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Netherlands

Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland

Historical cities of Holland
Amsterdam Round tour.
From €599 p.p.

Highlights of this tour

North Holland’s flat polder landscapes

Visit Texel Island’s sandy beaches

Romantic harbor villages incl. Enkhuizen

Ship with max. 90 passengers

Guidance
  • Guided cycling: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Independent cycling: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Independent cycling
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1
Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 8 days

During this fascinating cycling cruise on board the ships De Willemstad or Poseidon you will discover the best of what the beautiful Provinces of North-Holland and Friesland offer. Explore flat “polder” landscapes – a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments – the North Sea coast, towering sand dunes, long sandy beaches, historic windmills, the island of Texel and the many picturesque harbor towns along the coast of IJsselmeer Lake. It is without doubt a tour not to be missed!

Nowhere else in the world will you find an area as fascinating as the Dutch Provinces of North Holland and Friesland, two areas rich in tradition. Over the course of your week, you will be able to discover typical Dutch culture and cycle through a flat “polder land”, extensively reclaimed over the centuries from the North Sea and the former Southern Sea (now IJsselmeer). What you will soon realize is the truth behind the proverb “God created the earth but the Dutch made Holland”, such has been the extent of land reclamation in the region you will be cycling through. Since the 17th century in an effort to save disappearing land from encroaching water, protective dikes have been built, low lying land has been pumped dry and tidal dams have been created in creeks to prevent flooding, with the result that today’s green flat polder landscape is full of agricultural enterprise. Given the Dutch love for cycling, the region is crisscrossed with many quiet cycle tracks that stretch from one end of the region to the other. You will be amazed by the beauty of the North Sea beaches, the towering sand dunes – who said there were no hills in Holland! – the extremely bicycle friendly island of Texel, the beautiful flat landscapes, small dreamlike farm villages and romantic picturesque harbor villages. During the second part of the tour you will cross the large lake IJsselmeer to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. Other highlights during your week tour include the open air museum “Zaanse Schans”, the historic city center of Alkmaar and the old harbor cities of Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam, the  islands of Texel and Marken and – of course – Amsterdam with its beautiful canals.

A varied landscape
In this short tour, you’ll travel by barge and bike through stunning North Holland landscapes. Pedaling flat bicycle paths across polders (reclaimed land), dikes, canals, and the dunes of the coast, past nature areas and farmland, you’ll be able to see how the Dutch have shaped the landscape, preventing flooding while respecting nature and allowing space for agriculture. The changing landscape will charm you.

What makes Holland Holland
When you think of Holland, you probably imagine windmills, dikes, cheese, and clogs. That history comes alive at Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum where you can explore a range of historical windmills, traditional Dutch houses and shops, and you can observe how cheese and clogs are made. And speaking of cheese, you’ll also visit Alkmaar, home to a traditional cheese market.

Another highlight of this tour is Marken, once an island of fishermen and still picture-perfect with its small wooden houses and boat harbor. Haarlem’s medieval center and cobbled streets evoke old Holland. Amsterdam, the start and end point of the tour, offers endless opportunities for exploring museums and shops, or just admiring the graceful elegance of the canal houses in the UNESCO-listed canal zone.

On board the ship
When you’re not pedaling through the countryside or exploring Holland’s historical towns, you’ll enjoy the facilities on the ship. On-board chefs prepare a varied and delicious dinner menu fresh daily. Raise a toast at the bar with other guests, watch the scenery from a deck chair outside or from the salon inside, or have a soak in the on-board whirlpool. You’ll get a good night’s rest in one of our well-appointed cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms.

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.

The tour leader
A knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader accompanies each day’s bike ride. Our leaders can answer almost any questions you have about Dutch history or culture. On each day’s tour, you can stick with them or set out on your own, so there’s no need to feel constrained if you want to explore independently.

Tip for a two-week trip
During almost the entire season, the ship “Poseidon” sails alternately the “North Holland and Friesland” trip and the “South Holland” trip. So you have the possibility to combine these two trips into a 14-day boat-bike-tour. You will stay and travel for fourteen days in the same cabin on board the ship “Poseidon”. Depending on the travel date, you can decide on the order.

YOUR BENEFITS:
– All the highlights of the Netherlands during a 2 week cruise;
– No change of ship or cabin;
– € 50 p.p. discount on the cabin price of the 2nd week.

Day to day program

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 – Zaandam

Embarkation and check-in between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Amsterdam. Take the opportunity to go shopping, to explore downtown Amsterdam, to make a canal cruise or to visit a museum. At 5 p.m. welcome drink and safety instructions, dinner and first briefing on board. During dinner short cruise to Zaandam.

Day 2: Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar (44 km/27 mi.)

The first cycling trip of this tour takes you via small villages through the beautiful flat and green polder landscape. The first stop is at the Zaanse Schans open air museum (free entry) with its traditional Old Dutch wooden houses, windmills and the cheese- and clog factory. After this visit you will cycle through the “Land of Leeghwater”, a green polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. Stroll through the former whaler’s village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. Your ship will be waiting for you near the historical city center of Alkmaar.

Day 3: Dune tour: round trip from/to Alkmaar (33 km/20 mi. or 40 km/25 mi.) | Alkmaar – Den Helder 

Today you can discover the beautiful North-Holland Dune reserve. This is a 5.300 hectare large forest- and dune area with its unique landscapes. In these dunes the drinking water for almost the whole province of North-Holland is gained. After a visit to the beach and artists village Bergen you will return to Alkmaar where you can visit the wonderful city center. In the afternoon the ship will sail over the North-Holland Canal to the navy harbor of Den Helder.

Day 4: Ferry to North Sea island of Texel: cycling round trips from ‘t Horntje (several options from 15 km/9 mi. to 65 km/41 mi.) | Den Helder – Den Oever

After breakfast you’ll take a 20-minute ferry ride (ticket included) from Den Helder to the isle of Texel, where you can make beautiful cycling tours on the largest of the Dutch North Sea Isles. Ride through meadows, nature parks and dunes to small villages and have the opportunity for a stop and some bathing at the sandy North Sea beach, or visit the “Ecomare” seal sanctuary. In the late afternoon you will return by ferry to Den Helder. During dinner your ship will sail to Den Oever.

Day 5: Den Oever – Stavoren | Southwest Friesland: round trip from/to Stavoren (43 km/27 mi. or 55 km/34 mi.)

The vessel will cross the large inland lake IJsselmeer to sail to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. You can opt for a shorter or longer cycling tour: discover the nature area of Gaasterland or explore a part of the wide lake district, that Friesland is well-known for. You can also combine both options. Night in the small harbor of Stavoren, one of the famous traditional 11 cities of Friesland.

Day 6: Stavoren – Medemblik | Medemblik – Hoorn – Enkhuizen (30 km/19 mi. or 50 km/31 mi.)

The ship will cross the IJsselmeer again during breakfast. Take the short cycling trip from Medemblik along the IJsselmeer coast directly to Enkhuizen, where you can spend the afternoon. Enkhuizen is an old city with many centuries of maritime tradition. The “herring city” boasts a beautiful old harbor, a historical old town centre and the very interesting Zuiderzeemuseum. If you prefer a longer cycling tour, ride from Medemblik to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn, in the 17th century one of the world’s leading harbors. Enjoy your lunch break and make a short stroll in the old city centre. Continue by bicycle to Enkhuizen via some picturesque rural villages. In the evening you can join a short city walk.

Day 7: Enkhuizen – Volendam | Volendam – Waterland – Amsterdam (35 km/22 mi. or 50 km/31 mi.)

During breakfast the ship will sail to Volendam. Your final day of cycling will lead you through the beautiful area of Waterland, with its hundreds of small lakes and tiny canals. Near Volendam you will have the opportunity to visit a cheese farm. Recommended (extra cycling miles) is a tour to the former island of Marken, to continue through the water shaped region of Waterland back to the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. If you didn’t go for a canal cruise on the first day, you can do so today.

Day 8: Amsterdam

End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m..

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 stay 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 for guests who wish to cycle individually and at their own pace. The tour guide is always available via cell phone in case of questions, breakdowns or emergencies.

Prices & information

Prices & availability

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.

  • Available
  • 2 or less available
  • On request
  • Not available
Departure date -

Choose preferred ship

Please select your cabin(s)

Pricing overview - 2022
Cabin type For Season A Season B Season C Season D
POS: Twin cabin lower deck 2 pers. € 599 € 749 € 849 € 949 POS: Twin cabin lower deck for single use (max. 3) 1 pers. € 898.50 € 1123.50 € 1273.50 € 1423.50 POS: Twin cabin upper deck 2 pers. € 799 € 949 € 1049 € 1149 POS: Twin cabin upper deck for single use (max. 3) 1 pers. € 1198.50 € 1423.50 € 1573.50 € 1723.50 DWI: Twin cabin lower deck 2 pers. € 649 € 799 € 899 € 999 DWI: Twin cabin lower deck for single use (max. 2) 1 pers. € 973.50 € 1198.50 € 1348.50 € 1498.50 DWI: Twin cabin upper deck 2 pers. € 799 € 949 € 1049 € 1199 DWI: Twin cabin upper deck for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. € 1198.50 € 1423.50 € 1573.50 € 1798.50 DWI: Suite upper deck 2 pers. € 1049 € 1199 € 1299 € 1449
Included in this tour
  • 8 days/7 nights
  • 7 x breakfast
  • Packed lunches
  • 7 x 3-course dinner
  • Coffee and tea on board till 4 PM
  • Welcome drink
  • Use of bed linen and towels
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Climate-controlled cabin
  • Daily briefings
  • Semi guided cycling tours (guest cycle independently, tour leader also cycles the tour);
  • Some short walking tours
  • Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
  • GPS tracks
  • Use of a waterproof pannier bag
  • Ferry ticket to Texel
  • Wi-Fi is available in restaurant – data use is not included
  • Live music on board
  • SGR Insolvency protection
  • Carbon offset payment to the non-profit organization Justdiggit
Excluded in this tour
  • Coffee and tea on board after 4 PM
  • Drinks
  • Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
  • Helmet rental
  • Personal insurances
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Fees for ferries (ferry to Texel included)
  • Transfers to/from the docking place
  • Parking fees
Additional options & information - 2022

2022:

  • Rental bicycle: € 85 per week
  • Rental E-Bike: € 185 per week (only on request, limited number available)
  • You can find a description of the bicycles under ‘ship’.
  • Helmets: A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle € 10/week
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike € 25/week
  • Parking own bicycle: € 10 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
  • Parking own E-Bike: € 25 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
  • Please click on this link for more information about the rental and own bicycles/E-bikes
  • Canal cruise Amsterdam: Ticket for a 1-hour canal cruise through Amsterdam – special price for our guests: € 15 (at the ticket desk approx.: € 20). Please book your ticket in advance and you can collect it on board of your ship on the first day of the tour.
  • Parking in Amsterdam (valet parking): prices and pre-booking on request.

 

Optional visits (entrance fees not included, but for our guests with discount/several with discount or free of charge):
* Open air museum Zaanse Schans
* Visitors centre windmill Schermerhorn
* Beer brewery Oudeschild
* Seal sanctuary Ecomare De Koog
* Steam engine museum Medemblik
* Open air museum Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen and more….

Travel during corona time

On our tours we make sure that you can travel safely! We follow all possible safety measures on board by observing hygiene rules, equipping staff with face masks and with extra cleaning and sufficient ventilation. All guests, crew and tour leaders complete a health declaration in advance, and during the trip we take care that everyone stays healthy!
For more information and the latest updates click here.


Photos & videos

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Play Northern Tour Cycling quiet roads Camera Cycling quiet roads texel Camera texel Texel dunes Camera Texel dunes Breakfast aboard ship Camera Breakfast aboard ship Alkmaar Camera Alkmaar Alkmaar Camera Alkmaar Alkmaar Camera Alkmaar Alkmaar Camera Alkmaar Cycling quiet roads Camera Cycling quiet roads Alkmaar Camera Alkmaar Zaanse Schans Camera Zaanse Schans Town hall De Rijp Camera Town hall De Rijp Zaanse Schans Camera Zaanse Schans Zaanse Schans Camera Zaanse Schans Tour leader in Monnickendam Camera Tour leader in Monnickendam Texel lighthouse Camera Texel lighthouse Texel country side Camera Texel country side Stavoren Vrouwtje van Stavoren Camera Stavoren Vrouwtje van Stavoren People aboard ship Camera People aboard ship People aboard ship Camera People aboard ship North Sea coast beach Camera North Sea coast beach Guests having a drink Camera Guests having a drink Guests having a drink Camera Guests having a drink Hoorn Camera Hoorn Hoorn Camera Hoorn Hoorn Camera Hoorn Hoorn Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe Camera Hoorn Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe Cycling quiet roads and towns Camera Cycling quiet roads and towns Cycling quiet roads Camera Cycling quiet roads Cycling quiet roads Camera Cycling quiet roads Cycling quiet roads Camera Cycling quiet roads Northsea coast Bergen aan Zee Camera Northsea coast Bergen aan Zee Cycling quiet roads Camera Cycling quiet roads Volendam Camera Volendam Volendam Camera Volendam Volendam statue of Mary Camera Volendam statue of Mary Volendam harbor Camera Volendam harbor Volendam windmill Camera Volendam windmill Edam cyclists Camera Edam cyclists Edam bridge Camera Edam bridge Edam Camera Edam Edam lock Camera Edam lock Leafde fan Fryslan Camera Leafde fan Fryslan Sheep in Friesland Camera Sheep in Friesland Tour leader Camera Tour leader Cycling on Terschelling Camera Cycling on Terschelling Texel Camera Texel Man on beach Terschelling Camera Man on beach Terschelling Cycling on Terschelling beach Camera Cycling on Terschelling beach Barefoot on Terschelling sands Camera Barefoot on Terschelling sands Terschelling dunes Camera Terschelling dunes Stavoren Camera Stavoren Hindeloopen Camera Hindeloopen Sneek Waterpoort cyclists Friesland Camera Sneek Waterpoort cyclists Friesland Hindeloopen park Camera Hindeloopen park Hindeloopen Camera Hindeloopen Sneek Waterpoort Camera Sneek Waterpoort Chef Rutger and sailor Thomas Magnifique Camera Chef Rutger and sailor Thomas Magnifique Cyclist in Northern Holland dunes Camera Cyclist in Northern Holland dunes Cyclists at Zaandam Camera Cyclists at Zaandam Dunes at Bergen Camera Dunes at Bergen Guest in Amsterdam Camera Guest in Amsterdam Magnifique III Captain and sailor Camera Magnifique III Captain and sailor Road sign Camera Road sign Sailing Magnifique III to Alkmaar Camera Sailing Magnifique III to Alkmaar Zaanse Schans Camera Zaanse Schans Cycling on the dyke in Volendam () Camera Cycling on the dyke in Volendam () Cyclist in Volendam harbor Camera Cyclist in Volendam harbor Cyclist in Volendam Camera Cyclist in Volendam Cyclists Volendam Afslag Camera Cyclists Volendam Afslag Cyclists Volendam d'Ouwe Helling Camera Cyclists Volendam d'Ouwe Helling Visitors of the Zaanse Schans Camera Visitors of the Zaanse Schans Guests at the beach Camera Guests at the beach Monument of the Battle at Warns Camera Monument of the Battle at Warns Skatemuseum of Hindeloopen Camera Skatemuseum of Hindeloopen Volendam Camera Volendam Wilde paarden Camera Wilde paarden Windmills of Zaandam Camera Windmills of Zaandam

Reviews

Rated 9.6 out of 10 based on 28 reviews
4 stars

Guido Werner

Wir, d. h. meine Frau und ich, haben die Nord-Hollandtour am 08.08.-15.08.20 an Bord der MS de Holland gemacht. Zunächst sind wir am Anreisetag an die angegebene Liegestelle gegangen, aber das Schiff lag genau an der entgegen gesetzten Pier – ein kleiner Fehler, der dank der Auskunft eines Besatzungsmitglieds des daneben liegenden Schiffes der gleichen Reederei schnell zum richtigen Liegeplatz…

Reply from Boat Bike Tours Vielen Dank, dass Sie sich die Mühe gemacht haben, einen ausführlichen Bericht über Ihre Reise an Bord der De Holland zu schreiben. Danke, dass Sie trotz der Einschränkungen von Corona (z.B. das Fehlen eines Frühstücksbuffets) eine gute Erfahrung gemacht haben. Wir freuen uns darauf, Sie im nächsten Jahr wiederzusehen und dass wir dem schönen Titel Sommermärchen wieder gerecht werden können. Team Boat Bike Tours
4 stars

Majlinda

Great Experience, North of Holland is so beautiful and visiting it with the tour was a very good decision. Highly recommended.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours Thanks very much for your review. Always good to hear that you are happy with your decision afterwards too! Team Boat Bike Tours
5 stars

Paul Gobes

Highly recommended tour. Well planned routes, good bike, good food, good accommodations. I loved North Holland.

5 stars

Malcolm Lyon

A superb trip. Barge and crew first rate! Exceeded all our expectations. Special accolade to Pieter our guide and tour host who did a wonderful job. We will definitely be doing another Bike barge tour!

Read all reviews on Trustpilot

Available ships for this tour

Ship De Willemstad Netherlands

Restaurant and separate lounge

Dance floor

Openable windows in cabins

Individually controlled air conditioning

max. 96 passengers
48 cabins
1 tours available with this ship
Ship Poseidon Netherlands

Separate lounge and restaurant areas

Openable windows in cabins

Individually controlled air conditioning

max. 96 passengers
48 cabins
2 tours available with this ship

Related tours

Amsterdam Round tour.
Southern Tour of Holland Cities and countryside

Bike through the Green Heart of Holland

Historical cities Amsterdam & Rotterdam

Kinderdijk’s windmills & Zaanse Schans

Ships with max. 100 passengers

Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 8 days
5 stars
42 Reviews
Guidance
  • Guided cycling: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Independent cycling: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Independent cycling Guided cycling
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1
Amsterdam Round tour.
Sail & Bike IJsselmeer & small Frisian cities Comfortable voyage of discovery

Raise the sails along IJsselmeer’s coast

Harbor towns like Volendam with a guide

Gentle rides through beautiful Friesland

Sailing ship with max. 24 passengers

Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 8 days
5 stars
9 Reviews
Guidance
  • Guided cycling: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Independent cycling: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Guided cycling
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1

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Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland

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