North Holland’s flat landscapes
Beautiful beaches of Texel Island
Quaint harbor villages incl. Enkhuizen
Boutique ship with max. 24 passengers
This gorgeous cycling cruise is guaranteed to help you understand why the Dutch say “God created the earth but the Dutch made Holland.” The tour takes you through “polder” landscapes: low-lying land that has been drained of its water – reclaimed from the sea – using dikes and windmills. That means you’ll cycle past plenty of windmills, as well as dune landscapes, long sandy beaches, and picturesque harbor towns along the coast of Ijsselmeer Lake. This is an unforgettable tour!
Tour guide Wilma will highlight all the sights of the North Holland tour.
A varied landscape
During this tour, you’ll travel by barge and bicycle along flat bike routes, crossing polders, dikes, and dunes. You’ll pass through nature areas and farmland. You’ll see how the Dutch have spent centuries shaping the landscape to prevent flooding and extend farmland, yet maintained their respect for nature. The changing landscape will charm you.
Since the 17th century the Dutch have worked to prevent flooding, both for their own safety and to preserve and expand farmland. To do this, they built dikes, used windmills to pump the land dry, and created tidal dams in case of high water. The end result is this breathtakingly green, flat landscape supporting profitable agricultural activity. Yet the Dutch have made room for bicycles too, so the region is laced with a network of bicycle paths, often dedicated paths away from car traffic.
The Netherlands isn’t known for its beaches, but you’ll be amazed by the beauty of the beaches on the North Sea, with their high sand dunes, on this biking and boating tour. The dunes are the biggest hills you’ll find in North Holland! You’ll also visit Texel, a scenic and bike-friendly island, and pass through small dreamlike farm villages and quaint harbor cities such as Enkhuizen and Hoorn.
Open air museum Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is likely to be one of your favorite stops on this tour, because it has everything you associate with Holland: windmills, dikes, cheese, and clogs. At this open-air museum you can visit a range of different historical windmills, as well as traditional Dutch houses and shops. You can see demonstrations of how cheese and clogs are made and, if you want, buy some for yourself. Another cheese-related stop is Alkmaar, home to a traditional cheese market.
The former island of Marken
A highlight of this tour is a visit to Marken, which used to be an island and a fishing port. It’s not anymore, but it’s still picture-perfect, with small wooden houses and boat harbor.
The tour includes some city sightseeing as well. Amsterdam, the start and end point of the tour, is both a modern, bustling city with world-renowned museums and shops, and a historical reminder of a prosperous past in the elegant houses along the UNESCO-listed canal zone.
On board your boutique ship – your sailing hotel
When you’re not pedaling through the countryside or exploring Holland’s historical towns, you’ll enjoy the facilities of your boutique ship. There won’t be more than 24 passengers, which means you’ll get to know the crew and other passengers over meals and evening drinks in a hearty, warm and friendly atmosphere. You’ll dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board: fresh, local ingredients in meals prepared with care are the norm. You can make 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.
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 the Ride with GPS app and our BBT cycling map (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 – Zaandam | Zaandam – Zaanse Schans (8 km/4 mi.)
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is at 2 p.m. near the center of Amsterdam. Around 3 p.m. the barge sails to Zaandam. For your first bike ride, the tour leader will take you the short distance to Zaanse Schans. This is an open-air museum with a collection of windmills, traditional wooden houses, and cheese and clog factories.
Day 2: Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar (29 km/18 mi or 40 km/24 mi.)
From Zaanse Schans you will cycle through the “Land of Leeghwater”, a green polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. You’ll visit the former whaling village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. You’ll rejoin the ship near the historical city center of Alkmaar.
Day 3: Alkmaar – St. Maartensvlotbrug – Den Helder (30 km/18 mi. or 53 km/32 mi.) | Den Helder – Texel
Today you’ll leave Alkmaar via the artist village Bergen, then reach the North Sea to see the beautiful North-Holland Dune reserve. This is a forest and dune area of 5,300 hectare (20 square miles). You’ll find the ship again in the naval port of Den Helder. Next, if the weather allows, you’ll sail with the ship across the Wadden Sea to the island of Texel, the largest Dutch island.
Day 4: Texel, round trip (43 km/26 mi. or 48 km/29 mi.) | Texel – Medemblik
No worries if the ship wasn’t able to cross to Texel. In that case, today you can cross via ferry to Texel. On the island you’ll cycle through some beautiful natural areas and through charming villages and landscapes in the south of the island. If you want, take a break along the way on a beautiful long beach. A suggestion: make a stop at the seal sanctuary and nature museum, Ecomare. At the end of the afternoon the ship will leave from Texel over the beautiful Wadden Sea back to the mainland, or else you’ll take the ferry back.
Day 5: Medemblik – Enkhuizen (39 km/24 mi. or 51 km/31 mi.)
After spending the night moored in Medemblik, you’ll cycle along the coast of the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer is a lake, but used to be part of the North Sea before a huge dike, the Afsluitdijk, cut it off from the sea. You’ll finish today’s ride in Enkhuizen, a picturesque old city that used to be a fishing and shipping port. It has a beautiful historic harbor and old center, and is home to the Zuiderzeemuseum, a great place to see what life was like in fishing ports like this. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).
Day 6: Enkhuizen – Hoorn (23 km/14 mi. or 35 km/21 mi.)
A shorter ride today, taking you to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn. This was one of the world’s most important harbors back in the 17th century. Enjoy the afternoon in Hoorn and take a stroll in the old city center.
Day 7: Hoorn – Volendam | Volendam – Amsterdam (23 km/14mi. or 45 km/27 mi.)
On this, the last day of your cycling tour, you’ll arrive in Volendam as you eat your breakfast. Today’s route will lead you through a particularly pretty area called Waterland, which is dotted with hundreds of small lakes and tiny canals. Early in the afternoon you’ll cycle back to Amsterdam. Spend the afternoon and evening enjoying Amsterdam’s sights or doing some last-minute shopping.
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.
North Holland’s flat polder landscapes
Visit Texel Island’s sandy beaches
Romantic harbor villages incl. Enkhuizen
Ship with max. 96 passengers
Raise the sails along IJsselmeer’s coast
Picturesque harbor towns like Stavoren
Gentle rides in Weerribben National Park
Sailing ship with max. 24 passengers
Bike through the Green Heart of Holland
Historical cities Amsterdam & Leiden
Rijksmuseum & Delft porcelain studio
Barges with max. 24 passengers