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Holland's Tulips 8-day Bike and Barge tour (SH)
This wonderful bike and barge trip that starts and ends in Amsterdam it takes you through the provinces of South and North Holland while spring flowers are in bloom. You will spend time in the historical cities of Haarlem, Leiden, Gouda and Alkmaar and learn about the water management of these lowlands at the North Sea. You will also visit the famous Keukenhof Gardens, known by the hundreds of thousands of blooming tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other bulb flowers. The world-famous Aalsmeer flower auction is on the program where an astonishing volume of beautiful flowers are being traded daily and exported all over the world. One night the barge mooring is at the open air museum ‘the Zaanse Schans’ with its windmills, cheese farm and picturesque wooden houses. You will be surprised by the beautiful, varied scenery and the wonderful cycling paths of Holland.
The minute you step onboard you immediately feel the friendly atmosphere. This cozy barge is roomy at the same time; it offers accommodation to 20-22 guests and besides this, there is enough room for a spacious lounge and restaurant area with a modest bar. If the weather is fine, the meals can also be served outside, on deck. From here you have a wonderful view. Below deck there are 8 comfortable twin cabins (2 have an extra bunk bed) and 2 doubles, all with a private bathroom.
Slow Tours offers a number of other Bike & Barge tour in Europe
Amsterdam – Spaarndam Spaarndam – Haarlem 6km or 14km
You are welcome to check-in between 1pm and 2pm. The crew will welcome you with coffee and tea. At 2.30pm the barge leaves the harbour. While the barge sails to Haarlem, your tour leader will tell you about the tour, the cycling and safety. From Spaarndam you have the option to do a little test ride. After dinner on board, the tour leader will take you on a town walk through the beautiful city centre of Haarlem.
Haarlem – Keukenhof – Leiden 38km
Today’s trip leads you through the oldest tulip fields of Holland, including a visit of the Keukenhof Gardens. This is the most beautiful bulb park in the world. Keukenhof is the place where the spring breaks. An overwhelming blaze of colours: seven million flowering tulips in a magnificent 80-acres’ background of traditional and modern gardening architecture. You also can admire the various hyacinths, daffodils and many other colourful flowers. In the afternoon you cycle to the city of Leiden. Dinner on board and after that you can join the walk through town.
Leiden – Gouda 32km or 40km
Breakfast is while sailing out of Leiden. Your cycling tour starts just outside Leiden and leads through the ‘green heart’ of Holland. Near Zoeterwoude, you will visit a cheese farm where you will learn about the cheese-making process and you will have the opportunity to taste the results. In the afternoon you reach Gouda, famous for the Gouda cheese. Gouda has an attractive compact centre with her pretty market square and Gothic town hall. The main church of Gouda, devoted to Saint John, is world-famous for its stained glass windows. After dinner you can join the walk through town.
Gouda – Alphen a/d Rijn Alphen a/d Rijn – Kudelstaart 20km or 44km
We stay in Gouda this morning. You have the opportunity to do some shopping and to visit the market square with its cheese weigh house or you can visit the St. Johns church. We leave by barge around noon and have a light lunch on board. From Alphen aan den Rijn you cycle through the ‘green heart’ of South Holland via river Drecht and Amstel-Drecht channel to Kudelstaart.
Kudelstaart – Flower auction | Aalsmeer – Amsterdam | Amsterdam – Zaanse Schans - Purmerend 9km + 23km or 30km
At 6.30am you can drink an early cup of coffee. After that you cycle to the flower auction of Aalsmeer, the largest of Europe. Here, huge quantities of flowers are trucked in and sold every day, after which they are distributed all over Europe. After your visit, you return on board (around 9am) for a late breakfast while the barge sails to Amsterdam. You will enjoy a nice cruise, right through the city.
Today’s cycling tour takes you from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans, a unique hamlet where people live and work, with original houses and windmills from the river Zaan area. The hamlet is dominated by operating windmills, the oldest built in 1673, for grinding mustard, spices, paint and oil and for sawing wood into planks. As you walk through the village you will see a clock museum, an old-fashioned grocery store, a house with period furniture, a clog maker and a cheese farm. At the end of the afternoon you will bike to Purmerend, where you will spend the night.
Purmerend - Spijkerboor | Spijkerboor - Alkmaar 29km or 39km
This morning you 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 are planted here. Your cycling tour continues to Egmond at the North sea. The tour goes through the dunes to Alkmaar. This town is known as a Dutch cheese city. As you wander through the streets you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Alkmaar’s Old Town, with its well-preserved 17th-century buildings and narrow, winding canals. Dinner in town at your own account.
Alkmaar – Amsterdam 37km or 54km
After breakfast, your cycling tour leads you to the former windmill complex of the Schermer Polder. Here we visit the Schermerhorn Windmill Museum. Your next stop is the beautiful town of De Rijp. Centuries of history are still evident here in De Rijp’s wooden facades, beautiful church, clock and town hall. From here, your ride continues back to Amsterdam. In the late afternoon or evening there is time for a canal tour through the famous canals of the city.
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30am.
The tours will be accompanied by one knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader. During days when two bicycle options are possible, the tour leader will make a choice to guide the longer or the shorter option after consultation of the group. Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bike option.
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