Bike and Barge Netherlands
The Hansa Highlights Boat and bike tour will take you through the central region of the Netherlands, a region shaped over millennia by the numerous rivers and streams that crisscross the area.
You will cycle through the Rhine valley and its very beautiful tributary the IJssel River, cross the so-called border lakes region of the Netherlands and will visit fascinating cities and villages such as Amsterdam, Arnhem, Deventer, Kampen, Harderwijk and Elburg, to name a few.
Given the flat terrain along the 125 km IJssel valley, the tour is perfect for anyone who wants to leisurely cycle along the many winding trails in this diverse area.
Hansa Highlights Guided | Gandalf
The natural beauty of the region is sure to impress as will the Hanseatic towns of the region that flourished during the Middle Ages when the IJssel was one of the most important trade routes in Europe. Another attraction is the so-called border lakes, between the “old” land with many beautiful harbor towns and the “new” land of the Flevoland, which was once the bottom of the sea, before the land was reclaimed in the 1950s and 1960s.
In this area you will leisurely cycle through a number of picturesque fishing harbors where life seemingly moves at a much slower pace. For many Dutch, this probably not so well-known area is one of their favorite cycling areas.
The Gandalf is a small and comfortable passenger barge. The ship, owned and operated by skipper Hans Petrus, sails under Dutch flag has been sailing in various areas in The Netherlands and Belgium for many years. The Gandalf is a very popular ship, ideal for bike and barge tours.
Description of the cabins
The Gandalf has ten twin cabins (10 m² – 108 sq.ft.) with two separate beds. In two of the cabins a bunk bed as third bed is possible (on request). Each cabin has a recently renovated bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. Windows can be opened and the cabins have ventilation and central heating. A hair dryer is available on request.
Description of the ship
On the upper deck of the Gandalf you will find the large and cozy lounge with the bar and dining area. Wi-Fi is available. The barge also has two large sundecks with storage room for the bicycles and sitting areas with tables and chairs, where you can have a drink. On nice evenings, or while cruising, you can enjoy the scenery from here. Furthermore, equipped with a double-roof of solar panels, the Gandalf runs for a great part on green energy! This is not only environment-friendly, but also comfortable for guests: since the ship hardly needs to use a generator to produce electricity, the nights are still and quiet on board.
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam | Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is between 1 and 2 p.m. in Amsterdam. At approximately 2 p.m. the barge will leave Amsterdam to sail over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede on the Rhine where you will spend your first night.
Day 2 (Sun): Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem (35 km/21 mi. or 44 km/28 mi.)
While you are enjoying breakfast, the barge will sail to Wageningen where you are finally off and cycling through the picturesque river valley of the Rhine. Along the way you will cycle through the woods and moorlands of the Veluwe. At the end of the day you pedal through the suburbs and past lovely parks such as Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal to Arnhem, where you spend the night close to the city center. During the second world war Arnhem was the battle scene of Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history. The operation ended in a failure because of the inability to capture a bridge over the Rhine River resulting in the destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division.
Day 3 (Mon): Arnhem – Doesburg | Doesburg – Zutphen | Zutphen – Deventer (26 km/16 mi. or 42 km/26 mi.)
Today’s cycling tour takes you along the Hanseatic Town Route to the small village of Doesburg and along the IJssel to Bronkhorst, which has the distinction of being recognised as the smallest town in Holland. Guests will have two choices today – a shorter tour along the riverbank to Zutphen; or a longer bicycle trip via Vorden passing country houses, castles and rural estates. During dinner the barge will sail to Deventer where you have the option of a short guided walking tour in the evening.
Day 4 (Tue): Deventer – Hattem | Hattem – Kampen (36 km/23 mi. or 48 km/29 mi.)
This morning you will enjoy a short bicycle ride along the IJssel riverbank before boarding a ferry at Wijhe to cross the river to Hattem. The 800-year-old town of Hattem has a rich history that is still clearly visible today. Guests have the opportunity, if they want, to stretch their legs with a longer bicycle trip through east Veluwe. During dinner the ship will sail to Kampen where you have the opportunity to go on an optional guided walking tour in the largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands.
Day 5 (Wed): Kampen – Elburg – Harderwijk (48 km/29 mi.)
In the morning the barge will sail to the IJssel estuary and across the so-called border lakes. Today’s cycling tour starts at a lock, Roggebotsluis. From the lock you cycle along the border lakes to the fishing harbor of Elburg, where swimming, boating, surfing and fishing are favorite summertime activities. From Elburg the cycling tour goes to lovely Harderwijk through the woods and moorland at Elspeet. The night will be spent in Harderwijk’s old fishing harbor. In the 1500s Harderwijk boasted the largest fish market in the Zuiderzee region and it is still a fascinating old city to explore.
Day 6 (Thu): Harderwijk – Bunschoten – Spakenburg (35 km/21 mi. or 55 km/34 mi.)
Today guests have two cycling choices: a short pedal along the coast or a combination of the coast route and a longer alternative that also takes in adjacent woodlands. The night will be spent in Spakenburg, a village well-known for its traditional costumes.
Day 7 (Fri): Spakenburg – Huizen | Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam (35 km/21 mi.)
During breakfast you can enjoy the scenery from the comfort of the barge. From Huizen you will cycle to the beautiful fortress towns of Naarden and Muiden, famous for its historic castle. From Muiden you will cycle along quiet roads to your final destination, the world famous city of Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are spent in Amsterdam. While you are there take the opportunity to visit Anne Frank’s home, the Rembrandt House Museum, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Dam Square, the very centre and heart of the city or maybe you could go on a canal tour.
Day 8 (Sat): Amsterdam
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
Good to know
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 reasons.
- The daily cycling tours will be accompanied by a knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader.
- During the days when 2 bicycle options are possible, the tour leader will make a choice for the longer or the shorter option together with the group.
- Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bike option.
- You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board). GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour.
- In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.