Discover Friesland and the IJsselmeer
The IJsselmeer (formerly the Zuiderzee ‘Southern Sea’) is inextricably connected with the period of prosperity in the 17th century, the Golden Age, when Holland was one of the most powerful seafaring trading countries. All around the IJsselmeer there are numerous ports, which at the ti-me were even known at the other end of the oceans of the world.
The peace and nature have made Friesland extremely popular with both skaters as cyclists. The Frisian towns owe their rise to shipping and trade and its heyday lies between 1000 and 1500, Our route leads you through towns and villages, with the green watery countryside in between, where farming usually determines the horizon. The picturesque villages, stately farms and historic towns complete the image of the greenest pro-vince of The Netherlands. The last part of the tour you cycle along the Ijsselmeer back to Amster-dam again. One of the highlights on this tour is a visit to het Zuiderzeemuseum‘ in Enkhuizen. Ancient crafts are practiced in this open-air museum, and boats and houses can be admired.
Day 1 Saturday Amsterdam, sailing to Lelystad, bike ride, 15 km.
The barge is moored at the Oosterdok in central Amsterdam, near the train station. You are expected to arrive at our barge on Saturday between 1 PM and 2 PM. When you arrive on board, you can settle in and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the tour leader, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passen-gers. The barge leaves dock at 2.15 PM. You will first cruise through Amsterdam, pass some locks and bridges and soon the barge sails along the the Ijsselmeer. A relaxed way of starting your trip and get used to life on the barge. Destination of today is the new town of Lelystad in the newest province Flevoland. You are moored near an interesting replica of the 17th century ship Batavia that was shipwrecked on the west coast of Australia in 1629. During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed. Instruc-tions on cycling and safely procedures will also be given. After dinner the tour leader will escort you on the first kilometers on your bike during a short ride around the area.
Day 2 Sunday Lelystad, sailing to Lemmer, cycling to Sneek, 45 km
From Lelystad, the barge sails across the IJsselmeer to Lemmer from where we continue by bike to Sneek. You ride via the wooded Gaasterland region. In this region you will find the old village of Balk. Later on you pass through IJlst, an idyllic little town with a narrow town canal, low houses and a ribbon of linden trees. The banks of the connecting waterway bet-ween IJlst and Sneek are covered with a fringe of reeds and the occasional willow and alder. Riding through this green landscape you can enjoy the abundant flora and fauna special to this region. You end the day in Sneek, a town living wit-hin the surrounding water. In the local museum you can get an impression of the Frisian history of seagoing and inland shipping as well as of shipbuilding and the ice-skating sport.
Day 3 Monday Sneek – Leeuwarden, 40 km
Riding out of Sneek you first pass through Boazum. Boazum offers you a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture: the church St. Maartenskerk. Further up the road you ride past several terp villages. You can recognise old dikes now me-andering through the landscape, like the Slachtedijk. The Slachtedijk is a so-called inner dike, 42 kilometres in length. The dike makes an unforgettable impression on you as it winds through the landscape in a picturesque way. Today’s destinati-on is Leeuwarden. It is the capital of Friesland and is a typically Dutch city with narrow streets, brick houses and canals, where you can visit various museums, shops and the historic town centre with a beautiful park.
Day 4 Tuesday: Leeuwarden—Makkum, 45 km
You ride out of the provincial capital Leeuwarden and enter the flat land with meadows again. After about an hour cycling you reach the old university town of Franeker. It is a lovely town to walk around in. Here you can visit the world famous 17th century planetarium of Eise Eisinga. Via lovely villages with age old churches you will reach Makkum, a town famous for its pottery. If you want, you can make a short detour to the interesting harbor of Harlingen, yet another of the famous Frisian Eleven Cities.
Day 5 Wednesday: Makkum — Stavoren, 40 km.
From Makkum you continue riding through the meadows to Workum, a town that flourished around 1300 when other towns lost their connection to the open sea. Next comes Hindeloopen wich is a town with its own dialect, traditional cos-tume and painting style. In earlier times Hindeloopen did not have its own harbour, but only anchorage. The fleet was in Amsterdam while the captains spent the winters in their 'commandeurswoning' (captain's residences) in Hindeloopen. At Nieuwstad in the town centre you can admire these well-preserved houses. Today’s destination is the historical harbour town Stavoren. The city was granted city rights between 1060 and 1067, making it the oldest city in Friesland
Day 6 Thursday: Stavoren, sailing to Enkhuizen, cycling to Hoorn, 30 km
In the morning you sail to Enkhuizen crossing the IJssel lake, since 1932 the largest fresh water lake in the Netherlands. Enkhuizen is a nice old harbour town to explore, and after arrival in Enkhuizen you can visit the Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum shows you the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century. Today's cycling stage will take you to Hoorn along the IJsselmeer dike with on your left the IJsselmeer en on your right the lower lying land. Hoorn was a major harbour in the 17th century. From here ships sailed for the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), America, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
Day 7 Friday Hoorn, sailing to Volendam, cycling to Amsterdam, 45 km
The first part you sail to Volendam, originally a small fishing community, now a tourist attraction. Here your last cycling stage starts. You cycle to Monnickendam where you can see the towns many old gables, plaques, churches and towers. Then on to Marken, a former island with many green painted wooden houses and its own particular character. Near the lighthouse there is a nice little beach where you can enjoy your lunch and perhaps take a swim in the fresh water of the IJsselmeer. The last part of the stage takes you through an area called Waterland. You will understand why it is called that when you see that the houses and other buildings are almost at water level and that the ground is soggy. At the end of the afternoon you will reach Amsterdam. Once you are back at the boat in Amsterdam it is time to take leave of your bi-kes. In the afternoon there still is 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 the tour after breakfast before 10 AM
- 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
- Bicycle insurance hybrid bike (optional) € 30,- per bicycle
- Bicycle insurance E-bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 25,-
- Personal insurance
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/Celiac/vegan diet there is an additional charge of € 50,- per diet per week. When ordered upon arrival the additional charge is € 100,- per diet per week, to be paid on location.
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 due to weather, nautical reasons like bridges and locks, technical issues and other unforeseen circumstances . Our motorised passenger vessels, about 35 - 45 metres in length, are former river vessels especially converted for this kind of holiday. The barges all comply with the strict safety regulations laid down by the Dutch Shipping Inspection Authorities. On board you find a cosy dining room, a sun deck/a deck for the bicycles. All cabins are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower and toilet, 220 voltage and central heating. There is limited storage space in the cabin. We recommend 1 suitcase per person. You can slide the suitcase under the bed. Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. The Bike & Barge Holidays are for people who really enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury.