Tulips = Springtime. Definitely! Holland, in its full glory, shows off at the Keukenhof, treasuring its tulip history in the Hortus Bulborum. Flaunting fields full of tulips as far as you can see. And in between, we pass little villages and charming cities like Gouda, Leiden, Haarlem and Alkmaar. Yes, Gouda! Yes, say Cheeeeeese!
Days are packed with great bike rides, loads of windmills, a castle, cheese, tulips, dunes, beach, sea, waterways, and lovely bike paths. FLAT, of course, we are in Holland. And all this beauty can be topped off by joining the barge IRIS in the afternoon, having a local beer and enjoying the gourmet dinners at night. So don’t hold your horses: there will not be a better way of visiting this beauty.
As we start and finish in Amsterdam, you can take some extra nights there, in a hotel, and visit the world famous museums like the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum (with Rembrandts’ Night watch), the Anne Frank House, and enjoy the abundance of terraces and boutique style cafe’s. Flea Market, Flower Market, Noorder Markt, Albert Kuip Markt. Have your pick! Oh yes, let’s mention the “grachten” (the canals). Many canal-tours to choose from, one taking you from museum to museum.Read more
Amsterdam to Utrecht
The IRIS is welcoming you at around 1 pm. You meet your fellow travellers, guides and crew while we start sailing toward the Amsterdam Rhine Canal.
The afternoon will mainly be filled with introductions and talks from the guides about cycling!
There will be a short 10k test ride today. Our docking for the night will be in Utrecht.
Castle De Haar, Oudewater and Gouda
Our day starts with a ride to the most beautifully built castle in the Netherlands. There are local guides to welcome you to the castle. After this visit, we will cycle to Oudewater, a medieval town with a Heksenwaag: a place to determine whether a woman could be a witch by measuring her weight! Our goal for today is Gouda. Yes, the one that gave the cheese the name. For sure, the most exported kind of cheese the Netherland produces. So yes, you will find many cheese shops here, and also stroopwafels. Also known as a product from this town: Goudse Stroopwafels. Taste one!
The picture shows the Townhall of Gouda
From Gouda through the Green Heart to Leiden
Today is a great ride through the agricultural green heart of Holland. Although the bigger cities are pretty close, this part remains protected and serves as a great green area with grazing cows and ducks and willow trees. Amidst this beauty, we will visit a cheese farm and get to know everything about cheese making. Of course, you can taste it as well. There is a little shop as well, so you can already shop for sealed cheese to take home.
It needs no further introduction: today it’s the Keukenhof visit.
How about 7 million flowering tulips in a traditional and modern landscape. Enjoy the tulips, hyacinths, narcissus…
These gardens are visited by millions of guests every year. So be prepared to hear every foreign language you can imagine.
We also will cycle through a landscape of tulip fields and end in the heart of Haarlem (yes, again: Harlem was named after this town).
Haarlem is a lovely city and is often called little Amsterdam. The guide will show you around
Beach, Hortus Bulborum and Alkmaar
From Haarlem, we will cycle through the nature reserve area behind the dunes of the North Sea. Great cycling paths! We will have lunch at the beach, and if you dare you can go for a swim or just put your toe in the water. We follow the paths and ride a bit more inland to our very precious and special gem: the private gardens Hortus Bulborum. A historical garden is preservating the old varieties of tulips. Take a tour with the local volunteers who are, and they should be, very proud of their unique work. Have a cup of tea or coffee at their local shop and enjoy this hidden garden.
Alkmaar to Zaanse Schans
The first stop of the day is the windmill in the Schermer. An area laid dry by using windmills. Learn all about this at this preserved windmill. The visit is included, of course.
Our lunch stop will be in De Rijp, another lovely little village, on our way to the Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum that welcomes many tourists during the daytime. You can enjoy this, and even better, walk through it after all tourists have left! It is a magical place, so tranquil at that time.
Back to Amsterdam
We can cut it short or have a longer ride, we will tell you about the options for the day. The short option will arrive in Amsterdam at lunchtime, and you can then spend the afternoon on your own!
Book tickets for the museum if that is on your bucket list!
Amsterdam: end of our tour
After breakfast it is time to say:
“Tot ziens!” ” Goodbye”
Premium Barge IRIS has been sailing as a passenger barge since 2006. On the waterways of Holland, Belgium, Germany and France. The best way to do a multi-day bike tour. Unpacking only once!
Our IRIS is well known to serve great dinners. Our breakfast offers a lot of choices and you can pack your daily lunch.
We offer a crew of 4, 2 guides if more than 18 guests and we take max 24 guests.
Our cabins are small but you will find a lot of space to unpack. Total renovation took place in 2020. Beds are separated (80×200 cm) or can be put together. You have your own private facilities (sink, toilet, shower). Your window will give you a different view every day. The rooms are climate-controlled. The bathroom has a towel dryer which can serve as a room heater as well. We provide a hairdryer, shower gel and shampoo. Towels are changed on demand.
some more pics to show the cabin interiour
beds put together
our modern bathroom
- Seven nights onboard
- Bed linen and towels
- 6 x dinner on board
- 6 x packed lunches for bike trips
- Coffee and tea on board 24/7
- Tour guide (from 18 guests, 2 guides)
- Cabins cleaned daily
- Climate-controlled cabins
- Helmets, panniers and waterbottle
- Entrance of Castle de Haar, Cheese Farm, Keukenhof, Hortus Bulborum
- Bike rental € 120,- per bike (2025)
- E-bike on availability, € 250,– (2025)
- Entrance fees for museums and monuments other than those mentioned, on your own
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Miscellaneous beverages and expenses on excursions.
- Gratuities for Staff and Guides
E-bikes on request & availability € 250,– per bike (2025)