Bike Cruise Holland and Flanders: Amsterdam to Bruges
8 days / 7 nights | Ship: MS Fluvius | Choice of guided and individual bike tours
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.
Itinerary from Amsterdam to Bruges
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam – Nigtevecht – Breukelen – Vianen (Cycling 15 km / 9 miles)
Embarkation and check-in on 1 PM. Around 2 PM the ship leaves Amsterdam and sails to Nigtevecht. From here a short bike trip starts to Breukelen along the scenic winding small river Vecht. By the end of the afternoon the barge takes you to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 2 (Sun): Vianen – Schoonhoven – Dordrecht (Cycling 50 km / 30 miles)
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 you 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 – Antwerp (Cycling 35 km / 21 miles)
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 th dam and from here it will sails 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.
All distances are approximate.
Itinerary from Bruges to Amsterdam
Day 1 (Sat): Arrival and embarkation in Bruges
Arrival and embarkation early afternoon in the beautiful city of Bruges, also called "Pearl of Flanders". The crew will welcome you. You will have plenty of time to discover the beautiful historical city of Bruges. Afternoon and evening with city tour in Bruges.
Day 2 (Sun): Bruges – Ghent (Cycling 40 km / 24 miles)
Today, your day starts on the water and the barge will leave Bruges early. Just outside, your first bike tour to Ghent through the flat land of West-Flanders will starts. Your destination today is the historical centre of Ghent. Enjoy the beautiful parts of Ghent during an afternoon stroll. The barge is docked in Merelbeke (a small suburb of Ghent).
Day 3 (Mon): Ghent – Dendermonde / St-Amands (Cycling 40/53 km or /24/32 miles)
Today, the barge will sail over the river Schelde to Dendermonde, a nice town on the conjunction of the rivers Dender and Schelde. The bike tour leads along one of the most beautiful parts of the Schelde, a tidal river. You will follow this beautiful tidal river downstream. Depending on high or low tide, the speed of the barge may vary. Therefore, the skipper will discuss the departure time with you of today's tour. By bike or by barge from Dendermonde to St-Amands, night in St-Amands.
Day 4 (Tue): St-Amands / Dendermonde - Antwerp (Cycling45 km / 28 miles)
Today we will follow the Schelde further downstream over Baasrode and Temse to Antwerp. There is a beautiful cycling track along the river and the scenery is magnificent. Antwerp is well known as a major sea port, one of the world's leading diamond and the city where the famous painter Rubens was born.
Day 5 (Wed): Antwerp – Tholen – Willemstad – Dordrecht (Cycling 25–45 km / 15–28 miles)
The barge will sail over the Schelde-Rhine Canal, over the huge Kreekrak locks to Tholen, a former fishing village amidst the large streams of the province of Zeeland. From Tholen you will cycle along the impressive large Volkerak locks to the fortified town of Willemstad, then further to end in Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities of the Netherlands. Today the skipper will discuss with you which part of the tour will be covered by barge or by bicycle.
Day 6 (Thu): Dordrecht – Kinderdijk – Schoonhoven – Vianen (Cycling 25–50 km / 16–32 miles)
Today the barge will bring you to Kinderdijk, the most famous windmills in the Netherlands with 19 windmills in line (don't forget your camera!). The windmills were constructed in the 18th century to pump water out of the low Alblasserwaard polder. You can visit one of the windmills. Then bike tour via silver city Schoonhoven to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek. In the evening you can explore this town.
Day 7 (Fri): Vianen – Breukelen – Amsterdam (Cycling 35 km / 21 miles)
First the ship cruises to Breukelen, where you disembark and your cycling tour starts. Ride along the small Vecht river: this area is well known for its beautiful mansions, small castles and beautiful houses with large gardens and parks. Over the small villages of Nieuwersluis, Loenen and Vreeland to Nigtevecht, where you can visit a traditional cheese farm. Continue over Abcoude and Ouderkerk on the Amstel river to reach Amsterdam. You will meet your barge again in the harbour of Amsterdam.
Day 8 (Sat): Amsterdam
After breakfast: end of the tour and disembarkation till 10:00 AM. If you wish, you can visit Amsterdam or one of its numerous museums, do some shopping or make a canal tour (not included).
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.