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

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In spring, when the flowers bloom, the Dutch countryside comes alive in a riot of colors. Riding a bike is the best way to absorb the experience up close.

Guided Bike & Boat

  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 25|
  • Biking: 2 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 40
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

11-day Bike Vacation + Air Package

$5,045

8-day Bike Vacation Only

$4,045

Per person, double occupancy

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

A Netherlands bike tour will excite all your senses. Traveling by bicycle, you’ll inhale the fragrance of a multitude of flowers and salty sea breezes, feast your eyes on the colorful blossoms, and listen to the calls of songbirds. You’ll even get the chance to view Holland’s iconic windmill and dike systems up close. Each exhilarating day is complemented by the leisurely pace of your barge, as it drifts through scenic canals and into the heart of local life. It’s the perfect way to discover the sights, sounds, and aromas of this captivating country.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain on bike paths and roads through both urban and 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. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated waypoints for those who need assistance.

  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 25|
  • Biking: 2 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 40
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Cycle flat terrain on dedicated bike paths over dikes, drawbridges and canals
  • 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
  • Ferry across the North Sea Canal
  • Tour Haarlem’s cobblestone streets, pretty canals, cool shops and cafés
  • Explore the living catalogue of spring flowers at Keukenhof Gardens
  • Sample delicious Dutch cheeses at a family farm
  • Ride along the North Sea through sandy dunes with lunch at a beachfront café
  • Witness the action at the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer
  • Visit historic Leiden, the hometown of Rembrandt
  • Ride along a section of the Old Rhine River
  • Visit Gouda’s cheese market and home of the famous sweet treat Stroopwafels
  • Explore Holland’s “Green Heart,” a rural and peaceful nature zone

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Mar48º/37º

Apr53º/40º

May61º/46º

Average
Precipitation:

Mar3.5 in

Apr1.5 in

May2.0 in

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Den Haag and one night in Amsterdam in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
7 nights aboard a private canal barge, shared with another VBT group Check Check
15 meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Thu, Mar 25 to Sun, Apr 4 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

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

Upon arrival at the Amsterdam airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative holding a sign. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your representative can identify you. Please wait here while your representative helps make arrangements for your transfer via taxi or minibus to your hotel in Den Haag (transfer time is approximately 35 minutes). If any portion of your luggage appears to be lost, file a PIR form before leaving the customs area. VBT representatives are not allowed inside the customs area.

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 follow the signs and wait at the Meeting Point in the main arrival hall. The Meeting Point is across from Burger King and in between the entrances to train platforms 3/4 and 5/6. 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. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations about what to see and do in Den Haag. You are on your own for dinner but there are many, many wonderful restaurants to choose from.

Accommodation: Hotel Corona

After 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 transfer 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 Noordhollands—the waterway connecting Amsterdam to the North Sea—passing the recently built movie museum EYE.

After a brief sail, the barge moors in Zaandam. You will disembark for a scenic warm-up loop through the Twiske nature reserve.

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

Please note regarding WiFi onboard the barge: Due to the nature of the barge’s varied docking points, Internet access may not always be available. If dependable Internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: Due to the limited WiFi onboard, VBT also recommends that you download your VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to arrival on the boat if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes which are available on tour.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 19 km (12 miles)
Afternoon
Zaandam Warm-up Loop: 19 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: The route takes you into the Twiske nature reserve, where you will ride alongside scenic, green peat bogs.

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 are can still be seen in De Rijp’s wooden facades, as well as its beautiful church complete with stained glass windows dating back 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 marshes and bogs, 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 you can enjoy a picnic lunch.

Continue cycling along this delightfully flat land to Alkmaar. The town is 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 59 km (14 – 35 miles)
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. We depart Zaanse Schans and ride along the Zaan River, stopping at Spijkerboor for the local ferry across the dike. From here, cycle to the pretty town of De Rijp. Soon, you will see many of the windmills for which The Netherlands are 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.

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 our lunch spot, a café situated right on the beach. Enjoy the sweeping views before continuing on bike paths through the sand dunes of the North Sea Coast to the town of Beverwijk. A local ferry will take you across the North Sea Canal which is 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 29 – 63 km (18 – 39 miles)
Morning
Alkmaar to Lunch: 29 km (18 miles)
Afternoon
Lunch 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 and you’ll have the opportunity to admire them in Limmen at Hortus Bulborum. In Castricum, we’ll all have lunch together 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 which will cross the North Sea Channel. If you’re still feeling energetic, there is an additional cycling loop through the dunes into the city of Haarlem but others may opt for a van shuttle to the barge.

Today is another day with an early start, the better to catch the flowers opening in the early morning light. You’ll ride through gorgeous blooming bulb fields to Keukenhof, famed for its magnificent flower gardens. The 80-acre park boasts more than 9 miles (14.4 km) of footpaths winding among over 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 blossoming 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 into Alphen aan den Rijn where the barge will be moored overnight.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 56 km (14 – 35 miles)
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 further inland through an older flower-growing area. Midway to Leiden you have an included visit to Keukenhof Gardens. The ride continues through more fabulous Dutch flower 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.

This morning, cruise out of Leiden and start your ride 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 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 56 km (14 – 35 miles)
Morning
Zoeterwoude to Boskoop optional Lunch: 25 km (15 miles)
Afternoon
Boskoop to Gouda: 10 km (6 miles)
Gouda to Haastrecht Loop: 10 km (6 miles)

What to Expect: You’ll enjoy breakfast on the barge along the Old Rhine River as you head to the start of today’s adventure. 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, and 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).

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

Afterwards, 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 Wetering.

Enjoy dinner aboard our barge this evening.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 26 – 50 km (16 – 30 miles)
Morning
Gouda to Alphen aan den Rijn: 26 km (16 miles)
Afternoon
Alphen aan den Rijn to Oude Wetering: 24 km (14 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 will continue along the Old Rhine River for 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 on cycling through lush meadows and lakes on a pretty route touching the village of Langeraar. Your day will end on the barge at Oude Wetering.

Rise early today and, after sipping your morning beverage of choice, shuttle to Aalsmeer, the world’s largest flower auction. The early start is worth the effort, as you’ll experience the frenetic energy inside the auction warehouse. Watch as crates of flowers are transported to the auction floor where traders bid against the clock. Marvel at the astonishing volume of beautiful flowers being traded daily from more than ten countries for export throughout the world. Watching the auction from a special gallery, you’ll be at the very heart of international flower trade.

After the auction you’ll cycle to Uithoorn for breakfast before continuing on your final day of cycling. 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 7 – 32 km (4 – 24 miles)
Morning
Flower Auction to Uithoorn: 7 km (4 miles)
Uithoorn to Nieuwe Meersluis: 23 km (14 miles)
Via Ouderkerk Loop: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect: After the auction visit, cycle to Uithoorn for breakfast in a local hotel. Afterwards, cycle 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.

After breakfast, say goodbye to your barge crew and trip leaders, then take a short transfer 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.

Accommodation: Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
Included Meals: Breakfast

NOTE: The Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District is a cash-free hotel, so any extras must be paid by credit or debit card.

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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Sat, Mar 27 to Sat, Apr 3 - 2021

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 in Veemkade which is located to the east of Amsterdam’s Centraal Station. If traveling by taxi, ask to be taken to the Withoedenveem from the Piet Heinkade. Please refer to the information listed in the tour handbook for your barge contact number.

After a brief sail, the barge moors in Zaandam. You will disembark for a scenic warm-up loop through the Twiske nature reserve.

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

Please note regarding WiFi onboard the barge: Due to the nature of the barge’s varied docking points, Internet access may not always be available. If dependable Internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: Due to the limited WiFi onboard, VBT also recommends that you download your VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to arrival on the boat if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes which are available on tour.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 19 km (12 miles)
Afternoon
Zaandam Warm-up Loop: 19 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: The route takes you into the Twiske nature reserve, where you will ride alongside scenic, green peat bogs.

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 are can still be seen in De Rijp’s wooden facades, as well as its beautiful church complete with stained glass windows dating back 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 marshes and bogs, 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 you can enjoy a picnic lunch.

Continue cycling along this delightfully flat land to Alkmaar. The town is 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 59 km (14 – 35 miles)
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. We depart Zaanse Schans and ride along the Zaan River, stopping at Spijkerboor for the local ferry across the dike. From here, cycle to the pretty town of De Rijp. Soon, you will see many of the windmills for which The Netherlands are 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.

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 our lunch spot, a café situated right on the beach. Enjoy the sweeping views before continuing on bike paths through the sand dunes of the North Sea Coast to the town of Beverwijk. A local ferry will take you across the North Sea Canal which is 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 29 – 63 km (18 – 39 miles)
Morning
Alkmaar to Lunch: 29 km (18 miles)
Afternoon
Lunch 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 and you’ll have the opportunity to admire them in Limmen at Hortus Bulborum. In Castricum, we’ll all have lunch together 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 which will cross the North Sea Channel. If you’re still feeling energetic, there is an additional cycling loop through the dunes into the city of Haarlem but others may opt for a van shuttle to the barge.

Today is another day with an early start, the better to catch the flowers opening in the early morning light. You’ll ride through gorgeous blooming bulb fields to Keukenhof, famed for its magnificent flower gardens. The 80-acre park boasts more than 9 miles (14.4 km) of footpaths winding among over 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 blossoming 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 into Alphen aan den Rijn where the barge will be moored overnight.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 56 km (14 – 35 miles)
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 further inland through an older flower-growing area. Midway to Leiden you have an included visit to Keukenhof Gardens. The ride continues through more fabulous Dutch flower 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.

This morning, cruise out of Leiden and start your ride 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 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 56 km (14 – 35 miles)
Morning
Zoeterwoude to Boskoop optional Lunch: 25 km (15 miles)
Afternoon
Boskoop to Gouda: 10 km (6 miles)
Gouda to Haastrecht Loop: 10 km (6 miles)

What to Expect: You’ll enjoy breakfast on the barge along the Old Rhine River as you head to the start of today’s adventure. 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, and 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).

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

Afterwards, 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 Wetering.

Enjoy dinner aboard our barge this evening.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 26 – 50 km (16 – 30 miles)
Morning
Gouda to Alphen aan den Rijn: 26 km (16 miles)
Afternoon
Alphen aan den Rijn to Oude Wetering: 24 km (14 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 will continue along the Old Rhine River for 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 on cycling through lush meadows and lakes on a pretty route touching the village of Langeraar. Your day will end on the barge at Oude Wetering.

Rise early today and, after sipping your morning beverage of choice, shuttle to Aalsmeer, the world’s largest flower auction. The early start is worth the effort, as you’ll experience the frenetic energy inside the auction warehouse. Watch as crates of flowers are transported to the auction floor where traders bid against the clock. Marvel at the astonishing volume of beautiful flowers being traded daily from more than ten countries for export throughout the world. Watching the auction from a special gallery, you’ll be at the very heart of international flower trade.

After the auction you’ll cycle to Uithoorn for breakfast before continuing on your final day of cycling. 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.

Accommodation: Barge Magnifique III
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 7 – 32 km (4 – 24 miles)
Morning
Flower Auction to Uithoorn: 7 km (4 miles)
Uithoorn to Nieuwe Meersluis: 23 km (14 miles)
Via Ouderkerk Loop: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect: After the auction visit, cycle to Uithoorn for breakfast in a local hotel. Afterwards, cycle 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.

After 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 handbook.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Pre-Trip Extension - Den Haag

2 Nights From $295 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $195

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Corona
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

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

Upon arrival at the Amsterdam airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative holding a sign. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your representative can identify you. Please wait while they help make arrangements for your transfer via taxi or minibus to your hotel in Den Haag (transfer time is approximately 35 minutes). If any portion of your luggage appears to be lost, file a PIR form before leaving the customs area. VBT representatives are not allowed inside the customs area.

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 follow the signs and wait at the Meeting Point in the main arrival hall. The Meeting Point is across from Burger King and in between the entrances to train platforms 3/4 and 5/6. 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. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations about what to see and do in Den Haag.

Accommodation: Hotel Corona

Art museums alone are reason enough to visit Den Haag. Your choices range from Mauritshuis, whose collections include Vermeer’s famous Girl with a Pearl Earring, and Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, home to the world’s largest collections of works by Mondrian, to the optical illusions of M.C. Escher on display in a former palace. Echoes of the past abound in The Netherlands with offerings ranging from the history of criminal justice at the “International City of Peace and Justice’s” Prison Gate Museum to the Peace Palace which is home to the International Court of Justice. For a charming view of Dutch life in miniature, you can visit the interactive, multimedia Madurodam. Soak up the ambiance of everyday life at Plein and Grote Markt squares.

Accommodation: Hotel Corona
Included Meals: Breakfast

Spend the morning exploring the city on your own. VBT Air Package guests will be arriving throughout the day. Any one of the city’s wonderful restaurants will be a great option for dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Corona
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Post-Trip Extension - Amsterdam

2 Nights From $395 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $345

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Spend the next few days exploring at your own pace, using your VBT City Information as your guide.

Delve into Amsterdam’s cultural and historic riches on your own during this independent trip extension. From the Van Gogh Museum to Dam Square, you’ll find an incredible variety of delights in this cultured capital with museums devoted to art and history. Take in the superlative Dutch Masters collection in the Rijksmuseum. Book a visit (reservations are required) to Anne Frank’s house, including the attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis until they were betrayed. Your hotel is located near major points of interest and you will have ample time to browse Amsterdam’s vast collection of elegant shops and soak up the city’s animated street life.

Hotel: Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
Included Meals: Breakfast

Continue your independent exploration of the city’s amazing cathedrals, art galleries, museums, and shops.

Hotel: Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast,* transfer to the airport for your flight home.** Be sure that 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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

11 days, includes round-trip international airfare , airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: From $895

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

8 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: From $595

Thu, Mar 25 - Sun, Apr 4, 2021

From
$5,045

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Thu, Apr 1 - Sun, Apr 11, 2021

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Thu, Apr 15 - Sun, Apr 25, 2021

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Sat, Apr 24 - Sat, May 1, 2021

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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