Sail and Bike Netherlands: Sailing and biking around the IJsselmeer

8 days / 7 nights | Ship: Clipper Elizabeth | Self guided cycling tours

Cycling to historic harbour towns, green polder scenery and former islands on the Ijsselmeer.
Take with bikes an exciting discovery tour on a stylish and beautifully appointed sailing ship. Your boat and bike tour starts in Amsterdam and takes you along the Ijsselmeer coast. The charming historic towns, the polders and the villages of the interior are connected by excellent cycle paths. In Monnickendam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen you’ll discover the old trading towns from the era of the Dutch East India Company. On the Ijsselmeer’s eastern shore you can visit the provinces of Friesland and Flevoland with the former islands of Urk and Schokland. On the final day, wind and weather permitting, you set off under full sail again for Amsterdam. Here you have plenty of time to enjoy an evening seeing the sights of the capital.

Highlights of this bike and boat trip

✔ Sailing on an historical sailing ship

✔ Picturesque harbour towns around the IJsselmeer

✔ Discovering the history of the Dutch Golden Age

✔ The National Park Weerribben

Itinerary Amsterdam - Amsterdam

Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam – Monnickendam /Volendam

Your week of sailing and cycling starts in Amsterdam. The crew welcomes you on board around 2 P.M. Once all guests have checked in, the ship sails under motor to Monnickendam or Volendam. From the port of this former fishing village, you can take a nice stroll through the histiric center after dinner.

Day 2 (Sun): Monnickendam – Volendam | Volendam – Hoorn (32 km/19 mi. or 51 km/31 mi.)

A very Dutch start of the day: you cycle to a nearby, family-run cheese and clog shop for a short demonstration of cheese and clog making, and of course a cheese tasting. Continue pedaling along the dikes to Purmerend, in the heart of a polder named De Beemster, 11½ feet (3.5 meters) below sea level. Divided into a tight geometric pattern of squares and quadrants, it is recognized by UNESCO as "a creative masterpiece". Your next destination is Edam, a lovely town whose lanes and canals deserve a stroll. Edam is known worldwide for its cheese covered in red or yellow wax. Via the main dike of the IJsselmeer you arrive at the promenade of Volendam, where the ship is docked. You will have some time on your own to check out the souvenir shops. After dinner, let the historical city center lure you into a digestive walk. Later in the evening, the ship sails to Hoorn.

Day 3 (Mon): Hoorn – Enkhuizen – Urk (28 km/17 mi. or 39 km/24 mi.)

Through small rural hamlets and villages, today's ride brings you to Enkhuizen. Pass by windmill De Krijgsman (The Warrior), the highest windmill in the province of North-Holland and one of a handful of old Dutch windmills still in use to produce flour commercially. In the 17th century, Enkhuizen was one of the wealthiest cities in Holland, thanks to its harbour that shipped then-costly spices from Asia. Be astonished by the stately mansions, canals, churches and city walls that to this day reflect the city's rich history and wealth. In the afternoon, weather permitting, we sail across the IJsselmeer to the port of Urk. On board, you can help the captain sail the ship if you wish. In the evening you may stroll through the narrow streets and alleys of Urk. The houses in this picturesque fishing village were built close to one another on elevated grounds to protect them against the water, and that is still visible today.

Day 4 (Tue): Urk – Vollenhove | (37 km/23 mi.)

After breakfast, cycle along the lake on a tarmacked cycle path to the former island of Schokland. Since the reclamation of the Northeast polder (Noordoostpolder) in 1942, Schokland – just as Urk – is no longer an island. Since 1995, it belongs to the cultural heritage of UNESCO. Continue your bike ride through the polder to Vollenhove, another charming, former fishing village.

Day 5 (Wed): Vollenhove – Giethoorn (37–49 km /22–30 mi.)

From Vollenhove, cycle paths through open countryside lead you to the small town of Blokzijl. This is where you enter the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, the largest freshwater wetland in northwestern Europe and a peaceful oasis for plants, animals and humans. A bicycle path through the center of the park takes you far away from roads, immersing you in the tranquility of this region. Keep your eyes peeled for a fleeting kingfisher or—if you're really lucky—an otter, the symbol of the park. You pass through Kalenberg, a village that till the fifties of the last century could be reached by boat only. A twisting route through an agricultural landscape of narrow strip fields surrounded by dikes
takes you to the lovely town of Giethoorn, known as “small Venice of the North”.

Day 6 (Thu): Giethoorn – Lelystad

Today you can enjoy a full day of sailing and relaxing on board. Again, you can help the captain sail the ship if you wish. Or you can simply sit back on deck and relax. The captain sails the ship out of the narrow channels toward open water. Early afternoon the Elizabeth will arrive in Lelystad, capital of the province of Flevoland that was entirely reclaimed from the sea. After docking, the ship serves a real captain’s dinner.

Day 7 (Fri): Lelystad – Blocq van Kuffeler | Blocq van Kuffeler – Amsterdam (20 km/12 mi. or 29 km/18 mi.)

In the morning you can visit the Batavia Werf, an extraordinary shipyard, where ships with an important maritime history are taken from oblivion and returned to their former glory. Or go shopping at Batavia Stad, an outlet center with all the famous brands. After these optional visits you depart for your last half day of cycling. You’ll ride through the Oostvaardersplassen—a nature reserve on new land, left to find its own balance like nature did in old times on old land. Sections of the ride wind through forested areas, while others give you panoramic views of expansive reed beds and marshes. This is a birdwatchers’ paradise. The ship picks you up in the small harbor of Oostvaardersdiep for the return voyage to Amsterdam. Celebrate this marvelous week around the IJsselmeer while having a farewell dinner aboard the ship.

Day 8 (Sat): Amsterdam

Your tour ends today with a nice breakfast. Disembarkation afterwards until 9.30 AM.

Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only. The tour operator and the captain of the ship reserve the right to change the routes and programme due to nautical, technical or other reasons including weather conditions.

Good to know

  • Cycling route distances in the travel program  are approximate.
  • On some days you can choose between a longer and a shorter cycling  route. Please note that on the shorter routes you may not be able to visit all the highlights mentioned.
  • If you prefer not to cycle on a particular  day, you’re welcome to to stay on on board and relax while the ship cruises to the next landing place.
  • The tour itinerary and route are subject to possible changes due to nautical, technical or meteorological  reasons, or other unforeseen  events.
  • On the arrival day, you can leave your luggage on board the ship  from 11.00 am.
  • Detailed cycling maps,  route tips and a GPS app  are available to  cycle individually and at their own pace. The tour guide is always available via cell phone in case of questions, breakdowns or emergencies.