gorinchem, 49 mi. (78 km)
Day 3: Gorinchem - Den Bosch, 45 mi. (72 km)
Day 4: Den Bosch-Grave, 46 mi. (74 km)
Day 5: Grave-Nijmegen, 51 mi. (82 km)
Day 6: Nijmegen-Doesburg, 47 mi. (75 km)
Day 7: Doesburg-Deventer, 49 mi. (78 km). Sailing to Zutphen via Almen and Laren to Deventer
Day 8: Deventer – Zwolle/Hattem, 37 mi. (60 km)
Day 9: Zwolle/Hattem; sailing to Hasselt and sailing to Vollenhove, 53 mi. (85 km)
Day 10: Vollenhove – Lemmer, 47 mi. (75 km)
Day 11: Lemmer - Sneek, 45 mi. (72 km)
Day 12: Sneek, roundtrip, 46 mi. (73 km)
Day 13: Sneek – Stavoren,  34 mi. (54 km) and sailing to Enkhuizen
Day 14: Enkhuizen sailing to Hoorn and cycling to Amsterdam, 41 mi. (65 km)
Day 15: Amsterdam, departure after breakfast, before 10 AM

All distances are approximate. The above-planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc

Day 1: Amsterdam, embarkation begins at 1 pm, cycling to Vianen, 11/25mi. (17/40 km)
Embarkation begins at 1 pm. If you arrive early to the barge, you can leave your luggage on board from noon onwards. The boat will pick up anchor and leave Amsterdam at 2:15 pm navigating in a southward direction. Depending on the weather or wind, you may actually cycle out of the city to Breukelen and board the Zwaan here to sail for Vianen. Alternatively, you sail first, followed by a nice short cycle ride along the Vecht River and thereafter sail for the small town of Vianen.

Day 2: Vianen - Gorinchem, 49 mi. (78 km)
Today a tour in the region of the rivers Lek, Linge, and Waal is scheduled. Beautiful villages, winding roads, lots of greenery, and windmills will dot the course. Today’s final destination is Gorinchem, a former fortress on the Waal River. The town is quite small but the center is mighty with character. This town is not in the tourists' books so is really very authentic.

Day 3: Gorinchem - Den Bosch, 45 mi. (72 km)
You continue your cycling exploration with the final destination today being Den Bosch. You leave the province of Holland and arrive in ‘the south’. Along rivers, dikes, through the fortified town of Heusden, nature reserves, and woods, you arrive in the age-old capital of the province of Noord-Brabant with its impressive Saint John’s Cathedral. Den Bosch is a lovely city full of history and art and laced with a centuries-old canal system.

Day 4: Den Bosch-Grave, 46 mi. (74 km)
The route follows the winding Maas River, which originates in the east of France. Once again, dikes, rivers, and charming villages will be your backdrop. There is always time to stop and simply enjoy.  Another former fortress, Grave, is today’s destination.

Day 5: Grave-Nijmegen, 51 mi. (82 km)
You cycle to and fro in the most southern province of Holland, Limburg, with the Maas River running through it. You will encounter the first hills of the tour and will even cross the border into Germany briefly. You will stay for the night in Nijmegen on the Waal River. Nijmegen was one of the most northern border towns of the Roman Empire and one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands.

Day 6: Nijmegen-Doesburg, 47 mi. (75 km)
The River Rhine and the hills of the south Veluwe determine today’s backdrop. It is time to change into low gear. There are also plenty of woods in the second half of this stage. The ship will be moored in the town of Doesburg where the rivers IJssel and Oude IJssel merge. The town's former prosperity is still visible in its beautifully restored center and fortifications.

Day 7: Doesburg-Deventer, 49 mi. (78 km) Sailing to Zutphen via Almen and Laren to Deventer
Your day begins on board,  sailing on the IJssel, a beautiful stretch with a view of the hills of the Veluwe. You disembark in Zutphen (medieval town) for a stiff stage east of the IJssel in the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. Zutphen, founded by the Franks during Roman times, has been inhabited for about 1700 years and is one Holland’s oldest towns.

Day 8: Deventer – Zwolle/Hattem, 37 mi. (60 km)
You follow the course of the River IJssel for a while, then cut through the woods to the valley of the River Vecht, which originates in Germany. Zwolle is the capital of Overijssel. It is a beautiful mercantile town with a medieval center and has an excellent network of cycling lanes. For those with some energy left after the 60 km to Zwolle, there is the opportunity for a trip to Hattem, across the river, where the woods of the Veluwe begin.

Day 9: Zwolle/Hattem, sailing to Hasselt and sailing to Vollenhove, 53 mi. (85 km)
During breakfast, you sail in a northern direction across Zwarte Water. In Hasselt, the cycling begins. From the low-lying West-Overijssel, you proceed to the province of Drenthe which was very thinly populated until the beginning of the twentieth century and for the greater part consisted of heath and peat bog. There are lots of nice cycling roads here. Via the ‘Kop van Overijssel’ today’s stage ends in the small town of Vollenhove, during the middle ages an administrative center of the bishop of Utrecht. There were no less than two castles and various ‘havezathes’. Vollenhove used to be by the sea. Now you can overlook the new land which was reclaimed in 1942 when construction of the Noordoostpolder was finished.

Day 10: Vollenhove – Lemmer, 47 mi. (75 km)
The cycling route today leads through North West Overijssel, a region abounding in water, with its natural reserves Wieden and Weerribben. You also cycle briefly on the former seabed in the Noordoostpolder and arrive in Lemmer late in the afternoon. This used to be a fishing town but has now become an aquadrome with marinas, cafés, restaurants, and shops.

Day 11: Lemmer - Sneek, 45 mi. (72 km)
From Lemmer, you pedal northward through Gaasterland, among others. This is a relatively small but varied region, which was partly shaped by the last ice age, with slightly undulating terrain and even some modest cliffs on the coast. Dikes are not always necessary here. You continue pedaling through the province of Friesland, a region with its own language and culture. It is a very important region for dairy farming. Sneek is the final destination and overnight mooring. Sneek is the water sport capital of Friesland.

Day 12: Sneek, roundtrip, 46 mi. (73 km)
From Sneek, you enjoy a loop tour through the central part of Friesland. Lots of greenery, quiet roads, small villages on terps, which are artificial mounds from the days before the dikes were built, and beautiful, well-preserved town centers.

Day 13: Sneek – Stavoren, 34 mi. (54 km) and sailing to Enkhuizen
On this Thursday, you cycle through the south-west of the province with lots of pastures and water. In the afternoon, you go aboard for the crossing to North Holland. Enkhuizen is a beautiful port that competed with Amsterdam at the beginning of the 17th century. The town has fewer inhabitants than in its hey-day of trade and shipping. A stroll through the town is an absolute must.

Day 14: Enkhuizen sailing to Hoorn and cycling to Amsterdam, 41 mi. (65 km)
While having breakfast on the last day of the Grand Tour of the Netherlands, you sail to Hoorn, another beautiful port in its heyday in the 17th century. As in Enkhuizen it also had its office of the ‘Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie’ (United East Indies Trading Company), an extensive enterprise trading in the East Indies via its various local offices. Finally, an easy-going stage to conclude the tour. Amsterdam is the final destination. On your way on winding dikes with commanding views, you visit quaint towns, and via a practically carless route, you reach Amsterdam thus concluding your epic tour of Holland.  While cycling and sailing on this two-week tour you will come away with an in-depth experience of all that Holland is.

Day 15: Amsterdam, departure after breakfast, before 10 AM

If you’re looking for a different flavor, check out our full list of bike and boat tours or view all our featured bicycle tours, specials, and news.

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    Epic Tour of Holland Boats + Barges

    Zwaan Photo

    Zwaan Belgium, Netherlands Comfort Class Boat Once 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.

    PWPC