Northern Holland Bike and Boat

A unique bike and boat holiday cruising and cycling the charming landscapes and waterways of Northern Holland. Cycle through the original polders of Leeghwater, cross the Marsdiep channel to Texel Island and explore the historic towns of Alkmaar, Hoorn and Enkhuizen. Easy cycling suitable for all.

This is a land of polders, windmills, long sandy beaches, rolling dunes and cosy fishing villages. Yes, you’ll get a taste of the big city in the Dutch capital, but you’ll also discover another side of Holland, visiting the famous cheese-making town of Alkmaar and the old harbour cities of Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam.

Enkhuizen

The terrain in northern Holland is overwhelmingly flat, and this cycling tour is suitable for anyone. You’ll follow quiet back-roads as well as canal and riverside cycle paths. Most days offer shorter and longer routes so this is good choice for mixed ability groups. Also, as your floating hotel moves with you each day, it’s also possible to skip a day if the mood takes you and relax on board.

Northern Holland Bike and Boat

A unique bike and boat holiday cruising and cycling the charming landscapes and waterways of Northern Holland. Cycle through the original polders of Leeghwater, cross the Marsdiep channel to Texel Island and explore the historic towns of Alkmaar, Hoorn and Enkhuizen. Easy cycling suitable for all.

This is a land of polders, windmills, long sandy beaches, rolling dunes and cosy fishing villages. Yes, you’ll get a taste of the big city in the Dutch capital, but you’ll also discover another side of Holland, visiting the famous cheese-making town of Alkmaar and the old harbour cities of Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam.

Enkhuizen

The terrain in northern Holland is overwhelmingly flat, and this cycling tour is suitable for anyone. You’ll follow quiet back-roads as well as canal and riverside cycle paths. Most days offer shorter and longer routes so this is good choice for mixed ability groups. Also, as your floating hotel moves with you each day, it’s also possible to skip a day if the mood takes you and relax on board.

Itinerary

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

Day 1 : Arrive Amsterdam

The De Willemstad remains moored close to Amsterdam centre for your first night aboard. Check-in is between 2pm-4.30pm so after you’ve settled into your cabin there’s still time to take the tram back into the centre to explore this this vibrant and unique city with its quirky ‘leaning’ buildings and network of canals. At 5pm there is a welcome drink and safety briefing so you need to be on board for this. Then in the evening, there is a welcome briefing whilst you enjoy dinner and get to meet your fellow travellers.

Day 2 : Amsterdam – Zaandam – Zaanse Schans – Alkmaar
27 miles/44 kms

During breakfast the boat cruises to Zaandam where we start our first cycle ride through the green polder landscape. The first stop is the Zaanse Schans,  a fascinating open-air museum complete with traditional wooden houses, working windmills and traditional arts & crafts. After exploring the museum, cycle on through the green, polder landscape punctuated by tiny villages and windmills. This is the Land of Leegwater where, in the 17th century, scientist Jan Leeghwater devised a revolutionary system for reclaiming land using a system of windmills. Visit a former whaler’s villlage De Rijp and pass the windmill of Schermerhorn. The boat is waiting for us near the village of Alkmaar.

Day 3 : Alkmaar – Den Helder
20 or 25 miles/33 or 40 kms

Our second day’s ride is a delightful route to discover the North-Holland Dune reserve which supplies the drinking water for most of the province of North-Holland. Then on to the beach and artists town of Bergen before returning to Alkmaar. During the afternoon the boat cruises north to the naval port of Den Helder, the northern-most town on mainland Holland, where she moors for the night.

Day 4 : Island of Texel
9 to 41 miles/15 to 65 kms

During breakfast the De Willemstad crosses the Marsdiep channel to the island of Texel. After disembarking in the tiny port of Oudeschild we begin our ride around the island. Charming villages, deserted beaches and a network of wonderful cycle paths characterise this idyllic little place and there are a number of routes to choose from ranging from 9 to 41 miles. On returning to Oudeschild we highly recommend sampling a locally brewed beer from the nearby brewery. In the late afternoon the De Willemstad returns to the mainland, mooring for the night in port of Den Oever where the impressive, 20 mile long Afsluit Dyke separates the North Sea from the IJssel Lake.

Note: in case of unfavourable weather conditions, the captain may decide to sail to Texel on Monday evening, or it may not be possible at all; if so, you can reach Texel by ferry (approximately €5 per person, not included).

Day 5 : South-west Friesland
27 or 33 miles/43 or 55 kms

The day starts with a breakfast cruise across the IJssel Lake to the province of Friesland. The IJssel Lake was created in 1932 when a 20 mile breakwater was built between the provinces of North Holland and Friesland. Occupying 1100 km², it is the largest freshwater lake in western Europe. The boat moors in the small port of Stavoren and after disembarking you can choose between a long and a short ride or a combination of the two. The shorter ride leads you on a gentle, circular route through the untouched beauty of the Gaasterland nature park while the longer option leads you through the extensive and equally beautiful lake district. The boat remains moored in Stavoren for the night

Day 6 : Medemblik – Hoorn – Enkhuizen
19 or 31 miles/30 or 50 kms

During breakfast we will cruise back across the IJssel Lake to the pleasant little port of Medemblik. Here once again we can choose between a long and a short route. The shorter ride leads us along a scenic, lakeside cycle path directly to the beautiful town of Enkhuizen. The longer route also finishes in Enkhuizen but first heads south, via a succession of small villages to Hoorn, erstwhile home port of the powerful Dutch East India Company. In the evening we can enjoy a short, guided walking tour of Enkhuizen.

Day 7 : Volendam – Waterland – Amsterdam
22 or 31 miles/35 or 50 kms

During breakfast we cruise south to Volendam where we disembark with the bikes. For our last day of cycling we’ll venture into the ‘Waterland’ area of Holland, aptly named, as it is a network of canals linking a myriad of small lakes. We also recommend adding on a short detour to pedal out along the breakwater to the former island of Marken. We then enjoy a leisurely ride back into Amsterdam along canal-side cycle paths for a last night aboard De Willemstad moored close to the city-centre.

Day 8 : End of trip

After breakfast it’s time to disembark, by 9.30 am, and head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 7 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

Smaller framed bikes for children, tag-a-longs and child seats are also available on request at time of booking.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons, alternatively helmets are available for rent at the time of booking.

Accommodation

De Willemstad (superior)

The De Willemstad was completely renovated in 2017/18. She has 48 cabins distributed over two decks.

The upper deck features 8 suites ( approx 15㎡ / 161 sq. ft) equipped with French balcony and floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, two single beds that can be set together to make a queen bed, and a small seating area. The upper deck also features 16 twin bedded cabins (approx. 10㎡ / 108 sq.ft) equipped with two separate, single beds and panoramic windows that can be opened.

The lower deck offers 24 twin cabins total (approx. 10㎡ / 108 sq.ft) with two separate single beds and a large window with an upper hinged window that can be opened for ventilation

All cabins feature TV, mini-safe, air conditioning and private bathroom with shower, toilet and hairdryer.

Other facilities on board include a spacious salon with panoramic windows, an air conditioned restaurant deck, there is a large lounge with restaurant and bar with panoramic windows to enjoy the passing scenery. Outside there is a partially covered sun deck with chairs and sun loungers to relax in the fresh air. Wi-Fi is available on board for a fee (payable locally).

Meals

A hearty breakfast is provided each morning, as are packed lunches to take with you on the daily rides. A three-course meal is served each evening in the dining area.

Daily complimentary coffee and tea is available until 4 pm

Getting there

Fly to Amsterdam or take the Eurostar.

Research flights from the UK here.

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