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Dutch Town and Country Walk & Sail Adventure

Sail and stroll around North Holland’s IJsselmeer, and celebrate the seafaring heritage, Renaissance treasures, Old World craftsmanship, and natural beauty that were preserved when this land was reclaimed from the sea.

  • 11 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 4 mi
  • Daily Walking: 2 – 3 hr
  • Small Groups: 24
  • Walking Activity
  • Relatively flat terrain. Well-kept paths. Fine for even occasional walkers.
  • Airfare Packages Available

NEW for 2018!

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Dutch Town and Country Walk & Sail Adventure

Sail and stroll around North Holland’s IJsselmeer, and celebrate the seafaring heritage, Renaissance treasures, Old World craftsmanship, and natural beauty that were preserved when this land was reclaimed from the sea. Walking along flat terrain and sailing the serene lake, you’ll be right in sync with the tranquility of these sleepy farmlands and fishing villages. In cultural centers like Hoorn, Enkhuizen, and Volendam, you’ll delve into daily life at working windmills, ancient dikes, cheese and clog factories, and even a family home. Every day you’ll return to your charming three-masted schooner, enjoying our crew’s hospitality and memorable moments under sail.

Cultural Highlights

  • Sail aboard a romantic three-masted schooner
  • Walk through polder lands reclaimed from the sea
  • See a traditional clog-making demonstration
  • Learn how local cheese is produced and enjoy a tasting
  • Visit a local family in their home in Enkhuizen
  • Walk through the undulating Gaasterland with its 300-year-old trees
  • Visit the UNESCO steam pump at Woudagemaal
  • Stroll the fortress city of Sloten, known as one of the smallest cities of the Netherlands
  • Walk in the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, the largest freshwater wetland in northwestern Europe
  • Help sail our ship, the Leafde fan Fryslân

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain, with 90% of the trails paved. The walks are a mixture of rural countryside and towns and villages. Whether the ship sails or transfers by motor will depend on sea and wind conditions and timing. There will be coach transfers on two days; on the remaining days, you will walk directly to and from the ship. Please note that there are stairs aboard ship, and cabins are not wheelchair-accessible.

Average Daily Mileage: 4 miles
Average Walking Time: 2 – 3 hours

Climate Information

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

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

What’s Included:

Walking Vacation Only – without Air

  • 7 nights aboard a three-masted schooner
  • 16 meals – 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

International Air Package

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • Transfers
  • 7 nights aboard a three-masted schooner
    PLUS: 2 nights in an Amsterdam hotel
  • 18 meals – 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions:
    Pre-trip: Den Haag – 2 nights from only $195 – $295* • Post-trip: Amsterdam – 2 nights for only $395

Both Vacation Options Include

Reading List

Click here to download our Dutch Town and Country Walk & Sail Adventure Suggested Reading List.

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $1,545 | Land Only Single Supplement: $1,345

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 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 your hotel in Den Haag (transfer time is approximately 35 minutes, depending on traffic).

Transfers are provided by Schiphol Taxi Service, 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 Service (STS 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 Service (using the number above) on your behalf.

Hotel check-in time is 3:00 p.m., 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 city’s wonderful restaurants for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Mercure Den Haag Central Hotel
Alternate Hotel: Hotel Corona

DAY 3: Embark ship in Amsterdam / Walking Vacation begins

VBT Walking Vacation only guests: You are responsible for making your own way to the ship in Amsterdam, arriving between 1:00 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. 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 the ship will depart Amsterdam for Monnickendam at 1:30 p.m. The ship’s telephone number is ++31 6 547 713 22. It will be moored at Sumatrakade between numbers 1 and 300. Please refer to your VBT handbook (received after booking) for more information. Please enjoy lunch on your own before arrival.

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 12:15 p.m., meet a VBT representative in the hotel lobby for departure to Amsterdam (approximately 1 hour 10 minutes from Den Haag). Please enjoy lunch on your own before departure. Upon arrival, meet your VBT Trip Leaders and embark ship.

Once on board, you’ll be welcomed by the ship’s crew and shown to your cabin before the ship sails for Monnickendam (under motor, sailing time approx. 2½ hours). After time to settle in, join a short overview and safety briefing. Once docked in Monnickendam, enjoy a warm-up walk through the old historic center of Monnickendam.

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

Please note regarding Wi-Fi on board: Shipwide Wi-Fi/WLAN connection (free of charge) is available only in harbor. If stable Internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 1 mile (3km)

DAY 4: Dairy farm, cheese & clog shop visit / Walk to Volendam / Sail to Hoorn

After breakfast, depart the ship and walk out of Monnickendam across a single-track bridge, into the famous Dutch polder landscape. In this agricultural area, you’ll follow the main dike, passing small farms along the way. As you leave the road behind, you will be immersed in the polder, whose rectangular fields surrounded by the drainage dikes.

Your first stop is a family-run dairy farm, which you will explore with your hosts. Your walk continues to the family’s cheese and clog shop. Here, you can see how milk is transformed into the cheese that is synonymous with this region. You’ll also see how wooden clogs are made using traditional methods. And enjoy time for shopping and an included lunch.

This afternoon, you’ll pass a traditional windmill used for draining the land as you stroll along a quiet country road into Volendam, where you meet the ship. Enjoy time at leisure before the ship sets sail for Hoorn (approx. 2½-hour voyage).

Upon arrival at Hoorn, which dates to the 8th century, you have the chance to preview tomorrow’s exploration of its historic city center and try one of the many local restaurants for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 4 miles (6.4 km)

DAY 5: Walk in Hoorn / Sail to Enkhuizen / Home-hosted visit

Walk directly from the ship this morning into the historic center of Hoorn. Hoorn’s heyday was in the 17th century, when it was one of the main cities of the VOC (Dutch East India Company), along with Amsterdam and Enkhuizen, and became a very wealthy city. Today, dozens of monuments and churches allow you to sense those historic times. You’ll stroll into Julianapark, a beautiful park set along the banks of the IJsselmeer, and continue onto the famous Westfriese Omringdijk dike system and along the former city wall. Savor a picnic lunch before returning to your ship along scenic alleys and canals.

This afternoon, re-board your ship and sail to Enkhuizen (approx. 2 ½ hours). In the 17th century, Enkhuizen was one of the wealthiest cities in Holland because of the spices shipped from Asia by the VOC. Enkhuizen’s rich history is still apparent today, as you’ll see when you walk through the old inner city with its numerous state mansions, canals, churches, city walls and harbors.

At 4:30 p.m., local hosts will meet you at the ship and escort you back to their homes. During a chat over coffee/tea and cake, you will have the opportunity to learn about everyday life in this part of The Netherlands and experience a local’s home. Your hosts can also give you recommendations for dinner this evening on you own.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 4.5 miles (7 km)

DAY 6: Walk through Enkhuizen / Zuiderzee outdoor museum / Sail to Stavoren

As you wander through the old sections of Enkhuizen this morning with your Trip Leaders, you may feel transported back into a bygone age. Stroll by the lively harbor and shopping streets, see the Dromedary defense tower, and admire the high tower of the South Church and its famed organ from 1621. Continue into the 15 acres of the Zuiderzee outdoor museum, an open-air, living museum that showcases authentic buildings from the region, such as a church, fish-curing shed, watermill, cheese warehouse, shops and dwelling houses from the surrounding fishing villages. Staff and volunteers demonstrate traditional crafts from everyday life around the Zuiderzee, as it was before the Afsluitdijk (IJsselmeer Barrier Dam) transformed the sea into the IJsselmeer in 1932.

Embark ship again and, weather permitting, set sail across the IJsselmeer to the port of Stavoren in Friesland (sailing time approx. 4 hours). If you wish, you can help the ship captain sail the Leafde fan Fryslân. Or you can simply sit back on deck and enjoy the invigorating journey while looking out for seals and other marine and birdlife. Lunch will be served on board.

Stavoren was granted city rights between 1060 and 1067, making it the oldest city in Friesland. Upon arrival, enjoy time at leisure to stroll around the harbor before gathering for dinner on board.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 2.5 miles (4 km)

 

DAY 7: Walk in Gaasterland / Stroll around Sloten / Steam-driven pumping station

After breakfast this morning, join a coach transfer to Oudemirdum. Following the dike along the IJsselmeer, you’ll encounter Gaasterland, renowned for its sandy heights. The name Gaasterland derives from the Frisian word for these heights (gaasten), which came into being during the Ice Age, when boulder clay from Scandinavia was deposited on this terrain. These hills have an elliptical shape and are over 32.8 feet (10 meters) high. This countryside is quite different from what you have already experienced. Small communities are dotted with dairy and equestrian farms—look out for the Frisian breed, which resembles a black, light-draft horse. Also, keep your eyes open for the double swan motif at the gable top of many of the older farms and barns. This is design is typical of this region.

Today’s first stop is the village of Oudemirdum. Here, take a circular walk through a 300-year-old forest. Enjoy the tranquility that surrounds you before you return to Oudemirdum and have free time for lunch on your own at one of the small cafés on the main street.

Your coach journey continues to the fortress city of Sloten. With a population of less than 800, it is one of the smallest cities in The Netherlands.

Your next stop is ir. D.F.Woudagemaal, the largest steam-driven pumping station in the world still in use and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to this monumental pumping station, 1,056,688 gallons (4 million liters) of water per minute can be pumped by steam from the Frisian drainage pool into the IJsselmeer, keeping the area dry during high water. After watching a short 3D movie in the impressive Visitors’ Center, you will be escorted on a guided tour of the pumping station with its majestic machine hall and adjoining boiler house.

Continuing on to fishing port of Lemmer, you will find the Leafde fan Fryslân moored for the night. Dinner will be served on board this evening. Maybe after dinner you’ll take a stroll into town.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 5 miles (8 km)

DAY 8: Walk in Weerribben-Wieden National Park / Meander through Giethoorn

Again this morning, board a coach for your transfer through open polder countryside and then a forested area. On arrival in the small, pretty town of Ossenzijl, you’ll enter Weerribben-Wieden National Park. This park is the largest freshwater wetland in northwestern Europe and a peaceful oasis for plants, animals and humans. Your walking trail takes you through the center of the park, away from roads, in order for you to enjoy the tranquility of the region. Keep your eyes peeled for a fleeting kingfisher or—if you’re really lucky—an otter, the symbol of the park. Your morning walk culminates in Kalenberg, where you’ll find options for lunch on your own.

This afternoon, board the coach for a short drive to what’s known in The Netherlands as “Venice of the North”: Giethoorn. Giethoorn’s history dates to around 1200, when Franciscan monks settled in the area. Peat had formed in the marshlands, and when it came into use by the settlers, canals were dug for transport, and shallow lakes were formed. Your afternoon walk takes you along these meandering canals, passing the beautiful homes and some of the town’s 180 bridges. As you’ll discover, there are no roads within the old village; all transport is done either by boats through the canals or on foot, and bridges are the only way to reach most homes, many on their private islands.

Rejoin the coach for a short transfer through some very interesting wetland scenery to the small city of Zwartsluis. Here, you’ll board your ship.

Enjoy dinner on board with your travel mates this evening.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 5.6 miles (9.1 km)

DAY 9: Sail to Oostvaardersdiep / Walk through Oostvaardersplassen / Sail to Amsterdam

After breakfast, enjoy a stroll along the harbor areas of Zwartsluis. Then, sail to the very quiet harbor of Oostvaardersdiep, used mainly as a refuge port during poor weather (approx. 4 hours). Enjoy an included lunch en route. Once docked, enjoy a stroll along a canal and through expansive reed beds and marshes. This is a birdwatchers’ paradise, and your trail takes you out to a small bird hide, on a small peninsula jutting out into the lake.

Meet your ship again in Oostvaardersdiep, embark and set sail for the final time into Amsterdam (approx. 1 hour).

Dine on the ship one last time this evening.

Hotel: Ship Leafde fan Fryslân
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 2 miles (3 km)

DAY 10: Depart Ship / Discover Amsterdam / VBT Walking Vacation ends

VBT Walking Vacation only 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 a.m.

VBT Air Package guests and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your ship crew and Trip Leaders, then transfer by minibus to your 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.

Hotel: Hotel Vondel
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

Walk and Sail Tour Map

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