Bike Boat Northern Tour of Holland
Historical towns and villages, rural countryside and beaches above Amsterdam
During this fascinating Northern Holland cycling cruise you will discover the best of what the beautiful Provinces of North Holland and Friesland offer. Explore flat “polder” landscapes – a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments – the North Sea coast, towering sand dunes, long sandy beaches, historic windmills, the island of Texel and the many picturesque harbor towns along the coast of IJsselmeer Lake. It is without doubt a tour not to be missed!
Bike Boat Northern Tour of Holland
|Tour operator:||Boat-Bike Tours|
|Type of holiday:||self-guided, bike-boat tour|
|Number of days:||8 days|
Nowhere else in the world will you find an area as fascinating to explore as the Dutch Provinces of North Holland and Friesland, two areas rich in tradition, full of romantic fishing and harbor villages, picturesque lakes and expansive North Sea vistas.
Over the course of your week on board your floating hotel, the ship De Holland, you will be able to discover typical Dutch culture in picturesque harbor towns and small villages while you cycle through a flat “polder land”, extensively reclaimed over the centuries from the North Sea.
What you will soon realize is the truth behind the proverb “God created the earth but the Dutch made Holland”, such has been the extent of land reclamation in the region you will be cycling through. Since the 17th century in an effort to save disappearing land from encroaching water, protective dikes have been built, low lying land has been pumped dry and tidal dams have been created in creeks to prevent flooding, with the result that today’s green flat polder landscape is full of agricultural enterprise.
Given the Dutch love of cycling, the region is crisscrossed with many quiet cycle tracks that stretch from one end of the region to the other. You will be amazed by the beauty of the North Sea beaches, the towering sand dunes – who said there were no hills in Holland! – the extremely bike friendly island of Texel, the beautiful flat landscapes, small dreamlike farm villages and picturesque harbor villages.
During the second part of the tour you will cross the large lake IJsselmeer to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. Other highlights during your week tour include the open air museum “Zaanse Schans”, the historic city center of Alkmaar and the old harbor cities of Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Volendam, the islands of Texel and Marken and – of course – Amsterdam with its beautiful canals.
A varied landscape
In this short tour, you’ll travel by barge and bike through stunning North Holland landscapes. Pedaling flat bicycle paths across polders (reclaimed land), dikes, canals, and the dunes of the coast, past nature areas and farmland, you’ll be able to see how the Dutch have shaped the landscape, preventing flooding while respecting nature and allowing space for agriculture. The changing landscape will charm you.
What makes Holland Holland
When you think of Holland, you probably imagine windmills, dikes, cheese, and clogs. That history comes alive at Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum where you can explore a range of historical windmills, traditional Dutch houses and shops, and you can observe how cheese and clogs are made. And speaking of cheese, you’ll also visit Alkmaar, home to a traditional cheese market. Another highlight of this tour is Marken, once an island of fishermen and still picture-perfect with its small wooden houses and boat harbor. Haarlem’s medieval center and cobbled streets evoke old Holland. Amsterdam, the start and end point of the tour, offers endless opportunities for exploring museums and shops, or just admiring the graceful elegance of the canal houses in the UNESCO-listed canal zone.
On board the ship
When you’re not pedaling through the countryside or exploring Holland’s historical towns, you’ll enjoy the facilities on the ship. On-board chefs prepare a varied and delicious dinner menu fresh daily. Raise a toast at the bar with other guests, watch the scenery from a deck chair outside or from the salon inside, or have a soak in the on-board whirlpool. You’ll get a good night’s rest in one of our well-appointed cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms.
The ship – Your sailing hotel
In between cycling excursions, you cruise along with the ship, which travels to a new destination every day. You dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board. You’ll receive a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like. There are rental bikes on board, but you can also bring your own if you mention it when booking.
You cycle independently
During this trip there is an expert and experienced tour leader on board. He or she will discuss the next day’s cycling routes on a daily basis and provide you with tips and information about the route. You will cycle the tours independently and at your own pace using a detailed cycling map, GPS directions via the free Ride With GPS app and printed route descriptions (available on board). The tour leader will also cycle the routes, so they will be riding nearby and can be reached by phone in case of emergencies, problems or questions.