Canals in Amsterdam are a UNESCO site. North Holland, the Netherlands. Photo via Flickr:faungg's photos

Windmill in Leiden, the Netherlands. Photo via Flickr:Tambako the Jaguar
4.8/5 (13 ratings)

Southern Tour

Netherlands Bike + Barge Tours

See some of Holland’s best cities!

This bike tour in Holland takes you along beautiful paths through some of Holland's most scenic countryside and each day's destination seems better than the one before. Starting and ending in Amsterdam, this tour also visits the prestigious towns of Haarlem, Leiden, Scheveningen, The Hague, Delft, and Rotterdam.

Depending on the boat, the itinerary may include a visit to Gouda, where traditional horse-drawn carriages still bring cheese to the Waag or weighing house. And don’t forget that April and May are the tulip months in Holland, and during this time there is an opportunity to visit the Keukenhof (a park filled with hundreds of various tulips and other floral marvels).

Be sure to check out all of our Bike and Boat tours in Holland.

Tour Dates

2017 dates
On the Comfort Plus class boats:
Angela Esmee: May 6, June 10, July 8, August 5, and September 2, 2017
Anna Maria Agnes
Early: April 15 and April 22, 2017
Middle season: April 29, May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27, September 2, and September 9, 2017
Main season: All other departures weekly (Saturdays) from June 3 up to and including, August 26, 2017
Late season: September 16, 2017
Sailing Home: July 8, July 15, 2017

On the Comfort class boats:
Liza Marleen: June 3, September 9, 2017
Wending: May 13, May 27, June 10, June 17, July 29, August 12, August 26, September 23, September 30, and October 7, 2017
Zwaan: June 24, July 1, and August 5, 2017 

On the Standard Plus boat: 
Anna Antal: May 20, May 27, and July 22, 2017

Skill Level

Easy, guided tour with average daily distances of ± 26 miles on flat, bike paths and well-maintained asphalt roads with little traffic. On the Angela Esmee and the Anna Maria Agnes, on board tour guide will give extensive descriptions of the day’s cycling route. Guests will bike using provided route descriptions & maps. The guide will also cycle the route but does not actually guide a group. The main role of the tour guide is to provide assistance if needed during the cycling itinerary. On all other boats, tours are fully guided with option for self-guided.

Where You’ll Stay

On the Standard Plus or Comfort Plus class vessels.

What’s Included

  • Accommodations for 7 nights on board
  • Breakfast buffets, packed lunches, 3-course dinners
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Guide support aboard the Angela Esmee and Anna Maria Agnes (please see note below)*
  • Cycling tour guide (Liza Marleen, Sailing Home, Wending, and Zwaan)
  • Route information
  • Road book (one per cabin)
  • 7-speed ladies model touring bike with hand brake and hub brake equipped with pannier bag and lock (Angela Esmee and Anna Maria Agnes)
  • 24-speed hybrid touring bike equipped with pannier bag, water bottle cage, water bottle, and lock (Liza Marleen, Wending, and Zwaan)
  • Route information
  • Ferry fares en route (Anna Antal, Liza Marleen, Wending, Zwaan)
  • *Please note: These tours are not fully guided bike tours but rather supported by a guide who ensures the safety of riders and takes care of mechanical issues. The guide is cycling the route and can be reached by cell phone for quick assistance

What’s Not Included

  • Helmet rental (only available on the Anna Antal, Liza Marleen, Wending, and Zwaan)
  • Ferry fares en routes (Angela Esmee and Anna Maria Agnes)
  • Museum entrance fees (approximately €15 per tour)
  • Beverages (incl. alcohol), available on board
  • Aboard the Anna Antal, Liza Marleen, Wending, or Zwaan: Maps for self-guided option. See pricing.
  • Bicycle protection
  • Trip insurance

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Southern Tour Map

On the Liza Marleen, Wending, and Zwaan:

*Aboard these boats, it is possible to do the tour as self-guided with route descriptions. Please specify at the time of booking if you wish to do this. Maps are available for a small, additional fee. Ask us for details.

Day 1: Amsterdam, boarding must be completed by 2:00 pm! Sailing to Spaarndam and cycling to Haarlem, 9 mi. (15 km)
Day 2: Haarlem – through the dune area – Leiden, 24/30 mi. (38/48 km)  
Day 3: Leiden – Delft, 30 mi. (49 km)  
Day 4: Delft 
Day 5: Delft – sailing to Rotterdam/Kinderdijk – cycling to Gouda, 27/32 mi. (44/52 km)
Day 6: Gouda – Uithoorn, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 7: Uithoorn – Amsterdam, 25 mi. (40 km) 
Day 8: Amsterdam

Day 1: Amsterdam, boarding, complete by 2:00 pm; Sailing to Spaarndam and cycling to Haarlem, 9 mi. (15 km)
After arriving on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the guide, skipper and crew, and of course your fellow passengers. The first part of the tour will take you by boat to Spaarndam, known as the village of Hansje Brinker, and from here take an easy bike ride into the beautiful city of Haarlem. You  must be very prompt in boarding as the boat will depart the mooring shortly after 2 pm.
Back on board, the program for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you as you enjoy a lovely dinner. 

Day 2: Haarlem – through the dune area – Leiden, 24/30 mi. (38/48 km)  
Today starts with a short tour by bicycle to the center of Haarlem, where you can see some of the city's typical almshouses. Upon departure from Haarlem you may cycle to the 'Cruquiusgemaal' (Cruquius Pumping Station), one of the three steam-powered pumping stations that drained the Haarlemmer Lake between 1849 and 1852. Now a museum, it gives you an excellent idea of the Dutch 'battle against the water'. During the summer months, cycle through the dunes to the beach.

Day 3: Leiden – Delft, 30 mi. (49 km)  
You leave the city and cycle South along the Vliet canal. In Voorschoten you turn westwards towards the coastline. At 'Wassenaarse Slag' you can take a break on the beach. 
The Wassenaarse Slag is an entrance to the beach near the Dutch town of Wassenaar. The coastline is over 8 km long.
The route to Delft takes you along the water once again. The old center is a well-preserved medieval city with canals, a magnificent town hall, and a royal tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk. It is well worth a visit.

Day 4: Delft  
Today you can enjoy the day at your leisure. You can stay in Delft and discover the old center, visit The Hague by public transport, or go to Rotterdam by bike.
Delft  
Delft is a beautiful town to wander through and learn more about the famous dutch painter, Vermeer at the Vermeer Center or visit the Nieuwe Kerk. When the weather is clear the view from the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is spectacular. A large part of the Southern Tour can be seen from here!
The Hague
The city of The Hague has wide avenues, parks and stately mansions. Possible visits are Peace Palace (housing the International Court of Justice), the 'Binnenhof' with the 13th-century 'Ridderzaal' (Knights' Hall), seat of the Dutch Government and Parliament. Every third Tuesday of September the Queen's Speech is delivered in the Ridderzaal. The Mauritshuis, a former palace, is now a famous museum with paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Rubens. It also houses 'Panorama Mesdag', the largest panoramic, circular painting in the world, depicting 19th-century Scheveningen. Of the many royal palaces in The Hague, only a few are still operational. You may see the Noordeinde Palace and the Huis ten Bosch Palace.
Rotterdam  
This bustling city has many architectural highlights, some interesting museums, and is the main port of Holland. Skyscrapers stand in the scaffolds and  rise steadily towards the stars. On the Maas River, Erasmus Bridge is the gateway to the Kop van Zuid district. The modern architecture makes up what is known as ‘Manhattan on the Maas’. Here you can find the New Orleans and the Maastoren, the highest residential tower and the highest office building in the Netherlands. With so much of the city changing on a daily basis, it is internationally known as a city of architecture. The city also offers historical significance and some interesting museums such as the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, where you can find Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Dali, and Dutch Design. 

Day 5: Delft – sailing to Rotterdam/Kinderdijk – cycling to Gouda, 27/32 mi. (44/52 km)  
The barge will take you to the center of Rotterdam, giving you the best view of the modern architecture of this port. Your cycling day starts in Kinderdijk and then takes you through the Alblasserwaard, situated in between rivers. You'll enjoy the lovely scenery or water and meadows. The many inundations and the slowly sinking surface made water management essential in this fenland. Canals and ditches were dug and windmills were constructed. Nineteen of these windmills remain today. Their job has nearly been taken over by electric pumping stations. After a visit to one of the mills, you will continue on bike. 
The long route leads via the 'storks' village' of Groot-Ammers. Here you cross the river Lek and enter Schoonhoven, renowned for its silver industry. 

Day 6: Gouda – Uithoorn, 25 mi. (40 km)
From Gouda, you will continue your tour over country roads, banks, and channels through the Green Heart and polders to Uithoorn. Gouda is most known for its cheese but is also popular for its pipes, ‘stroopwafels’ (treacle-waffle,) pottery, and stained-glass windows. You will surely enjoy exploring its fairy-like town hall, atmospheric canals, and mostly intact city center. As on most days, after dinner, there will be plenty of time to take a city walk.

Day 7: Uithoorn – Amsterdam, 25 mi. (40 km) 
Today you will cycle into a polder and along the river Waver and Amstel. Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin as a dam of the river Amstel.
Almost without noticing, you enter Amsterdam, following the Amstel River. The extensive network of bicycle paths ensures a relatively easy way back into the city, showing you some remarkable sites in the center. Then it is time to say goodbye to your bike. Before the farewell dinner, you may want to go for a walk in town. At night there you may want to take a canal trip or go on a city walk through the center of the city.

Day 8: Departure from Amsterdam
End of the trip after breakfast.

On the Angela Esmee and the Anna Maria Agnes:

Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam
Day 2: Amsterdam – Breukelen | Breukelen – Utrecht, 19 or 25 mi. (30 or 40 km) | Afternoon: Utrecht – Rotterdam
Day 3: Rotterdam – Schiedam – Delft – Rotterdam, 25 mi. (40 km)  | Evening: Rotterdam – Dordrecht
Day 4:  Dordrecht – Kinderdijk |   Kinderdijk – (Gouda) – Schoonhoven, 15 or 32 mi. (25 or 50 km)
Day 5: Schoonhoven - Oudewater - Utrecht, 32 mi. (50 km) | Afternoon: Utrecht - Beverwijk
Day 6: * Beverwijk – North Sea coast – Haarlem – Beverwijk, 21 or 32 mi. (35 or 50 km) | Evening: Beverwijk – Zaandam
Day 7: Zaandem - Amsterdam, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 8: Departure 

All distances are approximate. The above-planned itineraries are subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc. On days that two distances are provided, you can choose between the longer and shorter route.

Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam
Embarkation and check-in begin at 2 PM. While you are in Amsterdam make sure you take the opportunity to do some shopping, visit a museum, or enjoy a canal tour (reduced price tickets available on board, until 10 PM). A canal tour is a unique way to see the capital of Holland from a different perspective. Your first night on board will be spent in Amsterdam, so you will have plenty of time to explore the city.

Day 2: During breakfast: Amsterdam - Breukelen | Breukelen - Utrecht, 19 or 25 mi. (30 or 40 km) | Afternoon: Utrecht - Rotterdam
During breakfast the MS Anna Maria Agnes will cruise to Breukelen. Following the distribution of bicycles, your first day of cycling is along the beautiful and winding river Vecht with its enchanting background of imposing castles, country houses, and quaint tearooms. There is simply no better way to start a bike tour. You will follow the Vecht into the center of Utrecht where you will have the opportunity to explore the Dom Cathedral tower and the beautiful center of the old village. In the afternoon you will continue by ship from Utrecht to Rotterdam, your destination for the day. In the evening enjoy a short city walking tour.

Day 3: Rotterdam - Schiedam - Delft - Rotterdam, 25 mi. (40 km) | Evening: Rotterdam – Dordrecht
You will cycle today via the "jenever" city of Schiedam (jenever is a traditional Dutch gin) and through the Delfland area to Delft which is famous, of course, for its blue earthenware. Visit the beautiful city center with its small canals, picturesque streets, bridges and alleys. For many guests a visit to the Delftware factories of “Royal Delft” is one of the highlights of the tour. In the evening enjoy a dinner cruise from Rotterdam to Dordrecht with arrival at around 8 PM. In the evening, enjoy a short walk around the city of Dordrecht.

Day 4: Dordrecht - Kinderdijk |  Kinderdijk - (Gouda) - Schoonhoven, 15 or 32 mi. (25 or 50 km)
First thing this morning the barge will cruise from Dordrecht to Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. All 19 windmills have a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and are a definite highlight of the entire trip. You will have the opportunity to visit one. You then have the choice between a longer bike tour with a visit to the beautiful cheese city of Gouda or a short bike tour through the Alblasserwaard. Both tours end in the “silver city” of Schoonhoven on the Lek River, where you can visit a silversmith. In the evening, enjoy a small cheese tasting on board the barge.

Day 5: Schoonhoven - Oudewater - Utrecht, 32 mi. (50 km) | Afternoon: Utrecht - Beverwijk
Today you will cycle from Schoonhoven through the beautiful “Green Heart” of Holland via Oudewater (visit the Witches Weigh House) to Utrecht. Near Oudewater you can visit a traditional cheese farm where you can also buy delicious farm-made Gouda cheese. In the late afternoon the barge will cruise from Utrecht to Beverwijk, your destination for the night. In the evening enjoy live music on board.

Day 6: *Beverwijk - North Sea coast - Haarlem - Beverwijk, 21 or 32 mi. (35 or  50 km) | Evening: Beverwijk - Zaandam
You will have the choice between two bike tours today, with both finishing in the historic city of Haarlem. If you are up to the challenge the longer tour takes you through the sand dunes of the North Sea coastline via Bloemendaal and Zandvoort; the shorter tour heads inland to Haarlem. On both tours you will cycle back to Beverwijk. In the evening your barge will cruise to Zaandam.

Day 7: Zaandam - Amsterdam, 19 mi. (30 km)
From Zaandam, your final day of cycling will take you to the open-air museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ with its beautiful windmills, traditional wooden houses, an old Dutch village, a cheese farm, and a traditional wooden clog maker. After exploring the museum continue to cycle through the recreational area of Twiske to Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. If you didn’t go for a canal tour on the first day, you will have the opportunity to do so today. From Zaandam, you will cycle to the open air museum "Zaanse Schans" (a.o. traditional wooden houses, windmills, cheese farm and wooden shoe manufacturing). Continue the bike tour through the recreational area "Twiske" to Amsterdam. You'll arrive back in Amsterdam in late afternoon and have the evening to spend there. If you didn’t go for a canal tour on the first day, you will have the opportunity to do it today.

Day 8: Disembarkation in Amsterdam
Disembarkation after breakfast: End of your trip.

Parts in italics above will be covered by the ship.

*Aboard Anna Maria Agnes - Departures on April 5, 22, 29, and May 6, 2017, a visit to the Keukenhof is offered on day 6. Transfer & entrance fee not included.

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

  • Helen M. 2 months ago

    The scenery was beautiful and the barge was lovely. The most memorable part of the trip was the people - the Dutch are friendly and helpful, and the Angela Esmee crew was exceptional!

    Boat: Angela Esmee

  • Maggie C. 3 months ago

    Wonderful standard of accommodation - meals quality and cabin comfort were excellent. Cheese tasting on board every evening was an unexpected bonus. The bikes are operated by a pedal break which was a new experience for our group of 7 but we adapted over the course of the trip. The cycle routes were excellent, not too strenuous and were long enough so that you really felt that you had a good day's exercise and yet there was just enough time to stop off in some of the lovely towns and villages for museum and cafe visits.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

  • W. Flink 5 months ago

    This is our third bike and barge trip and we would come back to do another. We had a great time! The boat, the Liza Marleen, was very nice, the crew very friendly, and our bike guide informative, interesting, and a lot of fun. It was very nice going on a small size boat and the crew created a family-like atmosphere which made the trip very enjoyable. One one particularly warm and longer day, the crew handed out delicious popsicles as we climbed back aboard at the end of the day. We appreciated the all the small details like this. We tell many friends that they should do one of these Bike and Barge trips. We'll be back.

    Boat: Liza Marleen

  • M. Gaherty 5 months ago

    Trip was outstanding however a comment. Upon our arrival on the boat, the first thing they tried to do was sell us bike insurance. We showed them the paperwork that we had paid 15 Euros. They countered that their ins was only 10 Euro and that it would be easier to settle a claim because we would not have to get reimbursed by you. We did not buy their ins but this turned us off immediately. Also, why are we paying 15 when they charge 10? This option should have been explained to us. Now the good news: boat was beautiful and we had a great room. Food was absolutely outstanding! I thought it was exceptional on Theodor Kormer but Anna Maria Agnes had them beat by a hair! And our guide, Niko, what a doll! Wish I could have taken him home with me! Prior to our trip my friends and I spent a few days in Amsterdam. While visiting museums, I lost my new jacket, new Galaxy S-7 phone and my digital camera! We retraced our steps, went to police station. I came to the conclusion that I might have left them on the tram but it was Friday, the lost and found was closed until Monday. On Day 2 of our trip, I asked Nico if he could help me by calling the tram lost and found, which he did. The next evening, he approached me with a big grin and told me that they had recovered my items on the tram. What a miracle! He wrote down the case # and gave me directions to find the lost and found. Thank you Thank you to Nico!!
    One suggestion: we were given no instruction as to what the street signs meant. I know a little bit of Dutch and even I had a problem with them. I would suggest that a handout be prepared for all English speaking, showing pictures of the signs and interpretations. Also, a short session on cars vs bikes; who has the right of way etiquette ...that would be very helpful. Several times, we stopped at intersections, only to have bikers pass us or swear at us for stopping. At times, the route numbers were confusing but that was not the fault of Nico. There were some route changes, construction, which deviated from the map.
    Overall, we had a wonderful time!!!!!!!!!II have already had some friends who are interested in booking a trip to Holland through tripsite.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

    • Jan 5 months ago

      Thanks for getting back to us, Maureen. Per our earlier conversation, we will be refunding you the difference. It is our policy to match the boats bike insurance price and we apologize for this inconvenience.

      Regards,
      Jan

  • P. Watson 6 months ago

    Due to the length of the cycling routes, there should have been better quality bikes. All gears should have been in working order.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

  • V. Silberstein 7 months ago

    This was a fabulous trip! The best way to see the Netherlands is by boat and barge. This cruise far exceeded my expectations. The barge was homey and warm, the crew was so special. They took care of our every need, and did it in a friendly and caring manner. The chef was phenomenal! The value for your money was great. I would do this again in a heartbeat!

    Boat: Liza Marleen

  • N. Miles 7 months ago

    There was initially a question with the insurance we had purchased from you. We had to purchase again on board. After it was reported to you, things were quickly resolved. We had another glorious trip with you and appreciate your help.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

  • A Burkin 10 months ago

    I was with a good group of friends and the barge staff where excellent.

  • Lynda Vera 12 months ago

    Excellent trip, guide & staff. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Only downside was the cabin or perhaps the pillow was a bit musty - had allergic symptoms/ loss of sleep during the night but was fine during the day.

    Boat: Wending

  • Jeffrey Douglas 1 year ago

    The trip is excellent and we are now booked for our third time. However, and I know this is out of control of anyone, but our last trip was affected because of the crane accident near Gouda. This caused a rerouting of half the trip and because of that, we missed half of the sites that we wanted to see. On another note, the country should really make it illegal to dump raw sewage from the boats. This is disgusting and makes the waterways unclean. One would think that the government should do something about this and set up pumping stations. Otherwise, we really enjoy the bike/barge rides and will continue to go on them in the future.

    Boat: Wending

  • Doug Dowell 1 year ago

    The food was spectacular on both tours. The crew and guides were excellent on both tours. In particular, having guides with expertise in the history and art of the area is much more important than expertise in cycling. We have been recommending these tours to friends and family all summer long. Thank you.

  • Bruce Carter 1 year ago

    The route presentations by the guide were difficult to follow because they did not use a Powerpoint type presentation with a screen. This left the guest fumbling through paperwork which made the presentation difficult to understand and increased the risk of getting lost along the way.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

  • Jean Louis Bergeron 1 year ago

    On some days, we could have biked more. Very pleasant walks in the evenings.
    Very small window in our room

  • Ron Neesham 3 years ago

    We have just returned from our holiday on the Anna Marie Agnes which we thoroughly enjoyed. The whole voyage and cycle riding was well planned and, Ida, the guide could not have been better.

    We were allocated a dining table with a total of eight English speakers who all gelled from the first meal and we sometimes met at path side cafes.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

  • Alison Stilwell 5 years ago

    It has been about 5 years since I did the Southern Tour. I have wonderful memories and have been thinking about booking another bike/barge tour for the past few years. Maybe 2012 will be the year! Never having completed a bike tour, I was happily surprised by the quality of the bikes and was always able to easily keep up with the group.

    Boat: Anna Maria Agnes

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Southern Tour Boats + Barges

Angela Esmee Photo

Angela Esmee Netherlands Comfort Plus Class Boat The Angela Esmee can accommodate approximately 80 guests. On board this beautiful vessel are 41 cabins total with an en-suite bathroom which includes shower and toilet. In the salon, there is a separate bar and restaurant area. Also, in the front of the ship is a brand new lounge area featuring glass panoramic windows from floor to ceiling.

Anna Antal Photo

Anna Antal Netherlands Standard Plus Class Boat The Anna Antal is a former shuttle barge converted into a motor passenger ship in the winter of 1994-95. In 2012, the salon and cabins were renovated.The sailing area of the Anna Antal includes all Dutch, German and Belgian waterways in so far as a ship of this size can sail. She also sails on the Waddenzee, IJsselmeer and Zeeland. The Anna Antal is built according to the rules of Maritime laws and holds a valid certificate for the Rhine.

Anna Maria Agnes Photo

Anna Maria Agnes Netherlands Comfort Plus Class Boat The Anna Maria Agnes is a midsize river cruiser that can accommodate 65 guests. Aboard this comfort class barge are 34 cabins, each with shower and toilet. The salon is spacious with large panoramic windows and is equipped with a restaurant area, a lounge with cozy seating, and a bar. On the large and partially roofed sun deck is a seating area where you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea after a day of cycling.

Liza Marleen Photo

Liza Marleen Comfort Class Boat The Liza Marleen is a luxury motor passenger barge that was completely refurbished in 1998. This robust barge is ideally suited for trips on the wider waterways. It has a beautiful salon area and spacious deck.

Wending Photo

Wending Netherlands Comfort Class Boat The Wending is a former freight barge that was converted into a luxury passenger motor barge in the early nineties and completely redecorated in 2002. The barge has a spacious salon equipped with a television and music installation. It is a great place to relax after a strenuous day of cycling.

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.

Sailing Home Photo

Sailing Home Netherlands, Belgium Comfort Plus Class Boat Built in 2001, the Sailing Home was designed specifically to provide a more attractive hotel ship during your carefree vacation. It was built to meet the latest wishes and ideas with respect to comfort and service. The experience of a lifetime: cycling through the most beautiful spots within the Netherlands while residing on a very comfortable, newly built and well-furnished ship.

PWPC