Highlights of Holland and Flanders: Amsterdam to Bruges
8 days / 7 nights | Ship: MS Magnifique | Choice of guided and individual bike tours
Travel by bike & barge: A unique and “typical Dutch” concept, where a cycling holiday and a journey on a comfortable ship are combined. Cycling cruises are perfect for all who like to cycle during the day and explore beautiful areas, without giving up a comfortable way of travelling. During our tours you don’t have to pack and un-pack your suitcases every day to travel from one beautiful place to the next! During this tour you will explore the most beautiful cities of Holland and Western Belgium (Flanders) by bicycle and barge: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges are wonderful and interesting historical cities. The daily bike tours will lead you through a variety of flat landscapes and along the river Schelde. En route, you will visit many picturesque small towns.
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam – Vianen (Cycling 15 km / 9 miles)
Embarkation and check-in on 01:00 PM. Around 2 PM the ship leaves Amsterdam and sails to Vianen. From here starts a short bike trip around Vianen. Overnight in Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 2 (Sun): Vianen – Schoonhoven – Kinderdijk (Cycling 56 km / 32 miles) | Kinderdijk – Dordrecht
After breakfast you will cycle a beautiful route to silver city Schoonhoven. Then further through the Alblasserwaard to Kinderdijk. There an impressive row of19 large windmills appears (UNESCO cultural heritage). You can visit one of these mills. Then the barge takes us further to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland. Dordrecht is an important intersection in the shipping. Night in the historic port of Wolwevershaven.
Day 3 (Mon): Dordrecht – Tholen | Tholen – Kreekrak lock (Cycling 45 km / 27 miles) | Kreekrak lock – Antwerp
During breakfast the ship sails to Tholen. Then a bike tour through a forest area, “the Wouwse Plantage“, via Bergen op Zoom, towards the south to the impressive Kreekraksluis (lock). The ship is docked at the end of the dam and from here it will sail through the impressive port of Antwerp to the city. Antwerp is not only known as diamond city, but also as native city of painter Rubens. You will find some of his paintings in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe (our lady) Cathedral”. After diner: a visit to the beautiful old city centre.
Day 4 (Tue): Antwerp – Temse – St. Amands / Dendermonde (Cycling 42 or 56 km / 25 or 34 miles)
After breakfast you cycle out of the port to the Zeeschelde. You follow this beautiful but capricious tidal river upstream to Dendermonde. There is a beautiful bike path along the river, and the landscape around the Schelde is magnificent. You will cycle either to St-Amands or Dendermonde, a friendly little town along the river.
Day 5 (Wed): St-Amands / Dendermonde – Ghent (Cycling 53/40 km / 32/24 miles)
Bike tour from St-Amands or by barge to Dendermonde. From Dendermonde the bike tour follows again the river Schelde in the direction of Ghent. Ghent is a lively university city, again one with a rich past. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to discover the city some more, or to shop in the lively centre. The city was founded in Roman times, where the rivers Leie and Schelde converge. The convenient location has over the years brought much prosperity, culminating in the late 13th, early 14th century. The textile industry brought great wealth. In the city, many old patrician preserved. The Cloth Hall (1425) came cloth merchants together. The main church St. Bavo Cathedral, which is built in different ages and in different styles. In the cathedral are some masterpieces of medieval art, which "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyck is the most famous. The ship is docked at the lock in Merelbeke, a suburb of Ghent.
Day 6 (Thu): Ghent – Bruges (Cycling 45 km / 28 miles)
Our last bike tour starts just outside the city and goes through the pleasant country side of Western Flanders to Bruges. Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, is maybe the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old centre, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. Bruges was at that time a metropolis and center of commerce and art. You can still see this glory at the beautiful buildings. But Bruges is a also a nice town for shopping or going out.
Day 7 (Fri): Tour around Bruges to the North Sea, (Cycling 50 km / 30 miles)
The last bike tour takes you to a quiet canal along where you’ll find lots of poplars, through an attractive polder landscape with nice small farm houses to the North Sea coast. A 12 kilometer long sandy beach, numerous cafés and the attractive dune landscape of “Het Zwin” (an unique nature reserve) provide enough variety during your lunch break. Then back to Bruges.
Day 8 (Sat): Bruges
After breakfast: end of the tour and disembarkation till 10:00 AM.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.