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Amsterdam-Bruges 11-day Bike & Barge Tour (G)
This 11-day tour through the lowlands of the Netherlands and Belgium has all the ingredients for 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 lasts a couple of days longer than most 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. A great way to combine a barge and bike for a biking cruise.
This tour’s relaxed cycling passes through the gorgeous, green – and flat – Dutch countryside in the Lower Rhine delta, the province of Zeeland, and Flanders, the western region of Belgium. Attractions along the way include many charming villages, a visit to a real Dutch cheese farm, the 19 Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk, and the world-famous historic cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges in Belgium. You will cycle through and discover the Dutch province of Zeeland. Which is essentially one big river delta where the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers converge, and is famous for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities, and Delta works. Then, the Flanders region of Belgium awaits you, which has a reputation for its medieval towns — and superb food and drink.
Each day you will be able to discover many picturesque villages — both on your bicycle and on foot. The barge will stay for two nights in Antwerp, a cultural capital famous for its vibrant nightlife. So this means you have a whole day to discover this city, not only known as a diamond and harbor city but also as the hometown of the painter Rubens. No matter where you go, you’ll never be far from one of his masterpieces. Then there is Ghent, a lively university city, again one with a rich past. From Ghent, you bike through the pleasant countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges, widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts more than two million visitors every year who come to see the picturesque medieval town centre of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic city and a long list of historic attractions.
Comfort Barge - Facts about the ship: Length: 45 m (148 ft.) Width: 6.2 m (20 ft.) Crew: 4 Cabins: 10 Pass.: 20 (max.)
A small and comfortable passenger barge. The ship, owned and operated by skipper Hans Petrus, sails under Dutch flag has been sailing in various areas in The Netherlands and Belgium for many years, and is ideal for bike and barge tours.
Description of the cabins
The barge has ten twin cabins (10 m² – 108 sq.ft.) with two separate beds. In two of the cabins a bunk bed as third bed is possible (on request). Each cabin has a recently renovated bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. Windows can be opened and the cabins have ventilation and central heating. A hair dryer is available on request.
Description of the ship
On the upper deck you will find the large and cozy lounge with the bar and dining area. Wi-Fi is available. The barge also has two large sundecks with storage room for the bicycles and sitting areas with tables and chairs, where you can have a drink. On nice evenings, or while cruising, you can enjoy the scenery from here. Furthermore, equipped with a double-roof of solar panels, the barge runs for a great part on green energy! This is not only environment-friendly, but also comfortable for guests: since the ship hardly needs to use a generator to produce electricity, the nights are still and quiet on board.
Premium Barge - Facts about the ship: Length: 38.7 m (126 ft.) Width: 5 m (17 ft.) Crew: 4 Cabins: 10 Pass.: 20 (max.)
The barge started cruising in 2002. This small, yet very tasteful passenger barge with its sleek lines was built to fit the smaller locks and canals in France and has been cruising the French waters ever since. Owners Steffie and Evert Jan have been in the business for more than 15 years. These years of experience and commitment are reflected in every detail and guarantee that your vacation will be a pleasant one.
Description of the cabins
On the lower deck, the barge has ten comfortable guest cabins (9 m² – 97 sq.ft.) with two separate single beds. Each cabin has a private shower, toilet and basin, central heating and air-conditioning; windows are fixed for safety reasons. Furthermore, in each cabin you will find a mini safe and hair dryer.
Description of the ship
On the upper deck, there is a lounge with large windows, a roomy sitting area, a dining area, a cozy bar, central heating and air-conditioning. Wi-Fi is available. On the upper deck you will also find the half-covered sun deck, which is the ideal place to drink a cup of coffee or an aperitif and to enjoy the scenery while cruising.
If you would like to rent a bike (120 EUR) e-bike (260 EUR) or helmet (10 EUR), please contact our office when booking: [email protected]
Transfer between Amsterdam and Bruges: there is a good train connection between these two cities.
On this Tour with more than 22 guests, the daily cycling tours will be accompanied by 2 knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leaders. On most days the tour leaders will offer a long and a short (or a quicker and a more relaxed) bicycle option. Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bicycle option.
You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board). GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour. In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bicycle tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town. On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 a.m.
Slow Tours offers a number of other Bike & Barge tours in Europe
Embarkation and check-in Amsterdam:
The crew will welcome you on board between 1pm and 2pm. Around 2pm the ship sails to Weesp. This small city on the banks of the river Vecht has a historical centre with many canals and buildings dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It also has a few beautiful windmills. The scenic river Vecht and the small roads along the river attract yachters and cyclists. As soon as you arrive, the tour leader will organize a test ride. After dinner, you will have time to stroll through this charming city.
Weesp – Utrecht | Utrecht – Vianen (47 km/28 mi.)
Your bike tour starts in Weesp, and you will cycle along the beautiful meandering river Vecht with impressive mansions on its banks. Along the way, you will visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. You will meet the ship in the city of Utrecht and from there, sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Vianen – Schoonhoven – Kinderdijk – Alblasserdam | Alblasserdam – Dordrecht (waterbus ferry) (57 km/36 mi.)
Today you will cycle a beautiful route along the Lek River to Schoonhoven — a city renowned for its talented silversmiths since the 17th century, earning it the nickname Zilverstad (“Silver City”). Later in the day, as you cycle through the Alblasserwaard region, you will reach Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. These 19 windmills are also UNESCO cultural heritage attractions and are a definite highlight of The Netherlands. You will have the opportunity to go inside one, so don’t forget to bring your camera! From nearby Alblasserdam, you will take the “Waterbus,” a fast ferry that carries you and your bicycle in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht. Dordrecht, or “Dordt,” as it is called by insiders, is one of the oldest Dutch cities, and sits on the confluence of three major rivers. In the evening, after dinner, you can join our guide for a short city walk visiting some of Dordt’s 1600 monuments and the picturesque point where the waterways meet.
Dordrecht – Willemstad | Willemstad – Tholen (44 km/28 mi.)
As you relax with a tasty breakfast aboard your ship, it will sail onwards to Willemstad where you will start your day’s cycling. Willemstad is a beautiful old fortified town on the Haringvliet waterway. From here, your bicycle tour for the day heads to Tholen, which once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland stream system — a place 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 – Kreekrak lock | Kreekrak locks – Antwerp (20 km/13 mi. or 36 km/23 mi.)
After coffee and breakfast, you will leave the barge for a bicycle tour through the “Wouwse Plantage” forest, heading south to the impressive Kreekraksluis, or Kreekrak lock.
In the afternoon, you will once again board the ship to cruise to the port city of Antwerp, which is situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and is a city with a long list of delightful attractions in store for you. These include 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 barge 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 – Temse – St. Amands (34 km/21 mi. or 49 km/31 mi.)
This morning, you will cycle out of Antwerp along a striking section of the Schelde River to St. Amands, where your home away from home will dock for the night. 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. In the evening, if you haven’t already taken the chance to taste one of Belgium’s incomparable “biers,” then make sure you give them a try — the famous Duvel brew is a specialty of the region.
St. Amands – Dendermonde | Dendermonde – Ghent (52 km/32 mi.)
During breakfast, the ship will bring you to the city of Dendermonde. Here you’ll disembark and continue to bike along the Schelde River to Ghent, where the ship will moor for the night at a lock in a suburb of the city. Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history: Since Roman times, Ghent’s position at the confluence of the Leie and Schelde rivers has ensured its success as a trading port, at one point making it the second biggest city in Europe. The old city features an Opera House, a total of 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Two of the major attractions are St. Bavo Cathedral — where a number of medieval art masterpieces are kept, including the world-famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck — and the 91-meter-tall belfry of Ghent, which is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city centre. Tonight, your floating hotel will be docked close to the city centre of Ghent, giving you the chance to explore at your leisure.
Ghent – Bruges (22 km/13 mi. or 45 km/28 mi.)
After a fortifying breakfast, you will cycle onwards from Ghent through the beautiful Flemish countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges, which is widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts a great many European and foreign holidaymaker's thanks to its picturesque, UNESCO-listed medieval city centre and a wealth of attractions for history lovers. An outstandingly-preserved example of a medieval settlement, Bruges has managed to maintain its historic fabric as it has evolved over the centuries, with the result that today the city’s original Gothic buildings form an integral part of its identity. While you are here, you can 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. In the evening, your guide will take you for a walk to show you some beautiful parts of the city centre — and maybe you can even taste a ‘Brugse Zot,’ a famous local beer.
Tour around Bruges to the North Sea (38 km/23 mi.)
Today your barge will stay in Bruges, giving you the choice of how you would like to spend the day. The tour leader will offer a morning bike tour of about 37 km. Your final cycle 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.
The end of your tour: Enjoy one final breakfast and disembark by 9.30 a.m.
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours. The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
Tours marked with are special prices.
|Start||End||Max. No. Guests||Accommodation||Price p.p.|
|May 13 2023||May 23 2023||20||Single rooms||2,249€|
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