North Holland landscapes and seascapes
This gorgeous cycling cruise is guaranteed to help you understand why the Dutch say “God created the earth but the Dutch made Holland.” The tour takes you through “polder” landscapes: low-lying land that has been drained of its water – reclaimed from the sea – using dikes and windmills. That means you’ll cycle past plenty of windmills, as well as dune landscapes, long sandy beaches, and picturesque harbor towns along the coast of Ijsselmeer Lake. This is an unforgettable tour!
A varied landscape
During this tour, you’ll travel by barge and bicycle along flat bike routes, crossing polders, dikes, and dunes. You’ll pass through nature areas and farmland. You’ll see how the Dutch have spent centuries shaping the landscape to prevent flooding and extend farmland, yet maintained their respect for nature. The changing landscape will charm you.
Since the 17th century the Dutch have worked to prevent flooding, both for their own safety and to preserve and expand farmland. To do this, they built dikes, used windmills to pump the land dry, and created tidal dams in case of high water. The end result is this breathtakingly green, flat landscape supporting profitable agricultural activity. Yet the Dutch have made room for bicycles too, so the region is laced with a network of bicycle paths, often dedicated paths away from car traffic.
The Netherlands isn’t known for its beaches, but you’ll be amazed by the beauty of the beaches on the North Sea, with their high sand dunes, on this biking and boating tour. The dunes are the biggest hills you’ll find in North Holland! You’ll also visit Texel, a scenic and bike-friendly island, and pass through small dreamlike farm villages and quaint harbor cities such as Enkhuizen and Hoorn.
Open air museum Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is likely to be one of your favorite stops on this tour, because it has everything you associate with Holland: windmills, dikes, cheese, and clogs. At this open-air museum you can visit a range of different historical windmills, as well as traditional Dutch houses and shops. You can see demonstrations of how cheese and clogs are made and, if you want, buy some for yourself. Another cheese-related stop is Alkmaar, home to a traditional cheese market.
The former island of Marken
A highlight of this tour is a visit to Marken, which used to be an island and a fishing port. It’s not anymore, but it’s still picture-perfect, with small wooden houses and boat harbor.
The tour includes some city sightseeing as well. Amsterdam, the start and end point of the tour, is both a modern, bustling city with world-renowned museums and shops, and a historical reminder of a prosperous past in the elegant houses along the UNESCO-listed canal zone.
On board your boutique ship – your sailing hotel
When you’re not pedaling through the countryside or exploring Holland’s historical towns, you’ll enjoy the facilities of your boutique ship. There won’t be more than 24 passengers, which means you’ll get to know the crew and other passengers over meals and evening drinks in a hearty, warm and friendly atmosphere. You’ll dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board: fresh, local ingredients in meals prepared with care are the norm. You can make a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like.
Accompanied by a competent, professional and multilingual tour leader, you and the group will visit interesting sights and places on the daily cycling tours. During the bike tour, they will explain the local history and culture behind the things you encounter along the way. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board).
Day 1: Amsterdam – Zaandam | Zaandam – Zaanse Schans (8 km/4 mi.)
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is at 2 p.m. near the center of Amsterdam. Around 3 p.m. the barge sails to Zaandam. For your first bike ride, the tour leader will take you the short distance to Zaanse Schans. This is an open-air museum with a collection of windmills, traditional wooden houses, and cheese and clog factories.
Day 2: Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar (29 km/18 mi or 40 km/24 mi.)
From Zaanse Schans you will cycle through the “Land of Leeghwater”, a green polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. You’ll visit the former whaling village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. You’ll rejoin the ship near the historical city center of Alkmaar.
Day 3: Alkmaar – St. Maartensvlotbrug – Den Helder (30 km/18 mi. or 53 km/32 mi.) | Den Helder – Texel
Today you’ll leave Alkmaar via the artist village Bergen, then reach the North Sea to see the beautiful North-Holland Dune reserve. This is a forest and dune area of 5,300 hectare (20 square miles). You’ll find the ship again in the naval port of Den Helder. Next, if the weather allows, you’ll sail with the ship across the Wadden Sea to the island of Texel, the largest Dutch island.
Day 4: Texel, round trip (43 km/26 mi. or 48 km/29 mi.) | Texel – Medemblik
No worries if the ship wasn’t able to cross to Texel. In that case, today you can cross via ferry to Texel. On the island you’ll cycle through some beautiful natural areas and through charming villages and landscapes in the south of the island. If you want, take a break along the way on a beautiful long beach. A suggestion: make a stop at the seal sanctuary and nature museum, Ecomare. At the end of the afternoon the ship will leave from Texel over the beautiful Wadden Sea back to the mainland, or else you’ll take the ferry back.
Day 5: Medemblik – Enkhuizen (39 km/24 mi. or 51 km/31 mi.)
After spending the night moored in Medemblik, you’ll cycle along the coast of the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer is a lake, but used to be part of the North Sea before a huge dike, the Afsluitdijk, cut it off from the sea. You’ll finish today’s ride in Enkhuizen, a picturesque old city that used to be a fishing and shipping port. It has a beautiful historic harbor and old center, and is home to the Zuiderzeemuseum, a great place to see what life was like in fishing ports like this. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).
Day 6: Enkhuizen – Hoorn (23 km/14 mi. or 35 km/21 mi.)
A shorter ride today, taking you to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn. This was one of the world’s most important harbors back in the 17th century. Enjoy the afternoon in Hoorn and take a stroll in the old city center.
Day 7: Hoorn – Volendam | Volendam – Amsterdam (23 km/14mi. or 45 km/27 mi.)
On this, the last day of your cycling tour, you’ll arrive in Volendam as you eat your breakfast. Today’s route will lead you through a particularly pretty area called Waterland, which is dotted with hundreds of small lakes and tiny canals. Early in the afternoon you’ll cycle back to Amsterdam. Spend the afternoon and evening enjoying Amsterdam’s sights or doing some last-minute shopping.
Day 8: 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
- Cycling route distances in the travel program are approximate.
- On some days you can choose between a longer and a shorter cycling route. Please note that on the shorter routes you may not be able to visit all the highlights mentioned.
- If you prefer not to cycle on a particular day, you’re welcome to stay on board and relax while the ship cruises to the next landing place.
- The tour itinerary and route are subject to possible changes due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons, or other unforeseen events.
- On the arrival day, you can leave your luggage on board the ship from 11.00 am.
- Detailed cycling maps, route tips and a GPS app are available for guests who wish to cycle individually and at their own pace. The tour guide is always available via cell phone in case of questions, breakdowns or emergencies.
Included in this tour
- 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
- Daily briefings
- Fully guided cycling tours
- Fees for ferries
- Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
- GPS tracks
- Use of a waterproof pannier bag
- 1x Diner
- Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
- Helmet rental
- Personal insurances
- Gratuities (at your discretion)
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Transfers to/from the docking place
- Parking fees
Additional options & information - 2023
- Rental bicycle: € 90 per week
- Rental E-Bike: € 195 per week (only on request, limited number available)
- Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle €10/week (only bookable in advance)
- Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike €25/week (only bookable in advance)
- Parking own bicycle: € 10 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
- Parking + charge station own E-Bike: € 25 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
- Helmets: A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.
- Canal cruise Amsterdam: Ticket for a 1-hour canal cruise through Amsterdam – special price for our guests: € 15 (at the ticket desk approx.: € 19). Please book your ticket in advance and you can collect it on board of your ship on the first day of the tour.