Southern tour 2024
Boat and bike through the Green and cultural heart of the Netherlands
Historic towns, picturesque villages, a rural environment abounding with water, dunes and beaches: those are the typical ingredients of the Southern bike and barge tour. And let’s not forget the nineteen breathtaking windmills of Kinderdijk.
This varied trip guarantees a striking introduction to the green and cultural heart of Holland. On one day you will be roaming the centre of Haarlem, Leiden or 16th Century Delft, the next day you will cycle along the reedy borders of the Lek or Amstel river. In the historic towns there is time for visiting a museum (Frans Hals, Rembrandt and Van Gogh), shopping, or relaxation in an outdoor café. You will visit the beach and the dunes near The Hague by bike, just like many Dutch people. You will sail through the world’s largest seaport Rotterdam very appropriately by boat. Absolutely overwhelming are the eighteen windmills of Kinderdijk driven by the wind and built around 1750. An optional canal tour by boat through Amsterdam will make this route complete.
- Cities of Haarlem, Leiden, Delft
- Gouda historic old city
- Port of Rotterdam
- Windmills of Kinderdijk
Day 1 Amsterdam - Haarlem 15 km
When you arrive on board 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. The first part of the tour you will sail to Spaarndam – known as the village of Hansje Brinker – and from here we make an easy ride into the beautiful city of Haarlem. 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 Haarlem – Leiden 45 km
Upon departure from Haarlem you will first cycle to the ‘Cruquiusgemaal’ (Cruquius Pumping Station): one of the three steam-powered pumping stations that drained the Haarlemmer Lake between 1849 and 1852. Now a museum, it gives you an excellent idea of the Dutch ‘battle against the water’. From this monument your ride through the dunes. You will pass country estates near Vogelenzang, and near lunchtime you reach the seaside resort of Noordwijk. Via more dunes and the fishing village of Katwijk you reach the university city of Leiden
Day 3 Leiden – Delft 40 km
You leave the city in a southerly direction and cycle along the Vliet canal. In Voorschoten you turn westwards towards the coastline. At ‘Wassenaarse Slag’ you can take a break on the beach. The Wassenaarse Slag is an entrance to the beach near the Dutch town of Wassenaar. The coastline is over 8 km. long. The beaches can be reached through the Meijendelse Slag on the southern end and the Wassenaarse Slag in the northern direction (or through Katwijk aan Zee, the Zuidduinen and then the beach). The route to Delft takes you along the water once again. The old centre is well worth a visit. This is a well-conserved medieval city with canals, a magnificent town hall and a royal tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk.
Day 4 Delft
Today you will have the day at your free disposal. You can stay in Delft and discover the old centre, visit The Hague and /or Rotterdam by public transport.Delft is a beautiful town to wander round; learn more about the famous dutch painter Vermeer at the Vermeer Centre or visit the Nieuwe Kerk. When the weather is clear the view from the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is spectacular; a large part of the Southern Tour can be seen from here! Rotterdam This bustling city has many architectural highlights, some interesting museums and is the main port of Holland. Skyscrapers stand in the scaffolds or rise steadily towards the stars. On the Maas River, Erasmus Bridge is the gateway to the Kop van Zuid district. The city of The Hague has an international character with its wide avenues, parks and stately mansions. Possible visits are Peace Palace (housing the International Court of Justice), the 'Binnenhof' with the 13th-century 'Ridderzaal' (Knights' Hall), seat of the Dutch Government and Parliament. Every third Tuesday of September the King's Speech is delivered in the Ridderzaal. The Mauritshuis, a former palace, now a famous museum with paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Rubens. 'Panorama Mesdag', the largest panoramic, circular painting in the world, depicting 19th-century Scheveningen. Of the many royal palaces in The Hague only a few are still operational. You may see the Noordeinde Palace, where our King works and the Huis ten Bosch Palace, residence of Princess Beatrix until mid-2014.
Day 5 Delft – Gouda 40 km
The first part of today’s route will be sailed through the centre of Rotterdam, thus giving you the best view of the modern architecture of this port. You’re cycling day starts in Kinderdijk and then take you through the Alblasserwaard, situated in between rivers and showing you wide scenery of water and meadows. The many inundations and the slowly sinking surface made water management essential in this fenland. Canals and ditches were dug and windmills were constructed; of the latter nineteen remain today. Their job has nearly totally been taken over by electric pumping stations. After a visit to one of the mills you will continue on bike along waterways and wetlands. We will also pass many dairy farms as we are entering the country of the Gouda cheese. The tour ends today in 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 beautiful Old-Dutch city with a mostly intact city centre.
Day 6 Gouda – Oude Wetering 45 km
From Gouda you will continue your tour over country roads, banks and channels through the Green Heart and polders to Oude Wetering, a sleepy village between between the lakes of Braasemmermeer and Westeinderplassen. On the way you will pass the wetlands of Reeuwijkse Plassen north of Gouda and will ride through typical Dutch countryside with many waterways, green pastures and of course some windmills.
Day 7 Oude Wetering – Amsterdam 45 km
Today you will first ride to the village of Uithoorn The name De Uithoorn (or also De Uythoorn) was used at the end of the Middle Ages for the location of the lower courts of the deanery of Saint John. The village was formed around its courthouse. People depended on agriculture and animal husbandry. Agriculture became increasingly more difficult due to the steady soil subsidence. From circa 1600 on, peat extraction became important and resulted in the formation of large ponds, which in turn would be made into polders later on. Circa 1885, several fortifications were built around Oude Wetering and Uithoorn as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam. From Uithoorn you start your ride into Amsterdam following the Amstel River. 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 Amsterdam, end of tour End of the tour after breakfast, before 10 AM. If you have an early flight, ask the the tourleader to arrange a taxi to the Airport.
- 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 2 towels (change of towels possible)
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide, cycles with the group
- Min. 3 city walks with the tourguide
- Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck
- Road book, 1x per cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- Not Included
- Contribution Dutch Guarantee Fund € 5,- per person (Insolvency Protection)
- Bicycle rent (optional)
- Bicycle insurance (optional)€ 30,-
- Bicycle insurance electric bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 25,- per tour
- Cancellation insurance (optional)
- Other drinks on board (cash payment on board)
- Special details
Extra options 2024
Rental touring bike per week € 110,- (bike insurance included)
E-bike per week € 220,- (bike insurance included)
Special diet (gluten free, lactose free, vegan) € 75,- per diet (possible on request up to 14 days prior to start of the tour)
If you have special meal requirements we ask you to mention this when booking, but at the latest until 14 days before arrival. Diets which need a special preparation or special ingredients can only be offered in limited form. We will do our best to meet your needs, but we also ask for your understanding as due to limited logistic possibilities on a barge we are not able to prepare complete specialized menus. In case of Celiac; gluten free diet; lactose free; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 75, – 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.