Cycletour with Boat and Bike from Amsterdam to Cologne with barge Sailing Home. Cruising on a boat and cycling through a colorful countryside is the perfect recipe for a successful holiday.
Biking and active during the day, the boat accompanies you along the river to welcome you at the day's goal as your swimming hotel. And if you do not want to cycle you can enjoy the tour on board, admiring the passing scenery!
First you will bike through the flat, peaceful countryside of Holland, with the famous windmills along the way. You bike along the winding river Vecht with its impressive mansions on its banks and you visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional method. You will enjoy the gorgeous river scenery of the rivers IJssel and Rhine, first in the Netherlands and later in Germany. We follow the Rhine valley upstream, first wide and flat along farmland and meadows, later through industrial areas where we learn about the important history of the river. We also visit the charming old city of Dusseldorf and the tour ends in Cologne with her magnificent cathedral. Apart from the beautiful landscape, you will see cultural highlights, art treasures, and you can enjoy regional culinary specialities.
The route from day to day + km
- Sat: Amsterdam, embarkation at 2 PM
- Sun: Sailing to Nigtevecht and cycling to Wijk bij Duurstede, 55 kmr
- Mon: Wijk bij Duurstede – Arnhem, 56 kmr
- Tue: Sailing to Pannerden and cycling to Rees, 40 kmr
- Wed: Rees - Ruhrort, 60 kmr
- Thu: Ruhrort – Dusseldorf, 42 kmr
- Fri:Dusseldorf – Cologne, 63 kmr
- Sat: Cologne, end of tour after breakfast at 10 AM r
Important note: This tour also is available in reverse order. See Cologne to Amsterdam.
Day to day schedule
Day 1 Saturday: Amsterdam, embarkation at 4 PM, round tour from the boat, 15-20 km
A simple settlement at the mouth of the river Amstel, with open connection to the sea: this was Amsterdam in the 12th century. In those days fishermen and craftsmen built a dam in the Amstel (now the site of the National Monument) and Amstel-re-damme was born. Amsterdam was granted its municipal charter somewhere around 1300-1306 and has since expanded continually. In the 17th and 18th century Amsterdammers were the most prosperous Europeans. The famous rings of canals were dug in the Golden Age, the 17th century. 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.
Other typical features of Amsterdam are its numerous 'hofjes' (almshouses), the floating flower market, and the hundreds of houseboats lining the canals.
Amsterdam is inextricably related to the diamond-cutting industry, which has brought much fame to the city since the 17th century.
The palace on Dam Square is sometimes called the eighth Wonder of the World as it was built on 13,650 piles.
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.
Upon arrival on board of your ship your luggage can be left in your cabin while you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. During this coffee break there is plenty of opportunity to get to know your guides, the crew and your fellow passengers.
Free time to explore the city and visit one of the famous museums like the Rijksmuseum, the van Gogh museum or the ‘Stedelijk museum’ of modern art.
During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed. Afterwards canal trip and city walk through the center of Amsterdam.
Day 2: Sunday: Amsterdam, sailing to Breukelen and cycling to Wijk bij Duurstede.40 km
Breakfast during sailing.
The bike tour starts in Breukelen. Breukelen is known in New York as Brooklyn) you bike along the meandering river Vecht. On the way we visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional method. We continue to Utrecht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands with her beautiful cathedral. Today’s tour ends in Wijk bij Duurstede also an old settlement at the river Lek.
Day 3: Monday: Wijk bij Duurstede, sailing to Wageningen and cycling to Arnhem, 50 km
Breakfast during sailing to the city of Wageningen. Today you bike along the river Nederrijn and you can enjoy great river landscape. Later you bike through National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant scenic beauty. Your bike tour ends today in Arnhem, famous for her role in the Second World War.
Day 4: Tuesday: Arnhem, sailing to Pannerden and cycling to Rees, 40 km.
Biking starts from Pannerden. Before we hit the German border we pass Doornenburg, with a wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene for many a movie. From Doornenburg you take take the right bank of the Rhine and pass the border at Lobith, a village every schoolchild knows. At Tolkamer the Dutch used to impose tolls on incoming ships. On the way to our destination Rees you pass Emmerich, a bigger town with a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. You may also stop at Kalkar. This beautiful town is also known for the failure of the German Nuclear Energy program in the 70s. A completely finished nuclear processing plant has never been put into functioning due to massive protest and is recently re-opened as an attraction park! We all end in Rees, a town with impressive remains of fortification.
Day 5 Wednesday: Rees, sailing to Wesel; cycling to Ruhrort 40 km
We sail during breakfast and get off at Wesel. Today we focus on the Ruhr area where Germany’s and probably Europe’s largest industries are housed. On a surface of 4.600 km2, very rich in coal, a vast landscape folds out of steel plants and textile industries, combined with chemical industrial plants. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhausen and Dortmund are glued together through a maze of highways, railways and waterways. Once very prosperous and therefore a target in 1923 when Belgium and French troops tried to enforce WW-1 payments of Prussia. And a number 1 target in 1944-1945 for sure. Hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort in re-developing the area after the closing down of many a factory. In the afternoon we visit the enormous landscape park of Duisburg-Nord, where we get to see huge former industrial plants and more detailed explanation and information about this area. It may not be always scenic, but it is an impressive landscape indeed and not to be missed when one visits the Rhine. We will find the ship in Ruhrort.
Day 6: Thursday: Ruhrort - Düsseldorf, 42 km
Today we leave the Ruhr-area behind us and we head first for Krefeld. In the 18th century Krefeld grew thanks to the textile industry. Velvet, silk and brocade were sold to emperors and kings from all over the world. There is still the statue of a silk weaver. The weavers worked in small houses that simultaneously served as a factory and house. In Krefeld, one can still see some of these houses. Our destination is Düsseldorf. In the evening there is time to visit the Altstadt. You can try their famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed at what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners.
Day 7: Friday: Düsseldorf, sailing to Zons and cycling to Cologne 30 km
Cycling direction Cologne you will stay close to the Rhine in order to be in Cologne not too late in the afternoon and having some time to look around. Cologne is the oldest of the bigger German cities, founded by the Romans. It got its city rights already 50 years after Christ as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippa. Later Cologne became one the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Landmark is of course the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248 they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in the 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored.
Day 8: Saturday Cologne, end of this trip after breakfast before 10.00 AM.
- All nights on board
- Breakfast and dinner on board
- Lunch packages when on the road
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide, cycles with the group
- Min. 3 city walks with tour guide
- Free WiFi (in the Netherlands; up to 100 Mb is limited available in lounge and on deck)
- Road book 1 x cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- GPS-tracks (on request)
- Bicycle rent
- Bicycle insurance (optional) E 15,- per bicycle
- Bicycle insurance E-bike (optional) E 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 15,- per tour
- Beverages on board, museums etc.
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.
Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.