Bike and Barge Holland — Flowers and the Green Heart of Holland!

April 22-29, 2017

$1,350 per person

Late April is glorious in Holland-- A perfect bicycle tour to see the flower fields of the renown Keukenhof, and acres of blossoming trees adorning Hollands "Green Heart". We'll harbor in the famous cities of Gouda, oldest city-Dordrecht, quaint Gorinchem-- and the University town of Utrecht. Along the way we'll enjoy a working cheese farm, beautiful castles in the Utrecht forest, real clog shoemaker, working windmills, and more!

Trip Itinerary

Oude Wetering (20 miles)

Today we sail just outside of Amsterdam and our boat drops so that we can take a short ride to the beautiful Rembrandt Windmill in the old town of Sloten.

From there we skirt the Amsterdam Forest and dock not far from the grounds of the Keukenhof in a tiny town called Oude Wetering. Tonight we enjoy our Welcome Dinner with the crew of The Sarah!

Keukenhof and Gouda (33 miles)

After breakfast we scurry an easy 6 miles to the famous Keukenhof — known as the Garden of Europe. We arrive early before the crowds and spend about 3 hours, taking in the spectacular grounds and all the pavilions packed with Expos, history and background of flowers, including all kinds of interesting information!

Tulip Fields  Bike and Barge Holland

Our group posing in the beautiful Flower Fields

The Keukenhof also offers many places on the grounds to choose for a leisurely picnic lunch!

Our early visit to the Keukenhof affords plenty of time to enjoy the quiet Sunday cycle to our destination — Gouda.

With over 300 preserved buildings, we hope to see lots of the historic center including the 123-metre long St. Janskerk (St. John Church) with its world-famous stained-glass windows, the fabulous Gothic Town Hall, the Waag (Weigh House), and many wonderful museums.

You can also visit the Cultural and Harbour Quarter with Weeshuisplein (Orphanage Square), the Catharinatuin (Catherina Garden, various hofjes (almshouses) and Museumhaven Gouda (Gouda Harbour Museum).
We'll make a special visit to see, and of course enjoy, traditional Stroop Waffles made fresh while we wait!

The touring and sites that you took us to were all excellent, the towns were something that you could only imagine unless you were there. The accommodations on the boat were more than any of us could have expected and so much more.

~ Mike Affrunti, Massachusetts

Dordrecht (30 miles)

We leave Gouda traveling South along an ancient waterway called the Vlist which meaders through the Green Heart of Holland. We enter lovely Schoonhoven — founded in 1280 and called Silvertown because of its famous past in Silversmithing.

Groene Hart

The Groene Hart.

From here we travel a few miles west to the town of Bergambacht and a visit to the De Jonge family run dairy and cheesmaker. Here we'll take a tour and participate hands-on with a working farm and learn about the important dairy industry in the Netherlands.

We'll ferry across the beautiful Lek River and cycle preserved nature areas along quiet bike paths. For those who don't mind a few extra miles, we will explore the unique village of Kinderdijk — honored as a World Heritage Treasure by UNESCO in 1997. Built in 1740 and preserved to this day, 19 sturdy mills were built in Kinderdijk — a concentration of this number found nowhere else in the world.

We end our day with time to wander the famous city of Dordrecht with a town guide. Over a thousand years old, Dordrecht lies on the confluence of three mighty rivers.

We'll explore the city's beauty and treasured history along its cozy harbor, past old merchant houses and beautifully reflected in nearly 1,000 well preserved monuments.

Gorinchem (30 miles)

Today we head for a visit to a "Ambachtlijke" traditional Dutch shoemaker, Pieter Den Dekker. We'll enjoy morning cake and coffee and then he'll show us his old craft only practiced today by a few passing on an honored trade.

Den Dekker Shoemaker in the Netherlands

In the Shoemaker's workshop

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On the way we enter the Biesbosch National Park — a green maze of several rivers, islands and a vast network of narrow and wide creeks.

Known as one of the largest, valuable natural areas in the Netherlands, it's also one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe.

Before crossing the mighty Waal River by ferry, we'll stop by Woudrichem — an ancient, picturesque little walled city with a rich cultural and historical past. Once across the water we are greeted by the beautiful park and harbor of Gorinchem, or Gorcum, as it is known by the Dutch.

We'll head straight for the city center for a town tour and a nice local beer in the lovely town square, before heading to the boat for a rest and tasty dinner.

Wijk Bij Duurstede (30 miles)

We say goodbye to Gorinchem and cycle skirting the pastoral views along the dijk of the Waal River.

At the famous Fort Vuren we turn northward to join the beautiful Linge Route. This picturesque route takes you through the Betuwe region, famous for its fruit production. The meandering River Linge is flanked with orchards and pretty villages. At the end of April the fruit trees are in bloom and we will visit one of the local farms on our route.

We will stop by the little town of Buren — where the Dutch Monarchy holds its roots through the marriage of William of Orange and Anna Van Egmont. at the Cafe The Swaan it is Suzie's treat for coffee and delicious apple cake.

We end our day harbored at the Castle of the village of Duurstede, resting on the Lek River.

I am still sorting through my 1500 photos…, gees!! What a fabulous trip. I have told so many people that the adventure was made even better by Suzie and Roger's fun, care, knowledge, and attention.

~ Terry Burrows, Maine

Utrecht (26 miles)

Day 6 cycles to the vibrant city of Utrecht. We will be exploring the landscapes of the beautiful Utrecht forest on our way dotted by amazing estates built in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Our first stop will be a tour of the House of Doorn. Originally a moated castle of the 14th century, Huis Doorn was later bought by the last German Kaiser, Willem II, and converted into an elegant country house with spectacular orangerie and rose garden, at the end of the 18th century.

Utrecht

Historical Utrecht

As we pass the Rijnauwen castle built in the 1200s by one of Utrechts most famous families of that century, we may stop to sample some of the delicious Pannekoek (Dutch pancakes) made in the Theehuis there. Then it's just a few miles through the impressive University area to the old city center.

Like many European cities, at one time Utrecht was a Roman fortress built by Emperor Claudius along the river Rhine which still flows along the oldest canal in the city.

Most historically, Utrecht is also the site, where in 1579 the seven provinces from the north of the country signed what became the Union Of Utrecht — ousting the Spaniard rulers and declaring the Netherlands as a free land.

We will take the rest of the afternoon to explore the vibrant and historic city center before cycling to our boat docking for rest and dinner.

Back to Amsterdam (25 miles)

During breakfast we will sail by boat along the Rhine Canal to the town of Bruekelen (from where our N.Y. borough gets its name!) and depart to start our cycling.

We will follow the twists and turns of the Vecht River- a tributary of the Rhine originating in Utrecht--an area of centuries-old villages, beautiful pastureland punctuated by windmills, and dozens of mansions built during the Dutch Golden Age of 17th and 18th centuries.

We'll stop for lunch in the sleepy town of Abcoude in the town park by the water. Then following a quiet road along the ancient river Gein we reach the bike path following the Amsterdam Rhine Canal. And, knowing we traveled to our destination at the Oosterdok on two wheels we excitedly finish a fun tour.

Gein River

Gein River, 1870 by Willem Roelofs

Good Bye to the Netherlands

Saturday morning we will have a farewell breakfast, say our goodbyes to cycling friends and the wonderful hospitality of our captain and crew. We disembark at 9 a.m. for home.

Trip Difficulty

The Netherlands terrain is mostly flat, but we can experience wind and rain which are weather factors that impact cyling experience and ability.

So, we recommend this trip for an athletic person or experienced recreational cyclist who can average 25-30 miles/day and likes to average 10 m.p.h. on easy/flat terrain while enjoying a leisurely trip. Leisurely means that we are never rushing and like to stop every five or so miles to explore and take pictures.

Of course, you can always take a break from cycling and enjoy sailing from the sundeck of our barge — quite a delightful experience!

We do not use the assistance of a support vehicle on our Bike and Barge tours.

Transportation

Amsterdam is serviced by Schiphol Airport, located just a few miles from the city center where our boats are located. There is both excellent public transportation and reasonably priced shuttle service available from the airport to the city.

As with all European trips, we advise our cyclists to arrive a few days early to acclimate to the time change, get acquainted with the new culture and sightsee beautiful Amsterdam.

Additional Information

Our boat provides a comfortable base from which to explore.

The Sarah provides a comfy base from which to explore.

WELKOM onboard the Sarah! Owners and hosts, Jur and Connie, are proud of their lovely vessel with roomy bedrooms featuring two lower beds and a private bath.

Our boat also features a spacious & comfortable dining area and salon for relaxing amd mingling. There is also a wonderful sundeck where we can enjoy afternoon snacks, socializing or quiet time while sailing.

More information including what to pack, pre-trip lodging in Amsterdam, traveling abroad, tips on airfare, and other important pre-trip details will be provided in our detailed WELCOME LETTER sent to you when we receive your registration for the trip.

Please visit the Trip Information page for more general trip information and registration. Also feel free to e-mail Suzie and Roger with any questions.

Francien, Suzie and Roger

Suzie, Roger and our Dutch host Francien

A comfortable bedroom on the Sarah

The Sarah features comfortable bedrooms

Some bedrooms have bunkbeds

All beds on floor level-2 triple rooms available.

A well-appointed bathroom on the Sarah

A well-appointed bathroom on the Sarah

Trip Photos