Bike and barge: Amsterdam Bruges
This bike holiday is combining the highlights of Holland’s Golden Age and the heydays of the Flemish trade cities in the Middle Ages. And of course Holland’s own world wonder: the Delta Works.
Two countries, Holland and Belgium, united in one route.
The Dutch 17th century Golden Age and the heyday of the Flemish trading cities of the Middle Ages are united in this route. Notice the big difference between the green polder landscape abounding in water, with its tranquil roads and villages and the old world of islands in Zeeland with its pastures, creeks, winding dikes and dams. On top of that the often so picturesque Flemish countryside between the Belgian cities of Gent and Bruges. The great rivers are a prominent feature in this part of the Netherlands and Belgium. Of course you will get to know our own, Dutch Wonder of the World: the Delta Works, evidence of the eternal battle against the waters of the sea.
- Golden Age of Holland
- Gouda, city of Cheese
- 19 Windmills of Kinderdijk
- Delta Works
- Mediaeval Flemish towns
- Ghent & Bruges
Day 1 Saturday: Amsterdam, boarding between 1 PM and 2 PM sailing to Oude Wetering; round trip15 KM
You are expected to arrive on our barge on Saturday the latest at 2 PM. The barge needs to leave the mooring place in Amsterdam at 2.15 PM. It is very important you are on time. The barge can’t wait due the opening hours of bridges and/or locks. When you arrive on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the guide, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers.
Day 2 Sunday: Oude Wetering - Gouda 45KM
From Oude Wetering you will continue your tour over country roads along river banks and channels through the Green Heart to the city known for its cheese: Gouda. Who thinks of Gouda, not only thinks of cheese, pipes, ‘stroopwafels’ (treacle-waffle) and pottery, but also of stained-glass windows, a fairy-like town hall and atmospheric canals. Gouda is a beautiful Old-Dutch city with a mostly intact city centre. As on most days, after dinner you can take a walk through the city.
Day 3 Monday: Gouda - Alblasserdam and ferry to Dordrecht 39KM
Today you will cycle along the Dutch IJssel, through the deepest lying polder of the Netherlands Krimpenerwaard and over narrow cycling paths to the river ‘Lek’. Here you will cross the river by ferry to Kinderdijk, a unique and renowned monument where Holland’s largest number of historical windmills is found. From the embankments of the river Lek, you will witness an amazing view of the 19 windmills, which are now listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage site. This is where you will take a break and visit the interior of a windmill. After a beautiful tour through the Alblasserwaardpolder you will arrive at the banks of the river ‘Beneden-Merwede’.
Day 4 Tuesday: Dordrecht, sailing to Willemstad,cycling to Zierikzee 54KM
From Dordrecht we will sail to the Delta area of the Dutch greater rivers during breakfast. Years ago, an open connection existed with the sea due to the many tributaries in this area. After the disastrous flooding in 1953, the Deltaplan was developed and most tidal outlets were closed from the sea by dams. Most parts of Zeeland were, and still are, under sea level and in 1953 the embankments were too weak and too low, causing this area to be at risk for flooding’s once in every 80 years. Now, because of the flood barriers, that chance is reduced to less than once every 4000 years. Just before reaching our destination of today (Zierikzee, on the island of Schouwen-Duivenland) we will visit the ‘Watersnoodmuseum’. This museum tells the tragic events of 1953 and is built in recently renewed caissons, once used for the last closure gap. This was done in November 1953, ten months after the storm surge which broke through more than 300 embankments. Zierikzee is a beautiful town and the centre of the ‘mussel culture’. The ‘Zeeuwse mosselen’ (blue mussels) are a renowned delicacy.
Day 5 Wednesday: Zierikzee - Middelburg 51KM
This morning you cycle along the Oosterschelde towards the North Sea, to cross the Oosterscheldedam. The enormous locks are built in this embankment and can be closed during storms and high tides protecting the south-west of the Netherlands against the sea. This embankment was one of the last in a series of barriers against the sea. When cycling along the embankment, one will realize why this has been one of the most difficult and costly challenges to protect the country now and in the future and to let seawater into the widespread Delta area. It is precisely why the Deltaworks are referred to as the one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
After this dam you will paddle to Middelburg, but not without visiting the picturesque port town of Veere. Middelburg is the lively principal town of Zeeland with many old houses, churches, the beautiful town hall and a pleasant shopping. Also to be found in Middelburg is the Roosevelt Academy, a liberal arts college, located in the former late-gothic town hall on the market of Middelburg.
Day 6 Thursday: Middelburg - Sas van Gent and sailing to Ghent 45KM
Today you have to cross the ‘Westerschelde’, the only estuary which isn’t closed by a dam cause it’s the gateway to the port of Antwerp. A short ferry trip brings you from Vlissingen to Breskens in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (Dutch-Flanders)! We are getting close to Belgium. On your daily cycle route you will cross the Dutch – Belgium border back and forth before you definitely cross the Dutch – Belgium border by boat to sail to Ghent.
Day 7 Friday: Ghent-Bruges 45KM
This morning you will cycle through Ghent to the scenic countryside of Oost-Vlaanderen (East-Flanders). Characteristic for this area are the woods, fields, small villages and castles. From the Aalterbrug (also for the shorter route) the last part of this route takes us over the former tow path along the canal of Oostende-Gent, the oldest canal of Belgium, to Bruges. The impressive city of Bruges is the end destination of this bike and barge trip. This evening you can enjoy the medieval city of Bruges and many of you are likely to stay another day in this beautiful city.
Day 8 Saturday: Bruges, end of this trip after breakfast (debarkation before 10 AM)
- All nights on board (Sat.-Sat. 8 days / 7 nights), cabin in the booked category;
- Full board (7 x breakfast, 6 x self-made picnic lunch for bike tours, 7 x three course dinner)
- Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels possible)
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide, cycling with the group
- Min. 3 city walks with the tour guide
- Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck
- Road book, 1x per cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- Bicycle rent
- Bicycle insurance (optional) € 15,- per bicycle
- Bicycle insurance electric bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 15,- per tour
- Personal insurance/ Cancellation insurance (optional)
- Rental bike: € 95,- (Hybrid bike with 24 gears, pannier bags, lock, water bottle)
- Rental E-bike: € 185,- (with 21 gears) ( € 170,- incl. Helmet 2019)
- Child’s bike: € 60,- (with 21 gears; for children from approx. 9 years and older)
- Set of 5 bike maps €52.50
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 Glutenfree diet there is an additional charge of € 50,- per week.
Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure
The program is subject to change without notice.