Bike Cruise Holland and Flanders: Amsterdam to Bruges
8 days / 7 nights | Ship: MS Fluvius & Gandalf | Self-guided bike tours (Upgrade guided tours possible)
The Amsterdam – Bruges bike and barge cycle tour is an exciting and diverse holiday experience that highlights some of the most beautiful cities of Holland and Belgium. On a daily basis you will cycle through a variety of flat landscapes through charming villages and historic cities while cruising along the impressive waterways of Zeeland, the River Schelde and the picturesque Vecht and Lek Rivers. The tour is perfect for families who want to cycle together and enjoy barge life or, for that matter, anyone wanting to enjoy a delightful week of cycling to a long list of historic destinations.
During the course of the 8 day, 7 night tour you will visit the world famous cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges – each in their own right are destinations of significance with a long list of sights and attractions to discover. Along the way you will cycle through the beautiful Dutch landscape of Zeeland, will visit a real Dutch cheese farm and 19 Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk and will discover the western Flanders region of Belgium. The province of Zeeland is essentially one big river delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt Rivers famous for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities and Delta works, while the Flanders region of Belgium boasts a number of world famous medieval towns and has a well-deserved reputation for superb food and drink. As well as cycling through many picturesque villages each day, you will have the opportunity to discover Amsterdam; visit Antwerp, a city famous for its vibrant nightlife and get the opportunity to explore Ghent.
Difficulty level: The bike routes are easy to ride and run in mostly flat terrain on cycle paths and minor roads.
Itinerary from Amsterdam to Bruges
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam | Amsterdam – 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 – Kinderdijk | Kinderdijk – Dordrecht (Cycling 56 km / 34 miles)
Today you will cycle along a beautiful route to Schoonhoven – nicknamed Zilverstad (“Silver City”) – a city renowned for its talented silver smiths since the 17th century. Later in the day as you cycle through the Alblasserwaard region you will reach Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. All 19 windmills have a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and are a definite highlight – you will have the opportunity to visit one so don’t forget to bring your camera! From nearby Alblasserdam you will take the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry, that will take you and your bicycle in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland.
Day 3 (Mon): Dordrecht – Tholen | Tholen – Kreekrak lock | Kreekrak lock – Antwerp (Cycling 20 km / 13 miles or 36 km/23 miles)
During breakfast the Fluvius will sail to Tholen where you will start your day’s cycling by visiting the “Wouwse Plantage” forest. Another attraction on the day is the impressive Kreekrak lock. After once again meeting up with the Fluvius you will finish your day by sailing to the port city of Antwerp which is situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and has many attractions that include: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle. After dinner visit the beautiful old city centre.
Day 4 (Tue): Antwerp – Temse – Dendermonde (Cycling 48 km / 29 miles or 64 km / 39 miles)
Today’s tour will see you cycle out of Antwerp on a beautiful cycle path along the picturesque tidal Schelde River to Dendermonde, your home for the night. There is only one way to describe the landscape around the Schelde and that is “magnificent”. It is without doubt one of the natural highlights of the tour.
Day 5 (Wed): Dendermonde – Ghent (Cycling 52 km / 32 miles)
Today you will continue to follow the river Schelde to Ghent where the ship will moor for the night at a lock in a suburb of town. Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history. The city’s position at the junction of Leie and Schelde Rivers has meant it to be a major trading port since Roman times. In total the city features an Opera House, 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. A major attraction is St. Bavo Cathedral where a number of masterpieces of medieval art including the world famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck are kept.
Day 6 (Thu): Ghent – Bruges (Cycling 45 km/28 miles)
Your bicycle tour will lead through the beautiful Flemish countryside of western Flanders around this beautiful city, widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’. The city attracts more than two million visitors every year who come for the ambience of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre. An outstanding example of a medieval settlement, Bruges has managed to maintain its historic fabric as it has evolved over the centuries, with the result that today the city’s original Gothic constructions form an integral part of the town’s identity. While you are here you can visit one of Bruges many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.
Day 7 (Fri): Tour around Bruges to the North Sea (Cycling 38 km /23 miles or 51 km / 31 miles)
Your final day of cycling takes you along a quiet canal and past beautiful poplar trees through an attractive polder landscape (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments) dotted with small farm houses to the North Sea coast. Here if you want you can swim in the sea along an inviting sandy beach, visit any one of numerous cafés and see the attractive dune landscape. On the return ride to Bruges you will cycle along a small picturesque canal.
Day 8 (Sat): Bruges
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. The detailed tour programs for the various ships, which are being operated on this tour, can differ in details.
- GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour.
- In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bicycle tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
- On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 12-noon.
Itinerary from Bruges to Amsterdam
Day 1 (Sat): Arrival and embarkation in Bruges ( Cycling 11 km / 6 miles)
Embarkation time in Bruges is between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The ship awaits you in the Bruges harbor. After a welcome meeting with the crew at 2 p.m. there is time for bicycle fitting and a short test-ride through the countryside around Bruges. After dinner the tour leader will take you for a walk through the center of town. We advise you to come to Bruges one or more days earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to discover the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical city of Bruges, aptly named the “Pearl of Flanders”. While you are there make sure you visit one of Bruges many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.
Day 2 (Sun): Bruges – Ghent (Cycling 57 km / 36 miles)
Your cycle tour starts early today in the outskirts of Bruges. You will start your first day of cycling by pedaling towards Ghent through the beautiful Flemish landscape along the Ghent canal. On arrival in Ghent make sure you make the effort to discover the best of what this historical city has to offer during an afternoon stroll. Ghent’s medieval town center features lovely illuminated streets that are a must to explore, while the architectural richness in the historical center of the city has to be seen to be believed (during the Middle Ages Ghent was the 2nd largest European city after Paris). The ship will dock for the night at a lock, in a suburb of Ghent and approx. 30 cycling minutes from the city center.
Day 3 (Mon): Ghent – Dendermonde (Cycling 40 / 24 miles)
After breakfast in Ghent you will cycle downstream through a diverse landscape along the tidal Schelde River to Dendermonde, a friendly little town, located at the junction of Dender and Schelde Rivers. Dendermonde has a beautiful town hall located at a cozy square. The ideal place to have a nice Belgium beer after your bicycle ride. Worth visiting is also the St. Alexius Beguinage where you can learn about housekeeping, work and recreation in the lives of former generations.
Day 4 (Tue): Dendermonde – Antwerp (Cycling45 km / 21 miles or 63 km / 39 miles )
Today we will follow the Schelde River further downstream through the Temse region and the small village of Baasrode to Antwerp. This part of the route is along a most beautiful and twisting section of the Schelde which over the centuries held strategic importance for the Romans, Vikings, Spanish and Napoleon. Antwerp, your destination for the day, is a harbor city situated on the river Schelde famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and as the birthplace of the famous painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens. There are many highlights in the city to discover including: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle.
Day 5 (Wed): Antwerp – Kreekrak locks | Kreekrak locks – Tholen | Tholen – Dordrecht (Cycling 36 km / 23 miles or 20 km / 13 miles or )
This morning, the ship will sail along the Schelde-Rhine Canal and over the huge Kreekrak lock system. Here your bicycle tour starts through the beautiful “Wouwse Plantage” forest to Tholen, Tholen once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people fished for their living. Nowadays Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways. But it is still a picturesque village with many relics of an eventful past. From Tholen you will join the ship again for a nice afternoon sail to the beautiful city of Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland. Halfway the ship will pass the impressive Volkerak lock system. Your tour leader will take you for an evening walk and tell you about the history of the Netherlands.
Day 6 (Thu): Dordrecht – Alblasserdam | Alblasserdam – Kinderdijk – Schoonhoven – Vianen (Cycling 57 km / 36 miles)
A fast ferry will bring you to Alblasserdam. From here you will cycle to Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 UNESCO cultural heritage-listed windmills – one of which you can visit (don’t forget your camera!). The windmills were constructed in the 18th century to pump water out of the low Alblasserwaard polder (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments). You will then continue to cycle via Schoonhoven to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek where you will spend the evening. Since the 17th century Schoonhoven – nicknamed Silver City – has been renowned for its talented silversmiths.
Day 7 (Fri): Vianen – Breukelen | Breukelen – Amsterdam (Cycling 38 km / 24 miles or 48 km / 29 miles)
During breakfast the barge will cruise to Breukelen where you disembark and start your final day of cycling. Ride along the Vecht River in an area famous for its beautiful mansions, small castles and beautiful houses with large gardens and parks. After cycling through the villages of Nieuwersluis, Loenen and Vreeland you arrive at Nigtevecht where you can visit a traditional cheese farm. Continue cycling through the historical town of Muiden and on to Amsterdam where you will meet the barge for the final time in the Amsterdam harbor.
Day 8 (Sat): Amsterdam
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.