Stadhuis in Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. Photo via Flickr:Fred Romero

Gorgeous tulips at the Keukenhof, Lisse, the Netherlands. Photo via Flickr:Hans Splinter
4.9/5 (9 ratings)

Tulip Tour - Bruges to Amsterdam - 8 day

Netherlands, Belgium Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and boat tour in Belgium and Holland

  • This cycling vacation takes you through the Belgian pearls of Antwerp, Ghent and on top of that, Bruges! In April and May, all of Holland is blooming. Furthermore, this tour shows you some lovely old Dutch towns like Dordrecht and Gouda, famous for their delicious cheese! The highlight of this tulip themed bike and boat is a visit to the world-famous Keukenhof!

    For the May 16th departure, since the Keukenhof will be closed, a visit to the Cruquius Museum will be offered. You will learn about Holland's battle against the sea and the innovation that has been employed throughout the years to win this battle of "impoldering" or the process of reclaiming the land.

    Highlights:

    • Lovely accommodation
    • Famous Belgium and Dutch cycling infrastructure
    • Either a visit to the Keukenhof or visit to the Cruquius Museum
    • University town of Ghent
    • Diamond city of Antwerp
    • Charming Dordrecht
    • Gouda...and CHEESE
    • Thriving Amsterdam


    All of our other bike and barge tours in Belgium can be found here.

  • 2020 

    Merlijn:  £ 1296 $ 2,872 1525 $ 2298 NOK 14360 kr 13256 $ 1,723 Single supplement on request, limited availability.

    extra options

    Electric bike rental, per diem, payable onboard: £ 25 $ 57 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

    Fly into and out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) or fly to Brussels Zaventem Airport (BRU) and out of Amsterdam.

    Local Travel

    If you fly into Amsterdam, you can access a train to Bruges directly from the airport at the train station located on the lower level. Train from Amsterdam airport to Bruges, takes approx. 3¼ hr. at ± €48. You will have at least one transfer. If you fly into Brussels, a train from the airport to Bruges will take approx. 1.5 hr at ± €21. The train station in Bruges is named "Brugge". The train station at Amsterdam Schiphol airport is named "Schiphol". The train station in Amsterdam city center is named "Amsterdam Centraal".

    Climate

    Please check local conditions before travel. A very good website to research regional weather is weatherbase.com. The climate in Holland is considered maritime, greatly affected by the sea. Belgium as well is influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters.

    Remarks

    Please note: Tulip season in Holland extends from the end of March to the middle of May but is dependent on temperatures and the weather. Going early or late in the season may affect what is in bloom.

    Travel 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.

    *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.


Where You’ll Stay

On the deluxe vessel, the Merlijn

What’s Included

  • Accommodation for 8 days/7 nights
  • Welcome drink
  • Breakfast, packed lunches, and three-course dinners (excluding one dinner in Dordrecht)
  • **Entrance fee to the Keukenhof
  • 24-gear touring bike, incl. water bottle, universal sized helmet and bike bag
  • Tour guide
  • Unlimited coffee, tea, and hot chocolate during the trip on board and ice water during meals
  • Harbor fees
  • **Please note, the Keukenhof will be closed during the MAY 16, 2020 departure, a tour of the Cruquius will be offered instead.

What’s Not Included

Extra Stay

Always recommended! You may want to plan extra time in Amsterdam because there is so much to see and do.

TourBike+Boat
TypeBoth
SkillEasy
Length8 days
From1525 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Tour Dates

2020 

Merlijn​: May 2 and May 16, 2020

Skill Level

Easy, guided bike and boat tour. Bicycle routes follow mainly flat bike paths and country lanes with little traffic. Occasionally heavier traffic is encountered when entering or exiting the bigger cities. Daily cycling distances range from approximately 16 to 25 miles (25 to 40 km).

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Tulip Tour - Bruges to Amsterdam - 8 day Map

 Merlijn 

Day 1: Arrival in Bruges, cruising to Ghent
Day 2: Ghent - Baasrode, 24 mi. (40 km)
Day 3: Baasrode - Antwerp, 15 to 33 mi. (25 to 55 km)
Day 4: Antwerp - Tholen - Willemstad - Dordrecht, 15 mi. (25 km)
Day 5: Dordrecht - Gouda - Leiden, 21 mi. (35 km)
Day 6: Leiden - Keukenhof - Haarlem, 18 mi. (30 km)
Day 7: Haarlem - Amsterdam, 18 mi. (30 km)
Day 8: Amsterdam

*All distances are approximate. Itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstance, including but not limited to weather, last-minute mooring changes, and restructuring of locks or bridges.

Day 1: Arrival in Bruges, cruising to Ghent
The Merlijn, your sailing hotel, awaits you in Bruges. Check-in begins at 1 PM. Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, is probably the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, dating from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At that time, Bruges was a metropolis, the center of trade and art.  Please be sure your arrival time in Bruges gives you enough time to explore this charming city.  The Merlijn will leave for Ghent at 2 PM. You are welcome to leave your luggage on board before 2 pm so that you can explore the city. The crew will welcome you onboard and while you enjoy a welcome drink you will be informed about the barge and daily tours. During the cruise to Ghent, you will enjoy your dinner. 

Day 2: Ghent - Baasrode, 24 mi. (40 km)
Following breakfast on board, you will have time to explore Ghent. This is a lively university city with a rich history. This city has a rich past originating in Roman Times and is located at the place where the rivers, Leie, and Schelde converge. This favorable situation brought a great deal of prosperity over the years, which had its peak late 13th, early 14th century. The textile industry brought great wealth. In the city center, many old patrician houses have been preserved. In the Clothmakers’ Hall (1425) textile merchants used to meet. The major church is St. Bavo's Cathedral, built in various ages and in various styles. In the cathedral, you can admire a number of medieval paintings, including, ‘Adoration of the Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck. After your lunch break in Ghent your biking tour to Baasrode will begin. Cycle along the river Zeeschelde, and follow this beautiful but capricious tidal river downstream to our destination Baasrode, a small village on the Schelde river.

Day 3: Baasrode - Antwerp, 15 to 33 mi. (25 to 55 km)
Today's tour follows the river Schelde further downstream via Temse to Rupelmonde. There is a beautiful bike path along the river and the landscape around the Schelde is magnificent. In Rupelmonde, board the Merlijn and cruise to Antwerp. This is not only known as the diamond city but also as the native city of the painter Rubens. In the Rubens House, you can admire his work. In the heart of the city, you will see the Cathedral of Our Lady and beautiful townhouses from a rich past are situated around the Market Square.

Day 4: Antwerp - Tholen - Willemstad - Dordrecht, 15 mi. (25 km)
After breakfast, you will have more time to explore the city of Antwerp. Your bike begins in Tholen, across the Oesterdam in the river Oosterschelde. This dam connects Tholen with Zeeland Flanders. Tholen was once an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people were fishermen by trade. Today, Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways, but it is still a picturesque village with many relics of an eventful past. From Willemstad, the Merlijn cruises to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns of Holland. After dinner, you may want to stroll through this historic city.  Tonight you will enjoy your dinner on your own in one of the many local restaurants.

Day 5: Dordrecht - Gouda - Leiden, 21 mi. (35 km)
Enjoy a walking tour through the charming old city of Dordrecht and later the barge cruises to the Kinderdijk. world famous for its impressive row of large windmills. They were built to drain the Alblasserwaard. You have the opportunity to take a tour inside one of the mills. From here, your cycling tour begins en route to Gouda, the city of cheeses and candles. Before cruising to Leiden you can stroll through the center of Gouda.

The barge takes you through one of the most beautiful parts of Holland, know as "the Green Heart of Holland". Leaving Gouda you pass Boskoop, famous for its horticulture, particularly woody plant, and perennial nurseries. Along the way, you pass small cities and villages such as Alphen aan den Rijn.

Finally, you reach Leiden. While exploring this city you will notice that its rich history still seems very much alive. This is where Rembrandt was born and developed his painting skills. Holland's first university is located here, dating back to 1575. It has since developed into a world-famous center of science and its many students contribute to the lively atmosphere of the city. After dinner, there is time to explore the charming center.

Day 6: Leiden - Keukenhof - Haarlem, 18 mi. (30 km)
May 2:
While you enjoy your breakfast, the Merlijn takes you to Lisse, which is near the Keukenhof, a famous flower exhibition. Here you can admire all the beautiful tulips and other flowers that are cultivated in Holland. After your visit, cycle to the city of Haarlem, passing flower fields and great Dutch scenery. After dinner, take a stroll through the historic city of Haarlem and end your trip drinking the famous local “Jopen” beer in one of the many bars.
May 16:
Instead of a visit to the Keukenhof, you will enjoy a visit to the Cruquius Museum.

Day 7: Haarlem - Amsterdam, 18 mi. (30 km)
In the morning, explore the historical city of Haarlem a little more before your cycling tour starts. Its history goes back to the 10th century. Your tour ends in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. There is time to explore the city and you might want to include a ride through the canals. Later on, you may want to visit the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh museum. Enjoy a farewell dinner onboard and city walk through the beautiful illuminated lively center of Amsterdam.

Day 8: Amsterdam
Breakfast, check out, and departure

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

 

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Tour Reviews

  • Shawn L. 3 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The whole trip was great. The bikes were great 27 speed bikes with disc brakes, the guide showed us things you wouldn't find on your own, the barge was clean and comfortable. But the best thing was the food on the barge, especially the garlic butter. I could eat that with a spoon!

    Boat: Merlijn

  • Naomi G. 3 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Biking through Belgium and Holland. Great bike paths, lovely scenery, good companions made for a memorable journey.

    Boat: Clair de Lune

  • Sandra V. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Merlijn was definitely a "comfort plus" barge. Rooms and beds very comfortable; staff couldn't have been friendlier or more accommodating; Captain Henk was a genius at docking and piloting the barge; our guide Lea, was professional, knowledgeable, and fun; Jantien, the jack of all trades, did everything from ministering to ill or injured to cooking gourmet meals. This was my second trip on the Merlijn. We booked the entire barge. There were two fantastic upgrades from two years ago--new bikes and helmets and better internet. Obviously, I cannot say enough positive about this experience. Highly recommend it.

    Boat: Merlijn

  • Paul W. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Have forwarded the link to your website to a number of our friends as we describe the fabulous experience on our tulip tour. Most memorable was being our timing in seeing the tulips in full bloom in the fields. But, every day was memorable!

    Boat: Clair de Lune

  • Joan R. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    We loved the getting to experience the Kinderdijk!!!

    Boat: Quo Vadis

  • Karen H. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The guide and crew were amazing. Great home cooked meals with personal atmosphere.

    Boat: La Belle Fleur

  • S. Kraushaar 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Second time on the Merjlin. We would definitely book a third. Bike/Barge trips are so much fun!

    Boat: Merlijn

  • T. Hottentot 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    It was a wonderful trip. The hostess is exceptional, the food fabulous, the guide very good and all the passengers were nice to be with.

    Boat: Merlijn

  • M. Carone 4 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Very good trip. All different levels of bike riders, but somehow it worked! I did not feel pressured to keep up. Our guide Ari was patient and stressed enjoyment of scenery etc. - yet we averaged 25 a 30 mi./day. Wonderful!

  • Betty Helpa 7 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    What could be better than biking in Belgium and Holland? Returning each day to the Merlijn with Jantien and Hank as your host! We loved it so much that we know any trip with them would be another life memory. After returning home we booked our next trip within 3 days! This year we go with them to France & Germany. There is a reason their trips book so far in advance. Don't wait! Book now for next year! It will be better than any expectations you have! We can't wait for this year's tour!

    Boat: Merlijn

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Tulip Tour - Bruges to Amsterdam - 8 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