What to expect
Tour across the flat polderlands of Northern Holland and ride to the North Sea coast, stopping off at romantic fishing villages and authentic waterside towns. The former marshlands and expansive pastures you’ll ride past are scattered with windmills and were reclaimed from the sea in the 17th century – a historic process you can learn about en route at an open-air museum village.
Cycling along the most scenic coastal stretches, you can take a break whenever you please and spend your evenings exploring historic harbour towns. Taste smoked eel or salted herring, visit a wooden shoe factory, try fresh Edam and look forward to the beautiful beaches and birdlife of the extremely bike-friendly Texel Island. The capital city of Amsterdam is an exciting place to start and finish – arriving early or extending your stay to visit Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum is well worth it.
Read travel writer Adrian Lowery's report on his Northern Holland cycling holiday with Freedom Treks in The Daily Mail - April 2017.
At a glance
- Peaceful islands and pretty harbour villages on the North Sea coast
- Start and finish in the welcoming capital city of Amsterdam
- Wooden clogs, Edam cheese and smoked eels
- Easy cycling past flat polders and canals & windmills
Day 1 (Sat):
Arrive in Amsterdam
Arrive in Amsterdam and check on to the boat from 2pm (luggage can be left on board from 9.30 am). If you arrive early, visit Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum or Rijksmuseum. Enjoy your dinner and welcome meeting. Overnight in Amsterdam.
Day 2 (Sun):
Amsterdam – Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar
27 miles (44 km)
Cycle via small villages and through beautiful flat and green polder landscape to the open-air museum of Zaanse Schans. Visit this reconstructed 17th century village with it's green wooden houses, stylised gardens, cheese and wooden shoe manufacturers and historic windmills. Continue on through the “Land of Leeghwater” and stroll through the former whaler’s village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Scermerhorn. Meet your boat close to the historical centre of Alkmaar.
Day 3 (Mon):
Alkmaar – Alkmaar – Den Helder
20 or 25 miles (33 or 40 km)
Discover the unique landscape of the northern Holland’s sand dunes by bike. Visit the beach and the coastal village of Bergen, known since 1900 as an 'artists village' before returning to Alkmaar to explore the beautiful historic centre. In the afternoon the De Holland will sail along the North-Holland Canal with its floating bridges to the naval city of Den Helder which was built in the Napoleon era.
Day 4 (Tue):
Den Helder – Texel – Den Oever
9 or 41 miles (15 or 65 km)
During breakfast the De Holland will sail to Texel island, the largest of the Dutch North Sea islands. Expect picturesque villages, welcoming cafes and fresh countryside. Pedal through peaceful landscapes, stopping off for breaks on beautiful beaches. Visit the Ecomare seal sanctuary or follow the beautiful Thijsse-route through picturesque villages, before cruising on to Den Oever on the mainland in the evening with live music on board. Choice of a short or longer cycle ride today.
Day 5 (Wed):
Den Oever – Stavoren
27 or 34 miles (43 or 55 km)
Cross the large inland lake Ijsselmeer to Stavoren in Friesland. Choose from a short or longer cycle ride. Either explore Gaasterland, a nature area, or cycle through the lake district that Friesland is famous for or combine both options. Spend the night in Stavoren.
Day 6 (Thu):
Stavoren – Medemblik – Hoorn – Enkhuizen
19 or 31 miles (30 or 50 km)
During breakfast your boat will take you to Medemblik where you will cycle from along the Ijsselmeer coast to Enkhuizen. You can spend the afternoon exploring the old harbour, historical town centre and Zuiderzee Museum. If you want to enjoy a longer ride, you can cycle to the harbour of Hoorn that gave it's name to Cape Horn. Continue on to Enkhuizen where you have a walking tour in the evening.
Day 7 (Fri):
Enkhuizen – Volendam – Waterland – Amsterdam
22 or 31 miles (35 or 50 km)
You barge will travel to Volendam while you enjoy your breakfast. Bike to the small canals and lakes of Waterland. An optional de-tour takes you to the former island of Marken, before heading on to Amsterdam in the afternoon to enjoy a canal tour, trip to the museums or just a relaxing time in its' traditional cafes
Day 8 (Sat):
Depart from Amsterdam
Disembark after breakfast and make your way home from Amsterdam or stay on to see more of the city.
Please Note: The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in weather and other conditions.
The superior river cruiser " De Holland" is 78m long and 7m wide and offers 34 cabins for up to a maximum of 72 passengers. All cabins come with air-conditioning, safe, hairdryer, private shower and wc. On the lower deck are three cabins with L shaped twin beds plus an optional pull down bed, five twin and 16 superior twin cabins. The upper deck has nine superior twin cabins and one larger suite with mini-bar and a sofa bed, all of which have a French balcony with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors instead of a window. The twin beds in most cabins are pushed together but can be set up as two single beds on request. There is a spacious lounge with large panoramic windows with bar and restaurant area. Wi-Fi is available with additional data packages available. The large, partially roofed sun deck offers plenty of space for chairs and sun loungers and a separate area for bike storage.
Dates & Prices
Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2019 dates
- 7 nights accommodation aboard the De Holland boat
- Board basis: Full board including, breakfast, packed lunch on 6 cycling days and dinner
- Services of an English speaking on-board with daily briefings of the bike tours
- Maps and route information (1 set per cabin) - GPS tracks available
- Welcome meeting and drink
- Local contact number for assistance
- Daily cabin cleaning and towels
- Daily coffee and tea until 4pm
- A city walk with tour leader
- Music night onboard
- Discounts on entrance fees and excursions
- Flights and transfers
- Bike hire
- Cycle helmets
- Entrance fees & excursions
- Ferry fees during cycle rides
- Drinks & tips on board
- Transfers to/from the docking in Amsterdam
Bikes come with a pannier, a small repair kit, and lock all included at no extra cost.
How to Get There
Fly to Amsterdam Aiport Schiphol
Take the train (NS) to Amsterdam Central Station and then take a taxi to your barge.
Alternatively, take the Eurostar to Amsterdam or ferry from Harwich, UK to Hook of Holland.
Take the train (NS) from Amsterdam Central Station to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Fly from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Alternatively, take the Eurostar from Amsterdam or ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich, UK.
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
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.
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.
Will I be cycling with other people?
Although there is no organised group, self-guided guests regularly find they come across their fellow passengers along the route during the day and may even get together to form their own cycling groups.
What does my on-board Tour Leader do?
Your on-board Tour Leader provides daily briefings ahead of the next day's ride. These are always beneficial, including information on the local area, main sights, and tips on good places to stop en route.
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!
The North Holland was my first boat/cycling holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The boat was comfortable, the evening meals were good and the routes we cycled were enjoyable, nearly always flat but with varying landscape, villages, farmland, sand dunes, and canals. The boat crew were friendly and helpful. Each evening Sandra, our excellent guide, gave us a briefing about the following day’s routes, with suggestions for coffee breaks and places to visit. The RidewithGps proved very useful, an addition to the maps and written notes.Dorothy Hart, UK, July 2018
If you are looking for a value for money holiday, where nothing is hidden, Freedom Treks will provide one. An excellent experience.Helen Orme, UK, September 2017