Barge and Bike tour Bruges Amsterdam
Two countries, Holland and Belgium, united in one route. Combining the highlights of Holland’s Golden Age and the heydays of the Flemish trade cities in the Middle Ages.
Variety is the keyword in this tour. Cycling and sailing you will cross different landscapes such as the green Dutch polder landscape with water aplenty and quiet roads and villages, the picturesque countryside between the Flemish cities and of course the rich history of the old city-centers of Amsterdam, Antwerp (city of the painter Rubens), Ghent and Bruges. Also, the large rivers in this part of the Netherlands and Belgium are a prominent feature along the route.
Program from day to day
- Day 1 Saturday Bruges, embarkation at 2 PM. Cycling to Aalterbrug, 21km Sailing to Ghent.
- Day 2 Sunday Ghent,Cycling to Dendermonde; sailing to St. Amands, 47km
- Day 3 Monday St. Amands - Antwerp, 40 km.
- Day 4 Tuesday Antwerp–Sailing to Kreekrak locks;cycling to Willemstad,56km
- Day 5 Wednesday Willemstad sailing to Werkendam;cycling to Gorinchem,45km
- Day 6 Thursday Gorinchem - Vianen and sailing to Utrecht, 50 km
- Day 7 Friday Utrecht - sailing to Breukelen, biking to Amsterdam, 40 km
- Day 8 Saturday Amsterdam, debarkation before 10 AM near Central Station
1 km= 0.62 miles
All distances are approximate. The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.
Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure
Day to day schedule
Day 1 Saturday Bruges, cycling to Aalterbrug and sailing to Ghent 21 km
When you arrive 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.
At 2 p.m. you will start off the city walls of Bruges for a trip to Ghent. You will mostly be following the canal between Bruges and Ghent to Aalterbrug, which offers a beautiful, peaceful cycle route with an unexpected variety of experiences. After dinner you will have enough time to discover the old and characteristic city centre.
The city of Ghent is proud of its rich past, the many well-preserved guild's and patricians' houses as well as old warehouses, Gravensteen (a mediaeval castle), St Nicholas Church (with 13th century foundations), St Baaf's Cathedral (14th century, with the famous painting 'De Aanbidding van het Lam', 'The Mystic Lamb' by the Van Eijck brothers) and the 'Belfort' (Belfry;14th century). But Ghent is much more than just a museum town. This lively city with its numerous squares and cosy pubs is an excellent mixture of mediaeval edifices, stylish shopping streets, splendid mansions, working-class quarters from the beginning of the 20th century which now often house students and busy little squares where people eat out till the wee hours on a sultry summer night.
Ghent is a big city with some 250,000 inhabitants. The name is said to have originated from the Celtic Ganda, meaning 'mouth, confluence'. Indeed, the rivers Leie and Schelde flow together in the centre of the town. In 630 the Holy Amandus founded St Baaf's Abbey. In the Middle Ages Ghent became one of the most influential cities of Europe (approx. 56,000 inhabitants in 1350), due to the cloth industry. From the 14th to the 16th centuries there were many conflicts with the lords of Flanders as well as within the city itself.
Economic decline set in, in 1584 when the town was captured by the Spaniards during the rebellion of the Netherlands against King Philips II and lasted for several centuries. The revival only came in the 19th century, when Ghent developed into an industrial town - and became a socialist stronghold at the same time. The city has many well-preserved guild's and patricians' houses as well as old warehouses, Gravensteen (a mediaeval castle), St Nicholas Church (with 13th century foundations), St Baaf's Cathedral (14th century, with the famous painting 'De Aanbidding van het Lam', 'The Mystic Lamb' by the Van Eijck brothers) and the 'Belfort' (Belfry;14th century).
The city of Ghent is proud of its rich past, but is much more than just a museum town. This lively city with its numerous squares and cosy pubs is an excellent mixture of mediaeval edifices, stylish shopping streets, splendid mansions, working-class quarters from the beginning of the 20th century which now often house students and busy little squares where people eat out till the wee hours on a sultry summer night...
Day 2 Sunday: Ghent – cycling to Dendermonde and sailing to St. Amands (± 47 km)
Early Sunday morning we will cycle through the old centre of Ghent. After coffee we will leave for a nice day along one of the most beautiful rivers of Europe: the Scheldt.
After approximately 20 km you'll reach Wetteren, a nice flemish city which is well known for it's rose nurseries. But also a good place to learn what the Belgium word 'staminee' means. Berlare is the last place before Dendermonde so it's a perfect place to taste some Belgian beer before you board the ship again. Your boarding place for today is Dendermonde, a city which is known for the legend of the Beiaart.
From Dendermonde you'll sail to quiet village of St. Amand were you will spend the night.
Day 3 Monday: St. Amands – Antwerp (± 40 km)
From St. Amands the cycle route leads you along the river and past nature reserves like the mudflats of Durme and Schausselbroek. Especially the mudflats of Durme is worth mentioning cause it's one of the last fresh water marshes along this tidal part of the river and therefore has a unique flora and fauna. You continue your tour through Bazel, one of the most beautiful villages of Belgium. For an escalator the wooden moving stairs in the St. Anna tunnel under the Scheldt is a unique experience before entering the city centre of Antwerp.
The historical centre of Antwerp is worth a visit, here you'll find: the Onze-Lievevrouwenkerk and the Rubenshuis.
In the Willemsdok, near the Museum for Modern Art (Museum Aan de Stroom) you will find the barge.
Day 4 Tuesday Antwerpen, sailing to the Kreekraksluizen and cycling to Willemstad, 56/65 km
This morning you'll sail through the big harbour of Antwerp, a big difference with the nature reserves and quite villages of yesterday. But due to the big sea going vessels and large harbour cranes it's a fascinating journey which brings you to Holland where you start your bike tour at the Kreekrak locks.
By bike you will make a beautiful tour over the 'Brabantse wal' a sand wall dating back from the times when Mammoths roam the area. Today you won't find any big elephants, but the area seemed to be perfect for strawberry and asparagus fields.
So be here at harvest time (depending on the weather: around June).
From the woodlands around Bergen op Zoom you continue through a polderlandscape to the old fortified town of Willemstad, near the Volkeraksluizen (locks) at the Haringvliet, the busiest locks of Europe.
Day 5 Wednesday Willemstad, sailing to Werkendam and cycling to Gorinchem, 45 km
From Willemstad you'll sail this morning to Werkendam where you go ashore to continue your tour by bike through the land of Heusden and Altena. Along the Bergse Maas, the south border of the land of Heusden and Altena, you continue your tour along the fortified town of Heusden.
From here another river, the 'Afgedamde Maas' leads you back to the river Waal where you started your tour this morning.
Here you'll find another beautifull fortified town, Woudrichem.
A ferry brings you to the other side of the river, to Gorinchem, where you'll board the ship.
Day 6 Thursday Gorinchem, cycling to Vianen and sailing to Utrecht, 50 km
From Gorinchem you will follow the meandering river Linge through the Betuwe. This area is known for the large amount of orchards and therefore will be covered with blossoms in the months april and may.
Along the city of Leerdam, famous for its glass, you continue your tour in northern direction towards Utrecht.
On your way toward Utrecht you'll pass the so called 'Wiel van Bassa' the biggest dike burst hole in the Netherlands and another relic of the everlasting battle against the water.
From Vianen you sail to Utrecht. After dinner you can take a bus to the old centre of Utrecht.
Day 7 Friday: Utrecht – Amsterdam ( ± 40 km)
During breakfast we will sail to Breukelen from where we will cycle to Amsterdam along the two most beautiful rivers of Holland, the Vecht and the Amstel.
Along the route you will find the magnificent country houses and mansions from the 18th century with their splendid, well-kept gardens.
In the 12th century Amsterdam was nothing more than a simple settlement at the mouth of the river Amstel, directly connected to the sea. Amsterdam was granted its municipal charter between 1300 and 1306 and has since expanded continually. In the 17th century (the Golden Age), inhabitants of Amsterdam were the most prosperous Europeans. It was in the Golden Age that the famous rings of canals were dug. Powerful merchants had their abundantly decorated mansions built here, thus manifesting their riches. Amsterdam is a city to be explored on foot and we recommend the following places of interest: the rings of canals, the Jordaan area, with its many pubs, outdoor cafés and quaint shops, Vondelpark with its open air concerts, Leidseplein, Rembrandtsplein, the antique shops in the Spiegel district, Museum Square with the Rijksmuseum (National Museum), Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art) and the Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam is inextricably related to the diamond-cutting industry, which has brought much fame to the city since the 17th century.
Other typical features of Amsterdam are its numerous 'hofjes' (almshouses), the floating flower market, and the hundreds of houseboats lining the canals.
The palace on Dam Square is sometimes called the eighth Wonder of the World as it was built on 13.650 piles.
Did you know that:
- there are 222 trams, 277 buses, 106 underground trains and 8 ferries in Amsterdam?
- the Oude Kerk (Old Church) is the oldest edifice of Amsterdam?
- there are 600.000 bicycles in Amsterdam?
- there are 165 canals and 1,281 bridges in Amsterdam?
- there are 2.500 houseboats in Amsterdam?
Day 8 Saturday: Amsterdam, end of trip after breakfast, before 10 AM.