Cycling along the Rhine & IJssel
Hanseatic cities like Deventer & Kampen
Learn about the reclaimed polderlands
Ships with max. 71 passengers
This tour leads you through a region that’s one of the most beloved among Dutch cyclists. Come and explore it yourself, by bike and barge. Every day while cycling, you’ll get to know more of its numerous historical cities, beautiful river landscapes and diverse natural areas. Every evening, you’ll return to your floating hotel barge, docked in a picturesque harbor along the route. You’ll cycle at your own pace, while your well trained tour leader is only a phone call away for your questions, problems or emergencies.
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.
Cycle along an important trading route
The area you’ll be traversing was shaped over millennia by numerous rivers and streams. It thrived during the Middle Ages, when the rivers Rhine and IJssel were among the most important trade routes in Europe. Many of the cities along their banks were members of the Hanseatic League. This confederation protected the economic interests of its members in large parts of the Netherlands, Germany and Northern Europe. The affluence of those years is visible everywhere in abundant civil and religious architecture.
Through the natural beauty of the Rhine Valley
Your tour starts in the delightful city of Amsterdam. From there, you’ll sail and cycle to many larger and smaller Hanseatic towns like Arnhem, Deventer, Zutphen, Kampen, Harderwijk and Elburg. The natural beauty of the Rhine valley and its enchanting tributary, the IJssel, will duly impress you. Another attraction along the way are the so-called Bordering Lakes. These are situated between the “old” mainland with many beautiful harbor towns, and the “new” reclaimed land of the province of Flevoland, that was once the bottom of the sea.
The flat terrain in the 125 km long IJssel valley makes this a perfect tour for those who love to cycle leisurely along many winding trails in a diverse area.
You cycle independently
During this trip there is an expert and experienced tour leader on board. He or she will discuss the next day’s cycling routes on a daily basis and provide you with tips and information about the route. You will cycle the tours independently and at your own pace using a detailed cycling map, GPS directions via the free Ride With GPS app and printed route descriptions (available on board). The tour leader will also cycle the routes, so they will be riding nearby and can be reached by phone in case of emergencies, problems or questions.
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 | Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede
Embarkation and check-in in Amsterdam. The crew welcomes you on board between 1 and 2 p.m. At approximately 2 p.m. the ship sails from Amsterdam on the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede, a town on the Rhine River. Here, you will spend your first night aboard the ship.
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem (35 km/21 mi. or 44 km/28 mi.)
While you are enjoying breakfast, the ship sails to Wageningen. From this town, your first cycling tour of the week takes you through the lovely valley of the Lower Rhine river, and then on through the Veluwe, a large area of woods and heathlands. At the end of the day you pedal to Arnhem, via suburbs and past the lovely parks named Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal. Close to the center of this former Hanseatic city, the De Holland docks for the night. During World War II, Arnhem was the battle scene of Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history. It ended in a failure, as the inability to capture a bridge over the Rhine River resulted in the destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division.
Day 3: Arnhem – Doesburg | Doesburg – Zutphen – Deventer (45 km/27 mi. or 55 km/35 mi.)
We leave Arnhem on the De Holland, and then today’s cycling tour starts in the small town of Doesburg. There are two cycling options to get you to Zutphen and Deventer. Both options first go to Bronkhorst, a seeming hamlet that’s proud to be the smallest town in Holland. From Bronkhorst, the shorter option takes you by ferry to the western bank of the IJssel river, whereas the longer option stays on the eastern bank. Both options lead you through the countryside to Zutphen. The tour ends in Deventer, a city known for its delicious spicy gingerbread. In the evening, your tour leader offers a short, guided walking tour of the city. Make sure to join!
Day 4: Deventer – Wijhe | Wijhe – Kampen (40 km/25 mi or 56 km/35 mi.)
During breakfast the De Holland will take you to Wijhe, where your bicycle ride begins. In the morning you will enjoy a nice bicycle ride to Hattem. You can choose a short option along the banks of the river or opt for a longer ride across the east Veluwe area. Hattem has a rich history, which is still clearly visible today. Leaving Hattem, it is only a short ride to the city of Zwolle, one of the most beautiful Hanseatic cities. From Zwolle you continue to Kampen. After dinner, you can enjoy the most interesting sights in this largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands.
Day 5: Kampen – Elburg – Harderwijk (48 km/29 mi. or 56 km/33.6 mi.)
From Kampen, our cycling tour leads along the Border Lakes to the fishing harbor of Elburg. Here, swimming, boating, surfing and fishing are favorite summertime activities. From Elburg the cycling tour continues through the woods and moorlands of the Veluwe to lovely Harderwijk, where the night will be spent in its old fishing harbor. In the 1500s Harderwijk boasted the largest fish market in the Zuiderzee region. Today, it is still a lovely old city very much worth exploring.
Day 6: Harderwijk – Spakenburg – Huizen (45 km/28 mi. or 56 km/35 mi.)
Again, you have two routes to choose from. A shorter bike ride along the coast of the Border Lakes, or a combination of the coast route and a longer alternative that runs through adjacent woodlands. In the afternoon you will pass Spakenburg, a fishing village well-known for its traditional costumes that are worn to this day. Docking destination for today is Huizen.
Day 7: Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam (35 km/21 mi.)
Huizen is the starting point for a ride to the beautiful fortress towns of Naarden and Muiden. The latter is famous for its historic castle on the waterfront. From Muiden you will cycle along quiet roads to your final destination, the world famous city of Amsterdam. You have the afternoon and evening to spend in the Dutch capital any way you like. Seize the chance to do a canal tour, to visit Anne Frank’s home or any of a number of world renowned museums around the Museumplein. Or just enjoy looking at everyday life in this bustling city.
Day 8: Amsterdam
The last part of your tour is today, but we won’t let you leave with an empty stomach. So before disembarkation until 9.30 a.m., enjoy a nice breakfast first.
The rental bikes on our ships are unisex bicycles with a low bar and a comfortable upright sitting position. These are stable and dependable bikes, good for miles in the saddle. Decide which kind of bike you want to rent and simply fill in your preference with your reservation. We’ll make sure you get the right bike for you. On most of our tours, the bike rental cost is not included in the tour’s price.
Every Boat Bike Tour rental bike is well equipped. The bikes consist of a lightweight aluminum frame and have highly-responsive handbrakes, at least seven speeds, an adjustable gel seat, normal flat pedals (no clips), an easy-to-use lock attached to the frame, and special puncture-resistant tires. All told, this is a light, stable and reliable bike, very suitable for touring long distances pleasantly.
Our e-bikes also have at least seven speeds and handbrakes. The motor runs on a 400Wh battery and offers three levels of power-assistance. The e-bikes include comfortable gel seats that can be adjusted for height, have a lock attached to the frame, and sport anti-puncture tires. Note that some of the ships have their own bikes on board. They may look a bit different, but qualitatively they are equal to Boat Bike Tours’s e-bikes.
The use of bicycle helmets is not required in the Netherlands, but for safety’s sake they are suggested. If you wish to rent one, you can do so during the booking process. If you book a premium tour and rent a bike or e-bike, then the helmet and a “limit of liability for damage or loss” for your bike or e-bike is included in the rental price.
Other rental items
Other items such as children’s bikes, tandems, family tandems (child & adult), tag-along, trailers to carry toddlers and child seats are available on request.
Taking your own bike or e-bike?
The fee for parking your own bicycle is €10 per week. For an e-bike the fee is €25 to cover parking and charging the battery. For safety reasons it is not always possible to charge your e-bike batteries in your cabin. The crew will tell you where you can charge the battery on board the ship. Neither the crew nor Boat Bike tours is responsible in any way for any damage, loss or theft of a guest’s own bike or e-bike or its accessories. Note: not all the ships are suitable or have enough room for extra bikes, so make sure you check with us well ahead of travel.
Our bicycles have a lightweight aluminum frame and are furnished with highly-responsive handbrakes, at least seven speeds and a gel seat whose height can be adjusted. Attached to the frame is an easy-to-use lock and the wheels carry puncture-resistant tires.
Our e-bikes also have highly-responsive handbrakes and a minimum of seven speeds. The motor runs on a 400Wh battery and offers three levels of power-assistance. The e-bikes include comfortable gel seats that can be adjusted for height, have a lock attached to the frame and special anti-puncture tires.
It is possible to take your own bike or e-bike with you, as long as it doesn’t have mirrors or other elements that stick out. There’s only limited space available on board for guests’ bikes. You can reserve a place for your bike for a small fee. Boat Bike tours is not responsible for damage to your bike or for theft.
To view the availability of this tour and/or book online please click on the button below. A new screen will open.
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.
Bike along the Rhine & IJssel
Visit fascinating Hanseatic cities
Learn about the lovely reclaimed polderlands
Premium barges with max. 20 – 40 passengers
Discover magical green river landscapes
Historical cities Utrecht & Maastricht
Vibrant Limburg province hospitality
Barges with max. 20 passengers
North Holland’s flat polder landscapes
Visit Texel Island’s sandy beaches
Romantic harbor villages incl. Enkhuizen
Ship with max. 96 passengers