This very special bike and boat tour in Holland during tulip season is offered on the luxurious Aurora.
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!
No springtime tulip 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.
From the professionally prepared food served in style, to the fresh flowers that adorn the tables, from the all-inclusive life on board to relaxed cycling on well-maintained bike paths through the quaint Dutch landscape, this will truly be a memorable experience.
- 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
- Professionally prepared cuisine
- Best wines
- All-inclusive 7 days
- Flexible itinerary can accommodate cyclists and non-cyclists alike
The activities and excursions offered on this special tulip itinerary are designed to accommodate cyclists and non-cyclists alike. 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, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 3: Leiden - Haarlem, 25 or 31 mi. (40 or 50 km)
Day 4: Haarlem - Zaandam, 24 or 32 mi. (39 or 52 km)
Day 5: Zaandam - Alphen aan den Rijn, 22-25 mi. (35-40 km)
Day 6: Alphen aan den Rijn - Gouda, 12 or 37 mi. (20 or 60 km)
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, you can head to Rotterdam and stop at all the major attractions such as the Euromast, Markethall, the old port, and Erasmus bridge. There are a few routes of varying distances available.
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. Schiedam 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, 31 mi. (50 km)
As you enjoy your first gourmet breakfast, the Aurora sets sail. 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, arriving here at approx. 12 pm. After lunch, those that are cycling depart from Delft in the direction of the 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. The route continues through the dunes, to Katwijk aan Zee, an old fishing village. Following the course of the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) River, the route leads 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.
Day 3: Leiden - Keukenhof - Haarlem, 25 or 31 mi. (40 or 50 km)
Upon leaving the university town of Leiden, you cruise by beautiful lakes and colorful tulip and flower fields towards the historic and picturesque city of Haarlem, dating back to the 13th Century. Once out of Leiden, you cycle 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-acre 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 former capital of the North Holland province to stop by to 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, 24 or 32 mi. (39 or 52 km)
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.
For those who do not cycle, you can have a longer visit to Zaanse Schans.
Day 5: Zaandam - Amsterdam - Alphen aan den Rijn, 22-25 mi. (35 - 40 km)
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 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 - Gouda, 12 or 37 mi. (20 or 60 km)
If you can get up early, you can visit the colorful Aalsmeer Flower Auction, where some 17 million cut flowers from all over the world are traded each day.
Once back on board, a breakfast cruise to the nearby quaint medieval town of Gouda is on the agenda.
Though known for cheese, Gouda is much more. Its stroopwafels (treacle-waffle) is famous, but also its pottery, beautiful stained glass windows, a fairy-like Gothic town hall, and atmospheric canals. You will enjoy lunch in the wonderfully preserved town square. You can then 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.
And of course, it is always lovely to simply remain on board as the barge navigates from one lovely destination to another
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 then follow the path all the way to Schiedam.
- Accommodations for 6 nights 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 & 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 (on request and must be booked in advance)
What’s Not Included
- Gratuities (5% on tour price is advised)
- Travel Insurance (mandatory)
Dates & Pricing
March 26, April 2, April 9, April 16, April 30, & May 7, 2023
The minimum number of participants to confirm a departure is 5 (3 cabins). Be sure to inquire about the status of your preferred tour date before making any air travel arrangements.
Consider chartering the entire vessel to have more control of your daily itinerary including cultural excursions, cycling distances, and more.
King/twin suite $ 7578 £ 4317 $ 6,721 € 5000 ₪ 17971 NZ$ 8384 kr 54529 $ 5,195 Single supplement $ 3789 £ 2158 $ 3,360 € 2500 ₪ 8986 NZ$ 4192 kr 27265 $ 2,598
A deposit of 25% per person is required to confirm a reservation aboard the Aurora.
Skill Level — Easy
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. You can intersperse your cycling with other activities or opt to not cycle at all! Your tour guide will cycle with the majority of the group but for those who would like to cycle shorter (or longer), your tour guide will be able to assist you with route descriptions. There will be a support vehicle/mini-van available that serves as a sag-wagon and transfer vehicle. On some days, 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. April is normally the driest month of the year but that does not mean it does not rain. Rain showers are common and frequent but not long. Plan to dress in layers and don’t forget your rain gear.
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 booking a special excursion.
Important to know
Before you travel, please check the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. Please be informed that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have proper identification. For US citizens, the U.S. Passports & International Travel website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. It is important to research before you travel as airlines will not permit boarding if you do not have the required valid documents.
*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
All food is freshly prepared by your private gourmet chefs. You will be offered an extensive list of his specialties to enable you to choose your menu. All guests have the choice to eat their favorite food or experience new flavors based on a la carte menus. Products used are local and many times organic, bought daily to ensure freshness. Each meal is accompanied by a selection of the finest wines from France and all over the world.
Cultural excursions possible
You will have the opportunity to visit museums, 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. If you charter the entire vessel for your family, friends, or colleagues, the itinerary may be adjusted to suit your interests.
Besides cycling, other activities may be possible. Just ask!
Country Entry Requirements
Due to the changing requirements for entry, it is imperative that you stay up to date on requirements set by the country/countries that you are visiting. Please visit our Travel Restrictions Tool page and the country/countries government webpage for this information.
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.