Bike and Barge Tour Netherlands & Belgium
Amsterdam – Bruges | MS Zwaantje
Experience the charm of a bygone era on this exciting 8 day, 7 night Bike and Barge tour where you will discover the best of what Holland and Belgium have to offer.
During the day you will cycle to world famous destinations such as Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges, while at night you will relax in the comfort of your floating hotel.
Charming villages, a real Dutch cheese farm and the 19 famous windmills in Kinderdijk – Amsterdam to Bruges
Cycling on this tour is through the beautiful – and flat – Dutch countryside of Zeeland and the western Flanders region of Belgium. Attractions along the way include many charming villages, a visit to a real Dutch cheese farm, the 19 famous Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk and the world famous cities of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges in the western Flanders region of Belgium. You will cycle through and discover the Dutch province of Zeeland, which is essentially one big river delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt Rivers famous for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities and Delta works and the Flanders region of Belgium famous for its medieval towns and a reputation for superb food and drink. As well as being able to discover many picturesque villages each day – both on your bicycle and on foot – you will:
- Have the opportunity to discover Amsterdam
- Visit Antwerp, a city famous for its vibrant nightlife
- Get the opportunity to explore Ghent
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center of Bruges
The MS Zwaantje (“Little Swan”) is a fully converted passenger barge under Dutch flag and management with a length of 40 meters (131 ft.) that can accommodate 24 passengers.
Description of the cabins
On the lower deck, the Zwaantje has twelve comfortable guest cabins. Ten twins (7 m² – 75 sq.ft.) with two separate single beds and two doubles (6 m² – 65 sq.ft.) with one double bed. Each cabin has a private shower, toilet and basin. All cabins have ventilation, central heating, air-conditioning and a window; the windows in the doubles can be opened, the windows in the twins are fixed for safety reasons. Furthermore, in each cabin you will find a mini safe and hair dryer.
Description of the ship
On the upper deck you will find the nice and cozy salon with heating, air conditioning, large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar. Wi-Fi is available. The Zwaantje also has a very spacious sun deck with chairs and tables where you can relax, enjoy the scenery while sailing or join the skipper in the wheel house.
Tour details Netherlands & Belgium: From Amsterdam to Bruges | MS Zwaantje:
Day 1 (Sat): Arrival and embarkation: Amsterdam | Amsterdam – Vianen |
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is at 1 p.m. At around 2 p.m. the ship will depart from Amsterdam for Vianen, a small fortified village on the Lek River. After dinner you have the opportunity to enjoy a short first test ride through the surrounding area.
Day 2: Vianen – Schoonhoven – Kinderdijk | Kinderdijk – Dordrecht (32 km/19 mi. or 56 km/34 mi.)
Today you will cycle along a beautiful route to Schoonhoven – nicknamed Zilverstad (“Silver City”) – a city renowned for its talented silver smiths since the 17th century. 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. All 19 windmills have a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and are a definite highlight – you will have the opportunity to visit one so don’t forget to bring your camera! From nearby Alblasserdam you will take the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry, that will take you and your bicycle in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland.
Day 3: Dordrecht – Willemstad | Willemstad – Tholen | Tholen – Kreekrak lock – Antwerp (36 km/23 mi. or 44 km/28 mi.)
As you enjoy your breakfast aboard the ship, the ship will sail to Willemstad where you will start your day’s cycling. Willemstad is a beautiful old fortified town on the Haringvliet waterway. Your bicycle ride goes to Tholen, once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, 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 of an eventful past.
In the afternoon you will once again board the ship which will sail to the port city of Antwerp, 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 attractions including: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle. After dinner you can visit the beautiful old city center.
Day 4: Antwerp – Temse – St. Amands (34 km/21 mi. or 49 km/31 mi.)
This morning you will cycle out of Antwerp along a picturesque section of the Schelde River to St. Amands your home for the night. There is only one way to describe the landscape around the Schelde and that is “magnificent”. It is without doubt one of the natural highlights of the tour.
Day 5: St. Amands – Dendermonde | Dendermonde– Ghent (52 km/32 mi.)
Today you will continue to follow the river Schelde to Ghent where the ship will moor for the night at a lock in a suburb of town. Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history. Since Roman times Ghent’s position at the junction of Leie and Schelde Rivers has ensured that it has been a successful trading port. In total the city features an Opera House, 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Major attractions are St. Bavo Cathedral where a number of masterpieces of medieval art including the world famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck are kept and the 91-metre-tall belfry of Ghent, one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center.
Day 6: Ghent – Bruges (22 km/13 mi. or 45 km/28 mi.)
Today you will cycle from Ghent through the beautiful Flemish 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. An outstanding example of a medieval historic 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 the town’s 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. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).
Day 7: Tour around Bruges to the North Sea (38 km/23 mi or 51 km/31 mi.)
Your final day of cycling takes you along a quiet canal and past beautiful poplar trees through an attractive polder landscape (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments) dotted with small farm houses to the North Sea coast. Here if you want you can swim in the sea along an inviting sandy beach, visit any one of numerous cafés and see the attractive dune landscape. On the return ride to Bruges you will cycle along a small picturesque canal.
Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Bruges
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
When a guest don’t want to cycle one day, he can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next harbor.
Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
- On this Tour with more than 22 guests the daily cycling tours will be accompanied by 2 knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leaders (not on Zwaantje). 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..
- 8 days/7 nights
- 7 x breakfast
- Packed lunches
- 6 x 3-course dinner
- Coffee and tea on board
- Welcome drink
- Use of bed linen and towels
- Daily cleaning of the cabin
- Climate-controlled cabin
- Daily briefings
- Fully guided cycling tours (Magnifiques/Fleur: 2 tourleaders, 2 groups; Zwaantje: 1 tourleader)
- Some short walking tours
- Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
- GPS tracks
- Use of a helmet
- Use of a waterproof pannier bag
- Water bottle
- Fees for ferries
- Visit Kinderdijk mills
- Entrance cathedral Antwerp
- Canal trip through Ghent
- 1x dinner (Zwaantje: Antwerp)
- Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
- Personal insurances
- Gratuities (at your discretion)
- Entrance fees and excursions (not mentioned under inclusions)
- Transfers to/from the docking place
- Parking fees
Rental bicycle (incl. helmet and water bottle): €80 per period
Rental E-Bike (incl. helmet and water bottle): €175 per period (only on request, limited number of e-bikes available, early bookings strongly recommended.
You can find a description of the bicycles when you click on ship.
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.