Bike and Barge: Top of Amsterdam
This boat and bike tour brings you over small dykes and country roads of Northern Holland.
Not until the 17th Century large parts of the area north of Amsterdam were recovered from the sea and reclaimed through the use of hundreds of windmills. It’s here that you will find the typical Dutch landscape of polders, mills and harbours.
Many of the windmills are still in working order. You can get a feel for the old Dutch atmosphere in Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Edam and Volendam: traditional costumes, sailing ships and long johns on the clotheslines. If you want to experience what it was to live in one of those villages in the old days we recommend to visit 'het Zuiderzeemuseum'.
On day 4 you’ll sail to Texel, an island with thousands of sheep and a magnificent nature reserve. Back on the mainland the route brings you to Holland’s most beautiful dune area. These are also the only kilometers you will be cycling above sea level!
Alkmaar will also provide a good picture of ancient times. It is the capital of Dutch cheese with its own cheese market and weigh-house for cheese. In Zaanse Schans, a lovely little hamlet on the banks of the river Zaan, the mills, houses, shops and traditional Dutch crafts bring the past to life.
- Typical fishing villages as Volendam and Enkhuizen
- Isle of Texel
- Alkmaar, the capitel of cheese
- The land of Leeghwater, the Purmer and the Beemster
The route from day to day
- Sat: Amsterdam, embarkation at 4 PM near Central Station, short round trip 15
- Sun: Amsterdam – Volendam, 46, sailing to Hoorn
- Mon: Hoorn - Enkhuizen 34 km Visit the Zuiderzee Museum
- Tue: Enkhuizen - Medemblik and sailing to Texel, 35 km
- Wed:Texel, round trip 35/48/62km
- Thu: Texel, sailing to Den Helder, Den Helder – Alkmaar 58 km
- Fri; Alkmaar – Zaanse Schans – Amsterdam, 55 km
- Sat: Amsterdam, debarkation before 10 AM near Central Station
1 km = 0.62 miles
Day to day schedule
Day 1, Saturday: Amsterdam, embarkation at 4 PM, Round tour, 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. 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: Amsterdam-Volendam, 45 km
You now leave Amsterdam, which is still very quiet at this hour. A ferry takes you to the Amsterdam Noord quarter and soon you will be cycling through the rural area of Waterland. In this soggy peat land the houses and villages are hardly above the level of the water.
The former isle of Marken is visited. It was not until 1957 that this island was connected to the mainland by a dike and it has retained its own particular character. The inhabitants are the only ones allowed to use their cars, so Marken can only be visited on foot or on bike. The route continues to the historic village of Monnickendam, which received its municipal charter in 1355.
Now you continue your way along the Gouwzee dike to Volendam, today's destination. Originally Volendam was a small fishing community. Practically all its inhabitants used to wear their distinctive and picturesque traditional costumes. Volendam started as a settlement when Edam (to be visited tomorrow) dug its new, shorter waterway to the Zuiderzee in the 14th century. The old harbour became superfluous, a new dike was built and soon farmers and fishermen settled down. In the second half of the 15th century a new village came into being: Volendam.
Day 3, Monday: Volendam – Hoorn/Enkhuizen 25/60 km
If you have decided to cycle today’s entire itinerary your first stop will be Edam. Famous for its little 'Edamers', the round cheese balls (coated with red wax for export). Together with the Gouda equivalent they are probably the best-known types of cheese in the world. Here you can sample the atmosphere of a well-maintained old-Dutch town, though now lacking its former activity. After Edam the tour continues through the Zeevang polders. Here you can enjoy the rich birdlife of the Dutch pastures. The route further takes you along the dike in a northerly direction towards the city of Hoorn, where a longer break can be had. You will have the opportunity to get a good impression of this beautiful city with its rich past. You continue on the dike with a wonderful view over the Markermeer on your right and West-Frisian villages on your left-hand side. The recently built dike from Enkhuizen to Lelystad (in the Noordoostpolder) appears on the horizon. This was meant to be a polder dike for a huge new polder: the Markerwaard. However, the plans were never performed: with time perception changed. The environment and fresh water supply became more important. So today the dike is there, but no polder... The trip for today ends in Enkhuizen where you can visit 'het Zuiderzeemuseum'.
Day 4, Tuesday: Enkhuizen – Medemblik and sailing to Texel, 35 km
If you haven't visited the Zuiderzeemuseum yesterday you'll have some time for a visit this morning. This museum, which consists of an indoor and outdoor part, shows you the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century. The cycling tour starts on the IJsselmeer dike and is then left behind to go through a nature reserve and some typical West-Frisian villages. Then Medemblik comes in sight, the oldest city of West-Friesland (1289), with an illustrious past and with Radboud castle, dating from the 13th century. After Medemblik the trip continues through the Wieringermeer, the oldest of the IJsselmeer polders. At Oude Zeug you get on board and sail to the isle of Texel.
Day 5, Wednesday: Texel, round trip 40/50/66 km
The isle of Texel, which is one municipality, is the largest of the Dutch Waddeneilanden (Wadden islands). The average length of Texel is 20 km and the average width 8 km. Texel is highly appreciated by bird-watchers. In springtime about 80 different types of birds breed her, mainly in the dune areas, but all in all about 300 different species have been perceived on Texel. A tour around this island with its numerous cycle tracks is well worth the effort.
Day 6, Thursday: sailing to Den Helder/‘t Zand/St. Maartensvlotbrug and cycling to Alkmaar, 37/41/60/70 km
The ship takes you back to the mainland, where you disembark in the city of Den Helder, the Dutch naval port, situated at the mouth of the Noord-Hollandskanaal or a futher south at the canal. Today's route takes you through the dunes. You pass by the unique nature reserve Het Zwanenwater (The Swans' Water), with its lakes and boggy hollows in the dunes. A little further you cycle on the Hondsbossche Zeewering (Hondsbossche Sea Dike), with a spectacular view of the North Sea. You enter the area of the Schoorlse Duinen (Schoorl Dunes), where you will find the highest dunes in the country. During the last century many pine trees were planted here so now it is a rather woody region. Bergen is an artists' village which attracts many painters, writers and architects. Your destination for today is Alkmaar, also called the City of Cheese. Its weigh-house was the first in the country (for weighing and trading of cheese).
Day 7, Friday: Alkmaar – Zaanse Schans – Amsterdam 25/45 km
Today you can cycle the whole route from Alkmaar to Amsterdam or stay on board till Zaandam. Alkmaar's famous Friday cheese market starts at 10.00 am. After leaving Alkmaar the stage takes you through the 'droogmakerij' land with the 17th century towns of Schermerhorn, Graft and De Rijp. The last stretch of the trip takes you through ’t Twiske (the Twiske) Leisure Park. Since the beginning of the Christian era the peat region around the Zaan had been used for cattle grazing. In the peat land ditches were dug to help draining the land. The dried peat was used as fuel. Once you are back at the barge in Amsterdam it is time to take leave of your bikes. In the afternoon there is still some time to go into town and after dinner you may want to finish off your trip by going on a city walk or taking a trip on one of Amsterdam's canal boats.
Day 8, Saturday, Amsterdam, end of tour after breakfast.
The program is subject to change without notice
- All nights on board (incl. bedding, towels, soap)
- 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 (limited available in lounge and on deck)
- Road book, 1x per cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- GPS-tracks (on request)
- Bicycle rent (see below)
- Bicycle insurance hybrid bike (optional) € 15,- per bicycle
- Bicycle insurance e-bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 15,- per tour
- Personal insurance
Special details Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.
- Bike rental incl. bike helmet: € 90,- (Hybrid bike with 24 gears, pannier bags, lock, water bottle)
- E-bike rental incl. bike helmet: € 170,- (with 21 gears)
- Child’s bike: € 55,- (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: € 50,- (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: € 19,- (to be ordered and paid in advance; cannot be purchased on board)
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 Gluten free diet there is an additional charge of € 50,- per week.