Cycling in the Netherlands: South Holland by Bike & Boat

8 days / 7 nights | Ship: MS Normandie | Self guided bike tours

Discover the Netherlands in a unique way on an 8-days-journey by bike and boat. Well-built cycle paths as well as wide and extensive waterways guarantee an unforgettable holiday. Throughout the day you are cycling on your own through the beautiful landscapes in Rembrandt’s and Van Gogh’s country and in the late afternoon your “swimming hotel” MS NORMANDIE will be at your disposal. And if you don’t like to cycle every day, you can stay on board and enjoy the passing countryside.

The Province of the Southern Netherlands: You are travelling through the green heart of the Netherlands. Hardly any province is more changing and many-faceted than the Southern Netherlands. Big cities as well as untouched nature are so close to each other. The many waterways offer uncountable opportunities to discover the wonderful landscapes and culture historical highlights of the province “Zuid-Holland”. Experience such different cities like Gouda and Schoonhoven and of course Rotterdam, also known as the “Manhattan on the river Maas”. Beautiful landscape of Polderland, the famous windmill row of Kinderdijk and not to forget the major porcelain manufacture in Delft with its “Delfter Blue”.


Day 1: Amsterdam - Haarlem

In Amsterdam you check in on board (embarkation is at 3 pm). Departure at 5:00 pm. Arrival in Haarlem around 9 pm (*If necessary overnight stay at Haarlem lock – then, the next day, in the morning shipping to Haarlem).

Day 2: Haarlem – Zaandam (Cycling 20–28 km /  12–17 miles) | Shipping from Zaandam to Schoonhoven

Haarlem is a charming, typically Dutch town with windmills, canals, drawbridges, small shops, cafés and restaurants. It is worth taking a little walk before you start your first cycle tour to Zaandam. Here you have plenty of time to make a detour to the museum village "Zaanse Schans”, an open-air museum (entrance fee not included) which was built to show the Dutch historical heritage. You can visit an ancient Dutch village, a cheese manufacture, a shipyard, a Dutch wooden shoe manufacture, a museum of bakery, the Zaanse watch museum and the unique colour mill, De Kat. In the afternoon shipping from Zaandam to Schoonhoven. Tip: During the tulip-flowering season (departures
10Apr-02 May) we offer an optional day excursion to Keukenhof by coach, transfers and entrance fee included (€ 59.- per person, only bookable in advance).

Day 3: Schoonhoven – Rotterdam (Cycling 40–48 km /  25–30 miles) 

From Schoonhoven, cycle leisurely to the city of Gouda, which is famous for its cheese. When the weather is fine, you may take a detour for a refreshing bath in the lake Reeuwijkse Plassen. Your today’s destination is Rotterdam. Tip: you should experience the harbour of Rotterdam on an interesting harbour tour.

Day 4: Rotterdam, Day at leisure / Cycle tour from Rotterdam to Delft and back or from Rotterdam via Den Haag to Scheveningen and back (Cycling 40–70 km / 25–43  miles)

Two options for today’s cycling tour: First one will lead you to Delft (Tip: visit of the porcelain manufacture), second directly to the governmental seat Den Haag and to the North Sea coastal town and health resort Scheveningen and back. Alternatively, you can also go back to Rotterdam by train (rail and bike is not included, approx. € 15,- p. Pers, not in rush hour between 16:30 h and 18:00 h).

Day 5: Rotterdam to Schoonhoven (Cycling 43 km / 27 miles) 

Cycle tour to Kinderdijk (UNESCO World’s Cultural Heritage with 19 windmills in a row) and further to Schoonhoven, known for its silver-making and its enchanting old-town.

Day 6: Schoonhoven to Utrecht (42 km / 26 miles) 

Today you are cycling through the beautiful landscape of Polderland to Oudewater (witch’s scales) and further on to Utrecht. The Utrecht Dome is one of the most important ones in the Netherlands.

Day 7: Utrecht to Amsterdam (Cycling 50 km / 31 miles)

Your cycle tour takes you along the small and winding river Vecht through beautiful landscapes. The river Vecht is also known as the “Loire of the Netherlands”. Numerous castles and villas will be seen beside the river. Tip: a canal tour is the most beautiful way to get to know the city of Amsterdam.

Day 8: Departure from Amsterdam

After breakfast checkout until 9:00 am– have a safe journey home.

 Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.