Bike and Barge Netherlands & Belgium:
Amsterdam – Bruges Relax
This 11-day tour through the lowlands of the Netherlands and Belgium has all the ingredients a successful bike & barge tour needs.
Highlights like the iconic windmills at Kinderdijk; north Belgian culture in the beautiful Flemish cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges; personal encounters with local producers as you bike through Flanders; and above all, very nice cycling off the beaten path, along quiet country roads. And because this tour per bike and ship lasts a couple of days longer than most of our tours, you will have that extra bit more time to wander around in this region’s intriguing cities, visit one or more of their world-class museums or spend an afternoon shopping.
- Cycling through countryside and famous cities
This tour’s relaxed cycling passes through the gorgeous, green – and flat – Dutch countryside in the Lower Rhine delta, the province of Zeeland, and Flanders, the western region of Belgium.
Attractions along the way include many charming villages, a visit to a real Dutch cheese farm, the 19 Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk, and the world-famous historic cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges in Belgium. You will cycle through and discover the Dutch province of Zeeland, which is essentially one big river delta where the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers converge, and is famous for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities, and Delta works. Then, the Flanders region of Belgium awaits you, which has a reputation for its medieval towns — and superb food and drink.
- Discover the famous cities
Each day you will be able to discover many picturesque villages — both on your bicycle and on foot. The barge will stay for two nights in Antwerp, a cultural capital famous for its vibrant nightlife. So this means you have a whole day to discover this city, not only known as a diamond and harbor city but also as the hometown of the painter Rubens. No matter where you go, you’ll never be far from one of his masterpieces. Then there is Ghent, a lively university city, again one with a rich past. From Ghent, you bike through the pleasant countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges, widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts more than two million visitors every year who come to see the picturesque medieval town center of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic city and a long list of historic attractions.
Day to day program Amsterdam - Bruges
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam – Weesp test ride in Weesp (11 km/6 mi.)
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board are between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Around 2 p.m. the ship 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 attract yachters and cyclists. As soon as you arrive, the tour leader will organize a test ride. After dinner, you will have time to stroll through this charming city.
Day 2 (Sun): Weesp – Utrecht Utrecht – Vianen (47 km/28 mi.)
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 ship in the city of Utrecht and from there, sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 3 (Mon): Vianen – Schoonhoven – Kinderdijk – Alblasserdam Alblasserdam –
Dordrecht (waterbus ferry) (22 km/13 mi. or 57 km/36 mi.)
Today you will cycle a beautiful route along the Lek River to Schoonhoven — a city renowned for its talented silversmiths since the 17th century, earning it the nickname Zilverstad (“Silver City”). Later in the day, as you cycle through the Alblasserwaard region, you will reach Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. These 19 windmills are also UNESCO cultural heritage attractions and are a definite highlight of The Netherlands. You will have the opportunity to go inside one, so don’t forget to bring your camera! From nearby Alblasserdam, you will take the “Waterbus,” a fast ferry that carries you and your bicycle in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht. Dordrecht, or “Dordt,” as it is called by insiders, is one of the oldest Dutch cities, and sits on the confluence of three major rivers. In the evening, after dinner, you can join our guide for a short city walk visiting some of Dordt’s 1600 monuments and the picturesque point where the waterways meet.
Day 4 (Tue): Dordrecht – Willemstad Willemstad – Tholen (44 km/28 mi.)
As you relax with a tasty breakfast aboard your ship, the Gandalf, it will sail onwards to Willemstad where you will start your day’s cycling. Willemstad is a beautiful old fortified town on the Haringvliet waterway. From here, your bicycle tour for the day heads to Tholen, which once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland stream system — a place where many people fished for their living. Nowadays, Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways, but it is still a picturesque village with many relics from an eventful past.
Day 5 (Wed): Tholen – Kreekrak lock Kreekrak locks – Antwerp (20 km/13 mi. or 36 km/23 mi.) After coffee and breakfast, you will leave the barge for a bicycle tour through the “Wouwse Plantage” forest, heading south to the impressive Kreekraksluis, or Kreekrak lock. In the afternoon, you will once again board the ship to cruise to the port city of Antwerp, which is situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and is a city with a long list of delightful attractions in store for you. These include the City Hall — one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period — the Grote Markt historical city square, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral, and the medieval Steen Castle.
Day 6 (Thu): Antwerp
Today your barge stays in Antwerp. This means you will have an entire day to discover this city of culture, cobblestones, and Flemish Baroque masterpieces. You can visit the Rubens House, the palazzo where the brilliant and versatile artist lived with his family. You will find some of his paintings to admire just a ten-minute walk away in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe (Our Dear Lady) Cathedral.” Other ideas for spending a pleasant afternoon here are to visit the famous beer brewery of ‘de Koninck’ for a tour and tasting, explore the fascinating Museum on the Scheldt River (MAS Museum aan de Stroom) or go shopping in Antwerp’s welcoming shopping area. Dinner tonight is not included as you have the chance to dine at a restaurant of your choosing. If needed, your crew can provide restaurant recommendations.
Day 7 (Fri): Antwerp – Temse – St. Amands (34 km/21 mi. or 49 km/31 mi.)
This morning, you will cycle out of Antwerp along a striking section of the Schelde River to St. Amands, where your home away from home will dock for the night. There is only one way to describe the scenery along the Schelde, and that is “magnificent.” Its natural splendor is, without doubt, one of the highlights of the tour. In the evening, if you haven’t already taken the chance to taste one of Belgium’s incomparable “biers,” then make sure you give them a try — the famous Duvel brew is a specialty of the region.
Day 8 (Sat): St. Amands – Dendermonde Dendermonde – Ghent (52 km/32 mi.)
During breakfast, the ship will bring you to the city of Dendermonde. Here you’ll disembark and continue to bike along the Schelde River to Ghent, where the ship will moor for the night at a lock in a suburb of the city. Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history: Since Roman times, Ghent’s position at the confluence of the Leie and Schelde rivers has ensured its success as a trading port, at one point making it the second biggest city in Europe. The old city features an Opera House, a total of 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Two of the major attractions are St. Bavo Cathedral — where a number of medieval art masterpieces are kept, including the world-famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck — and the 91-meter-tall belfry of Ghent, which is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center. Tonight, your floating hotel will be docked close to the city center of Ghent, giving you the chance to explore at your leisure.
Day 9 (Sun): Ghent – Bruges (22 km/13 mi. or 45 km/28 mi.)
After a fortifying breakfast, you will cycle onwards from Ghent through the beautiful Flemish countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges, which is widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts a great many European and foreign holidaymakers thanks to its picturesque, UNESCO-listed medieval city center and a wealth of attractions for history lovers. An outstandingly-preserved example of a medieval settlement, Bruges has managed to maintain its historic fabric as it has evolved over the centuries, with the result that today the city’s original Gothic buildings form an integral part of its identity. While you are here, you can visit one of Bruges’ many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café. In the evening, your guide will take you for a walk to show you some beautiful parts of the city center — and maybe you can even taste a ‘Brugse Zot,’ a famous local beer.
Day 10 (Mon): Tour around Bruges to the North Sea (38 km/23 mi.)
Today your barge will stay in Bruges, giving you the choice of how you would like to spend the day. The tour leader will offer a morning bike tour of about 37 km. Your final cycle will set out along a quiet canal, past beautiful poplar trees, and through attractive landscapes of flat green polder fields dotted with small farmhouses (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments). On the return ride to Bruges, you will cycle along a charming little canal.
Day 11 (Tue): Bruges
The end of your tour: Enjoy one final breakfast and disembark by 9.30 a.m. Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bicycle option.
Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological
- 11 days/10 nights
- 10 x breakfast
- Packed lunches
- 9 x 3-course dinner
- Coffee and tea on board during breakfast and after the cycling tours, till 4 p.m.
- Welcome drink
- Use of bed linen and towels
- Cleaning of the cabin 3 times during the tour
- Daily briefings
- Fully guided cycling tours (1 tour leader)
- Some short walking tours
- Fees for ferries / waterbus
- Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
- GPS tracks
- Use of a waterproof pannier bag
- 1x dinner in Antwerp
- Coffee and tea on board on other hours
- Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
- Helmet rental
- Personal insurances
- Gratuities (at your discretion)
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Transfers to/from the docking place
- Parking fees
Rental bicycle: €110,- p.p.
Rental E-Bike: €265 p.p. (only on request, limited number available)
You can find a description of the bicycles when you click on ship.
A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.
Transfer between Amsterdam and Bruges:
There is a good train connection between these two cities. Please visit one of the following websites for timetables, tickets or more information www.goeuro.co.uk or www.trainline.eu.