Luxury Highlights of Holland
Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours
A luxury cultural and culinary bike and boat cruise in Holland
Come enjoy this luxury river cruise and bike tour in Holland, the land of bicycles, windmills, cheese, and Rembrandt! This is a multi-faceted experience and will cater to the most discerning traveler.
You will be offered a choice of excursions depending on your interests. As you cruise Holland’s countryside, you will navigate landscapes that inspired the Dutch masters and through a history and culture of a people that have literally battled the sea, and through perseverance and ingenuity, won! Did you know that 17% of the land area of the Netherlands has been reclaimed from water?
The architecture ranges from colorful and authentic fishing villages to the soaring St. Bavo's Church in Haarlem. There is something for everyone.
Your accommodations for your elegant get-away is the Aurora, a 5-star ship with an understated elegance that will grace your entire experience. From the Michelin star quality food served in style, to the fresh flowers that adorn the tables, to the all-inclusive life on board with a touch of class, this will truly be a memorable experience.
- Leiden, the birthplace of Rembrandt
- Haarlem - the center of the Dutch flower-growing district
- Gouda - CHEESE!
- Windmills, tulips, and more
- Lovely and luxurious accommodations
- Michelin star quality food
- Best wines
- All-inclusive 7 days
- Flexible itinerary can accommodate cyclists and non-cyclists alike
This is only a taste of what can be experienced on this tour, so come along and see for yourself! If a Tulip Tour interests you, please take a look at our Luxury Tulip Tour onboard the Aurora.
King/twin suite: $ 7332 £ 3614 $ 6,331 € 3995 $ 7550 kr 44570 $ 4,484
Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
A non-refundable admin fee of 20 Euros per person is included in the deposit amount.
† Currency exchange rate set 90 days before travel.
Fly to Amsterdam International Airport, also known as Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).
Airport transfers are included in your tour price. All you need to do is arrive and you will be welcomed at the airport and transferred to Schiedam.
Please check local conditions before your arrival. The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic ocean. A good website to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more weather-related facts weatherbase.com.
Before you arrive, you will be sent a questionnaire requesting details to help the captain and crew prepare for your arrival. What are your interests? Art, history, food, wine, architecture, flowers, cycling? Any special diets or restrictions? What type of wine do you prefer? Dry or sweet? When you step on board you will find the bar has stocked your favorites and the chef is waiting to prepare his favorites. The guide and crew will be ready to assist in organizing museum visits and town walks or to book a special excursion.
Life on board
Food & beverages
Traditional Dutch cuisine was once simple, hearty, and straightforward, with many vegetables and little meat. Breakfast and lunch would typically be bread with cheese or spreads, while dinner consisted of meat and potatoes supplemented with seasonal vegetables. Today’s Dutch cuisine has changed. Influenced by the culture of its former colonies, it has become more cosmopolitan, exciting, and flavorful.
Your Gourmet Chef onboard will propose an extensive list of his specialties for you to choose from. You have the choice to eat your favorite food or experience new flavors based on the a la carte menus. Your talented chef’s fine cuisine, based on seasonal, fresh, local, and organic products is authentic, creative, and not only appealing to the eye, but to the palate as well! it will procure emotion and pleasure. Vegetarian and vegan diets are no problem at all.
Each meal is accompanied by a selection of the finest wines, not just from France, but worldwide.
Breakfast selections consist of freshly baked goods, along with fruit salad, cereals, yogurt, cheese, eggs on request, coffee, tea, and freshly squeezed orange juice. For lunches and dinners, the chef creates regionally and seasonally inspired fare. Lunch is typically served in a buffet style featuring hearty salads, soups, and savory entrees. For days when you will be out and about, you will dine in a carefully chosen restaurant. The 3-course gourmet dinner is always a celebration, a time to unwind and enjoy!
Daily included excursions
You will have the opportunity to visit many museums during your time onboard and to enjoy walking excursions with the guide, shopping in the towns, and much more. A support vehicle is available to provide transportation and to cater to the varied interests of the guests onboard.
Golf, tennis, shopping, antiquing, museum hopping, exploring the local culture...just ask!
For those who want to cycle, you will soon realize that there is nothing quite like biking in Holland. Holland is wonderfully flat and is crisscrossed with an amazing network of cycling routes (fietsroutenetwerken) resulting in a true cycling paradise. This cycling infrastructure consists of 30,000 km of cycle routes, cycle bridges, cycle tunnels, cycle ferries, and special signposting. Regarding daily distances, this is totally up to you and your own physical abilities, experience, and skill. You can cycle long or short routes. You can intersperse your cycling with other activities. There will a support vehicle, mini-van available that serves as a sag-wagon and transfer vehicle. The boat is able to stop throughout the day so you could even do a hop on/hop off scenario.
Where You’ll Stay
The luxury vessel, the Aurora will be your accommodations for your tour. This elegant ship has 4 king suites with a total capacity for 8 guests, the perfect size for family, friends, or special groups.
- 6 nights accommodations in a luxurious king suite with large private bathroom
- Transfers from/to Amsterdam
- All meals with beverages included
- Open bar with a wide selection of delicious wines and alcoholic beverages
- Onboard tour guide
- Support vehicle
- Daily excursions with entrance to museums
- City touring bike or electric bike
What’s Not Included
- Gratuities (5% on tour price is advised)
- Travel Insurance (mandatory)
The itinerary can be tailored to accommodate everyone. Do you cycle? You can! Would you rather play golf? That is possible as well. How about museum hopping! Yes! The cyclist and non-cyclist, the art lovers and history buffs, the foodies and wine connoisseurs, and those who just enjoy relaxing on board with a good book observing Dutch life along the canals and waterways will all find this tour rewarding.
Sample of Cycling Itinerary
Day 1: Schiedam
Day 2: Schiedam- Delft - Leiden
Day 3: Leiden - Haarlem
Day 4: Haarlem - Zaandam
Day 5: Zaandam - Alphen aan den Rijn
Day 6: Alphen aan den Rijn - Aalsmeer - Gouda
Day 7: Gouda - Schiedam
Cruise routes are subject to change without notice. Some waterways may be subject to occasional closures due to drought, storms, floods, canal or lock repairs, or other unforeseen circumstances that make navigation unsafe or impossible. The captain reserves the right to make changes deemed necessary.
Day 1: Schiedam
An arrival transfer at approximately 1 pm is provided from either a hotel or the airport in Amsterdam to the first night’s mooring location, in the quaint and fascinating town of Schiedam, situated on the outskirts of Rotterdam. Upon arrival on board, you can check-in and settle into your suite, enjoy a welcome drink/aperitif with canapes, and get to know the crew and your new home away from home.
If you want to cycle today, after your bike fitting, you can head to Rotterdam and stop at all the major attractions such as the Euromast, Markethall, cubic houses, old port, Erasmus bridge, etc. Schiedam itself.
For those who want to stay in town, there are some amazing sights including six of the world’s largest working traditional windmills, a glass museum, a chocolate art factory, and a historic boat harbor. It is also famous for its Jenever (Dutch gin) distilleries, the most famous being the Nolet distillery (you will be moored right under their mill). So for the connoisseurs, a visit to the gin museum and tasting room combined with a leisurely walk around the old town is a must!
Day 2: Schiedam- Delft - Leiden
Aurora departs at 8.30 am while you enjoy your first gourmet breakfast. At about 9 am, the ship passes through the lock onto the Maas river, sailing past the Euromast via Parksluis and then back into peaceful inland waterways heading for Delft. The ship will arrive here at about noon. Here the cyclists disembark and first enjoy lunch in the town. From Delft, you can cycle in the direction of The Hague, through a large park, and past the former Royal Palace. A longer cycling option leads on tranquil cycle paths through the dunes to Wassenaarse Slag.
For those who love history, you can see the remains of the Atlantikwall (Atlantic Wall), an extensive system of coastal defense and fortifications built by Nazi Germany. Five bunkers are connected by nearly 3,000-feet-long brick tunnels. Today the underground network serves as a bat reserve. The route continues through the dunes, to Katwijk aan Zee, an old fishing village. The old inhabitants of Katwijk still speak their own dialect. Following the course of the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) River, you cycle to Leiden. Leiden boasts 14 museums, including the Rijksmuseum. The ship is moored near the Zijlpoort, a gate that once formed part of the city walls.
The shorter route leads you inland after Huis den Bosch and leads along the Vlietlanden, a large recreational lake, to Leiden, Rembrandt's birthplace.
For those who are not cycling, your day could consist of a long visit to The Hague where you can enjoy the Mauritshuis Museum with more than two hundred masterpieces by Dutch and Flemish masters are on display. You will want to see the Binnenhof (government buildings) as well as the Peace Palace.
Another option would be to visit Madurodam, where you can enjoy Holland's highlights and heritage in this world-famous miniature and Holland theme park. You will discover Holland’s most iconic landmarks and history through a story of magnificent miniatures and indoor attractions. This is a perfect place for families!
Day 3: Leiden - Haarlem
Upon leaving the university town of Leiden you cruise by beautiful lakes and colorful flower fields towards the historical cosmopolitan and truly picturesque city of Haarlem, dating back to the 13th Century. The cycling leads through the quaint villages and the beautiful natural surrounding with woods, dunes, and meadows, along the North Sea coastline, through the fishing village of Katwijk and the seaside resort of Noordwijk. You can then either pass the country estates near Vogelenzang, passing the Cruquius Museum into Haarlem or keep following the beach into Zandvoort and Bloemendaal and get to Haarlem this way. Haarlem is home to the Frans Hals Museum founded in 1862 with its vast collection of Old Masters. Architectural highlights include the late Gothic masterpiece, St. Bavo’s Cathedral on the main square, where both Handel and Mozart played the magnificent Muller organ. Dream back in time, experiencing the atmosphere of the many historic courts. You will have some free time visiting a fine selection of boutique shops. Complete this day with an evening walk along the quiet canals to the market square with its café terraces or take a canal boat tour through picturesque arched bridges.
For those who prefer not to cycle, you can visit the Frans Hals Portrait Gallery.
Day 4: Haarlem - Zaandam
From Haarlem, you set sail in the morning around 9 am, through the Spaarnsluis Lock and cruise through the North Sea Canal, to the mooring spot in Zaandam which is usually by the Zaan Theater. From here, you will cycle into Zaanse Schans only about 6 km away. The Zaanse Schans, with its traditional weatherboard dollhouses, warehouses, and windmills allows you to step back in time to the 17th or 18th century. This is more than an open-air museum, but a lively neighborhood where people live and work. Among other things, you can visit a cheese farm, a clog maker, an old-fashioned bakery and a clock museum. Lunch will be in the village so that you can taste the authentic local cuisine in one of the quaint restaurants.
From Zaanse Schans, you cycle the Zaanse Schans Cycle Route and for those who desire a more sportive option, you can cycle east across the beautiful countryside through the picturesque villages of Broek in Waterland, Monnickendam, and Marken with the option of taking a ferry across to Volendam cycling approx. 60 km total.
For those who do not cycle, you can have a longer visit in Zaandam and Zaanse Schans.
Day 5: Zaandam - Alphen aan den Rijn
From Zaandam you will cruise into Amsterdam, through the heart and the very center of the city where the small canals lined with houseboats and traditional architecture will take you back to a previous century. Just past the Olympic Stadium at approx 11, you will begin to cycle, passing through the beautiful Amsterdamse Bos forest, Amstelveen village, and along the Westeinder Plassen and Braassermermeer Lakes. After lunch, you will continue on through the bucolic Green Heart of Holland until arriving to the Aurora which will be moored in Alphen aan den Rijn. If you would like to shorten this day, you can do so by boarding the Aurora in Oude Wetering by the lake and enjoy the cruise across the lake.
If you do not wish to cycle you can spend your time in Amsterdam and depending on your interests, visit one of the numerous museums. Another option is to visit one or two of the traditional fishing villages, Volendam and/or Marken.
Day 6: Alphen aan den Rijn - Amsterdam - Gouda
From Alphen you will continue your tour over country roads, along river banks and canals through the Green Heart to the city known for its cheese, Gouda!
Gouda is more than cheese, think pipes, ‘stroopwafels’ (treacle-waffle) and pottery, but also beautiful stained glass windows, a fairy-like Gothic town hall and atmospheric canals. Gouda is a beautiful old Dutch city with a mostly intact city center. This is where you will have your lunch and either you choose to leisurely cycle around this charming town or you can cycle on through the scenic water-rich, rural region past the Hollandse IJssel river, following the dike and towpath along the river to Haastrecht, Hekendorp, and the Heksenwaag (witches weighhouse) in Oudewater. There is a fascinating history behind this weigh house, where alleged witches from all over Europe came to be weighed to prove their innocence. Via the Reeuwijske Plassen (lakes formed by turf-cutting) the route takes you back to Gouda.
As on most days, after dinner, you can take a walk through the city.
Day 7: Gouda - Schiedam
The Aurora departs early in the morning for the last cruise, leaving the capital of cheese and candles behind. You end back in Schiedam around 11 am. Disembarkation about noon.
If some enthusiasts wish to spend their last day cycling, they can cycle again through the Green Heart of Holland and follow the winding river Rotte to enter the modern city of Rotterdam and follow the path all the way to Schiedam.
Luxury Highlights of Holland Boats + Barges
Aurora Netherlands Deluxe Class Boat Onboard the Aurora, an ultra-deluxe vessel, you can enjoy a unique bike and boat or luxury river cruise in style, enjoying Michelin quality food, personalized service, and itineraries as unique as you are.