What to expect
Appreciate the historic landscapes and canalside settlements of Belgium and Holland by bike and barge. You’ll ride along riverside paths and stop off at historic cities on route – the antique shops, cobbled streets and designer boutiques of Antwerp are a highlight, and look forward to Ghent’s magnificent oil paintings. Equally charming are the lesser known canalside settlements, which include fortified towns and one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands.
You’ll pedal past typical Flemish landscapes and Holland’s green polders, riding on flat terrain that makes cycling a breeze. Pick between six barges, three of which are standard and three are premium, including the brand new Magnifique III built on the back of the success of the Magnifique and Magnifique II. Whichever barge you decide on, it’s worth arriving a day early to fully appreciate the almshouses, medieval squares and tempting cafes in Bruges, or extending your stay in Amsterdam to visit Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.
For alternative dates, this tour runs in reverse from Amsterdam to Bruges.
At a glance
- Cruise, sleep and dine on one of six barges
- Ghent's jaw dropping altarpiece and the stylish streets of Antwerp
- Bruges’ medieval squares and Amsterdam’s world famous museums
- Easy cycling across flat Flemish landscapes and Dutch polders
Day 1 (Sat):
Arrive in Bruges
Meet us in Bruges, checking on to the boat in the early afternoon. Explore the pretty canals, medieval squares and World Heritage sites of Bruges and enjoy a guided evening stroll through the city.
Day 2 (Sun):
Bruges - Ghent
34 miles (56 km)
Ride to Ghent through the flat landscapes of West Flanders and spend the afternoon in this historic city, home to the magnificent Ghent Altarpiece oil painting. Overnight in the small suburb of Merelbeke.
Day 3 (Mon):
Ghent - Dendermonde/St Amands
24/32 miles (40/53 km)
Sail over the River Schelde to Dendermonde, a pretty town at the confluence of the Dender and Schelde rivers. Ride along a beautiful section of the tidal Schelde river and continue by bike or barge from Dendermonde to St Amands.
Day 4 (Tue):
St Amands/ Dendermonde - Antwerp
21/39 miles (34/64 km)
Ride along a beautiful riverside cycle track to Antwerp – a harbourside diamond city and the birthplace of the artist Rubens. Magnifique and Magnifique II guests dine in a restaurant of their choice.
Day 5 (Wed):
Antwerp - Dordrecht
23 miles (36 km)
Cruise over the Schelde-Rhine Canal and huge Kreekrak locks to Tholen, a former fishing village in the province of Zeeland. From Tholen, you will sail past the impressive Volkerak Locks to Dordrecht, one of the Netherlands oldest cities where you will have an evening walk with your tour guide.
Day 6 (Thu):
Dordrecht - Vianen
36 miles (57 km)
Cruise to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO site of 19 windmills, built in the 18th century to pump water from the low Alblasserwaard polder. Ride via the city of Schoonhoven, famous for its silverwork, to arrive in Vianen, a fortified town on the River Lek.
Day 7 (Fri):
Vianen - Amsterdam
28 miles (46 km)
Take the boat to Breukelen, where your cycling starts. Ride alongside the Vecht River through an area known for its mansions, small castles and beautiful houses with stunning gardens and parks. Cycle past traditional villages, stopping off to visit a traditional cheese farm before continuing alongside the Amstel River to reach Amsterdam.
Day 8 (Sat):
After breakfast, the tour ends and you disembarkation is until 10:00am. From here you are free to explore Amsterdam or make your way home.
The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in weather and other conditions.
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. 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.
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, 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.
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.
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 salon 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.
MS Zwaantje - 20th July
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.
Dates & Prices
Please choose your boat, then click on a departure date for price options at a glance
- 7 nights accommodation: in 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)
- English speaking tour guide on board and on bike
- Cycle maps and route information (1 set 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 from 3-4pm
- Ferry fees & tips
- Visit to Kinderdijk mills, entrance to Antwerp cathedral, canal trip through Ghent on the Zwaantje, Magnifique, Magnifique II and Magnifique III
- Helmets and water bottles on board the Zwaantje, Magnifique, Magnifique II and Magnifique III with bike hire
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets on the Fluvius and Gandalf
- Bike hire
- Entrance fees & excursions
- Ferry fees & tips
- Drinks on board
- Transfers to/from the docking
- Special dietary requests
*2019 itinerary may be subject to change
Bikes come with a pannier, a small repair kit, and lock all included at no extra cost when you hire a bike.
Helmets and water bottles are included with rental bikes for the Magnifique, Magnifique II & Magnifique III.
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.
How much space will I have in my cabin?
There is limited space in the cabins, so pack light and take a soft suitcase.
What is the average temperature on this tour?
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.
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.
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!
Let's make a memory...revision, let's make a beautiful memory. If you like to ride a bike, and yes, I do and if you want to see God's creative genius on display, then this vacation is for you!! Friendly, attentive and helpful guides and staff provided just the right touches to the accommodations. Delightfully eclectic and unique overnight visits where the meals were delicious, unhurried and nutritious, as well. In other words, this holiday far exceeded any of our expectations and we are extremely grateful for the time we spent here on your side of the pond.Wayne & Julie Westra, USA, August 2018
As always Freedom Treks offers a unique and enjoyable way of experiencing new places. I have met some great people who also love to cycle and the staff and guides make the experience so memorable.Anne Guerin, Ireland, July 2018