Highlights of Holland and Flanders: Amsterdam to Bruges
8 days / 7 nights | MS Magnifique IV | Self-guided bike tours (upgrade guided tours possible)
Experience the charm of a bygone era on this exciting 8 day, 7 night tour where you will discover the best of what Holland and Belgium have to offer.
During the day you will cycle to world famous destinations such as Amsterdam, Dordrecht, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges, while at night you will relax in the comfort of your floating hotel.
Cycling on this tour is through the beautiful – and flat – Dutch countryside of Zeeland and the western Flanders region of Belgium. Attractions along the way include many charming villages, a visit to a real Dutch cheese farm, the 19 famous Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk and the world famous cities of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges in the western Flanders region of Belgium. You will cycle through and discover the Dutch province of Zeeland, which is essentially one big river delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt Rivers famous for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities and Delta works and the Flanders region of Belgium famous for its medieval towns and a reputation for superb food and drink. As well as being able to discover many picturesque villages each day – both on your bicycle and on foot – you will:
- Have the opportunity to discover Amsterdam
- Visit Antwerp, a city famous for its vibrant nightlife
- Get the opportunity to explore Ghent
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center of Bruges
The Magnifique III tours start and end on TUESDAY, the Magnifique II and Magnifique IV tours start and end on THURSDAY and the tours with the other ships start and end on SATURDAY.
Itinerary from Amsterdam to Bruges
Day 1: Amsterdam – Vianen
Embarkation and check-in is at 1 pm, where your crew for the week will be waiting to welcome you on board. At around 2 p.m. the ship will depart from Amsterdam for Vianen, a small fortified village on the Lek River. After dinner you have the opportunity to enjoy a short first test ride through the surrounding area.
Day 2: Vianen – Schoonhoven – Kinderdijk (32 km/19 mi. or 56 km/34 mi.) | Kinderdijk – Dordrecht
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: Day 4: Dordrecht – Willemstad | Willemstad – Tholen (36 km/23 mi. or 44 km/28 mi.) | Tholen – Kreekrak lock – Antwerp
As you enjoy your breakfast aboard the ship, the ship will sail to Willemstad where you will start your day’s cycling. Willemstad is a beautiful old fortified town on the Haringvliet waterway. Your bicycle ride goes to 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. In the afternoon you will once again board the ship which will sail to the port city of Antwerp, situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and is a city with a long list of attractions 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. After dinner you can visit the beautiful old city center.
Day 4: Antwerp
Today your barge stays in Antwerp. This means you will have an entire day to discover this city of culture, filled with cobblestones and Flemish Baroque masterpieces. You can visit the Rubens House, the palazzo where the brilliant and versatile artist lived with his family. You will find some of his paintings to admire just a ten-minute walk away in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe (Our Dear Lady) Cathedral”. Other ideas for spending a pleasant afternoon here are to visit the famous beer brewery of ‘de Koninck’ for a tour and tasting, explore the fascinating Museum on the Scheldt River (MAS — Museum aan de Stroom) or go shopping in Antwerp’s welcoming shopping area. Dinner tonight is not included as you have the chance to dine at a restaurant of your choosing. If needed, your crew can provide restaurant recommendations.
Day 5: Antwerp – Temse – St. Amands (34 km/21 mi. or 49 km/31 mi.)
This morning you will cycle out of Antwerp along a picturesque section of the Schelde River to St. Amands 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 6: St. Amands – Dendermonde | Dendermonde– Ghent (52 km/32 mi.)
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. Since Roman times Ghent’s position at the junction of Leie and Schelde Rivers has ensured that it has been a successful trading port. In total the city features an Opera House, 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Major attractions are 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 and the 91-meter-tall belfry of Ghent, one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center.
Day 7: Ghent – Bruges (22 km/13 mi. or 45 km/28 mi.)
Today you will cycle from Ghent through the beautiful Flemish countryside of western Flanders to Bruges, widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts more than two million visitors every year who come to see the picturesque medieval town center of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic city and a long list of historic attractions. An outstanding example of a medieval historic 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 buildings 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. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).
Day 8 (Sat): Bruges
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.