Bike and Barge — Amsterdam to Belgium -

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TBA


Meander through the Springtime landscapes from Amsterdam to the celebrated towns of Ghent and Brugge, Belgium.

With ten days of touring we take our time and enjoy more sights and famous towns. Our unique adventure will visit towns of South Holland, Keukenhof Gardens, Royal Delft Pottery, Kinderdijk windmills, a working cheese farm and more!

Trip Itinerary

Haarlem and the Holland Dunes

Our trip starts Saturday at 1 p.m. when we board The Sarah Botel, get our bikes fitted and ready to go. Soon thereafter we head off sailing out of Amsterdam by way of the North Sea Canal.

Brederode Castle Holland Bike and Barge

Beautiful Brederode Castle near Haarlem

We exit our ship at the village of Spaarndam and pedal toward the beautiful Holland Dunes. Just a few miles into our journey we stop for a visit to the Molen De Zaandhaas where we'll see a true working windmill in action.

A little more pedaling and we reach the 14th century ruins of the fascinating 1282 Brederode Castle.

From here, we'll pedal a bit through the lovely Kennermerland National Park rolling dunes and forests, arriving in Haarlem via nearby Bloemendaal.

The capital of North Holland, Haarlem is known for one of the most beautiful Market Squares and famous Hofjes (courtyards) in Holland. After a special Welcome Dinner, we'll spend the evening sightseeing Haarlem's historical treasures.

Visit to Leiden

We depart our boat quickly after breakfast as today is a full day of sightseeing and cycling for us.

We leave Haarlem and venture to the beautiful dunes skirting the coast into the town of Lisse.

Passing the old town of Sassenheim and Warmond - we reach the city of Leiden.

Leiden is an unusually beautiful city, famous for being not only the birthplace of Rembrandt but Clusius who brought the first Dutch tulips into flower.

Then there are 12 museums, whose priceless and unique collections have gained international fame.

Of significant importance is that Leiden is the home of the first university in Holland (1575), which has developed into a world-famous centre of science.

I can't believe how many things we were able to see in one short week! The Keukenhof was breathtaking ! We definitely will be back for another trip!!

~ Bill and Mary Scott, Illinois

Delft

We leave Leiden heading south for a visit to the Cheesefarm De Vierhuizen - a small organic milk farm run by the Leuwen family. Here we'll meet the owners who tell us about their history and show us how they make their famous Gouda Cheese from grass fed cows.

Beautiful Oostport in Delft

Beautiful Oostport in Delft

We continue south through green nature areas and horse farms and following narrow canals until we reach the city of Delft.

Dating back to 1075, Delft is known as the birthplace of Golden Age artist Johannes Vermeer and the fine hand-crafting of Delftware porcelains.

Cyclists will visit the Royal Blue Delft Factory to see firsthand the artwork and production of fine porcelain in the world-famous Delft tradition.

Rotterdam (25-30 miles)

A trip to the south of Netherlands is not complete without a visit to the city of Rotterdam! The port, known to be the largest in the world, is exciting to see in action.

And, since it's devastation in WWII Rotterdam has become a center for modern architecture and showcase of city urban development.

Of course there is also the impressive Old Harbor and Delfshaven- oasis of history and culture within the modern city and the point from which the Pilgrim Fathers left for America in 1620. And, being Tuesday, we can also partake of the city's exciting open-air market!

Today's cycling takes us along some beautiful long canals, through green areas of bike paths and into Rotterdam along the port views of the Maas River. Rotterdam is full of wonderful cafes and restaurants.

Dordrecht-Willemstad

Our plans this morning are to catch the Waterbus to explore the wonderful 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'll stop for lunch in Dordrecht- over a thousand years old and historically prominent as a result of its strategic location at the confluence of three mighty rivers. From here we'll travel through the National Park Biesbosch — a green maze of several rivers, islands and a vast network of narrow and wide creeks.

We enter the Province of Brabant and stop for the night in Willemstad. Once a fortress town created by Willem of Orange-father of the Netherlands-when struggling for independence against the Spanish rulers-these days Willemstad still boasts the preserved fortifications of its past witin a lovely town setting.

Province of Brabant- to Antwerpen (40 miles)

Traveling south into the Dutch North Brabant we stop by the town of Rosendaal for a break. Here we join a lovely bike path that travels several miles to the Belgium border.

From the Belgium border we alternate between forest paths and the fun bikeway that follows the train route all the way into Antwerpen. We see right away how Antwerp is the world's second largest port as we pass miles and miles of busy docks on our way to the city center for the evening stay.

Group pose in City Square Antwerpen

Amsterdam-Belgium 2013 group in Antwerpen

Morning in Antwerpen- After cycle to Dendermonde

After breakfast we head to the city center for several hours of sightseeing. Today we see fisthand that Antwerp is a beautiful city with a rich history.

We'll stop at the famous castle -Het Steen- on the Schelde River, then to the beautiful Market Square lined with the impressive 16th century guild houses who dominated the economics of that time.

From here we'll stop for a tour of the palacial house of famous painter, Peter Paul Rubens, and learn about his rich life also as diplomat, designer of tapestries, architect and illustrator of books. You'll have independent sightsee time and a break for lunch before we pedal the 25 mile journey along the Schelde River banks into the small town of Dendermonde for the night.

Ghent

We continue following the River Schelde only 20 miles to the city of Ghent.

An impressive university town and canal city, Ghent was medieval Europe's largest city outside Paris. Sitting on the junction of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers, it was the seat of the counts of Flanders who built the fearsome castle, Het Gravensteen, that we plan to visit on our town walk upon arrival. One of Suzie and Roger's favorite Belgium destinations, we know you'll love impressive Ghent! Our friend, Dany Hendryck, will be entertaining us also today to show us some "locals" parts of his city!

Visit to Brugge

Our ship stays in Gent today and we train to the lovely town of Brugge. This beautiful medieval city complete with picturesque market squares, serene canals and whitewashed almshouses is everything you expect from a UNESCO heritage site. We return to Ghent in the evening for our farewell dinner.

Good Bye to a Wonderland Trip!

Monday morning we enjoy breakfast, say our goodbyes to cycling friends and disembark at 9 a.m. for home.

Trip Difficulty

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

So, we recommend this trip for an athletic/active person who has been training or cyclist who can complete the daily miles under some adverse weather- if it should be present- and likes to average 10-12 mph on easy/flat terrain while enjoying a leisurely trip.

We will average 30 miles on most days (province of Zeeland and Belgium mileage will be longer)with Suzie as ride leader and Roger as route "sweep" and mechanic.

We advocate a "stop and smell the roses" philosophy to cycling and our group cycles together as a shared experience. 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

For May 3-12 Tour, your arrival town is Amsterdam which is serviced by Schiphol Airport, located just a few miles from the city center. There is both excellent/easy public transportation and reasonably priced shuttle service available from the airport to the Oosterdock where our ship is docked.

When we offer a tour starting in Ghent- there is excellent direct train service to/from Brussels city center and its Zaventem Airport and Antwerp which connects to high-speed trains back to Amsterdam. Our boat is docked on The Stropkaai-located one mile from the Ghent St. Pieters central train station and accessed by several buses which stop nearby the boat.

As with all European trips, we advise our cyclists to arrive a few days before the trip start to acclimate to the time change, get acquainted with the new culture and sightsee your arrival city. We also suggest you make plans to depart a few days after your trip ends so you can explore more of your departing city/country.

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