Amsterdam – Maastricht or Maastricht – Amsterdam
Discover Dutch rivers
8 days / 7 nights | MS Sarah | Guided cycling
“Thinking of Holland I see broad rivers languidly winding through endless fen, lines of incredibly tenuous poplars like giant plumes on the polder’s rim”.These lines of a famous poem by the Dutch poet Marsman characterize this wonderful journey between Amsterdam and Maastricht, the southernmost city in the Netherlands.
Discover magical flat and green landscapes formed by the rivers Vecht, Lower Rhine, Waal, Linge and Meuse: a tangle of old gullies, cut-off meanders, dikes and flood plains with a typical flora and fauna.
Visit historical towns, remarkable villages and some castles and gardens along these rivers. In the hospitable province of Limburg, cycling tours will cross borders regularly: although the Meuse flows through the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium are only a stone’s throw away.
You can eat ‘Kuchen’ (cake) in a German ‘Konditorei’ in the morning and have a delicious afternoon beer in a street café in a Belgium village. The journey ends in Maastricht, the capital of the province of Limburg, famous for its lively center and vibrant hospitality.
Highlights of this bike and boat trip
✔ Discover magical green river landscapes
✔ Historical cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Maastricht
✔ Vibrant Limburg province hospitality
✔ Barges MS Sarah and barge MS Gandalf with max. 20 passengers
Itinerary from Amsterdam – Maastricht
Day 1: Amsterdam – Weesp | testride in Weesp (11 km/6 mi.)
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Around 2 p.m. the barge 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.
Day 2: Weesp – Utrecht (47 km/28 mi.) | Utrecht – Vianen
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 barge in the city of Utrecht and from there you will sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 3: Vianen – Gorinchem (41 km/25 mi.) | Gorinchem – Heusden
From Vianen you cycle through a typical Dutch landscape to Leerdam a little town on the banks of the river Linge. Leerdam is famous for its glasswork. Later on you continue biking on the beautiful roads along the Linge to Gorinchem, a charming town on the river Waal. After a short visit, you will join the barge to Heusden.
Day 4: Heusden – Maasbommel | Maasbommel – Cuijck (40 km/24 mi.)
During breakfast the ship sails from Heusden to Maasbommel, a village on the Maas river. Here your bike tour will start, leading you along the Maas river to cities as Ravenstein and Grave. Both are medieval cities. In Ravenstein you can visit the Tanner’s Cottages and in Grave you will see canons from the time of Napoleon. Grave has also played an important role in Operation Market Garden during the second world war, because it was situated near an important bridge. This bridge is now called John S. Thompson Bridge. Following the Maas river you will meet the barge in Cuijk where you will spend the night. The St. Martins Church, a neo-gothic church, houses a very well kept baroc-organ (built 1639-1650). This organ is one of the oldest in the Netherlands. After dinner you will visit museum Ceuclum in Cuijk and you can climb the tower for a magnificent view of the Maas valley.
Day 5: Cuijck – Arcen (53 km/32 mi.)
Today a magnificent bike tour is scheduled. You cycle along the Maas valley to Afferden and Heyen. The route continues through National Park Maasduinen to Well where you will find the Well castle with its heavy round brick tower dating from the 14th century. The destination for today is Arcen. Here you may visit the famous castle gardens with a great variety: the Rosarium, with ten different rose gardens; the water- and sculpture garden; the Lommerijk, with shades, waterfalls and streamlets; the Valley, offering six ‘international’ gardens ; Casa Verde, offering Mediterranean and tropical gardens; the Golf garden, with a view at the largest waterfall in the Netherlands.
Day 6: Arcen – Venlo – Roermond (50 km/30 mi.)
Again your bike route follows the Meuse river. Here and there you cross by ferry or bridge in order to follow the most interesting paths. The first stop is Venlo, with many historical monuments and a lively inner city. At lunchtime you arrive in Kessel, one of the oldest villages along the Meuse. There you cross over to the other bank and continue the bike ride to the beautiful village of Beesel, where the grain mill ‘grey bear’ stands proudly along the river. Todays’s tour ends in the city of Roermond, where of the river Roer and Meuse come together. Roermond is known by its rich cultural heritage. Since 1559 it has been a bishop city. In the center you will find many historical buildings. Roermond is also the city of Pierre Cuypers, according to many the most important Dutch architect of the 19th century. He is the architect of the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam.
Day 7: Roermond – Born (42 km/25 mi.) | Born – Maastricht
Today, the cycling tour continues through charming villages and the beautiful landscape of the province of Limburg. First stop is Thorn, the ‘white Village’ on the Dutch/Belgian border known for its cobblestone streets and white painted houses. The only non-white building is the 14th-century church. From Thorn you cycle across the Dutch / Belgian border to the Belgian city Maaseik. This city is famous for the painters Hubert and Jan van Eyck. On the market square you will see typical Renaissance-style houses with their impressive facades. You can also take the opportunity to have a nice Belgian “pint” on this beautiful square. You will find the ship in Born, from where you sail to Maastricht. Maastricht, the capital of the province is a beautifully preserved city with Roman roots. In this town you find the treasure house of the St. Servaas Church, the Bonnefanten museum for art and antiquity, and the Kazematten, a system of underground fortress works from the 18th century. In addition to these places of interest, it is also worthwhile visiting the marl caves, or just to thoroughly enjoy yourself on the Vrijthof. You will not get bored!
Day 8 : Maastricht
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
- Cycling route distances in the travel program are approximate.
- On some days you can choose between a longer and a shorter cycling route. Please note that on the shorter routes you may not be able to visit all the highlights mentioned.
- If you prefer not to cycle on a particular day, you’re welcome to stay on board and relax while the ship cruises to the next landing place.
- The tour itinerary and route are subject to possible changes due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons, or other unforeseen events.
- On the arrival day, you can leave your luggage on board the ship from 11.00 am.
- Detailed cycling maps, route tips and a GPS app are available for guests who wish to cycle individually and at their own pace. The tour guide is always available via cell phone in case of questions, breakdowns or emergencies.