Bicycling and Walking Vacations Since 1971 Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

North Holland and Friesland Bike & Sail Adventure

Once set apart from the Randstat mainland, the North Holland and Friesland region boasts a unique culture and glorious, windswept islands where the sea still defines every aspect of life.

  • 11 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 14 - 30 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 24
  • Biking Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

North Holland and Friesland Bike & Sail Adventure

On this unforgettable journey, explore the Wadden Sea provinces of North Holland and Friesland, ideal for cycling and sailing. Flat bike paths trace unspoiled coasts and traverse gentle dunes. Isolated villages boast traditions that have evolved apart from the mainland. Reclaimed polder lands stretch as far as your legs can pedal. You’ll uncover the secrets of this seldom-visited corner of Holland during a thrilling 7-day sail aboard a romantic three-masted schooner, invigorating your mind, body and spirit during rewarding rides on the islands of Texel and Terschelling, and along the historic North Holland coast. Join us on this unique itinerary!

Cultural Highlights

• Sail aboard a romantic three-masted schooner
• Browse the Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen
• Cycle through polder lands reclaimed from the sea
• Explore the Wadden Islands fishing villages
• Bike the windswept, unspoiled Wadden Islands
• See the 19-mile long Afsluitdijk dam
• Explore Europe’s widest beaches in Terschelling
• Learn some phrases in the Frisian language
• Visit a unique museum of sailors and beachcombers
• Taste smoked herring and learn how it’s processed
• Picnic on a family farm turned nature preserve
• Sail the UNESCO-listed Wadden Sea
• Lunch on oysters at a cooking workshop
• Visit Texel Island’s old windmill and cottages
• Admire Hindloopen’s clothing and architecture
• Help sail our ship, the Mare Fan Fryslan
• See Texel sheep and Holstein Friesian cattle

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain on bike paths and roads through mainly rural areas. You will encounter traffic, especially in urban areas. Some of the bike paths are unpaved and the terrain can lack shelter from the wind.  Weather permitting, Day 4 features a full-day sail to the island of Terschelling; no biking is possible on this day. Depending on sea and wind conditions and timings, it will be possible to set sail on some other days but transferring using the ships motor will also be necessary. Our VBT van support shuttle is available every day at designated points for those who need assistance, with the exception of Day 5 on the island of Terschelling.

Average Daily Mileage: 14 – 30 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 5 hours are on bike paths and roads through mainly rural areas.

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Amsterdam
May 61°/46°  Jun 66°/52°  Sept 64°/51°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Amsterdam
May 2  Jun 2.4  Sept 3.2

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 7 nights aboard a three-masted schooner
  • 15 meals – 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • 7 nights aboard a three-masted schooner, 2 nights in an Amsterdam hotel
  • 17 meals – 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip Extension: Den Haag • 2 nights for only $245 or Post-trip Extension: Amsterdam • 2 nights for only $345

Both Vacations Include

  • 1 complimentary glass of wine with all dinners aboard ship
  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • 5 days of cycling with FULL VAN SUPPORT (where possible due to bike paths) during the cruise portion of your trip
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount

New! Reading List

Click here to download our Holland & Friesland Suggested Reading List.

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $1,445 | Land Only Single Supplement: $1,245

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Amsterdam

Depart from home for Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to Den Haag

Upon arrival at the Amsterdam airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Please make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and who will make arrangements for your transfer, via taxi or minibus, to our The Hague hotel (transfer time is approximately 35 minutes, depending on traffic).

Transfers are provided by Schiphol Taxi, who will be looking for you and carrying a VBT sign. You may be approached by other companies offering a transfer. Please use only Schiphol Taxi (telephone: +31 654 354 601 or +31 681 299 101). Transfers provided by any other company will be at your own expense.

If you cannot find the VBT representative, or have been delayed in customs because of lost luggage or another reason, please go to the airport’s Red & White Meeting Point in the main arrival hall and wait there. You can also go to one of the yellow information desks in the main hall and ask if they will telephone Schiphol Taxi (using the number above) on your behalf.

Hotel check-in time is 3:00 pm, but the staff will do their best to get you to your room as soon as possible. After checking in, you have the rest of the day to relax or to begin your exploration of the city.

Later try one of the cities wonderful restaurants for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District.
Alternative Hotel: Hotel Corona

DAY 3: Embark ship in Enkhuizen/ Warm-up ride

VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for making your own way to the ship in Enkhuizen, arriving between 1:30 and 2:30 pm. Please note that you cannot embark before this time, as the ship is being prepared for your arrival. If you are running late, you must contact the ship as you might miss the welcome, safety briefing and warm-up ride. The ship’s telephone number is ++31 6 547 713 22. However, rest assured that the ship does not set sail this evening, so you can embark later. It will be moored a short 5-minute walk from the railway station, in Enkhuizen’s harbor for sailing ships, at Tritondam 5 – 1601 GT Enkhuizen (pier Dirck Chinaplein 1).

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, make sure your luggage is packed and ready to be transported to the ship. At 9:50 am meet a VBT representative in the hotel lobby for a 10:00 am departure for Enkhuizen (approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from The Hague). Upon arrival meet one of your VBT Trip Leaders, who will give you some information about Enkhuizen. Included is the very interesting Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen, with an indoor exhibit about the history of the region and a 15-acre open-air museum which features historic buildings from the Zuiderzee region. The staff and volunteers here will demonstrate 19th-century handicrafts. After lunch on your own, enjoy a walk through the old inner city—with its numerous stately mansions, canals, churches, city walls and harbors—reveals the 17th-century mercantile wealth of Enkhuizen. Meet again at 2:00 pm and embark the ship.

Once onboard, you’ll be welcomed by the ship’s crew and your second VBT Trip Leader. After time to settle in, join a safety briefing before a warm-up ride around Enkhuizen.

This evening, gather on board with the group for a welcome dinner.

Please note: Shipwide Wi-Fi/WLAN connection (free of charge) is available only in the harbors.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 7 miles (11 km)

 

DAY 4: Cycle to Medemblik / Den Oever / Sail to Texel

After breakfast depart the ship and cycle along the Ijsselmeer to Medemblik. The largest lake in Western Europe, Ijsselmeer is a shallow artificial lake, with an average depth of 16 to 19 feet (5 to 6 meters). It was created in 1932 when an inland sea, the Zuiderzee, was enclosed by completion of the 19-mile (32-km) Afsluitdijk, part of the Zuiderzee Works project designed to keep the waters of the North Sea at bay.

As you ride along the lake, enjoy lovely views of the famous Dutch polder landscapes, a tranquil and colorful canvas of dikes, agricultural fields and small rural settlements. Keep your eyes open for the birdlife in the meadows.

Upon arrival at Medemblik you will have time to enjoy lunch and explore the small, picturesque inner town with its many houses from the 17th and 18th centuries. After lunch you will board the ship and, weather permitting, sail to Oudeschild on the Island of Texel, the largest of the Wadden Islands.

Dinner will be served on board this evening.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 16.5 miles (26.5 km)

DAY 5: Explore Texel Island

With its 20 kilometers of sandy beaches and countless miles of traffic-free bike paths, Texel Island is a paradise for cyclists and nature lovers—especially bird lovers, as many migrating birds flock to these shores in season.

After breakfast, a short walk takes you to the Kaap Skil Museum van Jutters and Zeelui (the Skil Cape Museum of Beachcombers and Sailors), uniquely built from recycled wood and other items. The proprietors will open the museum’s doors especially for VBT guests. During your visit, you will meet some of the locals And learn about the local history. You will have time to wander the museum’s grounds and visit a fisherman’s cottage dating to between 1930 and 1950, You can also visit the charming windmill.

The rest of your day is free. Texel Island has much to explore: seven pretty villages, several additional museums and the seal colony at Ecomare. If you wish, you can cycle to the bright red Eierland Lighthouse on the northern side of the island, where you’ll find breathtaking vistas and, of course, the island’s famous Texel sheep. VBT have recommended a route, but you are free to explore at will. Look for the characteristic covered earthen garden walls, which once separated plots of land.

Afterwards, stay in town to enjoy dinner on your own. The ship is again moored in Oudeschild on Texel overnight.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B
Daily Options: 24 miles (38 km) plus other options

DAY 6: Sailing day to Terschelling

Today, weather permitting, spend the day sailing to our second Wadden Island, Terschelling. If you wish, you can help the ship captain and owner, Joris and Rinske, sail the Mare Van Fryslan. Or you can simply sit back on deck or in the Jacuzzi and enjoy the invigorating journey while looking out for seals and other marine and birdlife. Your route traces the southern coasts of the islands, maneuvering passages past sand and mud banks.

As you sail, you will learn a few words of the Frisian language from a native speaker and enjoy lunch onboard.

Late in the afternoon arrive at Terschelling, admiring its landmark 400-year old stone Brandaris lighthouse as you approach. You will moor in West Terschelling, the largest village on the island. Disembark to regain your land legs during a stroll, perhaps trying out your Frisian while visiting the quaint shops or pubs or ordering dinner in one of the local restaurants.

The ship remains moored in Terschelling overnight.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: Sailing day

DAY 7: Day on Terschelling / Sail to Harlingen

A true cycling paradise, Terschelling is home to sweeping natural beauty, rich Frisian culture in four beautiful villages and the widest beaches in Europe. The island’s bike paths stretch for more than 43 miles (70 km). The island is also known for its cranberries, cultivated here since 1840 when a barrel of cranberries washed ashore. The barrel, apparently lost from a ship that had it in its hold to help prevent scurvy, inspired locals to cultivate the fruit for their own sailors. Today, you can sample the tart berries in local specialties and baked goods.

For lunch, enjoy a special visit to the cooking workshop of Flang Cupido. A native Terschellinger, Flang’s informative class, called “Flang in de Pan,” provides insight about the Wadden Island mudflats, island life, and the local harvest. Enjoy sandwiches prepared with locally sourced products during your stay.

The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring this lovely little island.

Weather permitting, you will later sail for the pretty mainland town of Harlingen. Dinner is included onboard this evening. After dinner you may wish to stroll along the canals, historic warehouses and mansions of this quaint port town.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 18 miles (29 km)

DAY 8: Home-hosted picnic / Makkum

Start the day with a reel through typical Dutch polder landscape, much of which lies below sea level. Admire the dike systems that keep this fertile agricultural area well drained. Modern wind turbines share the stunning landscape with traditional Dutch windmills.

The highlight of the day is a visit to the home of Piet and Martha Kaastra. They transformed their Hizzard farm estate into a mini nature reserve of pretty gardens, tranquil water features, budding trees, and beautiful wooden benches carved by Piet. Enjoy a tour, and receive a warm welcome into their home, an inviting space into which they incorporated the old farm’s barn stalls and shed. Savor a picnic lunch in this beautiful setting and enjoy a chat with Piet and Martha as you walk through their flower and vegetable gardens, where several local Frisian varieties grow.

After lunch you may either shuttle back to the ship or cycle to our next mooring site in Makkum.

Enjoy dinner on board this evening.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 14.3 or 26 miles (23 or 42 km)

DAY 9: Cycle to Stavoren / Sail to Enkhuizen

Enjoy your last day of cycling on a seaside route that passes through two charming towns. Cycle out of Makkum, following the coast and marshlands through the sweeping polder landscape and prolific farmland.

Stop in the small town of Workum. Its Jopie Huisman Museum is dedicated to the work and life of this Frisian self-taught master painter. You may wish to stop for a drink and apple pie in town.

Continue to Hindeloopen, an enticing patchwork of old streets, canals and wooden bridges. Isolated from the Dutch mainland and influenced by trading partners from Denmark, Norway, Britain, and beyond, the people of Hindeloopen developed a unique dialect and an eclectic style of dress and décor. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the shipping trade brought Hindeloopen great prosperity. Locals spent much of their wealth in Amsterdam on precious fabrics and furnishings supplied through the Dutch East India Company. You might pause to visit one of the old sea captain’s houses to get a glimpse of the riches from the Dutch Golden Age. Lunch is on your own today, perhaps at a Hindeloopen café. After lunch, meet one of the locals in her home and experience the beautiful costumes for yourself.

Continuing along the Ijsselmeer coast, you will soon reach Stavoren, the oldest town in Friesland. Your ship meets you here and takes you back to Enkhuizen.

Dine on the ship one last time this evening.

Hotel: Ship Mare Fan Fryslan
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15 or 21 miles (24 or 34 km)

DAY 10: Depart Ship / Discover Amsterdam / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your ship crew and Trip Leaders as your tour comes to a close. It is important that you leave the ship no later than 9:00 am.

VBT Air Package guests and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your ship crew and Trip Leaders, then transfer by motorcoach to our Amsterdam hotel. After checking in, enjoy free time for independent exploration. Please note that your room may not be ready at this time, in which case the hotel will store your luggage. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight in one of the city’s many fine restaurants. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations about what to see and do in Amsterdam.

Please note: Group departing on September 7, 2017 air package departure will be staying at The Haag instead of Amsterdam.

Hotel: Hotel Vondel
Alternative Hotel: Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
Alternative Hotel: Mercure Hotel Den Haag Central (For the September 7th, 2017 air package departure only)

Meals: B

DAY 11: Depart for home

After breakfast*, transfer to the airport for your flight home.** Be sure you are waiting at the designated time and transfer location.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

Holland Bike and Sail Tour Map

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Accommodations

North Holland and Friesland Bike & Sail Adventure

Ship Mare Fan Fryslan

A beautiful and extravagant three-masted schooner with a capacity of 24 passengers, the Mare Fan Fryslan was built in 1960 as a freight ship and completely renovated in 2006. All 12 comfortable cabins offer 2 lower beds and private bathrooms with shower and toilet. The porthole window can be opened, and the cabins have air conditioning. Common areas include a salon that also serves as a restaurant and the wheelhouse bar with breathtaking views through a large, panoramic window. There is ample seating and a Jacuzzi on the upper deck. The ship’s sail can be operated either by hand or motor. Complimentary Wi-Fi/WLAN connection is available throughout the whole ship, but only while in the harbors. The ship moors each night. Drinks of all types are available for purchase at the bar on board. It is not customary for guests to bring their own wine and liquor on board; your understanding is appreciated. Onboard meal menus are set, though the chef is happy to accommodate vegetarians and those on restricted diets for health reasons. Please note: We have adopted a no-smoking policy in the van during transfers, on the barge and at meals

Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District

The Mercure Hotel Amsterdam City Centre is a boutique hotel located near the Prinsengracht canal in the center of Amsterdam. Owned by American travel guide expert Arthur Frommer, it is comprised of 19 converted weavers' houses that were originally built in the 17th century. The hotel is easy to reach by tram, with stops on Vijzelgracht (line 16/24/25) or the Weteringcircuit (line 7/10). Dam Square, the Royal Palace and the city's most famous museums--the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House--are all within walking distance of the hotel. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Mercure Hotel Den Haag Central

The gracious Mercure Hotel Den Haag Central is located in the vibrant heart of The Hague. Each of the well-appointed soundproof rooms offers cable TV and a work desk. You can fill your refrigerator with a selection of drinks and snacks from the M-Shop kiosk in the reception area. The restaurant M'Biance at Mercure Central serves light international meals and snacks in a modern setting. Enjoy cocktails and a selection of wine from the Grands Vins Mercure menu at the casual and relaxed bar. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Vondel

A wonderful boutique hotel set amid charming 19th-century townhouses in the vibrant heart of Amsterdam, the Hotel Vondel offers easy access to the museum quarter, the bustling Leidseplein, tree-lined Vondelpark, and fine dining, shopping and entertainment. Enjoy the unique artistic character of the hotel, as well as its cozy bar, attractive garden, and brightly decorated breakfast restaurant. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Corona

The Hotel Corona is a fine boutique property and the oldest four-star hotel of the International City of Peace and Justice. Its elegant common rooms and guest rooms occupy three historic 17th-century buildings. High ceilings and grand chandeliers lend the hotel lobby an airy feel. Located in the center of The Hague in a former forecourt of the Buitenhof (Dutch Parliament), it boasts an illustrious past. The Hotel Corona is only 650 feet from Centrum Tram Stop. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included
Reviews

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Den Haag Bike and Sail Pre Trip

Pre-Trip Extension - Den Haag

2 nights for only $245*

Amsterdam Bike and Sail Post Trip

Post-Trip Extension - Amsterdam*

2 nights for only $345

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Travel Protection Plan

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When you introduce new travelers to VBT, you’ll receive $150 in travel credits toward your next VBT vacation when the person you refer to us returns from her or his first trip. You can also get cash bonuses when you make additional referrals. Your friends benefit, too, with a $100 discount on their first VBT trip.

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Talk to a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868