Bike and Barge: Amsterdam to Bruges

Bike and Barge: Amsterdam to Bruges

The Netherlands and Belgium are a cycling paradise with bike paths, flat terrain and plenty to see and do along the way. On this bike and barge tour you will discover the southern region of Zeeland in the Netherlands and dip into the West Flanders region of Belgium. By day you'll bicycle through polders (reclaimed wetlands rich for agriculture or pastureland) and small villages, in the evening you'll sleep on a luxury barge. Cruise through canals and pedal along bike paths between the world famous cities of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges. Visit iconic places like Gouda (pronounced Gowda) and taste its famous cheese. Pedal past the famous windmills of Kinderdijk and delve deep into local culture when we meet small cheese farmers and visit a working windmill in the small town of Tholen.

***If this sounds great but you prefer a longer trip, check out our Bike and Barge: Amsterdam to Bruges Plus! Belgium's Breweries tour.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
May 17-25, 2019
USD$4195
USD$1150
Just 1 Cabin Left.  
Jul 26-Aug 3, 2019
USD$4595
USD$1150
Premium Barge. 4 Larger Twin Cabins Available for $200, per person. 2 More to Guarantee the Departure.

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 9 Days
  • Total Distance / 366km (226 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 52km (32 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 1.0
  • Countries / Belgium, Netherlands
  • Begin/End / Amsterdam / Bruges
  • Price / From USD$4195
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  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    9 days, 8 nights (1 hotel night in Amsterdam, 7 nights aboard our luxury barge); 7 dinners with wine or beer, all lunches (packed), all breakfasts; windmill visit; guided canal cruise of Ghent; guided visits in Antwerp and Bruges

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    There are only 4 single supplements available. Cabin space is limited so consider the size of your luggage. A 25 inch suitcase will fit under the bed. WiFi may be sporadic onboard the barge.

    For more questions about the Barge check out our Bike & Boat FAQ
  • Includes
    9 days, 8 nights (1 hotel night in Amsterdam, 7 nights aboard our luxury barge); 7 dinners with wine or beer, all lunches (packed), all breakfasts; windmill visit;1 beer tasting; guided canal cruise of Ghent; guided visits in Antwerp and Bruges; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Amsterdam (AMS) / Brussels (BRU)
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    61km / 245m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    3
    55km / 166m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    4
    47km / 86m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    5
    37km / 135m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    6
    64km / 243m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    7
    50km / 156m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    8
    50km / 174m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    9
    Last day

    Tour Level Note: Gentle cycling terrain. You'll enter and exit larger cities on bike paths. Expect a mix of dedicated bike paths and country roads.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive Amsterdam

Highlights: Amsterdam, bike fitting and test ride, welcome dinner

Welcome to the vibrant capital city of Holland, Amsterdam! We hope you arrived a few days early to visit some of the highlights of this colorful city — between its museums, canals, hip locales and lively night scene there is plenty to explore. Settle into our hotel where we’ll have our safety meeting and bike fitting followed by our first spin on the bikes before a special dinner together.

DAY 2: Bicycling along the Hollandic Waterline

Highlights: Forts of Muiderslot and Weesp, town of Muiden, Utrecht, dinner on board

Follow bike paths out of Amsterdam and head into the region of the Hollandic Waterline, a defense system born in the 17th Century where castles and military forts with integrated systems of flooding could be used to turn Holland into an island to keep out invaders. A century later the water froze creating a bridge for the French army to attack. This plan has left several imposing forts including Muiderslot and Weesp which we'll cycle past today. Enjoy local farmland and beautiful canals flanked by villas before entering the tiny, quaint center of Utrecht. This university town is home to unique bars dug into old working tunnels. Later, we'll cruise toward our landing spot for the night and enjoy dinner on-board.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

DAY 3: Bike to town of Gouda and Kinderdijk windmills

Highlights: Schoonhoven - famous for its silversmiths, Gouda cheese museum and tasting, UNESCO World Heritage Kinderdijk windmills

This morning our barge will cruise for a few hours to reach the town of Schoonhoven, famous for its silversmiths and carillon makers. Bicycle through town and check out the town hall’s clock-tower bells before heading to Gouda, famous for its orange cheese. Enjoy a visit to the town’s cheese museum, and pick-up some picnic supplies (cheese anyone?) to enjoy at your next stop: the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk. Here 19 majestic windmills are aligned to form a stunning sight. After exploring we'll keep pedaling south to rejoin our boat in Dordrecht. Enjoy dinner on-board and perhaps a leisurely walk in town to enjoy the center.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

  • Distance: 55 km (34 mi)
  • Gain: 166 m (544 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Breakfast cruise and bicycle to Tholen

Highlights: Willemstad, a do-it-yourself-moving-bridge; picnic lunch; Roosevelt heritage museum; Tholen; working windmill visit

Another breakfast cruise takes us to Willemstad, a strikingly star shaped fortified town on the shores where the Holland Diep river splits into multiple rivers as it rushes out to sea. Experience the do-it-yourself-moving-bridge before reaching the town of Oud Vossemeer, where the Roosevelt name was very present in the 17th and 18th centuries (and still is), leading many to theorize that the American Roosevelt family whose Dutch ancestor arrived in the US in 1650 was probably from this town. Next we'll pedal south to Tholen which was once an island in this giant estuary-like environment, but is now connected to the mainland. We’ll enjoy a visit to a working windmill this evening.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

  • Distance: 47 km (29 mi)
  • Gain: 86 m (282 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 5: Pedal and cruise into Antwerp, Belgium

Highlights: Dairy visit and tasting; cruise into Antwerp; visit "Onze Lieve Vrouwe (Our Lady) Cathedral" home to several of Rubens' paintings

Set off on bikes for a morning ride which includes stopping at a local dairy farm where ice cream and cheese tastings are a must! We’ll get back to the boat before lunch to cruise into Antwerp, enjoying a unique view of the port and harbor as our barge makes its way to the city of diamonds. We’ll enjoy a guided visit of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens' art in the city’s Cathedral. After which you can head off to visit the rest of the city, including the historic city center, the diamond district, or the Red Star Line Museum from where 2 million emigrants shipped off to North America between 1873 and 1934. Explore the city and enjoy dinner on your own this evening before returning to our boat for a restful night’s sleep.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

DAY 6: Antwerp to Dendermonde

Highlights: Schelde riverbank bike path; Dendermonde; Bosteels Brewery

We’ll leave the city of Antwerp and return to the countryside cycling on small roads and along the Schelde river bike path. We will continue pedaling along the tidal river until we reach the provincial capital of Dendermonde. Admire the majestic town hall which presides over the square surrounded by Flemish buildings.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

  • Distance: 64 km (40 mi)
  • Gain: 243 m (797 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Bicycle and Cruise into Ghent

Highlights: Bicycle beside stately villas; Ghent's rich historic center

This morning we will continue to cycle along the river before branching north through historic marshes. These marshes are where sheep production thrived due to the nutritious grasses, subsequently, Ghent became one of the richest cities in the world during the Middle Ages because of its woolen industry. A bike path along the Schelde river brings us to our boat, which we’ll board for lunch as it cruises closer to the city center. While we are docked in a suburb, we’ll transfer into the historical center for a visit. This lively university city is still one of the prettiest cities in Belgium. Admire its traditional, tall Flemish buildings towering over the small streets and plazas. Enjoy dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants or cafés.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

DAY 8: Bicycle Ghent to Bruges

Highlights: Breakfast cruise, Bruges, UNESCO World Heritage Site Medieval City Center

Highlights: Breakfast cruise, Bruges, UNESCO World Heritage Site Medieval City Center

Start the day with a short breakfast cruise before setting off on your bicycle to ride into the crown jewel of Belgium, Bruges. We'll be moored in the city center, providing excellent access to Bruges's many treasures. Stroll along the canals that were once main arteries of the city and don't miss a visit to the medieval square and City Hall. This city is characterized by its fantastic architecture. Bruge is bustling with additional sites to see including the stepped gable houses, market square with the belfort, and historic neighborhoods such as the "Beguinage", a community of lay women from the 13th century to visit. We’ll enjoy dinner together on board our boat tonight.

2019 - May departure will be aboard the Fleur. July departure will be on the Magnifique.

  • Distance: 50 km (31 mi)
  • Gain: 174 m (571 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 9: End of our bike and barge tour

Highlights: Guided walk of Bruges

Enjoy a guided walk of Bruges this morning before heading off on your own. We recommend that you spend a few more days enjoying Bruges's many sites and museums including a chocolate, diamond, and Belgian fry museum. Enjoy!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Arrive Amsterdam

Lodging: Hotel Room Mate Aitana

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into Amsterdam (AMS).

How to get to the Day 1 Hotel:

  • Taxi from the airport to the Day 1 Hotel (40 min/EUR 60-75)

Or public transportation:

  1. Commuter Train from the airport to "Amsterdam Centraal" (15 min/EUR 4-5)
  2. Taxi from the Station to the Day 1 Hotel (10-15 min/EUR 15)

View Dutch train schedules at www.ns.nl. On commuter-type and regional trains, pre-booking of tickets is not necessary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

Day 9: Departure Information

End of our bike and barge tour

Tour ends with a guided walk of Bruges, which will end at the NH Hotel in Bruges at 11:30 a.m. We recommend you book your homebound flight for the next day.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio.

We recommend flying out of Brussels (BRU).

  • Train from Bruges to Brussels Airport (1.5 hours/fares vary)

View Belgian train schedules at belgianrail.be. On commuter-type and regional trains, reservations are not necessary.

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

There are only 4 single supplements available. Cabin space is limited so consider the size of your luggage. A 25 inch suitcase will fit under the bed. WiFi may be sporadic onboard the barge.

For more questions about the Barge check out our Bike & Boat FAQ

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and in some cases a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

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