Bike and Barge Netherlands: Hansa Highlights premium
This tour leads you through a region that’s one of the most beloved among Dutch cyclists. Come and explore it yourself, by bike and barge. Every day while cycling, you’ll get to know more of its numerous historical cities, beautiful river landscapes and diverse natural areas. Every evening, you’ll return to your floating hotel barge, docked in a picturesque harbor along the route. The *Princesse Royal has room for up to thirty guests.
Cycle along an important trading route
The area you’ll be traversing was shaped over millennia by numerous rivers and streams. It thrived during the Middle Ages, when the rivers Rhine and IJssel were among the most important trade routes in Europe. Many of the cities along their banks were members of the Hanseatic League. This confederation protected the economic interests of its members in large parts of the Netherlands, Germany and Northern Europe. The affluence of those years is visible everywhere in abundant civil and religious architecture.
Through the natural beauty of the Rhine Valley
Your tour starts in the delightful city of Amsterdam. From there, you’ll sail and cycle to many larger and smaller Hanseatic towns like Arnhem, Deventer, Zutphen, Kampen, Harderwijk and Elburg. The natural beauty of the Rhine valley and its enchanting tributary, the IJssel, will duly impress you. Another attraction along the way are the so-called Bordering Lakes. These are situated between the “old” mainland with many beautiful harbor towns, and the “new” reclaimed land of the province of Flevoland, that was once the bottom of the sea.
The flat terrain in the 125 km long IJssel valley makes this a perfect tour for those who love to cycle leisurely along many winding trails in a diverse area.
*Princesse Royal (former Magnifique)
The hull of the Magnifique was originally constructed as a seagoing sailing vessel: this explains the unique shape of the ship. But the vessel was then converted to become a passenger barge for inland waterways. The premium barge was fully restyled and refurbished in 2010 and, during the winter of 2012/2013, extended by 14 meters. Roy van der Veen, owner and skipper of this fine barge, sets high standards to atmosphere, personal service and comfort, with the aim to offer his guests an unforgettable stay on board, in line with the “premium” classification. The Magnifique sails under Dutch flag and management and is a very popular ship on several tours in various parts of The Netherlands and Belgium.
Description of the cabins
The Magnifique has sixteen cabins, situated on the lower deck. Guests are accommodated in eleven twin cabins (11 m² – 118.5 sq.ft.) with two single beds set next to each other, four premium twin cabins (14 m² – 151 sq.ft.) with two single beds next to each other and a small sitting area and one single cabin (7 m² – 75.5 sq.ft.). On prior request, the beds in most twin cabins can be set together as a double bed. On request, an additional bed is available in some twin cabins for children up to age 16 (as fold away bunk bed, above one of the other beds). Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and wash basin. All cabins have an individually regulated air conditioning, ventilation system and central heating; the portholes in all cabins are fixed for safety reasons. Furthermore, each cabin has a flat screen (satellite) TV, a mini safe and a hair dryer.
Description of the ship
On the upper deck, the Magnifique has a tastefully furnished lounge with air conditioning, restaurant, a beautiful bar, a sitting area with cozy corners, a wide screen TV and large windows. Wi-Fi is available. Furthermore, the Magnifique offers two partly covered teak wooden sundecks with chairs and tables where you can have a drink when the weather is nice and enjoy the scenery while cruising. On the elevated aft deck you will find a barbecue and a whirlpool/Jacuzzi to relax.
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam (13 km/8 mi.)
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is at 2 p.m. in the center of Amsterdam. After unpacking your luggage in your cabin an introduction to the tour will take place at 3 p.m. After that your rental bicycles will be distributed and your tour leader will invite you to a short test-ride. Upon your return your first dinner on board will be served. After dinner your tour leader will take you on an evening walk.
Day 2 (Sun): Amsterdam – Breukelen | Breukelen –Wijk bij Duurstede (36 km/23 mi. or 46 km/28 mi.)
You will start your first day of cycling by pedaling out of Amsterdam to the historical town of Muiden with its 14th century waterfront castle. Ride along the Vecht River in an area famous for its beautiful mansions, small castles, impressive houses and their large gardens. Close to Vreeland you can visit a traditional cheese farm. After cycling through the charming villages of Loenen and Nieuwersluis you will arrive at Breukelen where you’ll rejoin your ship. Around 4 pm the ship departs for Wijk bij Duurstede and you can enjoy dinner while cruising. Spend the evening and night in Wijk bij Duurstede, a small town on the Rhine River.
Day 3 (Mon): 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 4 (Tue): Arnhem – Doesburg | Doesburg – Zutphen – Deventer (45 km/27 mi. or 55 km/35 mi.)
We leave Arnhem on the Princesse Royal, and then today’s cycling tour starts in the small town of Doesburg. There are two cycling options to get you to Zutphen and Deventer. The shorter option goes along the river IJssel to Bronkhorst, a seeming hamlet that’s proud to be the smallest town in Holland. From Bronkhorst you continue to Zutphen along the riverbank. The longer longer trip goes via Vorden, where you’ll be passing country houses, castles and rural estates. Both options end in Deventer, a city known for its delicious spicy gingerbread. In the evening, a guided walk with a local guide is on the program. Make sure to join!
Day 5 (Wed): Deventer – Wijhe | Wijhe – Kampen (40 km/25 mi or 56 km/35 mi.)
During breakfast the ship will take you to Wijhe, where your bicycle ride begins. In the morning you will enjoy a nice bicycle ride to Hattem. You can choose a short option along the banks of the river, or opt for a longer ride across the east Veluwe area. Hattem has a rich history, which is still clearly visible today. Leaving Hattem, it is only a short ride to the city of Zwolle, one of the most beautiful Hanseatic cities. From Zwolle you continue to Kampen. In the evening, an optional guided walking tour takes you to some of the most interesting sights in this largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands.
Day 6 (Thu): 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. . Dinner on board is not included this evening, so you can enjoy a wonderful meal at one of Harderwijks restaurants.
Day 7 (Fri): Harderwijk– 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 center and heart of the city or maybe you could go on a canal tour.
Day 8 (Sat): Amsterdam
The last part of your tour is today, but we won’t let you leave with an empty stomach. So before disembarkation until 9.30 a.m., enjoy a nice breakfast first.
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 and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal).
- On this Tour with more than 22 guests the daily cycling tours will be accompanied by 2 knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leaders. On most days the tour leaders will offer a long and a short (or a quicker and a more relaxed) bicycle option.
- Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bicycle 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 bicycle tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
- On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 a.m..