Yellow tulips in the Netherlands (nickname Holland). Photo via Flickr:stokesrx

Amsterdam aglow at night with its many canals, North Holland, the Netherlands. Photo via Flickr:BriYYZ
4.9/5 (24 ratings)

Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges - 11 day

Netherlands, Belgium Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and Boat Holland and Belgium like it should be explored!

  • We have been told several times, and our captains and operators agree, the usual 8 days allotted for a bike and boat tour from Amsterdam to Bruges or Bruges to Amsterdam, is simply not enough. We think that this 11-day bike and boat tour featuring Holland's intriguing capital, Belgium's artistic gem, and everything in between, during peak tulip season, will be unsurpassed.

    You will have more time to bike, more time to boat, and more time to immerse, enjoy your surroundings and participate fully in this cycling experience.

    The highlight of this tulip-themed bike and boat tour is a visit to the world-famous Keukenhof, which will be ablaze with colors. In fact, all of Holland and Belgium will be bursting with Spring.

    Other highlights:

    • Frans Hals Museum
    • Kinderdijk
    • Cycling the Tulip Fields
    • Zaanse Schans
    • Delft and Delft pottery
    • Rotterdam
    • Antwerp - you will have a full day here!
    • Deluxe accommodation

    Be sure to check out all of our bike and barge tours in the Netherlands.

  • Twin/double: £ 1984 $ 4,256 2335 $ 3518 NOK 21988 kr 20297 $ 2,639

    extra options

    Electric bike, per diem, payable onboard, advanced reservation required: £ 25 $ 55 30 $ 45 NOK 283 kr 261 $ 34

    please note

    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

    This tour is offered in both directions. Most people opt to fly into and out of Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport (AMS) regardless of the tour direction, however, depending on your tour start/tour end city you could opt to fly into or out of Brussels as well.

    Local Travel

    From the airport in Amsterdam, you can access the train station on the lower floor and take a 20-minute shuttle to Amsterdam Central. At the end of your tour, if flying out of Amsterdam, you will take a train from Bruges back to Amsterdam. Depending on the time of departure, and type of train, your train travel time ranges from 2 3/4 hours to 3 1/2 hours with one to three transfers. If flying out of Brussels, from Bruges, train travel time is about 1 1/2 hour to the Zaventem Airport. The train departs every hour and costs about €20 per person. You can check departure times by visiting the website: http://www.belgianrail.be/.

    Climate

    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. The climate in Holland is considered maritime, greatly affected by the sea. Belgium as well is influence by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Though cooler temperatures prevail in April, the sun does shine on average 177 hours. A very good website to research regional weather is weatherbase.com. 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. Average rainfall is 1.8 inches (47 mm). Rain showers are common and frequent but not long. Plan to dress in layers!

    Recommended

    If you wish to reserve a guided city walk or guided city bike tour other than what is offered in the itinerary, just ask. The crew can assist you with information and organization.

    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

This is an easy 11 day guided bike and boat tour. Bicycle routes follow mainly flat designated bike paths and country lanes with little traffic. Occasionally heavier traffic is encountered when entering or exiting the bigger cities but this region is very accustomed to cyclists and very accommodating as well. Daily cycling distances are between 20 - 60 km.

Where You’ll Stay

Onboard the deluxe boat, the Merlijn

What’s Included

  • Accommodation for 10 nights
  • Welcome drink
  • 10 breakfast buffets, 9 packed lunches, and 8 three-course dinners
  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and water
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • 24-speed touring bicycle with hand brakes, pannier bag, helmet, and water bottle
  • Tour guide
  • All ferry and harbor fees
  • Entrance to Keukenhof
  • Entrance to Royal Delft

What’s Not Included

  • Two dinners
  • Drinks other than those mentioned
  • Entrance fees/excursions other than mentioned
  • City maps
  • Bike maps (available for sale on board)
  • Gratuities
  • Bicycle Protection
  • Travel Insurance
TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillEasy
Length11 days
From2335 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Tour Dates

2021

Amsterdam to Bruges: April 17, 2021
Bruges to Amsterdam: April 27, 2021
 

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges - 11 day Map

Amsterdam to Bruges

Day 1: Amsterdam - Zaandam
Day 2: Zaandam - Haarlem, 19 mi. or extend to 34 mi. (30 or 50 km)
Day 3: Haarlem - Cruquius - Keukenhof - Leidschendam - Delft, 34 mi. (55 km) 
Day 4: Delft - Rotterdam - Kinderdijk - Dordrecht, 25 mi. or extend to 37 mi. (40 or 60 km)
Day 5: Dordrecht - Willemstad - Tholen, 28 miles (45 km)
Day 6: Tholen - Antwerp, 12 mi. or extend to 31 mi (20 or 50 km)
Day 7: Antwerp - Sint - Amands, 22 mi. (45 km)
Day 8: Sint-Amands - Dendermonde - Gent, 22 mi. (35 km)
Day 9: Gent - Bruges, 24 mi. (38 km)
Day 10: Bruges, bike tour to Oostende, 34 mi. (55 km)
Day 11: Bruges, end of tour

*Daily distances on board the Merlijn range from 20 - 60 km. All mentioned distances are approximate. All itineraries are subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc. 

Day 1: Amsterdam - Zaandam
Check-in will begin at 3:30 pm. Please be prompt because at 5 pm the Merlijn will set off for Zaandam. The crew will welcome you on board with a complimentary drink and information on the barge and the route. In the evening, a city walk will be offered through Zaandam.

Day 2: Zaandam - Haarlem,19 mi. or extend to 31 mi. (30 or 50 km)
After your first breakfast on board, you can test your bike and do some sightseeing in ‘the Zaanse Schans’ famous for its open-air museum and windmills. Perhaps you will want to visit one. You will then bike from Zaandam to Haarlem, along the rest of the Zaanse Schans. After crossing the river with a ferry, the route leads through the beautiful flat landscape of Holland. The Merlijn will moor in Haarlem, from here, there are 2 options:

1. Extend your bike tour with a loop through the dune landscape.
2. Soak up the history and culture of Haarlem! Explore this historical city. Today you can visit the ‘Frans Hals’ museum or the ‘st. Bavo church’, both cultural highlight’s.

After dinner, you may want to go out and drink the famous local “Jopen” beer.

Day 3: Haarlem - Cruquius - Keukenhof - Leidschendam - Delft,34 mi. (55 km)
Get ready to pedal through the oldest tulip fields of Holland, including a visit to the infamous Keukenhof gardens! This is the most beautiful flower garden in the world, an overwhelming blaze of colors as seven million flowering tulips rise up in a magnificent background of traditional and modern gardening architecture. It is here that Spring begins. Hyacinths, narcissus, and many other flowers dazzle as well. After being saturated with color and scent, the cycling continues to Leidschendam where you will board the boat to navigate to the city of Delft. In its beautifully preserved historic center, you discover the rich history of the city. Delft is known for its Delfts Blue ceramic, the Nieuwe Kerk with its historic link to the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. After dinner, there will be an evening walk through the city to showcase the highlights.

Day 4: Delft - Rotterdam - Kinderdijk - Dordrecht, 25 mi. or extend to 37 mi. (40 or 60 km)
In the morning, you will spend more time in Delft, including a visit to ‘the Royal Delft’, the world of Delft Blue. After your visit the bike tour starts and it will take you through the Green Heart of Holland. Soon you will see the skyline from ‘Manhattan at the Maas’, the nickname of Rotterdam. You will bike along the highlights of this metropolis while following the well-paved bike paths. Cross the river with a ferry and you will reach Kinderdijk world-famous for its windmills. You will find an impressive row of large windmills, built to drain the ‘Alblasserwaard polder’. The best way to see this open-air museum, is by bike!  The route then leads to the town of Alblasserdam. From here you have 2 options:

1. Embark a deluxe fast-ferry, that will bring you in no time to the Merlijn in Dordrecht.
2. Extend the tour and bike to Dordrecht. Dordrecht is one of the oldest cities in Holland. Known since the 11th century, Dordrecht developed into an important market city because of its strategic location. It traded primarily in wine, wood, and cereals. In 1421, the Saint Elisabeth's flood flooded large parts of southern Holland, causing Dordrecht to become an island.

Tonight you will enjoy the Dutch cuisine in one of the local restaurants of this, charming, well-arranged, mid-sized, city.

Day 5: Dordrecht - Willemstad - Tholen, 28 mi.(45 km)
Starting early from Dordrecht, you will enjoy a sailing breakfast while motoring along the industrial area south of Rotterdam to the old fortress town Willemstad. You can spend some time here enjoying the harbor, and then from Tholen, the cycling begins. The tour will be on flat terrain thru ‘polder landscape’. Tholen once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people were fishermen for a living. Nowadays it is connected to the mainland in various ways, but it is still a charming village with many relics of an eventful past.

Day 6: Tholen - Antwerp,12 mi. or extend to 31 mi (20 or 50 km)
Today’s bike tour is not too long so you can explore Antwerp the entire afternoon. The tour starts after breakfast and just before you reach Antwerp by bike, you are offered two options:

1. Board the Merlijn and together to sail through Antwerp’s magnificent harbors to the docking place in the old center. You will have lunch on board and arrive early in the city to explore the cultural highlights.
2. Carry on biking through the ‘harbor-landscape’ until Merlijn’s docking place in Antwerp.

Antwerp is not only known as diamond city, but also as the birthplace of the painter Rubens. In the heart of the city, you will see the Cathedral of ‘Our Lady’ and around the beautiful Market Square. A local guide can be arranged to show you around this marvelous city. The guide can teach you more about the Cathedral or the very interesting Central Station. You can also spend your afternoon shopping in the lively center. Tonight you will enjoy the Belgium cuisine while eating out in one of the 1000 + local restaurants in Antwerp.

Day 7: Antwerp - Sint Amands, 22 mi. (45 km)
Cycling itinerary today leads directly from Antwerp, entering the St. Anna tunnel which will bring you to the other side of the Schelde river. From here you follow the river further upstream via Temse to Sint Amands. The cycle path is beautiful here, surrounded by the river landscape. Sint Amands is a small town on the tidal Schelde River.

Day 8: Sint Amands -Dendermonde - Ghent, 22 mi. (35 km)
Your day begins with a cruise to Dendermonde, a nice country town on the Dender estuary, and then by bike, the route leads further along the beautiful but capricious tidal river Schelde. Soon you will see the city of Ghent. Ghent is a lively university city, again one with a rich past. This city has its origins in Roman Times, at the place where the rivers Leie and Schelde converge. This favorable situation brought a great deal of prosperity over the years. The major church is the St. Baafs Cathedral, built during various ages and in various styles. You will make a loop thru the city before biking to the Merlijn. The docking in Ghent is a bit far from the center, but after dinner, you will be offered a transfer to the city. As well, a boat ride thru the canals by night can be organized for a supplement.

Day 9: Gent - Bruges, 24 mi. (38 km)
As you enjoy your breakfast, the Merlijn will navigate to Aalter, where the biking begins, following a route that leads through the pleasant countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges. Bruges, also called ‘the Venice of the North’, is considered by some, the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At one time, Bruges was a metropolis, center of trade and art, and this fame has left its legacy for you to enjoy. Dinner on board, followed by a walk thru the city.

Day 10: Bruges, and bike tour to Oostende, 34 mi. (55 km)
Today you have 2 option:

1. A guided bike tour that will go to Oostende, a major coastal city. You can enjoy the North sea, feel the sand between your toes, and enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach or in a seaside restaurant.

2. For culture lovers, leave your bike onboard and go sightseeing in the city of Bruges. Visit the market square, go on a ride thru the canals and eat some Belgium fries for lunch! Everybody returns onboard for the farewell, celebratory dinner and your last overnight stay on the Merlijn.

Day 11: Bruges
Official end of tour

Bruges to Amsterdam

Itinerary coming soon!

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

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Tour Reviews

  • Ed H. 4 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    What a great trip. Would like to do another.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Kim K. 4 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Everything was fantastic. It was the whole experience altogether.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Jody S. 4 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The staff, food and barge accommodations were perfect.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Chuck P. 4 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The entire trip was memorable. The boat staff was terrific, the meals from Frank our chef, were gourmet quality, the weather sunny tho a bit chilly first days, the tulips were in full bloom, our bike leader had contacts in many cities and we had private evening tours from local guides, the boat was comfortable and always well maintained. I think the only caution I might offer is we started the tour in downtown Amsterdam at the train station and for those of us with limited bike experience going thru the city was a challenge keeping the group together thru traffic, turns, bridges, stop lights. A more rural start would have been better was the general consensus, but that aside virtually everything well received.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Phillip R. 7 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Whether it was the “barge”, the food or the bikes or the bike routes.....everything was thoughtfully planned for the best customer experience possible. Friendly family type atmosphere with a “flair”! Truly enjoyable!

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Janice B. 7 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The tulips and the windmills were awesome. Eight of us were on a bike barge trip from Bruges to Amsterdam. I would recommend you put it on our bucket list. We had a blast!

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Karen G. 8 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    I did a Brugge to Amsterdam, bike and barge trip. It was fabulous. Definitely one of my favorite Europe trips. Riding through the tulip fields during the height of the season was amazing. I love the windmills. The staff was perfect. Thank you for a wonderful trip.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • John G. 8 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Tulip Tour was overall a great experience. The staff on the Quo Vadis did an excellent job and the accommodations were very comfortable. The 24 passengers was a nice size group.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Michael B. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    A lengthy bike trip through the Netherlands gives you an opportunity to drill down into their culture on a wider scale. It helps that they all speak English. The Dutch really seem to have figured it (life) out. We have much to learn from them and bring back their best practices...such as their capability to get anywhere in the country safely on a bike. How cool is that?

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Laurie M. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The people who we met in the trip made it memorable. Cornel was a wonderful guide who made everything fun and interesting as we were biking. Everyone on the Quo Vadis made us feel so welcome. Food was fantastic. Loved meeting all the other bikers and had lots of great times together.

  • James K. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    My wife and I did a 10 Day Barge and Bike trip from Brugge to Amsterdam during Tulip season. The boat Quo Vadis was really excellent. The rooms were small but quite comfortable. The dining room and lounge were well appointed and welcoming. Everything was always spotlessly clean! The crew was incredibly hospitable catering to any need. Captain RJ was knowledgeable, experienced and and very approachable. The evening walks he led in towns were great fun. Also really enjoyed sitting in the wheel house and chatting as he navigated rivers and canals.

    The food was basically gourmet with delightful surprises every dinner. Fresh bread was baked on board every day and breakfast was a mix of american style eggs, bacon, etc and European style meats, cheeses, fruit, veggies, etc. Chef Franco deserves many accolades for his commitment to healthy and delicious food.

    Our bicycle guide was extremely competent. He knew the roads and towns well and was able to make changes to routes as Read more… needed on the fly. An example would be an extra loop on some roads when he spotted blazing fields of tulips off in the distance. Our timing was good as there were acres of fields in full bloom as we rode down tiny country roads with no other tours, tourists or buses anywhere to be seen but our little bicycle group. It was sublime! Wind mills, polders, dykes, historic locks & bridges dating back centuries, and wonderful local festivals in the central squares of small towns on Kings Day - all to be seen on an 'organic' level from the saddle of a bike. It really doesn't get much better! And our guide, Cornell, knew the history and had a story to tell about so many places. He also knew the best places to stop for a coffee break, a picnic lunch or a hot bowl of soup and a slice of Dutch Apple Pie ... maybe even a great spot to get a good Belgian beer. Thanks Cornell!

    It is almost impossible to pick one favorite thing as best of trip. The fields of tulips, the Kings Day Festivals and the gourmet food would all have to rank high on a list of many highs. Towns? Brugge, Antwerp, Delft, Amsterdam - all high on the list and each for different reasons. History, culture, shops, vibrancy, beautiful town squares & lovely streets are all a part of European charm! I don't know what else to say other than we will do another and Bike and Barge trip through the wine region of Germany in the future. It's just such a great way to get a more intimate experience when traveling.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Ronald R. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Memorable parts: The other guests, the scenery, and the barge experience. The Tulip time is also the rain time, so be prepared with proper clothing. Even though the weather may not be ideal, the experience more than makes up for it.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Alix L. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Qua Vadis boat, staff, tour route all exceeded my expectations. The food is fabulous and the chef, Franco, made me fabulous gluten free options. I loved the small group, our guide was knowledgeable and fun. He made sure to take us on loops that would show us major sights. R.J. And Ina, owners and captain, are personable and accommodating. I would recommend any tour on the Quo Vadis.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Rosann G. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Most Memorial Parts: the biking routes and scenery.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Tom L. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Quo Vadis was super! The food, accommodations, staff and bikes were all terrific.
    However, we were unprepared for the traffic and city riding intensity. Marsha is an experienced recreational rider but had no idea how to deal with traffic. She completed the first day and began another, but turned back after the first half kilometer and packed it in after that. City traffic and congested cycling is something only urban folks experience, so we and others were unprepared. We were were really expecting a leisurely paced scenic tour, not the frantic paced marathon we got. The trip was listed as easy, but a 12 mph average speed for 36 miles is ridiculous for most recreational cyclists, especially when you’re there for scenery and cultural experience along with cycling.
    Additionally, once you start for the day, there is no practical way to drop our.
    So, if we were to look for another bike barge trip, we would be looking for:
    Quo Vadis or equal
    20-25 mile Read more… days maximum
    8-10 mph average speed maximum
    Route maps
    Routing to avoid urban traffic
    More short stops to smell the flowers.
    Ultimately, we were disappointed in the cycling portion of the trip feeling it was not so much for tourists who like to ride. We (and others) felt the guide placed too much emphasis on covering miles and not enough on making it pleasurable.
    Tripsite staff is superb and did everything they promised. Thanks.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Beth P. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The first day was the best...but then the next day took over that stature and then the next day...and so on for all glorious 10 days of our sojourn. Around every turn was another beautiful vista, filled with the aroma of hyacinths, the colors of tulip fields, the beauty of windmills and the charm of 16th century villages. Our accommodations were impeccable, the captain, cook and staff were thoughtful, accomplished and accommodating. Did I mention the food? The food was deserving of a Michelin star! Our bikes were perfect for the terrain (the Netherlands is gloriously flat - for a biker from the hills of NEPA that was a treat!). Our fellow bikers were great company - everyone had a sense of camaraderie and fun. This was my second Tripsite excursion and it won't be my last!

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Stephen R. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    It was a very well organized trip with no unexpected “surprises” at the end. RJ and his staff were very friendly and helpful. His barge was very clean and comfortable. The cabins are definitely small so pack lightly. The WiFi is slow but we were able to use Facebook and email. The bikes were all new. We found that the bikes are heavier than our hybrids. My wife used a ebike everyday and really enjoyed the trip. If your spouse isn’t a big rider, rest assured that the ebike is the way to go. The other guests were very compatible and most were repeat customers of Tripsite. We would definitely book with Tripsite again.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • John G. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    A tour of the Netherlands has to be a "bucket list" item for any biker. It is a fascinating country with great history and scenery. Travelling on the Quo Vadis for the Tulip Tour was a great way to experience the smell of the hyacinth fields along the country roads.

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Dave C. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The crew on the Zwaantje was fantastic. We loved the meals that Frank prepared. Fred is a great tour guide.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Jo S. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Riding through the tulip fields...the sight and the smell was indescribable...pictures couldn't do it justice...

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Janice B. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    I loved tulip day and going to Keukenhof Gardens

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Roberts W. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The tulip fields the way they smelled going into Keukenhof gardens it was marvelous the whole trip was fabulous. The captain and wife on Zwaantje was so great cook was magnificent they were so welcoming and Fred the guide was so knowledgeable of the area love loved the trip.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Connie W. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The best part of the trip was the congenial atmosphere on the barge, the camaraderie amongst the guests, and the excellent guided biking experience.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Shari Lukens 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Incredible! Amazing! Living the dream! There are no words to describe how exceptional this trip was. It was like "living the dream" really!. The beautiful, ever changing countryside of Holland was gorgeous. Every turn and corner brought a new landscape. From the moment I was chatting with Carla and Anna from Tripsite, to our home for 10 days on the Zwaantje was exactly what I expected and hosts Martijn and Marjorie were amazing. So caring for your every need and ensuring your trip is everything you wanted it to be. Frank the chef - well, let's just say the gourmet meals were impressive and delicious, and Fred our cycling guide was above and beyond. I'll be back! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such an incredible experience. Simply amazing.

    Boat: Zwaantje

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Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges - 11 day Boats + Barges

Merlijn Photo

Merlijn Germany, Netherlands Deluxe Class Boat "The Divine Miss M" as we lovingly call the Merlijn is a diva, for sure. What can we say? Is it the luxurious cabins with most comfortable beds you have ever slept in? Is it the lovely dining area with the large windows and skylight that let the air, light, and sun pour in? Or perhaps it is the sun deck, where you can relax with newfound friends, sharing good wine and good conversation. We think you will find it is the entire divine package! Step onboard and discover for yourself!

PWPC