Enjoy typical Dutch along the old towns of the Ijsselmeer Lake, UNESCO preserved ancient areas of Schokland and URK and the spectacular tulip fields of the youngest province, Flevoland. Not only will we see fields bursting of color, but experience a historic castle, ancient villages, an open-air museum, and famous holiday- Kingsday!
Guide, Sietse, will greet you onboard at noon in Amsterdam. We fit bikes and head east of the city along the Rhine Canal to the amazing castle Muiden. This fairytale castle built by the Count Floris in 1280 has a long history and nowadays a popular visit by tourists.
You will then cycle through old former fishing villages that thrived on the once great Zuiderzee - now a peaceful river created by damming.
After cycling through lovely- preserved forest area, we sightsee gorgeous Naarden- one of the best preserved fortified towns of Europe. Sietse strolls us along old streets and centuries-old defense walls. Arriving just in time for a relaxation time aboard ship, we celebrate the evening with a Welcome Dinner and introduction of guests and crew.
Flora sails us during breakfast to the 13th century town of Harderwijk to start our cycling. Our route today visits ancient towns along the former Zuider Sea which were part of the great Hanseatic League- a commercial and defensive confederation started in the 12th century of merchant guilds and market towns in central and northern Europe.
We will also cycle into the province of Flevoland to follow a few roads of the popular Tulpen Route (tulip route) and first photo ops of gorgeous flower fields.
We cross the water into OverIjssel province to our destination of Kampen. A great shipping port of yesteryear, we still behold the city’s prosperity in impressive old churches, grand buildings and medieval city gates.
We depart Kampen cycling along the Ijssel Lake. A bridge crossing takes us into the Northeast polderland. Here we find the former island of Schokland. Once a tiny tract of moor land floating in the old sea, Schokland is now a unique mound settlement protected under UNESCO.
Sietse will take you via bike and foot to explore the village and impart his historical knowledge of the ancient area.
Our destination is the coastal village of Urk. First recoded in the 10th century by the Romans, Urk was an island floating in the Zuiderzee just north of Schokland. We take time to walk the lanes of the historic town and sample fresh fish caught by the Urk fishermen.
A morning sail across the Ijssel Lake brings us to the Province of North Holland and the beautiful harbor of Enkhuizen.
In the 1600s due to its affiliation with the Dutch East Indies Trading Company (VOC), Enkhuizen became a rich city. We still see this in the many finely decorated Renaissance buildings, idyllic canals and grand medieval harbor gate.
We head for the exciting open-air Zuiderzee Museum. Here we witness life as it was over a hundred years ago, enjoying a guided stroll with Sietse through this authentic fishing village.
We leave Enkhuizen in search of more flower fields in bloom. On the way we plan a visit to a working windmill before heading into lively Hoorn. Once ships that sailed from Hoorn traded all over the world, Bringing back valuable commodities such as spices and tobacco under the East Indies Company, Hoorn became a prosperous town.
The old town center still retains its charm and impressiveness from the Golden Age of wealth and fortune. Sietse will stroll us around the museum harbor and stop at one of the charming cafes for a beer or favorite Dutch ice cream.
Tomorrow is Kingsday- the most celebrated of Dutch holidays. You will already see and hear festivities in every town and the whole country will be wildly decorated in the Dutch color-Orange.
We leave Hoorn following a pristine nature area along the Ijsselmeer dijk with water views as far as the eye can see. Turning inland, we cycle through flower fields to the village of Beets where we visit the dairy farm, Kastanjehoeve. Here we enjoy a tour of a real working- nature conservation- milk farm, then enjoy our lunch and Dutch desert with the farmers.
We stop by lovely Edam, a known fishing and shipbuilding village from 1200. Sietse takes us on a stroll past the town’s iconic tea-houses, leaning Carillon tower from 1561, Dam, impressivenTown hall, and Great Church, one of the largest in the Netherlands. with stained glass windows dating from 1600.
Our destination is Volendam. A very lively town, it will be enthusiastically celebrating Kingsday with music, crowds on the boardwalk and colorfully decorated boats.
Friday, we leave Volendam enjoying more extraordinary nature habitats along the Markermeer Lake. The shoemaker at a tiny cheese farm, Irene Hoeve, will demonstrate the old-fashioned craft of making Dutch clogs.
Right next door we admire the town of Monnickendam. You will be struck by old world charm as we stroll the tiny cobblestone streets, harbor with centuries- old fishing boats and preserved architecture originally constructed from 1355.
Then a lunch break at a tiny restaurant in the lovely old town- Broek en Waterland- where we are treated to scrumptious Dutch pancakes called Pannekoeken. Just a few more miles through beautiful countryside and along the great North Holland Canal into Amsterdam.
Saturday morning, we will have breakfast, say our goodbyes to guide Sietse, Berthus and Jonne of Flora and new cycling friends from this wonderful adventure. We disembark at 9 a.m. for home.
The Netherlands terrain is mostly flat and we can experience some wind and rain which are factors that impact cycling. We recommend this trip for an active person and recreational cyclist who can enjoy a leisurely 25-30 mile/day tour averaging 10-m.p.h. on easy/flat terrain.
Leisurely for us means we are never rushing and like to "smell the roses" enjoying the sites along the way. We take advantage of the Netherlands excellent bicycle infrastructure and enjoy cycling, whenever possible, on dedicated cycle paths and separate on-road bike lanes.
We do not use the assistance of a support vehicle on our tours. We find our guiding system with Sietse as leader and a guest volunteer sweeping at the back has proven effective for enjoyment and safety. You are always welcome to take a break from cycling and enjoy time onboard sailing to the next destination— quite a delightful experience!
Please note that daily mileages indicated on the Itinerary page are averaged as closely as possible. Due to unforeseen circumstances such as docking changes, weather, road and nautical factors, we reserve the right to change routes in view of your safety.
Your trip starts in Amsterdam which is serviced by Schiphol Airport, located just a few miles from the city center where our boat is docked. 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.
We confirm your booking via email with a detailed Welcome Letter for your tour. In this letter you will find lots of pre-trip planning information like how to get to the trip start, pre-trip lodging in Amsterdam, weather, cycling in Holland, how and what to pack, international travel hints, tips on booking airfare, etc.
We are delighted to host our tour on the Hotel Boat Flora. The ship features comfy cabins with private bath, a lovely eating salon and lounging area, and outside deck to enjoy a drink and views of the water.
Please E-mail Suzie to inquire about openings and with any questions about this tour. We love to hear from you!