This very special bike and boat tour in Holland during tulip season is offered on the Aurora, a luxury vessel. From the moment the first tulip was planted in Dutch soil in 1593, the Netherlands has been in bloom. When Spring dawns here, acres upon endless acres of exquisite tulips transform ordinary fields into a colorful kaleidoscope. The Dutch love bicycles but it seems that they love flowers even more!
Your accommodations are exquisite as well. 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 graced with an understated elegance.
No springtime cruise in Holland could be complete without a visit to the Keukenhof, the world's garden. You will be dazzled by the array of colors and variety of flowers, with the Tulip as the reigning queen.
- Keukenhof - the world's flower garden
- 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
Not able to travel during tulip season, take a look at our Luxury Highlights of Holland itinerary onboard the Aurora.
The activities and excursions within this itinerary can be tailored to your specific requests. 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, even those who just enjoy relaxing onboard observing Dutch life along the canals and waterways...everyone will find this tour rewarding!
Day 1: Schiedam
Day 2: Schiedam - Rotterdam - 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, 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- Rotterdam - 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 ten 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 discover 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 - Keukenhof - 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. Once out of Leiden you are heading north past Kaag Plassen, towards Lisse and the Keukenhof gardens, the most beautiful flower park in the world where spring begins in a blaze of colors. You can admire the more than seven million flowering bulbs in a magnificent 80-acres' background of traditional and modern gardening architecture. Perhaps you would like to remain here for the remainder of the day. No problem at all.
Once you arrive in Haarlem, we suggest taking a tour through this old capital of the North Holland province to stop by some typical “hofjes” (almshouses), old houses with a central courtyard now used as housing for the elderly, or just admire the main square “Grote Markt” with a plethora of outdoor cafes, the Butcher’s hall, the town hall, the cathedral of St Bavo, and much more!
Aurora is moored up within a stone’s throw from St.Bavo’s church at the Donkere Spaarne.
For those who prefer not to cycle, you can easily spend the day at the Keukenhof or 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 can 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 to Zaanse Schans.
Day 5: Zaandam - Amsterdam - 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 pass 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 - Aalsmeer - 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.
It is always lovely to simply remain on board as the barge navigates from one lovely destination to another
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 will take place at 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.
The ultra-deluxe vessel the Aurora will be your accommodation during this 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
- Laundry service
- Gazelle city touring bike with a step-through frame or electric bike equipped with GPS
What’s Not Included
- Gratuities (5% on tour price is advised)
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
Dates & Pricing
Dates & Pricing
Premium Class Boat
March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11, April 18, April 25, & May 2, 2021
Cabin Type King/twin suite Pending Single On request
Skill Level — Easy
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. 30,000 kilometers of cycle routes, cycle bridges, cycle tunnels, cycle ferries, and special signposting will amaze you. 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.
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.
The Dutch have a saying "April doet wat hij wil". It means that April does whatever it wishes to do. Keep this in mind as you pack for your cycling holiday. Though cooler in April, the sun does shine on average 177 hours. Average high temperature is 55° F (12.8° C) and average low is 38° F (3.3° C). April is normally the driest month of the year but that does not mean it does not rain. The average rainfall is 1.8 inches (47 mm). Rain showers are common and frequent but not long. Plan to dress in layers!
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.
Additional Travel Details
It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure that you are in compliance with the country or countries you plan to visit. This includes and is not limited to passport validity, visa requirements and acquisition, blank passport pages required for your destination (s), etc.
US citizens: A good website to research the requirements of the Schengen Agreement and entry into other countries is travel.state.gov.
Non-EU and EU residents: Please research the requirements of your country of residence for international travel and your destination country or countries.
*Important note: Please check on the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) status as once implemented, this 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.
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!
This tour is run by Steve and Karina.
We value the strong relationship we have with our local partners and the services we provide.
We are not a broker.
We do not inflate tour prices.
We are simply travelers helping travelers.
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