Sail & Bike Tulip Tour
Enjoy Holland in the springtime in an unforgettable way, exploring enchanting Dutch landscapes by wheels and water during our Tulip Sail & Bike tour.
Smell the tulips when cycling through the countryside, feel freedom in the breeze while sailing across the Wadden Sea and Lake IJsselmeer, and enjoy comfort and camaraderie on one of the beautiful sailing ships the Leafde fan Fryslân, the Mare fan Fryslân or the Wapen fan Fryslân.
Best tulip areas of the Netherlands
During this fascinating Sail & Bike trip, you will discover the best tulip areas that the Netherlands has to offer. Not only will you visit the famous Keukenhof gardens, known for its hundreds of thousands of blooming tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and other bulb flowers. You will also bike through less famous, but equally gorgeous areas where tulips bloom in the spring months. A visit to the Hortus Bulborum is also on the program, giving you the chance to ramble through this unique garden museum, dedicated to the preservation of rare and historic bulbs.
But it is not only about tulips; during your week-long Sail & Bike tour, you will spend plenty of time in the historical cities of Alkmaar and Enkhuizen — gems hidden from mass tourism. You will discover typical Dutch cultural highlights and cycle through pleasant, flat polders, the result of centuries of extensive land reclamation from the North Sea and the former Southern Sea (now IJsselmeer). The region you will cycle through has undergone such extensive impoldering, that you will soon realize the truth behind the proverb, “God created the earth, but the Dutch made Holland”.
Highlights of this tulip tour
Given the Dutch love for cycling, the region is crisscrossed with many quiet cycle tracks that stretch from one end of the region to the other. You will be amazed by the beauty and expanse of the North Sea beaches, the extremely bicycle-friendly island of Texel, the splendid flat landscapes, small dreamlike farm villages, and romantic, picturesque harbor towns. And all of this completed with the occasional fields full of beautiful flowers.
Lend a hand or relax on board
You will also sail across the large lake IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen and Hoorn. If you like, you may — instructed by the experienced crew — lend a hand during navigating and hoisting the sails. Sailing experience is not necessary. Of course you are also very welcome to just relax and enjoy the sailing and scenery.
Included: Full day bus excursion to the famous Keukenhof gardens.
Amsterdam - Zaanse Schans
Day 1: Amsterdam – Volendam
You are welcome to check in on board between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., where your crew will welcome you with coffee and tea. At 2.30 p.m., the ship leaves the harbor. While the ship sails to Volendam, your tour leader will stoke your anticipation by telling you about the tour, the cycling and safety procedures. Upon arrival, you will have the option to take a little test ride. After enjoying a delicious dinner on board, the tour leader will take you on a walk through Volendam, a small and picturesque fishing harbor on the shores of Lake IJsselmeer.
Day 2: Volendam – Hoorn (28 km/20 mi.) | Hoorn – Enkhuizen
On this first cycling day, a tasty breakfast will be followed by a bike tour to Hoorn, the former Dutch East India Company town, which was, in the 17thcentury, one of the world’s foremost harbors. Along the way, you will pass Edam, which is known for its famous Edam cheese, covered in red or yellow wax. While this adorable village is now renowned for cheese, it was once an industrious shipyard and port. That’s why, in the 17th century, the town’s specialty became one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Sailors took wheels of Edam on their voyages – the cheese doesn’t spoil easily and could be traded for spices and other riches of the East. Later in the afternoon you will join the ship for an afternoon sail to Enkhuizen, an old city with many centuries of maritime tradition. You can spend some time exploring here— “the herring city” boasts a beautiful old harbor and an old town full of history.
Day 3: Enkhuizen – Oudeschild | Sailing day
Today your ship will set sail to the harbor of Oudeschild on the island Texel. You may lend a hand during navigation and hoisting the sails. Previous sailing experience is not at all necessary. Of course, you are also very welcome to just relax and enjoy the sailing and scenery as you progress along the IJsselmeer. While sailing you will enjoy an extensive lunch on board. In the afternoon, the ship will arrive in Oudeschild on the island of Texel, the largest of the Dutch Wadden Isles. No dinner will be served tonight, to enable you to explore the harbor. You can make yourself a picnic meal or try one of the nice restaurants of Oudeschild.
Day 4: Oudeschild – Den Helder | Wadden island of Texel: round trip (43 km/29 mi. or 48 km/26 mi.)
Today you can choose to cycle a shorter route or to take a longer tour around the island. You will cycle through delightful natural parks, and even on Texel you will bike through fields of blooming flowers! The signposts of which lead you through picturesque villages and landscapes, and even to the Ecomare seal sanctuary. At the end of your cycling tour, you can enjoy a locally-brewed, well-deserved beer during a visit to the small brewery near Oudeschild.Late afternoon, the ship will take you back to the mainland, to the port of Den Helder.
Day 5: Den Helder – St. Maartensvlotbrug | St. Maartensvlotbrug – Alkmaar (33 km/21 mi. or 50 km/31 mi.)
The first part of your bike tour leads through the northern part of the province of North Holland. This piece of land wedged between the North Sea and the IJsselmeer boasts the world’s single biggest flowering bulb field. In one word: spectacular! But also closer to Alkmaar you will find the most beautiful tulip fields on your way to the North Sea. The sandy beach here is one of the most wonderful to walk along in the entire Netherlands, the perfect spot for feeling the wind in your hair or simply enjoying the view. Close by — and certainly worth a visit — is the artist’s village of Bergen. The ship will be waiting for you in the historical city center of Alkmaar. This town is well known as a Dutch cheese city. As you wander through the streets, you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Alkmaar’s old town, with its well-preserved 17th-century buildings and narrow, winding canals.
Day 6: Alkmaar – Keukenhof – Alkmaar | Full day bus excursion
Today a beautiful bus ride leads you through the oldest tulip fields of Holland to the famous Keukenhof Gardens. You will have plenty of time to discover the most beautiful bulb park in the world — Keukenhof is the place where spring springs. It features an overwhelming blaze of colors: seven million flowering tulips in a magnificent 80-acre setting of traditional and modern gardening architecture. You also can admire various hyacinths, daffodils, and many other vibrant flowers. In the afternoon the bus will bring you back to Alkmaar.
Day 7: Alkmaar – Zaanse Schans (42 km/27 mi.)
In the morning, you will bike to Egmond and Limmen and here, again you have the chance to bike through colorful tulip fields. Nearby, you will visit the Hortus Bulborum, a unique garden museum dedicated to the preservation of rare and historic bulbs. More than 4,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other special flowers are planted here. Next destination is Zaanse Schans, a unique hamlet where people live and work alongside original houses and windmills built next to the river Zaan. This tiny village is dominated by its operating windmills — the oldest of which was built in 1673 — and these were used for grinding mustard seeds, spices, and paint components; extracting plant oil; and for sawing wood into planks. As you walk through the village, you will see a clock museum, an old-fashioned grocery store, a house with period furniture, a clog maker, and a cheese farm. You will find your shipped docked here.
Day 8: Zaanse Schans
End of your tour: after breakfast, you can disembark until 9.30 a.m.
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.
ABOUT THE SAIL & BIKE TOUR: A little bit of adventure is part of every Sail & Bike tour. As for the rest, the planned daily sailing routes partially depend on the strength and direction of the winds. The skipper decides day by day on the best route and discusses the options with his guests. The crew does whatever it can to run the program according to plan and to offer you a fascinating, varied and active week, in which nature and culture play a major part. It is however possible that departure times and the time spent on the water – and even the order of the program itself – have to be adjusted. So, enjoy the ride and let yourself be led by the elements!
Whenever possible, various passages will be undertaken fully rigged. Anyone who likes to help the crew sail and steer the boat is welcome to do so. Of course this is absolutely up to you. Sailing experience is not necessary.
- 8 days / 7 nights
- 7 x breakfast
- 5 x packed lunches & 1 x 3-course lunch on board
- 6 x 3-course dinner on board & 1 x packed dinner
- Coffee and tea on board till 4 p.m.
- Welcome drink
- Use of bed linen and towels
- Daily cleaning of the cabin
- Daily briefings
- Fully guided cycling tours
- Some short walking tours
- Full day bus excursion including Keukenhof Gardens
- Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
- GPS tracks
- Use of a waterproof pannier bag
Excluded in this tour
- Coffee and tea on board after 4 p.m.
- Bicycle rental or e-bike rental
- Helmet rental
- Personal insurances
- Gratuities (at your discretion)
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Fees for ferries
- Transfers to/from the docking place
- Parking fees
Additional options & information - 2023
- Rental bicycle : €90 per week (optional)
- Rental E-Bike : €195 per week (only a limited number of electrical bikes available: pref. reservation by booking)
- Helmets: A helmet can be rented for €10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment
- Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle €10/week
- Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike €25/week
- 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)
- Parking in Amsterdam (valet parking): prices and pre-booking on request.
Travel during corona time
On our tours we make sure that you can travel safely! We follow all possible safety measures on board by observing hygiene rules, equipping staff with face masks and with extra cleaning and sufficient ventilation. All guests, crew and tour leaders complete a health declaration in advance, and during the trip we take care that everyone stays healthy!