Bike and Barge 2020 Southern Route
Historic towns, picturesque villages, a rural environment abounding with water, dunes and beaches: those are the typical ingredients of the Southern bike and barge tour. And let’s not forget the nineteen breathtaking windmills in Kinderdijk.
This varied trip guarantees a striking introduction to the green and cultural heart of Holland. On one day you will be roaming the centre of Haarlem, Leiden or 16th Century Delft, the next day you will cycle along the reedy borders of the Lek or Amstel river. In the historic towns there is time for visiting a museum (Frans Hals, Rembrandt and Van Gogh), shopping, or relaxation in an outdoor café. You will visit the beach and the dunes near The Hague by bike, just like many Dutch people. You will sail through the world’s largest seaport Rotterdam very appropriately by boat. Absolutely overwhelming are the eighteen windmills in Kinderdijk driven by the wind and built around 1750. An optional canal tour by boat through Amsterdam will make this route complete.
- Cities of Haarlem, Leiden, Delft
- Residence The Hague
- Windmills of Kinderdijk, World Heritage List
- Gouda, cheese city
- Dunes and beaches
- International port of Rotterdam
Day 1 Saturday: Amsterdam, boarding at 2.00 pm; Sailing to Spaarndam and cycling to Haarlem, 15 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. The first part of the tour you will sail to Spaarndam – known as the village of Hansje Brinker – and from here we make an easy ride into the beautiful city of Haarlem.
Back on board, after the bike ride, the programme for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you at dinner time.
Day 2 Sunday: Haarlem – through the dune area – Leiden 38/48 km
Upon departure from Haarlem you will first 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’. From this monument your ride through the the dunes and to the beach begins. You will pass country estates near Vogelenzang, and near lunchtime you reach the seaside resort of Noordwijk. Via more dunes and the fishing village of Katwijk you reach the university city of Leiden.
Day 3 Monday: Leiden – Delft, 49 km
You leave the city in a southerly direction and cycle 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 beaches can be reached through the Meijendelse Slag on the southern end and the Wassenaarse Slag in the northern direction (or through Katwijk aan Zee, the Zuidduinen and then the beach).
The route to Delft takes you along the water once again. The old centre is well worth a visit. This is a well-conserved medieval city with canals, a magnificent town hall and a royal tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk.
Day 4 Tuesday: Delft
Today you will have the day to your free disposal. You can stay in Delft and discover the old centre, visit The Hague by public transport or go to Rotterdam by bike.
Delft is a beautiful town to wander round; learn more about the famous dutch painter Vermeer at the Vermeer Centre 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 has an international character with its 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, now a famous museum with paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Rubens. '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, where our Queen works and the Huis ten Bosch Palace, where she lives.
Rotterdam This bustling city has many architectural highlights, some interesting museums and is the main port of Holland. Skyscrapers stand in the scaffolds or rise steadily towards the stars. On the Maas River, Erasmus Bridge is the gateway to the Kop van Zuid district. The modern architecture on what is known as ‘Manhattan on the Maas’ is unmistakeable. Here you can find the New Orleans and the Maastoren, the highest residential tower and the highest office building in the Netherlands. Elsewhere in Rotterdam, such as in the Lloydkwartier and on the Wijnhaven Island, the look of the city is changing on a daily basis, thanks to such striking building projects. No wonder Rotterdam is internationally renowned as a city of architecture. But the city also offers some interesting museums such as the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, where you can find Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Dali and Dutch Design. Or maybe you would like to make a tour through the port and see how container ships are being loaded.
Day 5 Wednesday: Delft – sailing to Rotterdam/Kinderdijk – cycling to Gouda, 44/52 km
The first part of today’s route will be sailed through the centre of Rotterdam, thus giving you the best view of the modern architecture of this port. You’re cycling day starts in Kinderdijk and then take you through the Alblasserwaard, situated in between rivers and showing you wide scenery of 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; of the latter nineteen remain today. Their job has nearly totally been taken over by electric pumping stations. After a visit to one of the mills you will continue on bike along waterways and wetlands. We will also pass many dairy farms as we are entering the country of the Gouda cheese. The tour ends today in Gouda. Who thinks of Gouda, not only thinks of cheese, pipes, ‘stroopwafels’ (treacle-waffle) and pottery, but also of stained-glass windows, a fairy-like town hall and atmospheric canals. Gouda is beautiful Old-Dutch city with a mostly intact city centre.
Day 6 Thursday: Gouda – Uithoorn, 40 km
From Gouda you will continue your tour over country roads, banks and channels through the Green Heart and polders to Oude Wetering, a sleepy village between between the lakes of Braasemmermeer and Westeinderplassen. On the way you will pass the wetlands of Reeuwijkse Plassen north of Gouda and will ride through typical Dutch countryside with many waterways, green pastures and of course some windmills.
Day 7 Friday: Uithoorn – Amsterdam, 40 km
Today you will first ride to the village of Uithoorn. The name De Uithoorn (or also De Uythoorn) was used at the end of the Middle Ages for the location of the lower courts of the deanery of Saint John. The village was formed around its courthouse. People depended on agriculture and animal husbandry. Agriculture became increasingly more difficult due to the steady soil subsidence. From circa 1600 on, peat extraction became important and resulted in the formation of large ponds, which in turn would be made into polders later on. Circa 1885, several fortifications were built around Uithoorn as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam. From Uithoorn you will start your ride into Amsterdam. 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 centre. Then it is time to say goodbye to your bike. Before the fare-well dinner you may want to go for a walk in town. At night you may want to take a canal trip or go on a city walk through the centre of the city.
Day 8 Saturday:Amsterdam, End of the trip after breakfast.
- All nights on board, (Sat.-Sat. 8 days / 7 nights), cabin in the booked category;
- Full board (7 x breakfast, 6 x self-made picnic lunch for bike tours, 7 x three course dinner)
- Use of bed linen and 2 towels (change of towels possible)
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide, cycles with the group
- Min. 3 city walks with the tourguide
- Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck
- Road book, 1x per cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- Bicycle rent
- Bicycle insurance (optional) € 15,- per bicycle
- Bicycle insurance electric bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 30,-
- Personal insurance/ Cancellation insurance (optional)
- Bike rental incl. bike helmet: € 92,50 (Hybrid bike with 24 gears, pannier bags, lock, water bottle)
- E-bike rental: € 175,- (with 21 gears)
- Child’s bike: € 60,- (incl. helmet; with 21 gears; for children from approx. 9 years and older)
- Bike seat: € 15,- (incl. helmet; suitable for children from approx. 11 months until 5 years; max. weight 25 kg)
- Trailer bike: € 55,- (incl. helmet; bike attached to adult’s bike; suitable for children from approx. 5 until 9 years; max. weight 35 kg)
- Bike trailer: € 85,- ( suitable for babies who cannot sit by themselves; a car seat/baby seat not included)
- Set of bike maps: € 28,50 (to be ordered and paid in advance; cannot be purchased on board)
Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.
The program is subject to change without notice.
If you have special meal requirements (vegetarian meals, or if you are on a diet), we ask you to mention this when booking. In case of Glutenfree diet there is an additional charge of € 50,- per week.