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Bruges-Amsterdam 11-day Bike and Barge Tour (FLR)
This 11-day tour through the lowlands of the Netherlands and Belgium has all the ingredients a successful bike & barge tour needs — highlights like the iconic windmills at Kinderdijk; north Belgian culture in the beautiful Flemish cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges; personal encounters with local producers as you bike through Flanders; and above all, very nice cycling off the beaten path, along quiet country roads. And because this tour per bike and ship lasts a couple of days longer than most of our tours, you will have that extra bit more time to wander around in this region’s intriguing cities, visit one or more of their world-class museums or spend an afternoon shopping.
This barge started cruising in 2002. This tasteful passenger barge with her sleek lines was built to fit the smaller locks, sluices and canals in France and has been cruising the French waters ever since. But don’t let her size fool you! The barge can accommodate a maximum of 20 guests in 10 comfortable cabins on the lower deck, each with private sanitary facilities, central heating and air-conditioning. On the upper deck there is a lounge with large windows, a roomy sitting area and a bar. Outside a half-covered sun deck is wonderful for a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine.
Accompanied by a competent, professional and multilingual tour leader, you and the group will visit interesting sights and places on the daily cycling tours. During the bike tour, they will explain the local history and culture behind the things you encounter along the way. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board).
If you would like to rent a bike (135 EUR) or e-bike (275 EUR), please contact our office when booking: [email protected]
Slow Tours offers other Bike & Barge tours in Europe
Bruges (11 km/6 mi.)
Embarkation time is between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Bruges, where your lovely ship awaits you in the Bruges Harbor. After a welcome and briefing from your friendly and experienced crew at 2 p.m., there is time for bicycle allocation and a short but sweet test-ride through the countryside around Bruges. After dinner, our guide will introduce you to the city with a short walk through its gorgeous medieval center.
Roundtrip from/to Bruges & North Sea (38 km/23 mi.)
After a sound night’s rest, your tour leader will guide you on a morning bike tour of about 37 km. Your first tour will set out along a quiet canal, past beautiful poplar trees and through attractive landscapes of flat green polder fields dotted with small farmhouses (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments). On the return ride to Bruges, you will cycle along a charming little canal. In the afternoon, you will have time to discover this marvellous UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical city, which is aptly nicknamed “the Pearl of Flanders.” While you are there, make sure you visit one of Bruges’ many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.
Bruges – Aalterbrug | Aalterbrug – Ghent (37 km/23 mi. or 45 km/28 mi.)
After enjoying breakfast on board, you’ll start cycling out of Bruges, zigzagging through charming woodland and pastures. Your barge will be patiently waiting for you halfway along the canal between Bruges and Ghent. Once everyone is back on board, the anchor will be lifted, and you can enjoy the scenery as you cruise onwards to Ghent. In the evening, you can take a nice guided tour through the historical center of Ghent, seeing it from one of the best perspectives possible — from a small canal boat that passes delightful areas like the Graslei and Korenlei.
Ghent is a lively university city, also with a rich past. The city has its origins in Roman times, where it arose at the confluence of the rivers Leie and Scheldt. This favorable site resulted in great prosperity over the years, which peaked in the late 13th, and early 14th centuries when textile manufacturing brought great wealth to Ghent. In the city center, many old patrician houses have been skillfully preserved in all their glory. The impressive Clothmakers’ Hall (1425) is where textile merchants used to meet, and Ghent’s major church is St. Baafs’ Cathedral, which was built across various ages and in various styles. In the cathedral, you can admire a number of masterpieces of medieval painting, of which the “Adoration of the Lamb” by Jan van Eyck is the most famous.
Ghent – Dendermonde/St. Amands (40 km/24 mi. or 55 km/34 mi.)
After a delicious breakfast in Ghent, you will cycle downstream through diverse landscapes, along the tidal Schelde River to Dendermonde, located at the confluence of the Dender and Schelde rivers. There is only one way to describe the scenery along the Schelde and that is: “magnificent”. Its natural splendor is, without doubt, one of the highlights of the tour. During this section of the Schelde, the speed of your ship will be determined by the height of the tide. You will travel from Dendermonde to St. Amands by either bicycle or barge, depending on the tides. You and your ship will spend a relaxing night docked in St. Amands.
St. Amands – Temse – Antwerp (33 km/21 mi. or 49 km/31 mi.)
Today, we will follow the Schelde River further downstream through the Temse region to Antwerp. Over the centuries the Schelde River held strategic importance for the Romans, Vikings, Spanish, and Napoleon… Today it is a stunning waterway just perfect for bike and barge holidays! Antwerp, your shining destination for the day, is a harbor city famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds — and as the birthplace of the famous painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens. This city has many delights in store for you, including the City Hall — one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period — the Grote Markt historical city square, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral, and the medieval Steen Castle.
Today your ship stays in Antwerp. This means you will have an entire day to discover this city of culture, cobblestones, and Flemish Baroque masterpieces. You can visit the Rubens House, the palazzo where the brilliant and versatile artist lived with his family. You will find some of his paintings to admire just a ten-minute walk away in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe (Our Dear Lady) Cathedral.”
Other ideas for spending a pleasant afternoon here are to visit the famous beer brewery of ‘de Koninck’ for a tour and tasting, explore the fascinating Museum on the Scheldt River (MAS — Museum aan de Stroom) or go shopping in Antwerp’s welcoming shopping area. Dinner tonight is not included as you have the chance to dine at a restaurant of your choosing. If needed, your crew can provide restaurant recommendations.
Antwerp – Kreekrak locks | Kreekrak locks – Tholen (36 km/23 mi. or 20 km/13 mi.)
This morning, your ship will sail along the Schelde-Rhine Canal and through the huge Kreekrak lock system. Here, your bicycle tour starts through the beautiful “Wouwse Plantage” forest to Tholen. Tholen once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland waterways, where many people fished for their living. Nowadays Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways but it is still a picturesque village with many relics from an eventful past.
Tholen – Willemstad (44 km/26 mi. or 36 km/23 mi.) | Willemstad – Dordrecht
Your bike tour today passes through the pleasant Tholen village of Oud-Vossemeer to Willemstad, an old fortified town on the Haringvliet inlet of the North Sea. From here you will board the ship again for a pleasant afternoon sail to the city of Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. In the evening, your guide will lead you through the city as they bring the history of the Netherlands to life.
We spend the night in the port of Wolwevershaven, which has a rich history dating back to 1609 when it emerged as a trading center for wool weavers.
Dordrecht – Alblasserdam (waterbus ferry) | Alblasserdam – Kinderdijk – Schoonhoven – Vianen (32 km/19 mi. or 57 km/36 mi.)
Today you will start your tour with the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry that will take you and your bicycles to Alblasserdam in just 10 minutes. After a few minutes of cycling, you will reach Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 UNESCO cultural heritage-listed windmills – one of which you can visit (don’t forget your camera!). The windmills were constructed in the 18th century to pump water out of the low Alblasserwaard polder. You will then continue to cycle to Vianen via Schoonhoven, a small fortified town on the river Lek (Lower Rhine), where you will stay for the night and where you can explore at your leisure after a scrumptious dinner.
Vianen – Breukelen | Breukelen – Amsterdam (37 km/22 mi. or 47 km/29 mi.)
As you enjoy breakfast, the ship will cruise to Breukelen where you’ll disembark to begin your final day of cycling. Ride along the Vecht River in an area famous for its beautiful mansions, small castles, and impressive houses with expansive gardens. After cycling through the villages of Nieuwersluis, Loenen, and Vreeland, you will arrive at Nigtevecht where you can treat your tastebuds by visiting a traditional cheese farm. Continue cycling through the historical town of Muiden and on to Amsterdam, where you will meet your lovely barge for the final time in the Amsterdam harbor.
The end of your tour: enjoy your last breakfast on board and disembark before 9.30 a.m.
I booked this experience as a retirement gift for my wife. She loves to cycle and cycling in Europe was a dream. Now it became true. I have mobility issues and stayed on the vessel all the time where I had a hoot with captain Stefi and her crew of three. Cheryl had the time of her life, 335 kilometres with lead Thomas and sweep Francine. The vessel, Fleur, accommodates 20 passengers, but each is treated as a king or queen. Fleur has secrets in every nook and cranny, and the meals were sumptious. We started with 10 stranger riders, 6 new “staff” and parted 11 days later as warm friends. We would join Fleur again for this priceless experience
Tours marked with are special prices.
|Start||End||Max. No. Guests||Accommodation||Price p.p.|
|Oct 05 2024||Oct 15 2024||20||Single rooms||2,849€|
If you would like to drive yourself before or after your tour, ask us for a quote on any brand new Renault, Peugeot or Citroen vehicle for driving in Europe.
Pick up your vehicle from most capital cities in Europe and return it to your drop off destination. Top insurance cover. Email [email protected] for a competitive quote