Blooming North Holland!
$1,350 (Early bird price $1,299 before August 15th)
May 2-9, 2015
Did you know that North Holland has the largest acreage of flower fields in the Netherlands! Come explore with us- from fishing villages of the Zuiderzee, working windmills, winding dikes along the beautiful Dutch polders, impressive castles and rich foliage of the Island Texel. Our final days cycle south along the North Sea Dunes to the glorious city of Alkmaar — and a visit to the famous Cheese Market there. We finish our Bike and Barge vacation heading towards Amsterdam via the open air windmill village of Zaanse Schans. The perfect spring tour of Holland!
Our trip starts Saturday afternoon when we board our barge/hotel, settle into our cabins, get our bikes fitted and ready, and head off for the ferry across the Het IJ to North Holland.
Cycling in the Waterland Region
We'll enter the region — Waterland — and follow the cycle path along the Zeedijk passing old gabled houses in Durgerdam, Uitdam and to the former island of Marken — with its 13th century wooden houses and townspeople dressed in traditional costume.
We follow the inland sea to charming Monnickendam — boasting a beautiful harbor where its oldest trade, shipbuilding, is still thriving.
Pedaling still north along the water, we'll stop by Katwoude to visit a working mill and a cheese farm to see how cheese is made.
Sunday, will head slightly north to visit quiet Edam — named after the famous cheese and whose many canals are criss-crossed still by 17th century houses.
Enjoying dinner on the Sundeck
We leave the water and pedal inland to enjoy the beautiful vastness of the Beemster Polder — an area drained between 1608 and 1612, and the oldest large area reclaimed from the sea in the Netherlands.
Coming eastward once more we enter the town of Hoorn — on the banks of the Ijsselmeer.
We'll take time to explore this typical old Zuidersee town, now with a thriving marina, wonderful period buidings, and quaint winding streets. We'll enjoy our picnic lunch on the town square and enjoy one of the many cafes colorfully lining the street.
Skirting the dike overlooking the water we arrive in Enkhuizen. Originally a fortified town, Enkhuizen still bears witness to its former prosperity with finely decorated buidings from the Renaissance, a beautiful church and stone tower, and the 17th century houses and warehouses formerly belonging to the Dutch East India Company.
Enkhuizen to Den Oever
Historic walled towns abound in the Netherlands.
Monday, we'll enjoy breakfast and depart our boat for a planned visit to the famous Zuiderzee Museum.
Both an indoor and fascinating open-air museum, we will witness life as it was over a hundred years ago as we stroll through an authentic fishing village on the Ijsselmeer.
From Enkhuizen we travel along the coast to Medemblik and explore the famous Castle Radboud and time permitting, the enjoyable Bakery Museum in the town square.
There is also a wonderful open-air market today and we'll have fun exploring all the wonderful items for sale.
Our stop for the evening is the ancient town of Den Oever on the tip of land at the Waddenzee.
Group visit to the Onderneming Windmill
Gazing at the blooming Anna Paulowna flowers
We relax a little today as we follow the coast of the Waddenzee, around the beautiful Amstelmeer, through late blooming polders of the Anna Paulowna region and into the big harbor of Den Helder.
On our way we stop at the Onderneming windmill in Hipolytueshof for a personal tour of a real functioning windmill!
Den Helder is a bustling town famous for its residence of the Dutch Royal Navy and our boat is docked near the fascinating Marine Museum where our cyclists can spend several interesting hours.
Visit to Texel
One of the many beaches on the beautiful island of Texel.
After breakfast we head for the morning ferry to Texel.
It will take a full day to totally explore this unique island with its beaches, pictuesque fishing villages, and nature preserves.
Suzie and Roger hope to share some of their favorite secluded bike paths!
We'll return to Den Helder on the late evening ferry and enjoy a hearty dinner on board our barge.
Thursday, we ride the dike of the North Sea to the beautiful dunes of North Holland. We will enjoy miles of gently rolling terrain along paved paths following sandy landscapes blossoming with Begosa Rose and beach grasses.
The views are incredible on the Dunes- as we take in both the sea to our east and vast polder landscapes producing acres of summer crops and flowers to our west.
As we turn inland we'll partake of the beautiful old farmsteads of the Westfriese Omringdijk before heading east to the quaint Scharwoude village where we find the oldest floating vegetable market in an area once known as the Empire of a Thousand Islands.
A short hop from here, we'll pass three of the oldest windmills in Holland before heading into Alkmaar — the biggest town in North Holland known for its beautiful historic centre. That evening after dinner we'll enjoy a walk through the town.
After breakfast on Friday, we'll head into town to partake of Alkmaar's Friday cheese market. This exciting tradition with porters wearing white dress and straw hats is not to be missed.
Zaanse Schanse is known for its green wooden houses.
We'll depart town heading in the direction of the De Schermer polder windmills and the old centers of De Rijp and Graft.
Arriving at the Zan River we'll follow the water into the museum village of Zaanse Schanse — a delightful old hamlet with characteristic green wooden houses, charming gardens, tradesmen's workshops, and historic windmills all dating back to the seventeenth century.
After a visit to this interesting town we'll follow the nature recreation area of Het Twisk to the Het Ij ferry which carries us to Amsterdam.
We celebrate tonight at a special farewell dinner!
Good Bye to the Netherlands
Saturday morning we will have an early breakfast, say our goodbyes to our cycling friends and wonderful crew and disembark at 9 a.m. for home.
The Netherlands 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 or experienced 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 and advocate a "stop and smell the roses" philosophy to cycling. Our group cycles together as a shared experience. You are always welcome to 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. Please also note that itinerary and mileage can change due to weather conditions or docking changes.
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.
We include lots!
- Seven nights / 8 days on deluxe dutch boat-hotel, in lovely double occupancy rooms with lower berth sleeping. All rooms have private bathroom.
- All hearty breakfasts, 6-packed lunches for picnics and 6-wonderful dinners.
- Afternoon snacks plus mid-week wine and cheese party
- Special visits to cheese farm, clog maker and working windmil, castle, Zuiderzee Museum, etc.
- All ferry fees including passage to island of Texel
- Bicycle rental
- Town walks in most ports
- Bi-lingual guides.
BOOKING NOW for 2015! Always our favorite flower tour!
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2015Bike & Barge: Blooming North Holland! May 2-9 $1,299
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