In July 2020 we booked the Sail & Bike tour which sails on the IJsselmeer and docks at Frisian towns along the way. The ship is called Wapen fan Fryslân. We sailed together with our two children, aged 12 and 15. At first we’d planned a relaxing vacation abroad, but because of the corona pandemic we searched for a vacation in our own country. A friend pointed us to Boat Bike tours. Clicking on the website, we became enthusiastic. The reason we booked this trip is that besides cycling, we also wanted to sail. Our departure point was Amsterdam.
At around 13.00 we could check in. Our guide welcomed us and showed us to our rooms. We’d booked 2 double rooms. The rooms looked nice and clean and each room had its own shower and toilet. In addition, everyone received 2 panniers and a cycling map, and every day there was a description of 2 cycling routes (a short and a long route). On the deck of the ship there was even a jacuzzi.
After we unpacked our luggage and everyone had boarded, we sailed to Volendam where we spent the night. The trip to Volendam was very beautiful, seeing Amsterdam from the water and sailing through the Oranjesluizen with such a large ship was an experience. In Volendam we swam in the IJsselmeer and after dinner we took a walk through Volendam.
Today a bike tour through the Beemster was on the program. We didn’t do it, because we come from this area so we already know it well. Instead we visited family and had a delicious ice cream on the dike between Volendam and Katwoude. When we got back on the boat, we sat in the jacuzzi.
After everyone was back on the boat, we left in the direction of Hoorn. After we moored we had a delicious meal – every evening we got a 3 course menu. After dinner we took a walk through the city of Hoorn with our guide.
Today a bicycle trip from Hoorn to Enkhuizen was planned. After breakfast we got on our bikes and cycled through the small West Frisian villages. After dinner we took a stroll through Enkhuizen. We slept well again after a day full of activities.
After breakfast we sailed in the direction of Stavoren. If you wanted you could help hoisting the sails. I must say it was a fight to hoist those sails.
When we arrived in Stavoren and had moored, we got back on our bikes. We did the short route. We were tired from the ride the day before, and also there was quite a lot of wind.
The ride was very nice, traveling through Frisian towns. Hindelopen was a highlight with the narrow streets, but now in corona time it felt too busy. Once we got back on the boat, we sat on the deck with a cup of tea/coffee or drink, chatting about the day’s excursion.
After breakfast the trip to Lemmer started. Today we did the long bike route. It was a varied route: we came through the Gaasterland, which is hilly, then part of the route was through the forest and of course we cycled through several small villages. In the village of Sloten we stopped for lunch. It’s a very nice little village, with several restaurants on the waterfront.
Today we sailed from Lemmer to Urk. On the advice of the guide we had a city tour through Urk with a local guide on arrival. Today there was a cycling tour on the program but it wasn’t that exciting. We didn’t mind that much, because now we had more time to discover Urk with and without a guide. Urk is a very nice fishing village with delicious kibbeling (pieces of freshly fried fish)! The city tour is highly recommended.
After breakfast we headed for Lelystad for our last bike ride. Today we didn’t sail, there was too little wind and we had to pass a wind farm. Again a nice boat trip. We traveled through the locks of Lelystad, which is quite an experience in such a large ship. After the locks we disembarked. From there we cycled to the Oostvaardersplassen, with a stop to see the Batavia ship on the way. The bike paths here were very straight and the surroundings so different than in Friesland and Noord-Holland. The last bit of cycling to the boat was on the dike, this was quite tiring…it’s so windy in the Netherlands! ?
The advantage was that we could sail towards Amsterdam. This was a wonderful last sailing trip to end a fun and active week. In Amsterdam we enjoyed a delicious dinner on deck. After dinner, we took a short evening walk through Amsterdam, had a nightcap on the boat and then went to sleep.
One last breakfast, then we packed our luggage, said goodbye and headed home again.
We had a wonderful week, and our children also enjoyed it. It was nice to discover the Netherlands from the water and by bike.
The bike rides were manageable, even if you’re not such a skilled cyclist. The bikes we got were good and had 7 gears.
You’re not obliged to do the cycling and walking tours in the harbor villages with the group, you can also just explore by yourself. Most of us did participate, because we thought it would be nice to know more about the surroundings. We had a great guide who had a lot of information to share during the cycling and walking tours.
The food on board was good. Captain Erik and his crew were friendly, hospitable and helpful. The ship was very nice, well-maintained and clean.