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Highlights of this tour

North Holland’s flat polder landscapes

Visit Texel Island’s sandy beaches

Romantic harbor villages incl. Volendam

Ships with max. 60 passengers

Guidance
  • Fully-guided: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Semi-guided: Daily briefing by the tour leader, independent cycling but tour leader available ICE.
  • Independent: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Individual Semi-guided
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1
Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 8 days

Bike and Barge The Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland | De Holland

During this fascinating cycling cruise on board the ship De Holland you will discover the best of what the beautiful Provinces of North-Holland and Friesland offer. Explore flat “polder” landscapes – a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments – the North Sea coast, towering sand dunes, long sandy beaches, historic windmills, the island of Texel and the many picturesque harbor towns along the coast of IJsselmeer Lake. It is without doubt a tour not to be missed!

Nowhere else in the world will you find an area as fascinating as the Dutch Provinces of North Holland and Friesland, two areas rich in tradition. Over the course of your week, you will be able to discover typical Dutch culture and cycle through a flat “polder land”, extensively reclaimed over the centuries from the North Sea and the former Southern Sea (now IJsselmeer). What you will soon realize is the truth behind the proverb “God created the earth but the Dutch made Holland”, such has been the extent of land reclamation in the region you will be cycling through. Since the 17th century in an effort to save disappearing land from encroaching water, protective dikes have been built, low lying land has been pumped dry and tidal dams have been created in creeks to prevent flooding, with the result that today’s green flat polder landscape is full of agricultural enterprise. 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 of the North Sea beaches, the towering sand dunes – who said there were no hills in Holland! – the extremely bicycle friendly island of Texel, the beautiful flat landscapes, small dreamlike farm villages and romantic picturesque harbor villages. During the second part of the tour you will cross the large lake IJsselmeer to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. Other highlights during your week tour include the open air museum “Zaanse Schans”, the historic city center of Alkmaar and the old harbor cities of Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam, the  islands of Texel and Marken and – of course – Amsterdam with its beautiful canals.

Due to works on the locks of Zaandam, slightly deviated program for Sundays and Mondays on the Northern Tour, MS De Holland for departure dates 28 March until incl. 30 May 2020.

 

Day to day program

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam

Embarkation and check-in between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Amsterdam. Take the opportunity to go shopping, to explore downtown Amsterdam, to make a canal cruise or to visit a museum. At 5 p.m. welcome drink and safety instructions, dinner and first briefing on board. First night on board in Amsterdam.

Day 2 (Sun): Amsterdam – Zaandam | Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar (44 km/27 mi.)

The first cycling trip of this tour takes you via small villages through the beautiful flat and green polder landscape. The first stop is at the Zaanse Schans open air museum (free entry) with its traditional Old Dutch wooden houses, windmills and the cheese- and clog factory. After this visit you will cycle through the “Land of Leeghwater”, a green polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. Stroll through the former whaler’s village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. Your ship De Holland will be waiting for you near the historical city center of Alkmaar.

Alternative program 2020:
Due to works on the locks of Zaandam from the 28th of March up to and including the 30th of May 2020,  day 2 and day 3 of the tour will be subject to some slight changes. On day 2 you will spend the night in Enkhuizen instead of Alkmaar and some transfers by bus will be included.

Day 2 (Sun): Amsterdam – Zaandam | Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar (44 km/27 mi.) | Alkmaar – Enkhuizen by coach
During breakfast your ship will sail to Zaandam. The first cycling trip of this tour takes you via small villages through the beautiful flat and green polder landscape. The first stop is at the Zaanse Schans open air museum (free entry) with its traditional Old Dutch wooden houses, windmills and the cheese- and clog factory. After this visit you will cycle through the “Land of Leeghwater”, a green rural polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. Stroll through the former whaler’s village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. Your cycling tour ends in the historical centre of Alkmaar. All bicycles will be parked and stored safely and monitored in Alkmaar. At the end of the afternoon a coach will bring you back to “De Holland” in Enkhuizen, a beautiful 17th century town at the banks of the lake IJsselmeer with a rich cultural and maritime tradition.

 

Day 3 (Mon): Dune tour: round trip from/to Alkmaar | Alkmaar – Den Helder (33 km/20 mi. or 40 km/25 mi.)

Today you can discover the beautiful North-Holland Dune reserve. This is a 5.300 hectare large forest- and dune area with its unique landscapes. In these dunes the drinking water for almost the whole province of North-Holland is gained. After a visit to the beach and artists village Bergen you will return to Alkmaar where you can visit the wonderful city center. In the afternoon De Holland will sail over the North-Holland Canal to the navy harbor of Den Helder.

Alternative program 2020:
Due to works on the locks of Zaandam from the 28th of March up to and including the 30th of May 2020,  day 2 and day 3 of the tour will be subject to some slight changes.

Day 3 (Mon): Enkhuizen – Alkmaar by coach | Alkmaar – Den Helder (38 or 55 km/24 or 31 mi.)
After breakfast a coach will bring you back to Alkmaar, where today’s bike tour starts. Today you can discover the beautiful coastal area of North-Holland: an approx. 70 km (45 miles) long strip with forest, heathland and sand dunes and of course the wide sandy beaches of the North Sea. On the route — and certainly worth a visit — is the artist’s village of Bergen. Then you will bike all the way through the dunes and along the coast northward, to the navy harbour of Den Helder. There is a 17 km (10.5 mi.) shorter option if you do not cycle to Den Helder, but to Schagen instead, and take the train (limited capacity for bicycles – approx. 30 min. – train tickets approx. € 13.00 not included) to Den Helder. After dinner visit and guided tour (incl.) of the light ship museum in Den Helder. Night on board in Den Helder.

Day 4 (Tue): Den Helder – Oudeschild * | North Sea island of Texel: round trip from/to Oudeschild | Texel – Den Oever (several options from 15 km/9 mi. to 65 km/41 mi.)

During breakfast De Holland will sail to the isle of Texel, where you can make a tour on the largest of the Dutch Northsea Isles. You will cycle through beautiful natural parks and have the opportunity for a stop and some bathing at the beach. Suggestion: cycle the beautiful “Thijsse-route” (with signposting, approx. 40 km/25 mi.) through picturesque villages and landscapes and visit the seal sanctuary “Ecomare” At the end of your cycling tour you can enjoy a locally brewed beer during a visit to the small brewery near Oudeschild. During dinner De Holland will return to the mainland and sail to Den Oever.

In case of unfavorable weather conditions, the captain may decide to sail to Texel on Monday evening or not at all: in the latter case you can reach Texel by ferry (price approx. € 5 pp, not incl.).

Day 5 (Wed): Den Oever – Stavoren | Southwest Friesland: round trip from/to Stavoren (43 km/27 mi. or 55 km/34 mi.)

The vessel will cross the large inland lake IJsselmeer to sail to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. You can opt for a shorter or longer cycling tour: discover the nature area of Gaasterland or explore a part of the wide lake district, that Friesland is well-known for. You can also combine both options. Night in the small harbor of Stavoren, one of the famous traditional 11 cities of Friesland.

Day 6 (Thu): Stavoren – Medemblik | Medemblik – Hoorn – Enkhuizen (30 km/19 mi. or 50 km/31 mi.)

De Holland will cross the IJsselmeer again during breakfast. Take the short cycling trip from Medemblik along the IJsselmeer coast directly to Enkhuizen, where you can spend the afternoon. Enkhuizen is an old city with many centuries of maritime tradition. The “herring city” boasts a beautiful old harbor, a historical old town centre and the very interesting Zuiderzeemuseum. If you prefer a longer cycling tour, ride from Medemblik to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn, in the 17th century one of the world’s leading harbors. Enjoy your lunch break and make a short stroll in the old city centre. Continue by bicycle to Enkhuizen via some picturesque rural villages. In the evening you can join a short city walk.

Day 7 (Fri): Enkhuizen – Volendam | Volendam – Waterland – Amsterdam (35 km/22 mi. or 50 km/31 mi.)

During breakfast the ship will sail to Volendam. Your final day of cycling will lead you through the beautiful area of Waterland, with its hundreds of small lakes and tiny canals. Near Volendam you will have the opportunity to visit a cheese farm. Recommended (extra cycling miles) is a tour to the former island of Marken, to continue through the water shaped region of Waterland back to the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. If you didn’t go for a canal cruise on the first day, you can do so today.

Day 8 (Sat): Amsterdam

End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m..

Good to know

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

A knowledgeable and multilingual tour leader is available on board. He/she will provide you with all necessary tour information during daily briefings. You will cycle the tours independently, at your own pace, with the help of a detailed cycling map, GPS-tracks and printed route notes (available on board). The tour leader will also be cycling the daily tours and can – for assistance – be reached on his/her mobile phone in cases of emergency or technical breakdown of the bicycle.
During days when several bicycle options are possible, not all mentioned highlights can be visited during the shorter cycling options.

If you don’t feel like cycling for a day (or more) you are welcome to relax and stay on board while the ship is sailing. But please note: lunch will not be served on board. So you can enjoy your packed lunch. On the arrival (first) day it is possible to put your luggage on board from 11:00 a.m..

In case of unfavorable weather conditions, the captain may decide to sail to Texel on Monday evening or not at all: in the latter case you can reach Texel by ferry (price approx. € 5 pp, not incl.).


Prices & information

 

 

Prices & availability

Below you see an overview of the available (blue) dates; the yellow dot means that this date has 2 or less cabins available, orange is ‘on request’ and red means that on this date there aren’t any cabins available. Then click on the preferred date. After this, choose your ship (some tours have only one ship, and therefore there is no choice), the number of cabins in the required (and available) category, any desired additional products, and ‘local costs’ (such as special dietary needs, which you usually pay for onboard). On the right side, you’ll find the ‘Booking Summary.’ After completing your preferences and necessary information click ‘Book now’ to finalize your booking.

  • Available
  • 2 or less available
  • On request
  • Not available
Departure date -

Choose preferred ship

Please select your cabin(s)

Pricing overview - 2020
Cabin type For Season A Season B Season C Season D Season E Season F March 28
Twin cabin lower deck 2 pers. €699 €749 €799 €849 €889 €929 €599 Triple cabin lower deck, 3rd bed for child (max. 3) 3 pers. €679 €729 €779 €829 €869 €909 €579 Twin cabin lower deck for single use (max. 2) 1 pers. €1049 €1099 €1149 €1199 €1239 €1279 €949 Twin cabin upper deck 2 pers. €899 €949 €999 €1049 €1089 €1129 €799 Twin cabin upper deck for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. €1249 €1299 €1349 €1399 €1439 €1479 €1149 Suite upper deck 2 pers. €1049 €1099 €1149 €1199 €1239 €1279 €949
Included in this tour

8 days/7 nights

7 x breakfast

Packed lunches

7 x 3-course dinner

Coffee and tea on board till 4 PM

Welcome drink

Use of bed linen and towels

Daily cleaning of the cabin

Climate-controlled cabin

Daily briefings

Semi guided cycling tours (guest cycle independently, tour leader also cycles the tour);

Some short walking tours

Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)

GPS tracks

Use of a waterproof pannier bag

Wi-Fi is available in restaurant – data use is not included

Live music on board

Excluded in this tour

Coffee and tea on board after 4 PM

Drinks

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 2020

2020:

  • Rental bicycle: € 80 per week
  • Rental E-Bike: € 180 per week (only on request, limited number available)
  • You can find a description of the bicycles under ‘ship’.
  • 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
  • Please click on this link for more information
  • Canal cruise Amsterdam: Ticket for a 1-hour canal cruise through Amsterdam – special price for our guests: € 13 (at the ticket desk approx.: € 18). Please book your ticket in advance and you can collect it on board of your ship on the first day of the tour.
  • Parking in Amsterdam (valet parking): prices and pre-booking on request.

 

Optional visits (entrance fees not included, but for our guests with discount/several with discount or free of charge):
* Open air museum Zaanse Schans
* Visitors centre windmill Schermerhorn
* Beer brewery Oudeschild
* Seal sanctuary Ecomare De Koog
* Steam engine museum Medemblik
* Open air museum Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen and more….



Reviews

Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland Rated 9.7 out of 10 based on 28 reviews
5 stars

Paul Gobes

Highly recommended tour. Well planned routes, good bike, good food, good accommodations. I loved North Holland.

5 stars

Malcolm Lyon

A superb trip. Barge and crew first rate! Exceeded all our expectations. Special accolade to Pieter our guide and tour host who did a wonderful job. We will definitely be doing another Bike barge tour!

5 stars

Wil S

Zeer goed georganiseerd. Zeer vriendelijke bemanning en begeleiding. Lekker eten. Schitterende routes! Alles was super. En we hadden ook nog geweldig weer.

5 stars

J&L

This was the best travel experience we have ever had. We took our 12 year old daughter, 23 year old son, and met some extended family members for the Northern Tour aboard the De Holland, and it was fantastic. The bike routes were well- planned and just about the right length, with plenty of options for shorter or longer rides.…

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Available ships for this tour

Ship De Holland Holland, Netherlands
max. 71 passengers
34 cabins
1 tours available with this ship

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Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1

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Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland

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