Bruges, Genth, Antwerp, Kinderdijk, Muiderslot, Volendam all in one tour
Enjoy the flat rides through the Belgian and the Dutch countryside, have time to see the highlights and time to explore on your own. Enjoy the best of two worlds!
Sail with us from Bruges and get to know the lively modern and old architecture dating back to the 13th century. Places oozing history, with guides telling you the tales of the town. The River Schelde will throw us back in time as we cycle along through rural country roads. Beers await us; you will love the Duvels and Westmalle’s.
Come and see it and enjoy our bike paths to get to all the Dutch highlights: the Unesco world heritage site Kinderdijk, the unique ensemble of windmills, the new city built in the older, the old fisherman villages and Amsterdam’s canals.
For sure, this tour will bring you everything you expect it to be. It’s a combination of the two most popular tours in the bike&barge world. Explore the beauty of Belgium as well as seeing the Netherlands more extensively.
This is a new and longer tour, offering you more cycling days and more time to explore the highlights. Feel free to make your own choices to explore and relax.Read more
Bruges, arrival day
The mesmerizing city of Bruges offers so many options to spend a day that we advise you to arrive earlier and stay at a hotel, so you have time to see Bruges.
After a hearty welcome on the ship in Bruges, we get on our bikes right away for a test ride along the city’s old city wall. Passing windmills and city gates, we make our way to the edge of the centre. Our guide will take you on a walking tour through the criss-cross of canals and medieval alleys. Bruges, the Venice of the North, is the best start a bike tour could wish for, with its endless history and beautiful sights.
Bruges to Gendt 21 miles/34 k
In the morning, we will set sail into the countryside, where we will be dropped off to start cycling to Gent. It’s an easy first cycling day of only 21 miles, but that gives us enough time to explore today’s end goal: the city of Ghent. As Charles V’s birthplace and the second biggest city in Northern Europe in the late middle ages, this city has many historical sights to see and is considered prettier than even Bruges. We ride close to the centre from where we can explore the city on foot. In the evening we will arrange for a small boat tour in the city.
Gendt to Dendermonde 25 miles/40 k
In the morning, we will not start biking immediately, so we can visit Gent on foot. People may take this time to explore the city, and maybe shop, on their own. A town walk will be offered for those interested in the cultural highlights. At the top of that list is the painting “the adoration of the Lamb of God” by the Van Eyck brothers in the Cathedral. In the afternoon, we will follow the Schelde River to Dendermonde for about 25 miles. Belgium is one of the most famous beer-producing countries, so this evening, we will organize a Belgian beer tasting on board.
Dendermonde to Antwerp 32 or 20 miles/51 or 32 k
The distance today can be adjusted to your wish: either you can do all the 32 miles, but a pickup or drop off is possible, making the day more like 20 miles. The goal for the day is Antwerp, the city of Diamonds. Antwerp was home to the famous Painter Peter Paul Rubens, and many of his paintings are still in the city to be admired. Antwerp’s Golden age was the 16th century when its trade blossomed, becoming the sugar capital of Europe. Many of the centre buildings still originate from that time, and while walking the streets, you can feel as if you were 500 years ago. At the end of the afternoon, the bike guide will walk you into town to show you the beautiful city centre. We will also show you nice restaurants because there will not be dinner on the barge this evening. Tonight you can enjoy the cuisine of the local restaurants
Today we take our time to explore the city of Antwerp more fully. Our guide will take you to the significant sights like the Cathedral of Our Lady with its Rubens Paintings inside and show you the smaller, lesser-known ones, like the old Beguinage where unmarried women could live like nuns until they found a suitable husband. The rest of the day is for you to spend yourself in the city. You could visit museums like the Rubens House, which has many paintings in his old residence, or the Red Starline museum about the ships that brought many American immigrants to the US more than 100 years ago. If you’d like to go biking, you can join our bike guide for an alternative sightseeing tour on your bike.
Antwerp to Tholen, arriving in the Netherlands
Our day starts with a sail through the impressive modern harbour of Antwerp. We are starting our bike ride near the Kreekrak Locks in the Netherlands. It will be a short ride today, dominated by the presence of the waterways. Our first Dutch village to stay for the night is Tholen. Once an island, now connected to the mainland. Water, rivers, and the sea surround and divide the Province of Zeeland. Because a big flood swallowed big parts in 1953, it is now protected by dams that created big lakes, where once the sea was rolling in and out. Yes, New Zealand was named after this province! Zee = Sea.
An evening walk along the windmill will tell you you are now in the Netherlands for sure!
Tholen to Dordrecht
Tholen was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, known as the Rhine Delta on the North Sea where many fishermen lived. Today Tholen is connected to the mainland, but it retains its picturesque charm and boasts many fishing and boating relics of its colourful past. We start our cycling from here and cross the bridge to the mainland. After a lovely quiet ride along the Volkerak Lock, we will end in the beautiful fortified city of Willemstad. This star-shaped fortification is still very visible. Willemstad was named after King William of Orange. We will have some time to stroll around before we go on board again for a sail to Dordrecht.
Dordrecht is a historic town; its location at the rivers gave it a perfect position for trading. Many harbours in the city have names related to the tradesmen who had their storage there: like the Wolwevershaven (wool weavers). Also, Dordrecht had an important role in 1680, when religious leaders from protestant churches visited the Synode of Dordrecht. This conference prevented a civil war and was “won” by the more conventional protestants against further reformation. Also, the Staten Bible originates from this convention.
We definitively start with a major highlight today:
Kinderdijk, this land reclamation project of the 18th century has 19 windmills standing together. There is the possibility to go all the way up into one or to have a coffee overlooking this UNESCO World Heritage site. We will cycle to it, pay a visit and also bike through it!
Today is a rural day, we will pass many farms, fields, and livestock.
Schoonhoven at the river Lek, is the town of silversmiths! A perfect stop for lunch, and then we continue to Vianen, also a town on the river, a bit aside of it, with a little round lock to pass through.
We start the day with an early sail to Breukelen, where we start a very interesting day of cycling. The first part of cycling follows the river Vecht, which is known for its famous 17th-century merchants’ estates, beautiful gardens and little tea houses along its banks. We continue to the castle from 1370, the Muiderslot, which is open for visits. From there we cross a high bridge to get to the newest land of the Netherlands: the Flevopolder!
This 370-square-mile island has been reclaimed from the sea in the 1950’ and ’60s. Here we get a fine example of Dutch urban planning where bikes and cars never meet. Bridges and tunnels make it so that apart from the buildings you wouldn’t even know you’re riding in a city. This city: Almere, will be the place where we go on board again for another sail to Volendam. Old meets new: Volendam is a very touristic little village, famous because of its fishermen and the traditional costumes that still are worn on festive and formal occasions, and for the tourists of course. A busy place during the day, but a nice village in the evening.
Volendam - Marken to Amsterdam
This last day of cycling starts with a ferry to the small island of Marken. Here we find one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the country; The horse of Marken. Standing on a pier in the water, this lighthouse is worth a picture or two. From here, we will get back to the mainland and cycle through the farmland. We are almost in Amsterdam, but still, this is countryside, with farms and fields and farm animals. We now follow the canal on a cycle path and end up at the ferry to the Central Station. From here, it is just a few minutes to the docking of the IRIS.
You will probably have a part of the afternoon to start exploring Amsterdam! It is dinner on your own tonight, so you have even more time. How about booking a dinner cruise?
Amsterdam, a day for you
We are in Amsterdam now, and you are welcome to explore this town and visit the highlights you would love to. There are so many options! There is a hop on hop off bus, there are canal cruises, there are markets, museums, parks, shops…
The day is yours. Please start booking your reservations for museums online on time, so you are sure you can pay a visit.
We expect you back for dinner at 6.30 and will have a nice farewell dinner on board.
Amsterdam, day of departure
All good things end, we certainly hope you had a very good time.
After breakfast, it is time to leave at 9.00 am
Premium barge IRIS
One of the best: our premium barge IRIS, sailing since 2005, under our management since 2011. Fully air-conditioned, lovely front sundeck, lounge and dining-area and selfservice Bar. Delicious 3 course dinners and packed lunches. Lots of options at Breakfast.
your private cabin
Your air-conditioned cabin has two comfortable beds and lots of storage (for such a small cabin!). Ensuite your private bathroom.
Do your prefer beds put together?
It is possible now!
our trendy and very practical bathrooms
Our bathroom, as well as the cabin, have been completely refurbished. Our guests are very happy with it!
If you do not feel like cycling you are welcome to stay on board and have a private cruise!
breakfast and dining area
Every morning the smell of fresh rolls will welcome you to breakfast! Enjoy our breakfast buffet and pack your lunch, get ready to go!
After the cycling enjoy our 3 course dinner here.
- 11 nights on board in double/twin cabin with en suite bathroom !!
- Bed linen and towels
- Breakfast buffet
- 8 x dinner on board ( 3 x on your own)
- 10 x pack your lunch for the day
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide (from 18 guests 2 guides)
- Cabins cleaned daily
- Climate-controlled cabins
- Helmets, panniers and waterbottle
- The entrance of the Muiderslot and Kinderdijk Mill,
- Bike rental € 160,- per bike (2023)
- E-bike on availability, € 300,- (2023)
- Laundry service, inquire on board
- Entrance fees for museums, monuments, etc.
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Miscellaneous beverages and expenses on excursions.
- Gratuities for Staff and Guides, guideline 2023: 18 euros per guest per night, to divide into two envelopes (are on board!) one for the guides, one for the crew.