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Bike and Barge Holland: Flowers and the Green Heart of Holland
Dates
April 18-25, 2020
Price
$1,399
Duration
8 days

A new itinerary for our Spring Flower Tour!

A perfect bicycle tour to see the flower fields of the renowned 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, a real clog shoemaker, working windmills, and more!

Day 1: Oude Wetering (17 miles)

Flora sails us out of Amsterdam where we get on bikes for a short ride to tour the Rembrandt Windmill in the old town of Sloten. We arrive onboard just in time for our Welcome Dinner.

Day 2: Keukenhof and Gouda (30 miles)

After breakfast we scurry 6 miles to Keukenhof — known as the Garden of Europe. We arrive early before the crowds to spend 3 hours, taking in the spectacular grounds and Expos.

We'll enjoy a leisurely cycle to our destination — Gouda. With over 300 preserved buildings, we hope to see lots of the historic center and 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

Day 3: Dordrecht (20 miles)

We take it easy leaving Gouda today- first with a tour of famous St. Jans Church with gorgeous stained-glass windows from 1500s.

Enjoying lush polder landscapes, we stop to visit the De Jonge family run dairy and cheesmaker. Here the owner teaches us how to make fresh Gouda cheese and we'll learn about the dairy industry in the Netherlands.

We stop for photos at famous Kinderdijk — honored as a World Heritage Treasure by UNESCO in 1997. Since 1740 and preserved to this day, 19 sturdy mills were built in Kinderdijk — a concentration of this number found nowhere else in the world.

Our day ends in Dordrecht. Over a thousand years old, Dordrecht lies on the confluence of three mighty rivers. We'll explore the city's beauty and treasured history with friend and city guide, Alfred.

Day 4: Gorinchem (28 miles)

Today we visit traditional Dutch shoemaker, Pieter Den Dekker. We'll enjoy morning cake and coffee and he'll show us his time-honored craft.

On the way we cycle through Biesbosch National Park — a green maze of rivers, islands and 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.

We hop the waterbus across the Waal River to Gorinchem. Part of the impressive "Fortress Triangle", Gorichem's fortifications with bastions built in the sixteenth century are still almost completely intact. We'll enjoy a drink in one of the cozy cafes on the historic city square.

Day 5: Wijk Bij Duurstede (25 miles)

We leave Gorinchem cycling beautiful views along the dijk of the Waal River. Our route takes us through picturesque Betuwe region, famous for its fruit production. The meandering River Linge is flanked with blooming orchards and pretty villages. We will stop for a visit to one of the local farms.

We break in quaint 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.

Resting on the Lek River at the corner of the ancient Rhine is Wijk Bij Duurstede where time seems to stand still.

Day 6: Utrecht (26 miles)

We head to the vibrant city of Utrecht. Exploring the Utrecht Forest, we are amazed by beautiful 17th century estates.

We pause for a tour of House Doorn. Originally a moated castle of the 14th century, Huis Doorn was bought by German Kaiser, Willem II, and converted into an elegant country house with orangerie and rose garden.

As we pass the Rijnauwen castle built in the 1200s by one of Utrecht’s famous families we hope to sample delicious Pannekoek (Dutch pancakes) made in their Theehuis. We’ll meander the historic city campus of Utrecht University and enjoy a guided tour.

At one time Utrecht was a Roman fortress built by Emperor Claudius along the river Rhine which now is the oldest canal in the city. Utrecht is also the site, where in 1579 the seven Dutch provinces signed what became the Union of Utrecht — ousting the Spaniard rulers and declaring the Netherlands as a free land.

Day 7: Back to Amsterdam (25 miles)

Flora sails us to the quaint town of Breukelen where we start our cycling along the picturesque Vecht River- centuries-old villages and pastures dotted by windmills, castles, and stately 17th century mansions of Amsterdam merchants used as weekend retreats.

At the village of Nederhorst den Berg we'll stop for lunch in the park square and a coffee pause at the Spiegelhuis cafe. We'll cycle a quiet path following the Rhine Canal into Amsterdam. This evening we'll celebrate a fun adventure with a special Farewell Dinner.

Day 8: Goodbye to the Netherlands

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

  • 7 nights on lovely Flora boat-hotel with lower beds and private bath
  • Hearty breakfasts, 6 packed lunches and 6 wonderful dinners
  • Entrance to the Keukenhof Flower Gardens, castle visit, Rembrandt working mill, Kinderdijk, Dutch Shoemaker, tour of family dairy farm, St Jans Church, other surprise excursions along our route
  • Dutch favorites like Apple cake with coffee, famous Stroop Waffles of Gouda, ice cream, Pannekoek lunch, afternoon wine and cheese
  • Guided historic walks with locals
  • Fares for ferries
  • Bicycle rental
  • Suzie and Roger; Ride Leaders on route

Trip Difficulty

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 Suzie as leader and Roger as group sweep 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.

Transportation

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.

Additional Information

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.

Suzie always asks that you contact her with questions or for help she can give you with your travel plans. Please visit our Trip Info page for more information!

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!