What to expect
The best way to experience the historic landscapes and canalside settlements of Holland and Belgium is by bike and barge. Stopping off at historical cities on route, the antique shops, cobbled streets and designer boutiques of Antwerp are a highlight, and look forward to Ghent's jaw dropping art. Cycling from Amsterdam to Bruges along gentle riverside paths and pedalling through forests, you’ll ride across famous Flemish landscapes and Holland’s flat green polders.
Pick between six barges, three of which are standard and three are premium, including the new for 2018 Magnifique III built on the back of the success of the Magnifique and Magnifique II. Whichever barge you choose, it’s worth arriving early on day one to visit Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, or extending your stay in Bruges to appreciate the city’s almshouses, medieval squares and tempting cafes.
For alternative dates, this tour runs in reverse from Bruges to Amsterdam.
Read about Tara's week cycling this exciting tour in her trip report.
At a glance
- Amsterdam’s world famous museums and Bruges' medieval squares
- Ghent's jaw-dropping oil paintings and Antwerp's stylish streets
- Flat cycling terrain across Dutch polders and Flemish landscapes
- Choice of six barges including Premium Magnifique, Magnifique II and Magnifique III
Day 1 (Sat):
Amsterdam - Vianen
9 miles (15 km)
Make your way to Amsterdam, check in from 1pm (luggage can be left on board from 9.30 am) and sail at 2pm to Vianen, a small fortified town on the River Lek. Test ride your bike on a short ride through the local area.
Day 2 (Sun):
Vianen - Schoonhoven - Kinderdijk - Dordrecht
34 miles (56 km)
Ride to Schoonhoven, a city famous for its silverware since 17th century. Continue past flat polders to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO site of nineteen 18th century windmills. From nearby Alblasserdam, take a 10 minute ferry ride to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, which sits at an important shipping intersection.
Day 3 (Mon):
Dordrecht - Willemstad - Tholen - Antwerp
23-28 miles (36- 44 km)
Sail to the beautiful fortified town of Willemstad, cycle to Tholen and on through the forested Wouwse Plantage area to the city of Bergen op Zoom. Continue south to the impressive Kreekraksluis lock and take a scenic sail to the port and diamond city of Antwerp – art lovers could also see some of Rubens’ paintings in the Onze Lieve Vrouwe cathedral. Take an evening stroll through the beautiful old city centre.
Day 4 (Tue):
Antwerp - Temse - St Amands / Dendermonde
21-39 miles (34-64 km)
Follow the tidal river Zeeschelde upstream towards either the Flemish city of St. Amands or Dendermonde - riding along a bike path with stunning scenery of open landscapes.
Day 5 (Wed):
St Amands / Dendermonde - Ghent
32 miles (52 km)
Cycle from St-Amands following the River Schelde on your bike towards Ghent, a lively university city with a rich past, founded in Roman times and grown through the textile industry. St Bavo Cathedral houses some masterpieces of medieval art, the most famous being "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyk. Overnight in Merelbeke, a suburb of Ghent.
Day 6 (Thu):
Ghent - Bruges
28 miles (45 km)
Tour through the flat countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges, known as the Venice of the North. Explore the medieval old centre and pretty canals of one of the world’s favourite Flemish cities. Magnifique, Magnifique II, Magnifique III and Zwaantje guests have dinner in a restaurant of their choice.
Day 7 (Fri):
Round tour to the North Sea
31 miles (50 km)
Ride along a quiet, poplar-lined canal, passing typical farm houses en route to the North Sea coast. Arrive at a 12km sandy beach and visit the dunes of Het Zwin nature reserve. Reward yourself with a cool drink in a cafe before heading back to Bruges.
Day 8 (Sat):
Depart from Bruges
After breakfast on board, check out by 9:30am.
The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in weather and other conditions.
The premium class MS Magnifique is a 63 meters long barge which sails under a Dutch flag and can accommodate 30 guests. She was last renovated and extended by 14 meters in 2013. The lower deck has 16 tastefully furnished cabins: 11 twin cabins (approx.11m2), 4 premium twins (approx.14m2) with small sitting area and 1 single cabin (approx. 9m2). All cabins have fixed portholes, shower and toilet, individually regulated air conditioning, hairdryer, small safe and a flat screen satellite TV. An extra bed is available on request in two premium cabins and two twin cabins only.
On the upper deck, there is a spacious saloon with restaurant, bar and lounge with large, panoramic windows and wide screen TV. The front deck features two partly covered teak wooden sun decks with chairs, tables & cycle storage, while the aft deck has a hot tub and a barbecue.
MS Magnifique II
The MAGNIFIQUE II was built in 2016 after the success of the Magnifque. She is a 63 meter long premium barge that can accommodate up to 34 guests and sails under Dutch flag and management. The lower deck has 13 cabins: 12 twin cabins (approx. 11 M²), 1 premium twin (approx. 13M²). The upper deck has four beautiful suites with a large panoramic window (14 M²). The cabins on the lower deck have fixed portholes with the upper deck suites having a 2 meter wide window (one window can be opened). All cabins have en-suite shower and toilet, individually regulated air conditioning, flat screen satellite TV, small safe and hairdryer. If requested, an extra bed is available in some twin cabins above one of the other beds.
On the upper deck there are a tastefully furnished saloon with restaurant, bar, lounge with wide screen TV, large windows, Wi-Fi (limited use of data) and a partly covered teak wooden sun deck with chairs and tables and on the aft deck cycle storage. On the top deck there is a hot tub and some deck chairs that you can enjoy after your cycle.
MS Magnifique III
The newly built Magnifique III is a new premium barge for 2018 that can accommodate up to 40 guests. The lower deck has 14 twin cabins (approx. 11M²) and 2 single cabins. The upper deck has 5 suites (approx.14M²) with a small seating area and a large window that opens partially. The cabins on the lower deck have fixed portholes with the upper deck suites having a large window which can be partially opened. All cabins have en-suite shower and toilet, air conditioning, flat screen satellite TV, small safe and hairdryer. If requested, an extra bed is available in some twin cabins above one of the other beds.
The saloon has a combined restaurant, bar and lounge area with large windows to enjoy the view. Large doors open onto the partially covered sundeck and the top deck has a hot tub and deckchairs for you to relax.
MS Magnifique IV - New 2020
On the back of the huge sucess of the Magnifique, Magnifique II, Magnifique III we are pleased to annouce that the Magnifique IV will be ready to sail for 2020! This premium barge can accommodate up to 36 guests. The upper deck has 10 beautiful suites (approx. 14M²) with double beds, a small seating area and French balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The lower deck cabins (approx. 12M²) have twin beds and fixed portholes. All cabins have en-suite shower and toilet, air conditioning, flat screen satellite TV, small safe and hairdryer. If requested, an extra bed is available in some lower deck twin cabins above one of the other beds.
The saloon has a bar and lounge area with large windows to enjoy the view. Large doors open onto the partially covered sundeck and the top deck has a hot tub and deckchairs for you to relax. The dining room is on the lower deck and has a glass wall to the kitchen.
MS Zwaantje - 25 April & 11 July 2020
The Zwaantje is 40 metres long and can accommodate 24 passengers. On the lower deck there are 12 cabins for guests: 10 twin cabins and two double cabins with an additional 3rd Pullman bed. All the cabins have a small ensuite bathroom with toilet, shower and wash basin, a fixed window (both double cabins have larger windows that also open) and individual air conditioning. On the main deck you can relax in the intimate saloon complete with air-conditioning, large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar. Free Wi-Fi is available in the salon (mobile internet, limited data). A great feature of the barge is the spacious sun deck complete with tables and chairs where you can relax. The new owners are experienced barge operators and will be delighted to welcome you on board. The enthusiastic and extremely motivated couple restyled the interior of the Zwaantje during the winter of 2014/15, resulting in a warm and inviting atmosphere.
MS Gandalf - 11 July 2020
This cosy and comfortable river cruiser accommodates up to 22 guests in 10 cabins, all with separate twin beds, central heating and private shower and wc. All cabin windows can be opened. Some cabins can take a 3rd bed on request. There is a spacious saloon and restaurant area and two sun decks, offering seating areas with tables and chairs and storage space for the bikes. The environmentally-friendly solar roof panels make for peaceful nights on board, as the ship needs to make little use of the generator to produce power.
This comfortable 70-metre river cruiser can accommodate up to 44 guests in 21 cabins (10M² - 12M²), 14 of which are on the lower deck and 7 on the upper deck, including 4 new upper deck double cabins with panoramic window that opens. The other cabins have twin beds. All cabins have en-suite shower and toilet, a fixed window and individually regulated air conditioning and ventilation system.
The large communal saloon with bar has a semi separate restaurant area. On the large and partially roofed sun deck are seating areas with tables and chairs and storage room for the bikes.
Dates & Prices
Please choose your boat, then click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2020 dates on sale
- 7 nights accommodation: on the ship and cabin of your choice
- Board basis: Full board including breakfast, packed lunch and three course dinner (6 dinners on Zwaantje, Magnifique, Magnifique II, Magnifique III and Magnifique IV*)
- English speaking tour guide on board and on bike
- Cycle maps and route information (1 per cabin) - GPS tracks available
- Welcome meeting
- Local contact number for assistance
- Daily cabin cleaning and towel change (Gandalf - midweek clean only, daily towel change if requested)
- Daily coffee and tea between 3-4pm
- Ferry fees & tips
- Visit to Kinderdijk mills, entrance to Antwerp cathedral, canal trip through Ghent on the Zwaantje, Magnifique, Magnifique II, Magnifique III and Magnifique IV
- Helmets and water bottles on board the Zwaantje, Magnifique, Magnifique II, Magnifique III and Magnifique IV with bike hire.
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets on the Fluvius and Gandalf
- Bike hire
- Entrance fees & excursions
- Drinks on board
- Special dietary requests
- Transfers to/from the docking
*2020 itinerary may be subject to change
Bikes come with a pannier and a small repair kit all included at no extra cost when you hire a bike.
Helmets and water bottles are also included with rental bikes on board the Zwaantje, and Magnifique boats.
On request only - limited availability
On request - limited availability
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
What's the etiquette with crew tips?
Tips are at your own discretion, an envelope is always left in the cabins on the last day.
Can I pay by credit card everywhere?
Some merchants in Belgian do not accept international cards. Also, make sure you have cash to pay your bar bill at the end of the week.
What is the average temperature on this tour?
Can the boat cater for special dietary requirements?
Please advise us of any special requirements at time of booking and we will notify the boat operator in advance. Understandably, kitchen galley space is limited and it may not be possible to provide specialist products (eg. Gluten free). We suggest you bring a few items with you and, in some cases, these can be provided at a supplement.
Can I stay on the boat during the day and not cycle?
Yes, you can relax on the boat or explore when you arrive at each destination instead of cycling.
Do I have to cycle as part of a group?
This tour is guided and self-guided, so you have the option to cycle with your guide or independently with the maps and route notes provided.
Can I book by myself?
Absolutely! Boat & Bike tours are very sociable and a good choice for single travellers wishing to mix with other guests and share your common interest of cycling.
What other customers have said
Been on this tour? Add your review!
Best trip ever! Bike and Barge Holiday Tour was the way to go!Jane Mullally, Canada, May 2019
This is a fantastic trip for anyone regardless of fitness levels. It travels through beautiful countryside and charming towns and villages. I would highly recommend it to anyone.Debbie Gibson, Australia , October 2018