Cycling holidays Holland: North Sea coast and IJsselmeer towns
8 days / 7 nights | Ship: De Holland | Self guided bike tours
Travel by bike & boat: A unique concept, where a bike holiday and a journey on a comfortable ship are combined. Cycling cruises are ideal for those who like to cycle during the day and explore beautiful areas, without giving up a comfortable way of travelling. During our tours you don't have to pack and un-pack your suitcases every day to travel from one beautiful place to the next!
During this cycling cruise you will explore the beautiful province of North-Holland with its flat polder landscapes and windmills, the beautiful North Sea coast, the island of Texel and the many picturesque harbor towns along coast of the IJsselmeer lake.
Explore the rich tradition in the flat "polder land", along the North Sea coast and in romantic fishing villages. You will cycle across a distinctly rural, former lake and marsh land. Since the 17th century, this area has been reclaimed from the sea, in ancient times by pumping it dry with windmills. Green flat polder-landscapes with quiet cycle tracks, the stretching North Sea beach and the beautiful sand dunes will alternate each other. For many guests one of the highlights on this tour is the extremely bike friendly island of Texel. Beautiful flat landscapes, small dreamlike farm villages and picturesque harbor villages along the IJsselmeer, with an ancient history, will dominate the second part of the tour.
Other highlights are a.o. the open air museum "Zaanse Schans", the city centre of Alkmaar and the old harbour cities Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam and of course Amsterdam with its canals. This (and much more) is what the rural, through nature molded Northern tour offers. You will live and travel in a cozy atmosphere on board of the DE HOLLAND.
Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Amsterdam
Embarkation and check-in from 2 pm in Amsterdam. Take the opportunity to go shopping, to explore downtown Amsterdam, to make a canal cruise or to visit a museum Welcome drink, dinner and first briefing on board. First night on board in Amsterdam.
Day 2 (Sun): Amsterdam – Zaandam | Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar (Cycling 44 km / 27 miles)
The first bike trip of this tour takes you via small villages through the beautiful flat and green polder landscape. The first stop is at the Zaanse Schans open air museum (free entry) with its traditional Old Dutch wooden houses, windmills and the cheese- and clog factory. After this visit you will cycle through the "Land of Leeghwater", a green polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. Stroll through the former whaler's village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. Your ship De Holland will be waiting for you near the historical city center of Alkmaar.
Day 3 (Mon): Dune tour: Alkmaar – Alkmaar (Cycling 33–40 km / 20–25 miles) | Alkmaar – Den Helder
Today you can discover the beautiful North-Holland Dune reserve. This is a 5.300 hectare large forest- and dune area with its unique landscapes. In these dunes the drinking water for almost the whole province of North-Holland is gained. After a visit to the beach and artists village Bergen you will return to Alkmaar where you can visit the wonderful city center. In the afternoon De Holland will sail over the North-Holland Canal to the navy harbor of Den Helder.
Day 4 (Tue): Den Helder – Oudeschild | North Sea island of Texel: round trip from/to Oudeschild (your choice Cycling 15–65 km / 9–41 miles) | Texel – Den Oever
During breakfast De Holland will sail to the isle of Texel, where you can make a tour on the largest of the Dutch North Sea Isles. You will cycle through beautiful natural parks and have the opportunity for a stop and some bathing at the beach. Suggestion: cycle the beautiful "Thijsse-route" (with signposting, approx. 25 miles) through picturesque villages and landscapes and visit the seal sanctuary "Ecomare" At the end of your cycling tour you can enjoy a locally brewed beer during a visit to the small brewery near Oudeschild. During dinner De Holland will return to the mainland and sail to Den Oever. The highlight of the evening will be a night of live music on board.
Day 5 (Wed): Den Oever – Stavoren | Stavoren SW-Friesland tour (Cycling 43–55 km / 27–34 miles)
The vessel will cross the large inland lake IJsselmeer to sail to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. You can opt for a shorter or longer cycling tour: discover the nature area of Gaasterland or explore a part of the wide lake district, that Friesland is well-known for. You can also combine both options. Night in the small harbor of Stavoren, one of the famous traditional 11 cities of Friesland.
Day 6 (Thu): Stavoren – Medemblik | Medemblik – Hoorn – Enkhuizen (Cycling 30–50 km / 19–31 miles)
De Holland will cross the IJsselmeer again during breakfast. Take the short bike trip from Medemblik along the IJsselmeer coast directly to Enkhuizen, where you can spend the afternoon. Enkhuizen is an old city with many centuries of maritime tradition. The "herring city" boasts a beautiful old harbor, an historical old town center and the very interesting Zuiderzeemuseum. If you prefer a longer cycling tour, ride from Medemblik to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn, in the 17th century one of the world's leading harbors. Enjoy your lunch break and make a short stroll in the old city center. Continue by bike to Enkhuizen via some picturesque rural villages. In the evening you can join a short city walk.
Day 7 (Fri): Enkhuizen – Volendam | Volendam – Waterland – Amsterdam (Cycling 35–50 km / 22–31 miles)
During breakfast the ship will sail to Volendam. Your final day of cycling will lead you through the beautiful area of Waterland, with its hundreds of small lakes and tiny canals. Near Volendam you will have the opportunity to visit a cheese farm. Recommended (extra cycling miles) is a tour to the former island of Marken, to continue through the water shaped region of Waterland back to the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. If you didn't go for a canal cruise on the first day, you can do so today.
Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Amsterdam
After breakfast: disembarkation and end of the tour.
Notes: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.
In case of unfavorable weather conditions, the captain may decide to sail to Texel on Monday evening or not at all: in the latter case you can reach Texel by ferry (price approx. 5 € not incl.). Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
If you don't feel like cycling for a day (or more) you are welcome to relax and stay on board while the ship is sailing. But please note: lunch will not be served on board. So you can enjoy your packed lunch. On the arrival (first) day it is possible to put your luggage on board from 9:30 am.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.