Bike through the Green Heart of Holland
Historical cities Amsterdam & Leiden
Rijksmuseum & Delft porcelain studio
Barges with max. 24 passengers
During this eight day/seven night, tour on board of the charming barge Gandalf you will discover the ‘Green Heart’ of Holland by bike, a region steeped in history, natural attractions, world famous cities and beautiful scenery.
Along the way you will visit historical cities such as Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Leiden and Gouda. You will discover many culturally historic attractions and, more importantly, you will be able to immerse yourself in the heart of this fascinating and very Dutch part of Holland.
Also, if you are an art lover, you will enjoy the visits to Leiden, Haarlem and Delft where painters such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Vermeer lived and worked. But far from just being about big cities and Dutch history, this tour is also about the picturesque villages and beautiful scenery of the ‘green lung’ districts of central part and South-Holland province. One thing is certain: by the end of the tour you will not only go home with a new-found appreciation for bike and barge cruising, but for everything that is Dutch.
A bonus during this tour is the fact that the Gandalf docks in and around the city center of the various cities and villages visited at the end of each day’s cycling, giving you the opportunity to visit and explore at your leisure at night.
The ship – Your sailing hotel
In between cycling excursions, you cruise along with the ship, which travels to a new destination every day. You dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board. You’ll receive a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like. There are rental bikes on board, but you can also bring your own if you mention it when booking.
Accompanied by a competent, professional and multilingual tour leader, you and the group will visit interesting sights and places on the daily cycling tours. During the bike tour, they will explain the local history and culture behind the things you encounter along the way. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board)
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.
Day 1: Amsterdam
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is from 2 p.m. in the center of Amsterdam. After unpacking your luggage in your cabin an introduction to the tour will take place at 3 p.m. After that your rental bicycles will be distributed and your tour leader will invite you to a short test-ride. Upon your return your first dinner on board will be served.
Day 2: Amsterdam – Zaandam | Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Haarlem (40 km/24 mi. or 55 km/34 mi.)
After a short cruise on board the barge, you are finally off and cycling today after first visiting the lovely open-air museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ in Zaandam where an authentic 18th and 19th century Dutch village has been reconstructed. In the museum you will learn about iconic Dutch traditions such as windmills and cheese and clog making. You will then cycle to Haarlem where celebrated portraitist and genre painter Frans Hals lived and worked in the 16th century. In the evening you can stroll through the lovely city center and the Grote Markt (market square). If preferred, today’s cycling tour can also be extended with a visit to the sea locks of IJmuiden and the Kennemer Dunes. During this cycling tour you can visit some forts of the Defense Line of Amsterdam (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Day 3: Haarlem – North Sea coast – Leiden (42 km/25 mi. or 50 km/34 mi.)
After enjoying breakfast with your newfound cycling friends, you will pedal today along the North Sea coast through seaside dunes via the resorts of Noordwijk and Katwijk aan Zee to the vibrant university city of Leiden, the birthplace of celebrated artist Rembrandt van Rijn. The city’s picturesque old city center is crisscrossed with canals lined by beautiful 17th-century buildings and is very definitely a must to see. The longer cycling tour leads you from Haarlem to Cruquius (steam engine museum) and Hillegom (several flower nurseries) to Leiden.
Day 4: Leiden – Delft (35 km/22 mi. or 41 km/34 mi.)
From Leiden you will cycle to Delft, famous for its Blue porcelain (Delftware), where you will have the opportunity to visit a porcelain studio. Another major attraction in the beautiful city center of Delft is the royal crypt of the House of Orange. The longer cycling tour brings you to seaside resort Scheveningen and to The Hague, where you can visit the Binnenhof (Parliament) and the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis) and then continues to end in Delft.
Day 5: Delft – Rotterdam – Kinderdijk | Kinderdijk – Schoonhoven – Gouda (several options from 23 km/15 mi. to 66 km/41 mi.)
This morning you will sail from Delft on the barge through the remarkable international port of Rotterdam. From here you can start cycling or you can hop on the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry that will bring you and your bicycle over the river in 30-40 minutes to Alblasserdam. From there you cycle just a few miles to Kinderdijk, world famous for an impressive row of 19 large windmills. These 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 Kinderdijk you will cycle directly to the cheese city of Gouda, or if you prefer, on a longer tour via the silver city of Schoonhoven to Gouda, your destination for the day.
Day 6: Gouda – Kudelstaart (45 km/28 mi or 55 km/34 mi)
The highlight of today’s cycling tour is the naturally idyllic beauty of the South Holland landscape. Your destination for the day is the village of Kudelstaart where the barge will be waiting for you. Along the way you will cycle along numerous small canals and past picture-perfect farms and small villages. At the mooring place on the banks of the Westeinder Plassen (‘West End’ lakes) there is a beautiful view to savor while enjoying a wine during or after dinner.
Day 7: Kudelstaart – Aalsmeer – Amsterdam (30 km/19 mi. or 37 km/23 mi.)
If you are keen for an early start to the day you can visit the largest trade centre for plants and flowers in the world at Aalsmeer (optional extra, not included). The market is a hive of activity; it is guaranteed that you will never have seen so many flowers in the one place. After a late breakfast you can either stay on board the barge as it cruises through the City of Amsterdam to its mooring place or you can cycle into the city through the city park ‘Amsterdamse Bos’ or along the Amstel river. Once you reach Amsterdam take the opportunity during the afternoon and evening to go for a canal cruise, discover Anne Frank’s House, the Rembrandt House Museum, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and Dam Square, the very center and heart of the city.
Day 8: Amsterdam
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
Below you see an overview of the available (blue) dates; the yellow dot means that this date has 2 or less cabins available, orange is ‘on request’ and red means that on this date there aren’t any cabins available. Then click on the preferred date. After this, choose your ship (some tours have only one ship, and therefore there is no choice), the number of cabins in the required (and available) category, any desired additional products, and ‘local costs’ (such as special dietary needs, which you usually pay for onboard). On the right side, you’ll find the ‘Booking Summary.’ After completing your preferences and necessary information click ‘Book now’ to finalize your booking.
Our tour on the Lena Maria was excellent. The chef Lars was excellent and we all looked forward to our meals each evening. The storage space in our cabins was very good. Our tour guide Thomas was very good although busy crossings at streets was often stressful having to bunch up and cross quickly. I realise we had a big…
This was a wonderful trip and incredible value. The boat was well appointed and our room exceeded our expectations. Our chef made amazing meals and our tour guide was world class. So nice to have the E bike option for my wife and the bikes were well-maintained and of good quality. We rode on our own at a different pace…
We really appreciated having a guide on our tour – Thomas shared his local knowledge and eliminated any stress of not being able to find our way. The meals were amazing thanks to Lars. His fresh baked bread every morning made us look forward to our packed lunch and every dinner included plenty of beautifully prepared fresh vegetables to go…
thoroughly enjoyed the trip. good company good crew and lots to see
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