What to expect
Cycle and sail past windmills and low lying polders, touring through the rural landscapes of Holland’s Green Heart. The capital city of Amsterdam is an exciting place to start and finish the Highlights of Holland tour, and an overnight stay in Rembrandt’s birthplace of Leiden is something to look forward to on day two. The cheese town of Alkmaar makes an authentic place to base yourself halfway through the tour and look forward to tasting Edam cheese in the town of Edam.
Ride past stunning sand dunes to reach the long beaches of the North Sea coast and look out for oystercatchers and lapwings. Get a feel for everyday Dutch life as you pass through authentic villages and historic towns – the cobblestone streets, cosy cafes and grand palaces of Haarlem are a highlight and, in the village of Volendam, the locals wear traditional dress in summer.
At a glance
- Amsterdam’s canals and museums, Haarlem’s cobblestone streets
- Windmills and traditional dress, cheese towns and fresh Edam
- Dutch polders and dikes, sand dunes on the North Sea coast
- Holland’s flat terrain makes the cycling easy
Day 1 (Sat):
Arrive in Amsterdam
12 miles (20 km)
Make your way to Amsterdam and cruise through the city centre on a barge – your floating hotel for the week. Stretch your legs with a short cycle trip along the banks of the River Amstel, riding towards the towns of Uithoorn and Kudelstaart.
Day 2 (Sun):
Kudelstaart - Leiden
34 miles (55 km)
Cycle across a magnificent Dutch landscape known as the Green Heart, riding through the lake areas of Langeraarse Plassen and Braassemer Meer. Arrive in the town of Leiden, birthplace of Rembrandt, and enjoy a walk through the historic centre and numerous courtyards.
Day 3 (Mon):
Leiden - Haarlem
31 miles (50 km)
Cycle to the seaside resort of Katwijk and continue through dune landscapes to reach the coast at Zandvoort – a holiday resort town with a long sandy beach. Cycling on a path traditionally used by fishermen’s wives to go to market, arrive in the historic city of Haarlem and enjoy a drink on one of the terraces at the market place.
Day 4 (Tue):
Haarlem - Alkmaar
31 miles (50 km)
Cross the North Sea Canal by ferry to reach Spaarndam. Continue through villages to the Zaanse Schans open-air museum of 17th century mills and warehouses, before following the Knollendammer Canal and River Zaan to the cheese town of Alkmaar.
Day 5 (Wed):
Round trip from Alkmaar
34 miles (55 km)
While the barge stays in Alkmaar, cycle to the unique wood and dune area near the villages of Bergen and Schoorl. Visit the 5.5km long Hondsbossche Zeewering sea wall and take a walk on the beach or a drink at an outdoor cafe before returning to Alkmaar. Alternatively, spend a day at leisure in Alkmaar.
Day 6 (Thu):
Alkmaar - Purmerend
28 miles (45 km)
Pass typical villages and the town of Avenhorn to reach Hoorn, which still reflects the atmosphere of a 17th century port town from the Dutch Golden Age. Take a rest in Hoorn before riding along the coast and taking in the view over the Ijssel Lake and then follow the canal to Purmerend, a city surrounded by low lying polders, taking a visit to the museum windmill at Schermerhorn on the way.
Day 7 (Fri):
Purmerend - Amsterdam
31 miles (50 km)
Visit typical Dutch villages and towns, including the cheese town of Edam and the village of Volendam where locals still wear traditional dress. Cycle along the shores of the IJssel Lake, passing through waterside towns and villages. Take the ferry across the lake to arrive back in Amsterdam and join your guide for an optional city walk in the evening.
Day 8 (Sat):
Depart from Amsterdam
Check out after breakfast and make your way home or continue your holiday.
Please note: The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in weather and other conditions.
The comfort barge Jelmar offers 10 guest cabins, all with washbasin and shower/toilet and a window that can be opened. All cabins are twin-bedded, except for two that have a third, raised bed suitable for a child up to 12 years. Meals are taken on the lounge and dining area on the upper deck, which also has a small bar and sundeck for relaxing and sunbathing as you admire the views.
Classified as a convenient barge, the Tijdgeest can accommodate up to 27 passengers in 14 air-conditioned cabins with private shower and wc. The cabins have a mix of double or twin beds, two have single split-level beds and one cabin sleeps 3 in single beds. There are two single cabins. In the saloon where meals are served, there is an "honesty" bar. You help yourself to wine, beer or soft drinks and record what you have taken so that you can pay at the end of the week.
Dates & Prices
Please choose your boat, then click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2019 dates on sale
- 7 nights accommodation: on your chosen boat - convenient or comfort barge
- Board basis: Full board including breakfast, packed lunch and 3 course dinner
- Bike hire with 7 gears and pannier
- English speaking tour guide on board and on bike
- Maps and route information
- Entrance to Edam Museum
- Entrance to the Windmill Museum Schermerhorn
- Several city walks
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets
- Special diets - except vegetarian, diabetic & low-sodium
Reductions (3rd bed)
- Adult (aged 12 years or over) - 18% (Tijdgeest only)
- Child (aged 4-11 years) - 33%
- Child (aged up to 3 years) - 60%
Hybrid bike with 7 gears and pannier included. Child bikes, child tag-alongs and child bike seats also included.
Tandems and child trailers available at a supplement on request - please enquire
How to Get There
Fly to Amsterdam
Take the train (NS) to Amsterdam central station. After this you can either walk to the barge or take a taxi.
Alternatively, take the Eurostar to Amsterdam via Brussels or the ferry from Harwich, UK to Hook of Holland and then train to Amsterdam central.
If travelling by car, parking costs between €100 and €200 per week.
Take the train (NS) from Amsterdam central station to Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
Fly from Amsterdam
Alternatively, take the Eurostar from Amsterdam via Brussels or the train and then the ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich, UK.
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
How much space will I have in my cabin?
There is limited space in the cabins, so pack light and take a soft suitcase.
Will the itinerary ever change?
For Boat & Bike tours the boat will generally keep to the advertised itinerary, however the captain may have to adapt the itinerary due to the river or sea conditions.
What is the average temperature on this tour?
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 their common interest of cycling.
This holiday also gives you the option to book a same sex shared cabin and avoid a single 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.
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.
What other customers have said
Been on this tour? Add your review!
Totally enjoyed the Highlights of Holland cycling tour! It's the best and most enjoyable way to see the sights and connect with the country , on the seat of a bicycle! Highly recommend , no matter your level of fitness, to do it on a E Bike , this way there is no pain only pleasure :-)Elly Otte, Australia, September 2017
Great holiday really enjoyed it, visited some lovely places cycling through stunning scenery, guide and crew excellent, would do this type of holiday again although definitely recommend padded cycle shorts or padded seat cover.Alison Wise, N Ireland, July 2017