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Netherlands

Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland

Historical cities of Holland
Amsterdam Round tour.
From €759 p.p.
Quiet cycling path with sheep Lighthouse with the beach on Texel
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Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland

Highlights of this tour

During this fascinating cycling cruise on board the ships De Willemstad or De Holland 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! Tour guide Wilma will highlight all […]

North Holland’s flat polder landscapes

Visit Texel Island’s sandy beaches

Romantic harbor villages incl. Enkhuizen

Ship with max. 96 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

About this tour

During this fascinating cycling cruise on board the ships De Willemstad or De Holland 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!

Tour guide Wilma will highlight all the sights of the Northern Tour of Holland.

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. 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. 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 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. There are rental bikes on board, but you can also bring your own if you mention it when booking.

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.

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 | 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 (34 km/20.4 mi. or 51 km/30.6 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 (39 km/23.4 mi. or 51 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 (28 km/16.8 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.

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

On selected departures you will receive a 200 euro discount per person. Simply enter the discount code SPROLY when booking or give it to us when booking by phone. The discount is only valid for new bookings and cannot be combined with other discounts.

Pricing overview - 2024
Cabin type For Season A Season B Season C Season D
DWI: Twin cabin lower deck 2 pers. € 759 € 959 € 1069 € 1169 DWI: Twin cabin lower deck for single use (max. 2) 1 pers. € 1138.50 € 1438.50 € 1603.50 € 1753.50 DWI: Twin cabin upper deck 2 pers. € 959 € 1159 € 1319 € 1419 DWI: Single cabin upper deck (max. 2) 1 pers. € 1249 € 1509 € 1719 € 1849 DWI: Twin cabin upper deck for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. € 1438.50 € 1738.50 € 1978.50 € 2128.50 DWI: Suite upper deck 2 pers. € 1259 € 1459 € 1619 € 1719 DHO: Twin cabin lower deck 2 pers. € 759 € 959 € 1069 € 1169 DHO: Twin low for single use (max. 3) 1 pers. € 1138.5 € 1438.50 € 1603.50 € 1753.50 DHO: Twin cabin upper deck 2 pers. € 1009 € 1209 € 1319 € 1469 DHO: Twin upper for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. € 1513.5 € 1813.50 € 1978.50 € 2203.50 DHO: Suite upper deck 2 pers. € 1259 € 1459 € 1569 € 1719
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
  • Biodegradable water bottle
  • Ferry ticket to Texel
  • Wi-Fi is available in restaurant – data use is not included
  • Live music on board
  • 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
  • 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
  • The bicycles on board are unisex city bikes of the brand Gazelle Chamonix and of the brand Velo de Ville C100, both 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).
  • 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 - 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
  • 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: € 25,20 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 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….



Reviews

based on 54 reviews on
23 Oct 2023

Christine Hart

Boat and staff were great. Bike guides were very helpful and knowledgeable. Evening discussion for the next day’s ride was very informative.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 27 Oct 2023

Thank you for your positive feedback! We're glad you enjoyed the boat, staff, and the guidance provided by our knowledgeable bike guides.

21 Sep 2023

Grant & Nickey

The amazing staff on board, the entire boat & bike trips around Northern Holland, the interesting places we saw while cycling and full experience made this a memorable trip! Hat off to all on board and in the background. Thank you all.

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.

26 Aug 2023

Lynne

This was our first boat-bike trip and it was everything we imagined. We chose northern Holland because we wanted quiet, nature, small villages, and no crowds or city riding. We loved the mix of wooded paths, dikes, dunes, coastal routes and village roads. Every day was different. Most of the 90 passengers were Dutch or German and over age 60. Only a handful of kids onboard. Evenings were quiet, in the lounge or on the sun deck, and there wasn’t much to do but it’s a canal boat not a cruise ship and we were quite happy with that. Our twin suite was as spacious as a hotel room. Definitely worth paying a little extra. Also splurged on e-bikes because while the routes were mostly flat the winds were something else. Food was tasty and there was lots of it. We missed one port because a storm kept us from crossing the Ijsselmeer but went to a naval museum and submarine in Den Helder instead and were quite happy with our choice. Definitely one of our best bike trips and would recommend highly!

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 2 Nov 2023

We're happy to hear that your first boat-bike trip in northern Holland exceeded your expectations and provided the quiet, nature, and small village experience you were looking for. Your feedback about the accommodations, e-bikes, and the tasty food is much appreciated. Thank you for your recommendation, and we look forward to welcoming you back for more wonderful bike trips in the future! Best regards, Boat Bike Tours

10 Aug 2023

Customer

Everyone on the boat was efficient and friendly. The routes were enjoyable and generally easy to follow. The food on the boat was good. Our cabin was very clean and had a surprising amount of storage. The bikes were comfortable and in good shape. We appreciated the waterproof panier as we encountered quite a lot of rain. The only recommendation we have is that it would be nice to have a water bottle holder on the bike frame.

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


Available ships for this tour

De Willemstad
Cycling cruise ship De Willemstad Netherlands

Restaurant and separate lounge

Dance floor

Openable windows in cabins

Individually controlled air conditioning

max. 96 passengers
49 cabins
1 tours available with this ship
Cycling cruise ship De Holland Netherlands

Panoramic windows

TV in the cabins

Bar and lounge areas

Individually controlled air conditioning

max. 66 passengers
32 cabins
4 tours available with this ship

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Netherlands: Northern Tour of Holland

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