Rhine & IJssel boat and bike tour
During this fascinating bike and barge tour you will be given the opportunity to immerse yourself in the medieval Hanseatic period of Dutch history. On a daily basis you will cycle through the central region of Holland and will have the opportunity to discover the region’s fascinating history, beautiful river landscapes, diverse natural areas, numerous historical cities and picturesque harbour towns.
It is almost impossible to overestimate the significance of the Dutch rivers, which formed the Netherlands. Rivers are the lifelines and essential for our prosperity. And besides: how beautiful they are, our rivers!
You cycle through the Rhine valley, along its very beautiful tributary the IJssel and across the so-called border lakes. During the whole tour you travel through wood and moorland sections of the Achterhoek, Veluwe and Gooi nature reserves; this area is very suitable for cycling tours and also loved by the Dutch cyclists. This region has a rich history. Arnhem, for example, is well-known for its role during WWII , Operation Market Garden. You also visit various Hanseatic towns which flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries, due to the fact that the IJssel was then one of the most important trade routes in Europe. The route then leads you to the so-called border lakes of the IJssel lake which lie between the “old” land of many beautiful harbour towns and new Flevoland (once the bottom of the IJssel lake) which was reclaimed in 1932. In this area you visit some picturesque fishing harbours. Not to be missed: Spakenburg, where women still wear traditional costumes.
Day 1: Amsterdam - Wijk bij Duurstede
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board latest at 2 PM The barge will leave Amsterdam to sail over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede on the Rhine where you will spend your first night. If possible there will be a first short after diner bike ride. On the arrival day it is possible to load your luggage on board from noon onwards.
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede – Arnhem, 40 km
While you are enjoying breakfast, the barge will sail to Wageningen where, following the distribution of bicycles, you are finally off and cycling through the picturesque river valley of the Rhine. Along the way you will visit the protected nature reserve “De Blauwe Kamer” (the Blue Chamber), followed by the woods and moorlands of Veluwe National Park. The 5400 hectare park is home to many plant and animal species. In the National Park you can find, the Kröller-Müller Museum, the largest private Van Gogh collection in the world. This visit involves however 25 km more cycling and is optional. The guide will ride the shorter route excluding the museum and can provide a route description. In Oosterbeek you can visit the memorials and cemeteries of the Battle of Arnhem (Operation Market Garden) in WW2. Later in the day you pedal through the suburbs and past lovely parks such as Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal to Arnhem, where you spend the night close to the city centre.
Day 3: Arnhem - Deventer, 45 km
Today we first sail to the small town of Doesburg. From there the cycle tour takes you along the Hanseatic Town Route along the IJssel to Bronkhorst, which has the distinction of being recognised as the smallest town in the Netherlands. At Bronkhorst we leave the IJssel river and ride inland via Vorden passing country houses, castles and rural estates. The destination today is the very agreable town of Zutphen. During dinner the barge will sail to Deventer where you have the option of a guided walking tour in the evening.
Day 4: Deventer – Kampen, 50 km
This morning you will enjoy a short bicycle ride along the IJssel riverbank before boarding a ferry at Wijhe to cross the river to the wooded areas around Heerde. Here you ride through the famous “coulissenlandschap” of the east Veluwe. A combination of woods, moorlands and centuries old small scale agricultural lands. In the afternoon you will reach the 800-year-old town of Hattem wich has a rich history that is still clearly visible today. During dinner the ship will sail to Kampen where you have the opportunity to go on an optional guided walking tour in the largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands
Day 5: Kampen – Harderwijk, 45 km
The barge will sail to the IJssel estuary and across the so-called border lakes of the IJssel to the fishing harbour of Harderwijk. In the 1500s Harderwijk boasted the largest fish market in the Zuiderzee region and is still a fascinating old city to explore. You will ride on your bike from Kampen to Harderwijk through a typical Dutch landscape. At first you cycle along Veluwe lake where swimming, boating, surfing and fishing are favourite summertime activities. Around lunchtime you will be in the lovely market town of Elburg.The last part of the route will take you through the large woods of the Veluwe, with its undulating landscape a remainder of the Ice Age. The Veluwe is the largest connected nature reserve of the Netherlands, totally consisting of sandy soil. The night will be spent in Harderwijk’s old fishing harbour.
Day 6: Harderwijk – Spakenburg, 45 km
Today the ride will be a combination of flat, coastal landscape and woods and moorland around Ermelo and Putten. At Strand Nulde you can go for a nice swim, weather permitting. In the afternoon the trip continues along the Eem River, a small river flowing into the Eem Lake.. In spite of the enormous density of population of the province of Utrecht, you can still find green countryside here. On the road along the IJselmeer dike you might have the opportunity to visit the old steam pumping station Arkemheem. Following the dike you enter Spakenburg from the west. Spakenburg has always been a fishermen's port and now forms a kind of twin village with Bunschoten. Many wonderful wooden fishing boats are moored here and you may come across villagers in their traditional dress.
Day 7: Spakenburg - Amsterdam, 35 km
During breakfast we sail to Huizen. From Huizen you will cycle to the beautiful fortress towns of Naarden and Muiden. In Muiden you can visit the famous Muiderslot that guarded the entrance to Amsterdam in times gone by. From Muiden you will cycle along quiet roads to your final destination, the big city of Amsterdam. The late afternoon and evening are spent in Amsterdam. While you are there take the opportunity to visit Anne Frank’s home, the Rembrandt House Museum, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Dam Square, the very centre and heart of the city or maybe you could go on a canal tour (not included).
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 (7x breakfast, 6 x self-maid picnic lunch for bike tours, 7x 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 tour guide
- Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck, for more than 100 MB there is a surcharge
- Road book, 1x per cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- Bicycle rent (optional)
- Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 30,-
- Personal insurance/Cancellation insurance (optional)
- Other drinks on board (cash payment on board
- 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 diet; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 75, – per week.
- The program is subject to change without notice.
Extra options (2024):
- Rental touring bike per week € 110,-
- E-bike per week € 220,-
- Insurance for rental bike included in rental price
- Insurance for e-bike included in rental price
- Special diet (gluten free, lactose free, vegan) € 75,- per diet (possible on request up to 14 days prior to start of the tour)
Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.