Bruges to Amsterdam Bike & Barge - Deluxe

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Bruges to Amsterdam Bike & Barge - Deluxe

Trip Highlights

  • Walking the cobble stoned streets of Bruges and Ghent
  • Cycling past a variety of landscapes including windmills of Kinderdijk and the river Schelde
  • Sampling local specialties including Belgian waffles, beer and mussels
  • Soaking up the hospitality onboard your comfortable barge

Trip Summary

Experience the great cities of the Netherlands and western Belgium on this classic barge and bike trip between Bruges and Amsterdam. En route visit Antwerp and Ghent whose historic centres will enchant you with their history and refined culture. Wind your way by bike along the Vecht river with its impressive mansions and country houses, visit a cheese farm and the 19 windmills in Kinderdijk. Via Dordrecht and the Kreekrak lock, the barge cruises from Belgium through the 'delta' province of Zeeland. Cycling with the group and guide or on your own with a set of maps and directions - the choice is yours. In the evenings, relax on board your comfortable barge or explore the towns on foot.

Suitability

INTRODUCTORY - GRADE 1

The cycling is introductory (1) grade with daily cycling distances from 11 to 57km (6 to 36mi). As with all of our cycling programs, wind and poor weather could make the trip grade change. Should you not wish to cycle there are walking options available. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos, visit a museum or enjoy the market places in many of the interesting towns visited. It is considered suitable for children, as long as they have road sense, are familiar with the workings of a bike (gear change etc) and are comfortable cycling alongside moving vehicles at times. *For safety reasons, we highly recommend that cycle helmets be worn during cycle sections.

Bruges to Amsterdam

From 1:00pm you can check-in to the barge in Bruges and meet your guide and crew (luggage can be brought on board from 11am). After a welcome meeting with the crew at 2:00pm, there will be a bicycle fitting and a short warm-up cycle through the surrounding countryside. After dinner the guide will take you for a short walk through the centre of town. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Bruges is perhaps the most beautiful of all Flemish cities, with its Old Town almost completely intact. During the Middle Ages, the city was a metropolis and centre of commerce and art, evident in the many beautiful facades. It is a nice town for shopping and exploring. We suggest sampling a waffle, coffee or traditional Belgian beer around the Grote Markt (big market place).

Meals:  D

We start our first day of cycling by pedaling towards Ghent through the beautiful Flemish landscape along the Ghent canal. Ghent is a lively university city with a rich past, and in the afternoon you can discover more of its beauty on foot. The city was founded in Roman times, where the rivers Leie and Schelde converge. During the Middle Ages, Ghent was Europe's second largest city after Paris. Its convenient location has brought much prosperity over time, culminating in the late 13th and early 14th century. The textile industry brought great wealth, with the Cloth Hall established in 1425 bringing many merchants together, and many aristocrats remain today. St Bavo Cathedral reflects different periods in history and building styles and houses some masterpieces of medieval art, the most famous of which is "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyck. The barge will dock at the lock in Merelbeke, a suburb of Ghent approx. 30 minutes by bike from the city centre. Before dinner a small canal boat will take you for a guided tour through the historic city.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast in Ghent we will cycle downstream through a diverse landscape along the tidal Schelde River to Dendermonde, located at the confluence of the Dender and Schelde rivers. The boat's departure time will be set by the skipper, dependent on the tides. The River Schedle stretches over 400km through northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands and is connected by several canals to the basins of the Rhine, Meuse and Seine Rivers, and has had considerable commercial and strategic importance over the years. We will continue by bike or barge from Dendermonde to St Amands, depending on the tides.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we follow the Schelde further downstream through the Temse region to the lively port town of Antwerp. This part of the route is along a beautiful and winding section of the river which over the centuries held strategic importance for the Romans, Vikings, Spanish and Napoleon. Our destination is Antwerp, famous for handling most of the world’s rough diamonds and as the birthplace of the painter Rubens. You will find some of his paintings in the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe” (Our Lady) Cathedral. Its other attractions include the City Hall, one of many majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market and the medieval Steen Castle. Dinner is not included* and will be in town at a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board). *At times dinner will be served on board here instead of in Bruges (Magnifiques only)

Meals:  B,L

In the morning we cruise through the Schelde-Rhine Canal and the imposing Kreekraksluis (Kreekrak lock). Here our cycle tour starts through the beautiful ‘Wouwse Plantage’ forest to Tholen, a former fishing village amidst the large streams of the province of Zeeland. From Tholen we join the barge again for an enjoyable afternoon cruise to Dordrecht, en route passing through the impressive Volkerak lock system. Today, the skipper and guide will discuss with you which part of the tour will be covered by bicycle. After dinner you can join the guide for an evening walk through the town centre of Dordrecht, which is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we take the 'Waterbus' (fast ferry, 10 minutes) to Alblasserdam, from where it is a short cycle to the famous 19 windmills of Kinderdijk. The windmills were constructed in the 18th century to pump water from the low Alblasserwaard polder. We will continue by bike to Schoonhoven, renowned for its talented silversmiths, and Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek (Lower Rhine).

Meals:  B,L,D

During breakfast we will cruise to Breukelen then disembark for our last day of cycling. Following the winding river Vecht, the area is well known for its sprawling mansions, small castles and beautiful houses with large gardens and parks. We'll pass through the small villages of Nieuwersluis, Loenen and Vreeland en route to Nigtevecht, where we can visit a traditional cheese farm. Continue cycling through the historical town of Muiden and on to Amsterdam and the barge in the harbour. You can explore the lively Dutch capital on foot or take a ride to see the famous Amsterdam canals.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast the journey comes to an end as you say farewell to the guide and crew. Check out and disembark by 9:30am.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches, 6 dinners (does not include drinks) Continental breakfasts are served and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. At breakfast you will prepare your packed lunch for the day which will be sandwiches, fruit & juice. If you choose not to cycle on a particular day, the crew will serve lunch on board. Dinner will consist of three courses inclusive of either a pasta, vegetarian or meat dish.
  • 7 nights in a twin share cabin with ensuite facilities on a category A+ barge (cabins are configured with two lower beds - supplement applies for premium twin or upper deck suite on select departures, or single cabin). We do not match clients together so if you are travelling solo you will need to book a single cabin (limited and on a request basis).
  • Bike rental with handbrake - 7 speed (Magnifiques), 11 speed (Fleur) and 21 speed (Zwaantje), waterproof pannier, helmet and water bottle (electric bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (one set per cabin), GPS tracks on request
  • Welcome drink and briefing on the first evening
  • Two multilingual tour guides for fully guided cycling tours (group sizes of 22 passengers or more, except Zwaantje which is only ever 1 tour guide), daily briefings
  • Several short city walks
  • Linen and change of towels as required
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Tea and coffee on board
  • Fees for ferries
  • Entrance to Antwerp cathedral, Ghent canal trip
  • WIFI

What's Not Included

  • Travel to Bruges and from Amsterdam
  • Dinner in Antwerp (Zwaantje/Fleur) / Antwerp or Bruges (Magnifiques)
  • Drinks (available for purchase on board) and other items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specified
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Tips - while tipping is not obligatory, it is customary to offer a tip if the guide and crew have done a good job. As a guide we would recommend EUR30-60 per person (to be distributed between the guide/s, captain and crew).
  • Catering for special diets (except Vegetarian). A supplement is payable for lactose or gluten free diets - EUR50pp (subject to change) paid locally on board. See below for further details regarding catering for dietary requirements.
  • Transfers not specified
  • Bike insurance - payable locally (EUR10 for standard bikes and EUR25 for e-bikes) - further details of this Limitation of Liability (damage) policy are available on request
  • Fee to bring your own bike (note this is not possible on Fleur or Zwaantje due to space limitations)

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:Belgium and Holland
Starting Point:Bruges
Finishing Point:Amsterdam
Activities:GUIDED CYCLING
BARGE
Grade:introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:BRA
Prices From:GBP£1320 Per Person
Single cabin Supplement (Royal /Mag III):GBP£370  Click for more information
Single use of twin cabin Supplement (MAG II/ MAGIV/Zwaantje/Fleur):GBP£620  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.