What to expect
Visit Holland in springtime and prepare to be knocked out by the perfume of millions of tulips as you cycle and sail your way through the country’s main bulb-growing region on the Tulip Tour, stopping off at famous flower gardens and the world’s biggest flower auction. Setting out from Amsterdam and touring between canalside towns, you’ll ride along gentle country lanes lined with yellow daffodils, pink hyacinths and purple tulips.
Rembrandt's birthplace of Leiden and the historic city of Haarlem are also on the itinerary, and a tour around their peaceful canals, pretty bridges and wonky buildings adds an extra dimension to this trip. As you ride alongside the waterways, passing geese, windmills and fields that burst with colour, you’ll visit the legendary village of Spaarndam, made famous by the1865 American novel, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates.
Read travel writer Tim Pozzi's account of his Tulip Tour with Freedom Treks in the Sunday Telegraph - March 2013.
At a glance
- Technicoloured tulips, pink hyacinths and yellow daffodils
- Holland’s famous flower garden and the world’s biggest flower auction
- Famous villages and historic canalside cities
- Gentle cycling along flower-lined lanes and perfumed tracks
Arrive in Amsterdam
7 miles (10 km)
Join the barge from 12.30pm in Amsterdam and set sail at around 1.30pm to cruise to the historic village of Spaarndam, made famous by the1865 American novel, Hans Brinker. Take a short cycle ride to Haarlem and join your tour leader for an evening stroll through the old centre.
Haarlem - Keukenhof - Leiden
10 miles (15 km)
Cruise to Lisse, before cycling to the famous flower garden of Keukenhof to see a vast show of tulips, daffodils and other flowers. Look forward to a spectacular ride through the bulb fields to Leiden, the Netherlands’ oldest university town and birthplace of Rembrandt.
Leiden - Uithoorn
19 miles (30 km)
Explore Leiden on foot before riding through Dutch landscapes referred to as the 'Green Heart' to Kudelstaart, stopping off to visit a traditional cheese farm and working windmill.
Uithoorn - Aalsmeer
10 miles (15 km)
Make an early start to check out of your cabin and visit the world’s biggest flower auction in Aalsmeer. Return by barge to Amsterdam, arriving around midday.
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. All cabins are twin-bedded, except for two that has 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.
Originally constructed in 1897 to sail the River Rhine, the Tijdgeest was re-built in 1998 and fully renovated to provide all possible comforts for today's guests, including wi-fi. Classified as a convenient level barge, it can accommodate up to 37 people in lower deck cabins, all with private shower and wc. The cabins have mainly double or bunk beds, one cabin sleeps 4 in bunk beds and 7 cabins can take a 3rd bed (one of which has 3 single beds). The upper deck has a spacious living/dining area with panoramic views and an "honesty" bar, where 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 click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2017 dates on sale
- 3 nights accommodation: in a comfort or convenient class barge
- Full board including breakfast, packed lunch and 3 course dinner
- Hybrid bike with 7 gears and pannier
- English speaking tour guide on board and on bike
- Entrance to Keukenhof Flowerpark and a visit to the Aalsmeer Flower auction
- Maps and route information
- Visit to windmill and cheese farm
- Several city walks
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets
Reductions (3rd & 4th bed)
- Adult (aged 12 years or over) - 18% (Tijdgeest only)
- Child (aged up to 3 years) - 60%
- Child (aged 4-11 years) - 33%
Reductions based on a raised bed for the Jelmar and bunk cabins for the Tijdgeest. Please enquire for 3rd person in a double cabin on the Tijdgeest.
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 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!
This is an excellent short break which I can strongly recommend. The cycling routes, while all flat, are diverse and interesting. The trips to the Keukenhof and the flower auction were particular highlights.Katharine Hall, May 2016
Overall we had an excellent boat/ bike trip. The service when booking was excellent as was the service on the boat, Jelmar. Our guide was enthusiastic, friendly, hardworking and really committed to us having an enjoyable time. The itinerary was varied and excellent. We probably could have cycled further (and faster) but weren't sure when making the booking with a 11 year old. Great boat driver and chef. Lovely fellow passengers and enjoyable evening walking tours on top of the cycling. We have already recommended this trip to other people.Katharine Radford, April 2016