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12-day Cycling Tour from Paris to Amsterdam Level 3
This is a great cycling tour through France, Belgium and the Netherlands!
A dream bike ride through Europe, from the Eiffel tower of Paris to the canals of Amsterdam. These two European cities with big importance for history, world-famous buildings and museums are the start and the finish of this journey through 3 countries.
In between you will explore famous and beautiful towns like Ghent, Antwerp and Gouda as you cycle through varied landscapes. You will start in France, beautiful France with it's very wide spectrum of food and wines. Then discover medieval cities and villages in Belgium with great food, beer and chocolate. And then of course European cycle paradise Holland with water, windmills and a perfect cycle paths system.
Like to combine nature and culture?
Down the road wonderful nature meets fascinating towns when cycling towards the 'piece de resistance' – Amsterdam, with its famous canals (UNESCO world heritage site)
Please book your bikes when you book the tour: [email protected]
Slow Tours offers a number of other Cycling Tours in Europe
Your holiday starts in Paris, ‘The City of Lights’. Stroll along the river banks of the Seine or the Montmartre district or visit the famous attractions such as the Sacre Cœur Basilica, the Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre museum with the Mona Lisa and of course the Eiffel Tower. Bikes are not allowed on the train from Amsterdam to Paris (or vice versa). We therefore strongly recommend to book this trip with rental bikes, so you can leave the rental bikes at the hotel in Amsterdam at the end of the trip.
Paris - Chantilly/Senlis 72km
Exit the capital along the Canal de l’Ourcq and Canal Saint-Martin this allows you to dive into history, an open air museum. On the first 30 kilometers from Paris to Gressy, the route follows the nice cycle track of the Canal de l’Ourcq, a rural setting away from cars, for a safe exit out of Paris. As you get closer to Senlis you will see forests and natural surroundings as you reach the region “Ile de France”: With a change of scenery with these great pines and the sandy siol in the Landes, south west of France
Chantilly/Senlis - Compiègne 66km
Prestigious castle, medieval towns and large forest area. Chantilly is world renowned for its castle (sometimes compared to a castle of the Loire), its Great Stables, its porcelain, its lace and its gastronomy (yes the famous cream Chantilly would have been invented here). An ancient foundation, a royal residence during the Middle Ages, the charming city of Senlis preserves its rich history and has several museums. It's protected environment of 40 ha is particularly appreciated by filmmakers. After crossing the forest of Halatte you cross the "plateau" of Nery, you pass Béthisy-Saint-Pierre, which is a worthy detour. After going down the Automne river which gave its name to this valley, called the 35 bell-towers, today’s journey ends the in the forest of Compiègne. A large town bordering the forest, a palace opening towards wooded immensities, these are the first impressions that Compiègne leaves. The city, furrowed by charming and delightful shopping streets with many museums with varied collections.
Compiègne – Saint-Quentin 79km
In the morning, we recommend the abbey of Ourscamp as your first stop of the day. The route continues along the canal, toward Noyon. Noyon is listed as a city of Art and History: medieval atmosphere around the cathedral which saw the coronation of Hugues Capet in 987AD. Further along the route, you cross vast natural areas with more than 200 birds species and cycle through the fertile valley of the Oise before you reach Saint Question. Discover its streets with Art Deco houses. It is the style adopted during the rebuilding of the city, which was heavily destroyed during the Great War and once again became a dynamic city, the economic capital of Haute Picardie.
Saint-Quentin – Cambrai 50km
The route in the morning takes you towards the Touage Museum, through small hilly roads between villages devoted to agriculture and memorial sites of the Great War: cemeteries, memorials and vestiges of the Hindenburg line. You pass the sources of l’Escaut, the famous river that you follow for kilometres and whose course flows into the North Sea in Netherlands. In the Haute Vallée de l’Escaut lies a jewel: the abbey of Vaucelles (XII century). The abbey remains an unusual construction both in its dimensions and the quality of its restoration. Passing through typical villages and hamleets, you reach the town of Cambrai, peaceful city of Art and History. Don't leave without having tasted the famous "Bétises de Cambrai" or other local specialties.
Cambrai – Tournai 75km
A pleasant ride through to the Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut, the first French regional park. Here, Belgium and France link with the barges on Escaut river, between lands and waters where you pedal through to the forests, marshes and ponds populated with various species. You will discover the mining villages classified by UNESCO, the agricultural landscapes.
Tournai – Ghent 79km
Leaving the 5 bell-towers of Tournai behind, you enter the province of Flanders. Down the road do try one of the most famous Belgian local products "Geraardsbergse mattentaart", a pie with an ancient history of making. The river Scheldt is still your guide as you cycle to the old town of Oudenaarde (AD 974). Also center of the famous classic cycle race "Ronde van Vlaanderen". The former towing paths along the banks have been transformed to smooth cycle paths, occasionally leafy and then through the open fields of Flanders. At the end of the day the sparkling cultural city of Ghent is waiting for you. The Belgians call Ghent their most beautiful city and the city will undoubtedly charm you.
Ghent – Antwerp 90km
Cycling North, you will follow the banks of the river Scheldt you leave Ghent and cycle towards Lokeren. The bushes and polders show the wild and pure nature here. The wide Schelde is not only a natural, but also a tourist attraction. Antwerp is the largest town in Flanders and Belgium’s most important port city. You might like to venture to the hip and trendy parts of the city: ‘t Zuid and Het Eilandje. Consider visiting De Koninck beer brewery, a great way to quench your thirst. It has been going strong since 1833 and has a new visitors centre welcoming guests wishing to look around and do some tasting which is best known for its ‘Bollekes’.
Antwerp - Breda 73km The landscape along today’s cycling route is predominantly woody. On the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, catch your breath in De Zoom - Kalmthoutse Heide, a lovely cross-border nature reserve. Upon crossing the border, you will find yourself in the south of the Netherlands. In village after village, Brabant hospitality will entice you to stop for a cup of coffee and big slice of a fruit tart. Today’s destination is Breda, the main city of Nassau in Holland, boasting many imposing monuments. The ancestors of our royal family converted Breda to a beautiful city with richly decorated buildings.
Breda – Gouda 81km
The route today will take you right past one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe: Biesbosch National Park. You will cycle through Dordrecht, one of the Netherlands’ oldest towns and a great place to stop for a lunch break. A visit to the scenic harbour quarter with its wonderful historical buildings should not be missed. Today’s highlight is one of the Netherlands’ most popular tourist attractions: Kinderdijk, a world-famous complex of windmills. Nineteen historical windmills reach to the skies in the epitome of classical Dutch countryside. You can visit an authentic workshop and find out how these mills were built and how they work. Have you ever wanted to be al miller? Where you can still learn the trade! End the day in medieval Gouda. Amble through the beautifully preserved town centre and visit the old town hall and St. John’s church. Stop off at a bakery to buy fresh syrup waffles (Gouda is the hometown of syrup waffles) and Gouda cheese - perhaps the world’s most famous type of cheese.
Gouda - Amsterdam 78km
Today’s route takes you through the Green Heart of Holland, abounding in water. It is a true cycling paradise, with characteristic peat and polder landscapes, small farming communities and picturesque historical towns. Your cycling holiday ends in Amsterdam, one of the crown-jewels of Europe. Make sure to go for a walk to marvel at the townhouses in the 17th-century canal district (listed as World Heritage). Have you got time and energy left? Opt to saunter down the infamous red-light district which attracts millions of curious tourists every year or enjoy the street performers on friendly Rembrandtplein.
Departure from Amsterdam
End of your trip after breakfast. We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
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
Shows in English in Paris: Paris offers a wide variety of shows accessible to English-speakers. One-man shows, classic & modern theatre, musicals, cabarets and more are all performed in the city every night. You can get the full programme of shows in Paris to fit your city break dates by emailing [email protected]