Amsterdam – Maastricht | Barge Sarah
Bike and Barge through Holland from Amsterdam to Maastricht. Broad rivers meandering through endless lowlands
“Thinking of Holland I see broad rivers languidly winding through endless fen, lines of incredibly tenuous poplars like giant plumes on the polder's rim”.
These lines of a famous poem by the Dutch poet Marsman characterise this wonderful journey between Amsterdam and Maastricht, the southernmost city in the Netherlands. Discover magical flat and green landscapes formed by the rivers Vecht, Lower Rhine, Waal, Linge and Meuse: a tangle of old gullies, cut-off meanders, dikes and flood plains with a typical flora and fauna. Visit historical towns, remarkable villages and some castles and gardens along these rivers. In the hospitable province of Limburg, cycling tours will cross borders regularly: although the Meuse flows through the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium are only a stone’s throw away. You can eat ‘Kuchen’ (cake) in a German ‘Konditorei’ in the morning and have a delicious afternoon beer in a street café in a Belgium village. The journey ends in Maastricht, the capital of the province of Limburg, famous for its lively center and vibrant hospitality.
Itinerary: Amsterdam – Weesp – Vianen – Heusden – Cuijk – Arcen – Roermond – Maastricht or the other way around.
Day 1 (sat): Amsterdam – Weesp
Bike tour: about 15 km
After check in around 14.00 h the barge sails to Weesp. This small city on the banks of the river Vecht has a historical center with many canals and buildings dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It also has a few beautiful windmills. The scenic river Vecht and the small roads along the river attracts yachters and cyclists. As soon as you arrive the guide will organize a test ride. After dinner you will have time to stroll through this charming city.
Day 2 (sun): Amsterdam – Utrecht – Vianen
Bike tour: about 47 km
Your bike tour starts in Weesp and you will cycle along the beautiful meandering river
Vecht with impressive mansions on its banks. Along the way you will visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. You will meet the barge in the city of Utrecht and from there you will sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 3 (mon): Vianen – Gorinchem – Heusden
Bike tour: about 41 km
From Vianen you cycle through a typical Dutch landscape to Leerdam a little town on the banks of the river Linge. Leerdam is famous for its glasswork. A visit of the centuries-old crystal factory of Royal Leerdam is on the program. You can see a team of master glass blowers at work.
Later you continue biking on the beautiful roads along the Linge to Gorinchem, a charming town on the river Waal. After a short visit, you will join the barge to Heusden. If you want to bike some more, you can continue biking through the land of Maas en Waal. Heusden is a very nicely restored fortified city.
Day 4 (tue): Heusden – Cuijck
Bike tour: about 40 km
During breakfast the ship sails from Heusden to Maasbommel, a village on the Maas river. Here your bike tour will start, leading you along the Maas river to cities as Ravenstein and Grave. Both are medieval cities. In Ravenstein you can visit the Tanner’s Cottages and in Grave you will see canons from the time of Napoleon. Grave has also played an important role in Operation Market Garden during the second world war, because it was situated near an important bridge. This bridge is now called John S. Thompson Bridge.
Following the Maas river you will meet the barge in Cuijk where you will spend the night. The St. Martins Church, a neo-gothic church houses very well kept baroc-organ (built 1639-1650). This organ is one of the oldest in the Netherlands.
Day 5 (wed): Cuijck – Arcen
Bike tour: about 48 km
Today a magnificent bike tour is scheduled. You cycle along the Maas valley to Afferden and Heyen. The route continues through National Park Maasduinen to Well where you will find the Well castle with its heavy round brick tower dating from the 14th century. Our The destination for today is Arcen. Here you will may visit the famous castle gardens with a great variety: the Rosarium, with ten different rose gardens; the water- and sculpture garden; the Lommerijk, with shades, waterfalls and streamlets; the Valley, offering six ‘international’ gardens ; Casa Verde, offering Mediterranean and tropical gardens; the Golf garden,with a view at the largest waterfall in the Netherlands.
Day 6 (thu): Arcen – Venlo – Roermond
Bike tour: about 50 km
Again your bike route follows the Maas river. Here and there you cross by ferry or bridge in order to follow the most interesting paths. The first stop is Venlo, with many historical monuments and a lively inner city. At lunchtime you arrive in Kessel, one of the oldest villages along the Meuse. There you cross over to the other bank and continue the bike ride to the beautiful village of Beesel, where the grain mill 'grey bear' stands proudly along the river. On the Nunhemmerheide you will visit the St. Ursula windmill dating from 1600. It is the only mill in Western Europe where oil is still obtained from rapeseed. Then you continue to Thorn, the ‘white Village’ on the Dutch/Belgian border known for its cobblestone streets and white painted houses. The only non-white building is the 14th-century church.
Todays’s tour ends in the city of Roermond, where of the river Roer and Maas come together. Roermond is known by it’s rich cultural heritage. Since 1559 it has been a bishop city. In the center you will find many historical buildings. Roermond is also the city of Pierre Cuypers, according to many the most important Dutch architect of the 19th century. He is the architect of the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam.
Day 7 (fri): Roermond – Born – Maastricht
Bike tour: about 42 km
Today, the cycling tour continues through charming villages and the beautiful landscape of the province of Limburg. First stop is Thorn, the ‘white Village’ on the Dutch/Belgian border known for its cobblestone streets and white painted houses. The only non-white building is the 14th-century church. From Thorn you cycle across the Dutch / Belgian border to the Belgian city Maaseik. This city is famous for the painters Hubert and Jan van Eyck. On the market square you will see typical Renaissance-style houses with their impressive facades. You can also take the opportunity to have a nice Belgian "pint" on this beautiful square.
You will find the ship in Born, from where you sail to Maastricht.
Maastricht, the capital of the province is a beautifully preserved city with Roman roots. In this town you find the treasure house of the St. Servaas Church, the Bonnefanten museum for art and antiquity, and the Kazematten, a system of underground fortress works from the 18th century. In addition to these places of interest, it is also worthwhile visiting the marl caves, or just to thoroughly enjoy yourself on the Vrijthof. You will not get bored!
Day 8 (sat): Maastricht
End of tour.
Included in the cost of the tour
- Tour and accommodation on board 8 days/7 nights (Saturday-Saturday) from/to Amsterdam, cabin in the booked category;
- Full board (7x breakfast, 6x picnic lunch during bike tours, 7x three course dinner);
- Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels on request); daily cleaning of the cabin;
- Welcoming drink and -speech on the first evening
- Tour leader (multilingual) with daily briefings of the bike tours; during the day the tour leader is cycling the daily bike tour and individual travellers can reach him/her on his/her cell phone
- daily fully guided bike tours;
- Entrance National Glass Museum Leerdam
- Printed instructions and detailed maps for daily bike tours, 1 set per cabin;
- Daily coffee and tea.
- Transfer to and from the docking place
- Bike rental (incl. pannier) € 70
- Other transfers;
- Parking fees;
- Personal insurances
- Gratuities (at your discretion)
- Drinks and expenses on excursions (not mentioned under included)
Rental bicycle with 7 gears, hand- and pedal brakes, pannier bag : €75 per week (optional)
Rental E-Bike: €175 per week (only on request, limited number available, early bookings strongly recommended)