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The Netherlands Bike & Boat: Springtime in Holland, Aboard the Magnifique

Nobody does springtime in Holland quite like VBT. We’ve planned for you an itinerary of cycling past windmills and polder villages followed by relaxing on your group’s private Dutch barge. As your cozy ship floats along Holland’s network of canals, you’ll cycle easy paths past massive fields of blossoms, stopping to learn about the history of tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs at the unique garden museum Hortus Bulborum. Visit the family home of farmers in Gouda—and learn about the famous cheese-making traditions there. During this exceptional springtime bicycling vacation, your experienced VBT trip leaders and dedicated barge crew will open the doors to Holland’s most celebrated season.  

Tour Highlights

  • Learn how historic windmills work and how they are used to reclaim land called “polders.”
  • View rare and historic flower bulbs at the flower garden museum, Hortus Bulborum.
  • Explore the living catalogue of spring flowers at Keukenhof Gardens.
  • Explore Holland’s “Green Heart,” a rural and peaceful nature zone.

Positive Impact

VBT is proud to support The Museum Molen with a donation on behalf of each guest on this tour. The Museum Molen aims to preserve and educate guests on the valuable cultural heritage of the Schermer mills and how they fuel the water system in the Netherlands. The museum’s mill functions as a flagship of the 49 mills in the Schermer province.

What to Expect

This tour is rated Easy, and both hybrids and E-bikes are offered. Riding is primarily on paved roads and paths with very few hills, although wind may increase the difficulty factor since there is often little or no shelter. Cyclists may stay on the barge on windy days if they wish, but they will miss out on some of the incredible scenery, which is best viewed while pedaling. Vehicle support is not available on the bike path sections of the ride.

  • Daily Mileage: 15-25 miles|
  • Biking: 2-4 hours|
  • Group Size: 30
Activity Easy
Easy
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Mar48º/37º

Apr53º/40º

May61º/46º

Average
Precipitation:

Mar3.5 in

Apr1.5 in

May2 in

Air Package

Tour Only

Roundtrip international airfare

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Airport car service for arrival and departure

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One night in Den Haag and one night in Amsterdam in conveniently located hotels with daily breakfast

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7 nights aboard a private canal barge

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13 meals: 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners

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2025

Step-Through Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Support Vehicle

Luggage Transportation

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Sat, Mar 29 to Tue, Apr 8, 2025

Show Itinerary:

Your vacation is about to begin! Spend your first night aloft and arrive ready for an unforgettable trip.

A VBT representative will greet you at the Amsterdam airport to start your adventure off right. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel in Den Haag. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

After an included breakfast, make sure your luggage is packed and ready to be transported to the barge. At 11:30 a.m., meet a VBT representative in the hotel lobby and travel to the barge. Be sure to pack a bite for lunch, as the next included meal is dinner.

You will board the barge around 12:30 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. departure. At the docks, meet the barge crew and your VBT trip leaders, who will welcome you aboard with light refreshments. Then, cruise out of Amsterdam, sailing along the Noordzeekanaal—the waterway connecting Amsterdam to the North Sea—passing the recently built movie museum EYE.

After a brief sail, the barge moors near Zaanse Schans, next to a working sawmill that is run purely on wind power. You will pedal along the canal on your warm-up ride, rejoining the barge at the mooring. Cycling past traditional green painted houses, warehouses, and windmills, you’re sure to feel as if you are pedaling through bygone centuries.

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

Today's Ride Choices

Afternoon: Warm-up ride to Zaanse Schans — 8 km (5 miles) | Warm-up ride back to barge in Zaandam — 6 km (4 miles)

What to Expect:

The route provides a glimpse into Zaandam’s industrial heritage as it passes along local cocoa and peanut factories. Continue to a small neighborhood of traditional houses. This is a good opportunity to practice reading the signs of the Dutch Bike Network System.

Cumulative Distance Range: 14 km (9 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, your barge continues along the River Zaan and the Knollendammer Canal to the town of Alkmaar, famed for its cheese trade. After breakfast, you will cycle past lakes and water-management systems to the beautiful town of De Rijp. Once there, you’ll understand why the famous water engineer Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater referred to it as “the finest village in Holland.” Centuries of history can still be seen in De Rijp’s wooden facades, as well as its beautiful church complete with stained-glass windows dating to 1655, lock, and town hall.

From here, continue across the Beemster Polder, an almost untouched piece of low-lying land reclaimed from the water. In 1612, Dutch engineers, using a system of dikes and windmills, drained lake, and converted the land into pasture. Today, the Beemster Polder is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nourished by sea water, the clay soil is nutrient and mineral-rich, with a distinctive slate-blue color. Grass grown in this soil is especially lush and makes the milk produced by cows that graze here unusually sweet and creamy. The local Beemster cheeses are celebrated for their exceptional flavor.

Your next stop is the former windmill complex of the Schermer Polder, which includes the Schermerhorn Windmill Museum. The museum provides you with complete access, from top to bottom, allowing you to follow the fascinating mechanics of the mill in a unique setting. A short ride takes you to a local “care farm,” where people with special needs are employed and where you will enjoy a picnic lunch.

Continue cycling along this delightfully flat land to Alkmaar. The town was once known as a Dutch cheese city, but that is only a small part of its story. As you explore the streets this evening, you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Alkmaar’s Old Town, with its well-preserved 17th-century buildings and narrow, winding canals.

Dinner will be served on our barge this evening.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Zaanse Schans to Lunch — 24 km (14 miles)

Afternoon: Lunch to Alkmaar — 17 km (10 miles) | Additional Bergen Loop — 18 km (11 miles)

What to Expect:

After a guided visit to the Het Jonge Schaep sawmill, your route follows the Dutch windmill theme. You depart Zaanse Schans and ride along the Zaan River, stopping at Spijkerboor for the local ferry across the Noordhollands canal. From here, cycle to the pretty town of De Rijp. Soon, you will see many of the windmills for which The Netherlands is known. In Schermermolen, you can stop to learn about the inner workings of one of those windmills. From there, it’s a short jaunt to the “care farm” where you will enjoy your picnic lunch. If you wish, you can take the shuttle to Alkmaar, but those continuing to ride will enjoy scenic open countryside all the way to your destination.

The extra-long option today includes a loop to picturesque Bergen before arriving at your barge in Alkmaar.

Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 59 km (14 – 35 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast, you’ll cycle to the Hortus Bulborum, a unique garden museum dedicated to the preservation of rare and historic bulbs. More than 4,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowers blossom throughout the museum’s five-plus acres of flowerbeds. Each spring, they burst forth in a dazzling array of fragrances and colors, as you’ll discover on a guided tour.

From there, it’s a short ride to the beach, where you can enjoy lunch on your own at one of the beachfront cafés. Admire the sweeping views before continuing on bike paths through the sand dunes of the North Sea coast to the town of Beverwijk. A local car ferry will take you across the North Sea Canal, a major shipping route. Back on land, you can choose to shuttle or cycle to Haarlem.

Haarlem is a pretty city of cobblestone streets, historic buildings, canals, grand churches, cozy bars, top-notch restaurants, and antique shops. After coasting into town, you’ll enjoy a short walking tour through the historic city center with your trip leaders. You’ll dine on your own tonight at any of the local establishments before returning to the barge, which is moored in Haarlem overnight.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Alkmaar to the beach — 29 km (18 miles)

Afternoon: Beach to IJmuiden Ferry — 18 km (11 miles) | IJmuiden Ferry to Haarlem — 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect:

Today’s ride, the first of two days filled with flowers, passes through blossoming fields and sand dunes. The first bulbs emerge soon after leaving Alkmaar; you’ll have the opportunity to admire them in Limmen at Hortus Bulborum. In Castricum, enjoy lunch on your own at one of the town’s beachfront cafés with stunning North Sea views. You’ll burn off those calories by continuing the ride through sand dunes before boarding a ferry that will cross the North Sea Canal. If you’re still feeling energetic, there is an additional cycling loop through the dunes into the city of Haarlem, but you may opt for a van shuttle to the barge instead.

Cumulative Distance Range: 29 – 63 km (18 – 39 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today is another day with an early start, so you can catch the flowers opening in the early morning light. You’ll ride through gorgeous blooming bulb fields to Keukenhof, the most beautiful spring garden in the world. The 80-acre (32-hectare) park boasts more than 9 miles (14.4 km) of footpaths winding among more than 7 million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and other flowers, designed to excite the senses in a truly beautiful setting.

From there, you’ll cycle through more bulb fields on your way to Leiden, a vibrant town bisected by canals and filled with attractive guild houses. The birthplace of the Dutch master Rembrandt, Leiden is home to the Netherlands’ oldest university. The town also has a connection to colonial American history. In the early 17th century, Protestants fleeing persecution elsewhere in the Low Countries, France, and England found a warmer welcome in Leiden. Notable among these Protestants was a group led by John Robinson, who would later sail to America aboard the Mayflower.

This evening, enjoy dinner on board before joining your trip leaders for a short walk to Leiden.  The barge will be moored in Leiden overnight.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Haarlem to Keukenhof Gardens — 23 km (14 miles)

Afternoon: Keukenhof Gardens to Leiden — 19 km (12 miles) | Additional Keukenhof Loop — 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect:

Ride on country roads through flowering fields on your way to world-famous Keukenhof Gardens. After leaving Haarlem, your bike route touches the ancient Manpad at the foot of the dunes before moving farther inland through an older flower-growing area. Midway to Leiden you have an included visit to Keukenhof Gardens. The ride continues through more bulb fields, then passes through the narrow main street of Warmond village. After a ferry crossing, you’ll continue cycling a bike route along the Zijl River. In Leiden, you’ll join the barge at its mooring site.

If you wish to add a longer loop option, you’ll spend less time in Keukenhof Gardens. Please advise your trip leaders if you are riding the extra loop and let them know when you return to the Keukenhof parking lot.

Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 56 km (14 – 35 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, ride out of Leiden through verdant pastures and small farms, famous for cheese production. Near Zoeterwoude, you can stop to visit one such farm and meet the owners, Karin and Sjaak van Veen, and their animals. The farm has been in their family for more than 100 years. Here, you will learn about the cheese-making process—and enjoy the opportunity to taste the results.

Continue through open polder landscapes to Hazerswoude-Dorp. The bike path out of town has an intimate feel as it passes through residential gardens, leading you to Boskoop for a picnic lunch, and then all the way to Gouda.

Gouda’s namesake cheese is among the Netherlands’ best-known exports. The town’s compact center is entirely ringed by canals, and this evening you can stroll its spacious market square and see the grand Gothic town hall. The main church of Gouda, devoted to Saint John, is world famous for its stained-glass windows. Your early-afternoon arrival gives you plenty of time to explore and find a local restaurant for dinner on your own.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Leiden to Gouda — 35 km (22 miles)

Afternoon: Gouda to Haastrecht Loop — 10 km (6 miles)

What to Expect:

After breakfast on the barge, begin riding from Leiden to Zoeterwoude and Weipoort. After a short ride, you’ll tour a cheese farm with the opportunity to taste their wares. The rest of your ride is through the region of Hazerswoude and Boskoop, where plants and young trees are commercially grown. Your ride will end when you meet the barge in Gouda, an old cheese-market city of international fame, where you’ll have plenty of free time to explore the area.

If you want to continue cycling, you can add an extra loop that leaves directly from the barge to Haastrecht, an ancient little town with a famous bike shop (Slingerland).

Cumulative Distance Range: 35 – 45 km (22 – 28 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Leave Gouda this morning and pedal alongside peat lakes and onto the banks of the narrow Rhine River to Alphen aan den Rijn, where you will board the barge for lunch.

Afterward, you have the option to either cycle or cruise through a pretty stretch known as the “Groene Hart” (Green Heart)—a rural region of lush meadows, tranquil peat lakes, and abundant birdlife. If you are cycling, you will meet the barge at Oude Weterings, then cruise along the River Amstel to the next overnight mooring point at Uithoorn.

Enjoy dinner aboard our barge this evening.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Gouda to Alphen aan den Rijn — 30 km (19 miles)

Afternoon: Alphen aan den Rijn to Oude Wetering — 27 km (17 miles)

What to Expect:

The first part of the ride passes through Reeuwijkse Plassen, a lake area created by peat digging. After passing the town of Bodegraven, you continue along the Old Rhine River to a barge lunch in the city of Alphen aan den Rijn. After lunch, feel free to relax and enjoy the afternoon on board your mobile home, or continue cycling through lush meadows and lakes. This pretty route touches the villages of Langeraar, Braassemermeer, and Oude Wetering, where you will board the barge and have dinner while we cruise to our mooring point at Uithoorn.

Cumulative Distance Range: 27 – 57 km (17 – 36 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After sipping your morning beverage of choice at breakfast on the barge, cycle to Aalsmeer, home to the world’s largest flower auction. An astonishing volume of beautiful flowers are traded from more than 10 countries for export throughout the world. Visit the historical gardens.

From here, you’ll cycle to Uithoorn. Today’s riding options enable you to enjoy another day in the countryside, traveling along the Amstel River and through Amsterdam Forest. Rejoin the barge and cruise into Amsterdam, sampling local Dutch delicacies along the way. Your barge’s mooring couldn’t be more convenient: It’s right in the center of city.

Dine on the barge one last time this evening.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Barge to Aalsmeer to Uithoorn — 17 km (10 miles) | Uithoorn to Amsterdam — 24 km (15 miles) OR Via Abcoude Loop — 43 km (26 miles)

What to Expect:

After breakfast on the barge, begin riding to Aalsmeer, where you will visit the historical gardens. Then cycle to Uithoorn and along the Amstel River before cutting across polder into Amsterdam Forest to meet the barge at Nieuwe Meersluis. From here, the barge sails back to Amsterdam.

Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 60 km (10 – 37 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After an included breakfast, say goodbye to your barge crew and trip leaders, then take a short walk to your Amsterdam hotel. After checking in, you have 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. VBT provides you with city information that includes recommendations about what to see and do in Amsterdam.

Included Meals: Breakfast

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation to the Amsterdam airport will be provided (an approximately 20- to 30-minutes drive, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

The Netherlands Bike & Boat: Springtime in Holland, Aboard the Magnifique

Download PDF Itinerary:

Air Package (PDF) Tour Only (PDF)

Mon, Mar 31 to Mon, Apr 7, 2025

Show Itinerary:

You are responsible for making your way to our barge, arriving between 12:30 and 12:50 p.m. Please note that you cannot embark before this time, as the barge is being prepared for your arrival. If you are late, you must contact the barge as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements because we will set sail promptly at 1:00 p.m.

The barge will be moored at Buiksloterweg pier, which is located to the north of Amsterdam’s Centraal Station. Besides traveling by taxi, the barge is easily accessible by foot from Amsterdam Centraal Station by taking the free passenger ferry to Buiksloterweg.

You will board the barge around 12:30 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. departure. At the docks, meet the barge crew and your VBT trip leaders, who will welcome you aboard with light refreshments. Then, cruise out of Amsterdam, sailing along the Noordhollands—the waterway connecting Amsterdam to the North Sea—passing the recently built movie museum EYE.

After a brief sail, the barge moors near Zaanse Schans, next to a working sawmill that is run purely on wind power. You will pedal along the Zaan river on your warm-up ride, rejoining the barge at the mooring. Cycling past traditional green painted houses, warehouses, and windmills, you’re sure to feel as if you are pedaling through bygone centuries.

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

Today's Ride Choices

Afternoon: Warm-up ride to Zaanse Schans — 8 km (5 miles) | Warm-up ride back to barge in Zaandam — 6 km (4 miles)

What to Expect:

The route provides a glimpse into Zaandam’s industrial heritage on a mix of streets, bike lanes, and bike paths. Continue to a small neighborhood of traditional houses. This is a good opportunity to practice reading the signs of the Dutch Bike Network System. Take time to explore the clog maker at the end of your ride.

Cumulative Distance Range: 14 km (9 miles)

Included Meals: Dinner

Today, your barge continues along the River Zaan and the Knollendammer Canal to the town of Alkmaar, famed for its cheese trade. After breakfast, you will cycle past lakes and water-management systems to the beautiful town of De Rijp. Once there, you’ll understand why the famous water engineer Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater referred to it as “the finest village in Holland.” Centuries of history can still be seen in De Rijp’s wooden facades, as well as its beautiful church complete with stained-glass windows dating to 1655, lock, and town hall.

From here, continue across the Beemster Polder, an almost untouched piece of low-lying land reclaimed from the water. In 1612, Dutch engineers, using a system of dikes and windmills, drained lake, and converted the land into pasture. Today, the Beemster Polder is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nourished by sea water, the clay soil is nutrient and mineral-rich, with a distinctive slate-blue color. Grass grown in this soil is especially lush and makes the milk produced by cows that graze here unusually sweet and creamy. The local Beemster cheeses are celebrated for their exceptional flavor.

Your next stop is the former windmill complex of the Schermer Polder, which includes the Schermerhorn Windmill Museum. The museum provides you with complete access, from top to bottom, allowing you to follow the fascinating mechanics of the mill in a unique setting. A short ride takes you to a local “care farm,” where people with special needs are employed and where you will enjoy a picnic lunch.

Continue cycling along this delightfully flat land to Alkmaar. The town was once known as a Dutch cheese city, but that is only a small part of its story. As you explore the streets this evening, you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Alkmaar’s Old Town, with its well-preserved 17th-century buildings and narrow, winding canals.

Dinner will be served on our barge this evening.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Zaanse Schans to Lunch — 24 km (14 miles)

Afternoon: Lunch to Alkmaar — 17 km (10 miles) | Additional Bergen Loop — 18 km (11 miles)

What to Expect:

After a guided visit to the Het Jonge Schaep sawmill, your route follows the Dutch windmill theme. You depart Zaanse Schans and ride along the Zaan River, stopping at Spijkerboor for the local ferry across the Noordhollands canal. From here, cycle to the pretty town of De Rijp. Soon, you will see many of the windmills for which The Netherlands is known. In Schermermolen, you can stop to learn about the inner workings of one of those windmills. From there, it’s a short jaunt to the “care farm” where you will enjoy your picnic lunch. If you wish, you can take the shuttle to Alkmaar, but those continuing to ride will enjoy scenic open countryside all the way to your destination.

The extra-long option today includes a loop to picturesque Bergen before arriving at your barge in Alkmaar.

Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 59 km (14 – 35 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast, you’ll cycle to the Hortus Bulborum, a unique garden museum dedicated to the preservation of rare and historic bulbs. More than 4,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowers blossom throughout the museum’s five-plus acres of flowerbeds. Each spring, they burst forth in a dazzling array of fragrances and colors, as you’ll discover on a guided tour.

From there, it’s a short ride to the beach, where you can enjoy lunch on your own at one of the beachfront cafés. Admire the sweeping views before continuing on bike paths through the sand dunes of the North Sea coast to the town of Beverwijk. A local car ferry will take you across the North Sea Canal, a major shipping route. Back on land, you can choose to shuttle or cycle to Haarlem.

Haarlem is a pretty city of cobblestone streets, historic buildings, canals, grand churches, cozy bars, top-notch restaurants, and antique shops. After coasting into town, you’ll enjoy a short walking tour through the historic city center with your trip leaders. You’ll dine on your own tonight at any of the local establishments before returning to the barge, which is moored in Haarlem overnight.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Alkmaar to the beach — 29 km (18 miles)

Afternoon: Beach to IJmuiden Ferry — 18 km (11 miles) | IJmuiden Ferry to Haarlem — 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect:

Today’s ride, the first of two days filled with flowers, passes through blossoming fields and sand dunes. The first bulbs emerge soon after leaving Alkmaar; you’ll have the opportunity to admire them in Limmen at Hortus Bulborum. In Castricum, enjoy lunch on your own at one of the town’s beachfront cafés with stunning North Sea views. You’ll burn off those calories by continuing the ride through sand dunes before boarding a ferry that will cross the North Sea Canal. If you’re still feeling energetic, there is an additional cycling loop through the dunes into the city of Haarlem, but you may opt for a van shuttle to the barge instead.

Cumulative Distance Range: 29 – 63 km (18 – 39 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today is another day with an early start, so you can catch the flowers opening in the early morning light. You’ll ride through gorgeous blooming bulb fields to Keukenhof, the most beautiful spring garden in the world. The 80-acre (32-hectare) park boasts more than 9 miles (14.4 km) of footpaths winding among more than 7 million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and other flowers, designed to excite the senses in a truly beautiful setting.

From there, you’ll cycle through more bulb fields on your way to Leiden, a vibrant town bisected by canals and filled with attractive guild houses. The birthplace of the Dutch master Rembrandt, Leiden is home to the Netherlands’ oldest university. The town also has a connection to colonial American history. In the early 17th century, Protestants fleeing persecution elsewhere in the Low Countries, France, and England found a warmer welcome in Leiden. Notable among these Protestants was a group led by John Robinson, who would later sail to America aboard the Mayflower.

This evening, enjoy dinner on board before joining your trip leaders for a short walk to Leiden.  The barge will be moored in Leiden overnight.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Haarlem to Keukenhof Gardens — 23 km (14 miles)

Afternoon: Keukenhof Gardens to Leiden — 19 km (12 miles) | Additional Keukenhof Loop — 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect:

Ride on country roads through flowering fields on your way to world-famous Keukenhof Gardens. After leaving Haarlem, your bike route touches the ancient Manpad at the foot of the dunes before moving farther inland through an older flower-growing area. Midway to Leiden you have an included visit to Keukenhof Gardens. The ride continues through more bulb fields, then passes through the narrow main street of Warmond village. After a ferry crossing, you’ll continue cycling a bike route along the Zijl River. In Leiden, you’ll join the barge at its mooring site.

If you wish to add a longer loop option, you’ll spend less time in Keukenhof Gardens. Please advise your trip leaders if you are riding the extra loop and let them know when you return to the Keukenhof parking lot.

Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 56 km (14 – 35 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, ride out of Leiden through verdant pastures and small farms, famous for cheese production. Near Zoeterwoude, you can stop to visit one such farm and meet the owners, Karin and Sjaak van Veen, and their animals. The farm has been in their family for more than 100 years. Here, you will learn about the cheese-making process—and enjoy the opportunity to taste the results.

Continue through open polder landscapes to Hazerswoude-Dorp. The bike path out of town has an intimate feel as it passes through residential gardens, leading you to Boskoop for a picnic lunch, and then all the way to Gouda.

Gouda’s namesake cheese is among the Netherlands’ best-known exports. The town’s compact center is entirely ringed by canals, and this evening you can stroll its spacious market square and see the grand Gothic town hall. The main church of Gouda, devoted to Saint John, is world famous for its stained-glass windows. Your early-afternoon arrival gives you plenty of time to explore and find a local restaurant for dinner on your own.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Leiden to Gouda — 35 km (22 miles)

Afternoon: Gouda to Haastrecht Loop — 10 km (6 miles)

What to Expect:

After breakfast on the barge, begin riding from Leiden to Zoeterwoude and Weipoort. After a short ride, you’ll tour a cheese farm with the opportunity to taste their wares. The rest of your ride is through the region of Hazerswoude and Boskoop, where plants and young trees are commercially grown. Your ride will end when you meet the barge in Gouda, an old cheese-market city of international fame, where you’ll have plenty of free time to explore the area.

If you want to continue cycling, you can add an extra loop that leaves directly from the barge to Haastrecht, an ancient little town with a famous bike shop (Slingerland).

Cumulative Distance Range: 35 – 45 km (22 – 28 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Leave Gouda this morning and pedal alongside peat lakes and onto the banks of the narrow Rhine River to Alphen aan den Rijn, where you will board the barge for lunch.

Afterward, you have the option to either cycle or cruise through a pretty stretch known as the “Groene Hart” (Green Heart)—a rural region of lush meadows, tranquil peat lakes, and abundant birdlife. If you are cycling, you will meet the barge at Oude Weterings, then cruise along the River Amstel to the next overnight mooring point at Uithoorn.

Enjoy dinner aboard our barge this evening.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Gouda to Alphen aan den Rijn — 30 km (19 miles)

Afternoon: Alphen aan den Rijn to Oude Wetering — 27 km (17 miles)

What to Expect:

The first part of the ride passes through Reeuwijkse Plassen, a lake area created by peat digging. After passing the town of Bodegraven, you continue along the Old Rhine River to a barge lunch in the city of Alphen aan den Rijn. After lunch, feel free to relax and enjoy the afternoon on board your mobile home, or continue cycling through lush meadows and lakes. This pretty route touches the villages of Langeraar, Braassemermeer, and Oude Wetering, where you will board the barge and have dinner while we cruise to our mooring point at Uithoorn.

Cumulative Distance Range: 27 – 57 km (17 – 36 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After sipping your morning beverage of choice at breakfast on the barge, cycle to Aalsmeer, home to the world’s largest flower auction. An astonishing volume of beautiful flowers are traded from more than 10 countries for export throughout the world. Visit the historical gardens.

From here, you’ll cycle to Uithoorn. Today’s riding options enable you to enjoy another day in the countryside, traveling along the Amstel River and through Amsterdam Forest. Rejoin the barge and cruise into Amsterdam, sampling local Dutch delicacies along the way. Your barge’s mooring couldn’t be more convenient: It’s right in the center of city.

Dine on the barge one last time this evening.

Today's Ride Choices

Morning: Barge to Aalsmeer to Uithoorn — 17 km (10 miles) | Uithoorn to Amsterdam — 24 km (15 miles) OR Via Abcoude Loop — 43 km (26 miles)

What to Expect:

After breakfast on the barge, begin riding to Aalsmeer, where you will visit the historical gardens. Then cycle to Uithoorn and along the Amstel River before cutting across polder into Amsterdam Forest to meet the barge at Nieuwe Meersluis. From here, the barge sails back to Amsterdam.

Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 60 km (10 – 37 miles)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After an included breakfast, say goodbye to your barge crew and trip leaders as your tour comes to a close. It is important that you leave the barge no later than 9:00 a.m. Please refer to the information listed in the tour Vacation Preparation Handbook.

Included Meals: Breakfast

The Netherlands Bike & Boat: Springtime in Holland, Aboard the Magnifique

Download PDF Itinerary:

Air Package (PDF) Tour Only (PDF)

Accommodations (Please Note: Days are based on the Air Package Itinerary. Accommodations may vary depending on departure date. )

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2025

2025 Pre-Trip Extension - Den Haag

2 Nights From $345 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $245

  • 2 nights at the Boutique Hotel Corona
  • Airport car service for arrival
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

Your vacation is about to begin! Spend your first night aloft and arrive ready for an unforgettable trip.

A VBT representative will greet you at the Amsterdam airport to start your adventure off right. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel in Den Haag. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Boutique Hotel Corona

The Boutique Hotel Corona is a fine boutique property and the oldest 4-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 give the lobby an airy feel. Located in the center of Den Haag in a former forecourt of the Buitenhof (Dutch Parliament), it boasts an illustrious past. The Boutique Hotel Corona is only 650 feet (198 meters) from the Centrum tram stop. Free WiFi and air conditioning are available throughout the hotel.

Wi-Fi In Room
FREE WiFi Included
Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Airplane

Air Package Only

2025

2025 Post-Trip Extension - Amsterdam

2 Nights From $545 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $395

  • 2 nights at the Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre
  • Airport car service for departure
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information
1 Begin your Post-Trip Extension

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to continue exploring on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast

2 Continue your Post-Trip Extension

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to continue exploring on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast

3 Departure

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation to the Amsterdam airport will be provided (an approximately 20- to 30-minute drive, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre

The Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre is a modern, 4-star hotel located on the edge of the River IJ, near the Oosterdok canal and the Amsterdam Central Station. Its spacious rooms provide stunning views of Amsterdam city and the harbor. This luxury property is also within walking distance of downtown and many of Amsterdam’s renowned attractions. Plus, free WiFi and air conditioning are available throughout the hotel.

Wi-Fi In Room
FREE WiFi Included
Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Reviews
97 out of 99 (97%)
4.8 out of 5 stars.
Read More Reviews

Great trip, easy biking-- if you are coming off a winter with limited biking opportunities, this is a great starter trip for the season. Barge had the world's best chef..our meals were amazing. Guides were pleasant and helpful. The Netherlands history is interesting and it's great to see a country really set up for everyday biking.

Nanmar,

Netherlands Easy and Fun

Our trip was fantastic! This was our first time on a barge and found it very comfortable and a great way to interact with group members. The staff was so pleasant and helpful and the food was delicious for all meals. Our guides, Marijn and Aernoud, were the best – fun, caring, creative, sincere, and very sensitive to the needs of those on the trip. The bike routes were beautiful traveling through small towns and cities, biking by canals, green fields, flowers, animals, and peaceful forests. We also enjoyed the special tours where we learned more about this beautiful country and its history. The weather was nice, a bit windy, but the tulips were in full bloom with all their splendid colors! We would definitely recommend this trip!

chergreen, Bountiful, Utah, USA

Holland in the Springtime Bike and Barge

Dates & Prices

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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