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ToursNetherlandsNetherlands: Green Heart of Holland – Guided
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Netherlands: Green Heart of Holland – Guided

History and Holland's Green Heart

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.
time
8 days
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

During this eight day/seven night, tour on board of one of the charming barges 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 […]

From €1199 p.p.

Bike through the Green Heart of Holland

Historical cities Amsterdam & Leiden

Rijksmuseum & Delft porcelain studio

Barges with max. 24 passengers

Monday to Friday
Amsterdam: 08:30 to 22:00
New York: 6:00AM to 7:00PM
+31 20 72 35 400 NL
+1 203 814 1249 USA
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Netherlands: Green Heart of Holland – Guided

About this tour

During this eight day/seven night, tour on board of one of the charming barges 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 barges 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.

Fully Guided
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).

Prepare yourself for this tour with our Travel Prep-tips

Preparation is half the fun, so why not start straight away?
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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

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. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).

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 (32 km/19 mi.)

If you are keen for an early start to the day you can visit the largest trade center 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.

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.
  • A detailed cycling map 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.

The bicycles of Boat Bike Tours

Always the best rental bikes

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.

Bicycle helmets
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.

Cyclists in a green landscape

Touring bikes

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.

E-bikes

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.

Taking your own bicycle

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.


Prices & availability

To view the availability of this tour and/or book online please click on the button below. A new screen will open.


Prices & information

Pricing overview - 2025
Cabin type For May 3 + Sept. 27 May 10 - Sept. 20
Twin cabin lower deck 2 pers. € 1279 € 1329 Twin for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. € 1918.50 € 1993.50 Triple cabin (Sarah/Flora, max. 2, 3de bed only for a child, on req.) 3 pers. € 1179 € 1229 Triple cabin (Gandalf, max. 2, on req.) 3 pers. € 1219 € 1269
Pricing overview - 2024
Cabin type For April May - Sept.
Twin cabin 2 pers. € 1199 € 1249 Twin cabin for single use (max. 2) 1 pers. € 1798.50 € 1873.50 Triple cabin, price 3rd person (max. 2, 3de bed only for a child) 3 pers. € 1099 € 1149
Included in this tour
  • 8 days/7 nights
  • 7 x breakfast
  • Packed lunches
  • 6 x 3-course dinner
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Welcome drink
  • Use of bed linen and towels
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Daily briefings by the tour leader
  • Fully guided cycling tours
  • Fees for ferries
  • BBT cycling map (1 per cabin)
  • GPS tracks
  • Use of a waterproof pannier bag
  • Biodegradable water bottle
  • Wi-Fi
  • Carbon offset payment to the non-profit organization Justdiggit
Excluded in this tour
  • 1x diner
  • Drinks
  • Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
  • Helmet rental
  • Personal insurances
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Transfers to/from the docking place
  • Parking fees
  • SGR Insolvency protection
SGR Insolvency protection (mandatory consumer contribution SGR insolvency protection guarantee scheme: € 5 per person - will be specified separately on the booking confirmation)
Bicycles/E-Bikes

Flora

  • On board are bicycles of the brand Trek X300 with easy-to-handle Shimano 24-speed gears, handbrakes, gel-saddle (height adjustable), a lock on the frame and a pannier bag. All bikes have 28 inch wheels.
    For large gentlemen (from 1.90m and above) we have a few traditional men’s models (with a horizontal bar) available.
  • The e-bike is a Trek TM2+ with 9 gears, 3 support levels and hand breaks only (or a comparable brand/model).

 

Gandalf

  • The bicycles on board are unisex city bikes of the brand Velo de Ville C100, with lightweight frames and normal mount (ladies model), with easy-to-handle Shimano 7 gears, hand brakes, gel-saddle (height adjustable), a lock on the frame and pannier bag. All bikes have 28 inch wheels.  Some smaller frames are available on board for smaller persons. For large gentlemen (from 1.90m and above) we have a few traditional men’s models (with a horizontal bar) available.
  • The e-bike is a Velo de Ville CEB 200 with Nexus 7 gears, 4 support levels and hand breaks only (or a comparable brand/model). E-bikes available (on request, limited stock, pending availability).

 

Sarah

  • The bicycles on board are touring/trekking bikes of the brand Velo de Ville with 7 speed and handbrakes, a lock and pannier bag.
  • E-Bikes of the brand Velo de Ville CEB 200 with Nexus 7 gears, 4 support levels and hand breaks only (or a comparable brand/model). E-Bikes are only on request, limited number available, early bookings strongly recommended.

 

All barges

  • Bicycle rent is optional. Guests are also allowed to bring their own bicycles/e-bikes (limited number of parking places available). Guests can book a parking place for a normal bicycle or a parking and charge station for an e-bike for a small additional fee. For safety reasons it is no longer possible to charge the batteries of your own e-bikes in the cabin. The crew will inform you where on deck/ on board you can recharge your battery. However, the crew or tour operators are in no way responsible for any damage, loss or theft of guests own bicycles or e-bikes.
  • Prices of other bikes (e.g. children’s bikes, “slip streamers”/tag-a-long, tandem bicycles etc. and child’s saddles (rear) are on request.

 

Additional options & information - 2025

2025:

  • Rental bicycle: € 91 per week
  • Rental E-Bike: € 245 per week (only on request, limited number available)
  • Helmets: A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle €14/week (only bookable in advance)
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike €28/week (only bookable in advance)
  • Please click on this link for more information
  • Parking own bicycle: € 14 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
  • Parking + charge station own E-Bike: € 28 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: € 18 (at the ticket desk approx.: € 22). 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 here.
Additional options & information - 2024

2024:

  • Rental bicycle: € 96 per week
  • Rental E-Bike: € 232 per week (only on request, limited number available)
  • Helmets: A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle €10/week (only bookable in advance)
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike €25/week (only bookable in advance)
  • Please click on this link for more information
  • Parking own bicycle: € 10 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
  • Parking + charge station own E-Bike: € 25.20 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: € 16 (at the ticket desk approx.: € 19). 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 here.


Reviews

based on 16 reviews on
28 Sep 2023

Bridget Sargeant

I really enjoyed our tour guide and crew. Frans was great at adjusting our bike route for parades, traffic, weather or seeing something interesting. The suggestions of what to bring for the tour were very good but I would suggest adding roughly how much time would be spent biking. We spent about 4-5 hours biking per day with about 3 or 4 stops.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 4 Oct 2023

Thank you for your kind review! We are delighted that you enjoyed our tour. Hopefully, we can welcome you on board again soon. Best wishes, Boat Bike Tours.

28 Sep 2023

Mrs Diana Fitton

An amazing tour combining so many different things. The captain and crew on board Sarah were charming and went out of their way to help. The tour guide, Frans, was very knowledgeable and patient and set a steady pace. He guided us through busy cities such as The Hague and Amsterdam and showed us the beautiful smaller towns such as Delft and Gouda, pointing out all the points of interest. We visited interesting museums, such as the windmills, the Delft pottery and an old typical Dutch village. Another major highlight was a tour of the largest flower auction in the world. Even my apprehensive non gardening husband enjoyed the experience!

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 4 Oct 2023

Thank you for your kind review! We are delighted that you enjoyed our tour. Hopefully, we can welcome you on board again soon. Best wishes, Boat Bike Tours

10 Aug 2023

Mr Carter

The whole combination of living on a barge and cycling thru the Heart of Holland was fun. Food was OK and bikes were high quality. Scenery most days was green and interesting as was learning about Dutch history.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 11 Aug 2023

Thank you for your kind review! We are delighted that you enjoyed our tour. Hopefully, we can welcome you on board again soon. Best wishes, Boat Bike Tours.

27 Jul 2023

Theresa Ditter

We were greeted with a very warm welcome by the crew when we first boarded. The whole crew on the Gandalf were very professional, helpful, polite, and friendly. The kitchen staff bent over backwards to cook to our special needs. We so much appreciate their willingness to do this. We had a very good experience on this trip and enjoyed all of the biking, coffee stops, and city tours. One suggestion I have is to perhaps include more special stops like at a cheese factory, or an artist’s display, or a farm. I would have enjoyed more stops like this than lots of coffee house stops. Yes, there was the Delft pottery, which was great. It would have been special to have seen an actual cheese factory in Gouda. Another suggestion is to make sure all of the porthole windows have screens or meshes covering them. This is my only complaint. In the middle of the week when it was warmer than usual, we had both the bathroom window and the bedroom windows open. There were 2 nights in a row where I woke up in the middle of the night violently scratching myself. I had about 50 bites on my legs, ankles, feet, arms, and shoulders. At first I wondered if there were bed bugs as I did not see any mosquitoes. I pulled the sheets back and did not see any bed bugs. I had to conclude that it had to be mosquitoes and we did start seeing them after that. I was very miserable with all of those bites. I did talk to the captain about this and he said that they had removed the screens/mesh to pass something through the porthole windows and had not replaced the screens. I strongly urge the captain to cover the porthole windows back up with screens for the next vulnerable occupants.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 11 Aug 2023

Thank you really much for this review! We are really happy that you enjoyed our tour. However, we apologize that not everything met your expectations. We are continuously trying to improve our services and will take your feedback into consideration! Best wishes, Boat Bike Tours


Can we help you?


Available ships for this tour

The Flora
Boutique ship Flora Germany, Netherlands

Openable windows

Free coffee and tea 24/7

Storage space under the beds

Third bed available

max. 24 passengers
11 cabins
6 tours available with this ship
The ship Gandalf sails into Amsterdam
Boutique ship Gandalf Belgium, Netherlands

Openable windows in cabins

Generator

Third bed available

Two sun decks

max. 20 passengers
10 cabins
5 tours available with this ship
Boutique ship Sarah Netherlands

Openable windows in cabins

Covered sundeck

Third bed available

Cozy lounge space

max. 22 passengers
10 cabins
4 tours available with this ship

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Netherlands: Green Heart of Holland – Guided

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