Bruges to Amsterdam - Deluxe

Bruges to Amsterdam - 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 the comfortable barge

Trip Summary

Experience the great cities of Holland 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

At approximately 1:00pm, you can check into 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. You will have time to explore Bruges with an evening city tour in this Venice of the North or "Pearl Flanders", perhaps the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its Old Town, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. At that time the city was a metropolis and center of commerce and art, and you can still see this glory in the beautiful buildings. Bruges is also a nice town for shopping or going out - sample a waffle, coffee or traditional Belgian beer around the Grote Markt (the big market place). Dinner will be on board.

Meals:  D

The barge sets sail early this morning. Just outside the city, your first bike tour begins through the pleasant Flemish countryside, or Western Flanders, to the historical centre of Ghent. It is a lively university city with a rich past, and in the afternoon you have the opportunity to discover more of its beauty on foot. The city was founded in Roman times, where the rivers Leie and Schelde converge. The convenient location has over the years brought much prosperity, 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. The main church 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 is docked at the lock in Merelbeke, a suburb of Ghent approx. 30min by bike from the city centre.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the barge will sail the river Schelde to Dendermonde, a friendly provincial town on the river at the conjunction of the rivers Dender and Schelde. The cycle tour will lead you downstream along a bike path on this beautiful tidal river past the Flemish countryside - the departure time will be set by the skipper dependent on high or low tide as it affects the speed of the barge. The River Schedle stretches for 435km 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. The Schelde has always had considerable commercial and strategic importance over the years. Continue by bike or barge from Dendermonde to St-Amands (depending on the tides) for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the cycle route follows the Schelde river 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 Schelde which over the centuries held strategic importance for the Romans, Vikings, Spanish and Napoleon. Antwerp, where we overnight, is known as the diamond city with an abundance of jeweler’s shops, and also the native city of 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).

Meals:  B,L

In the morning we sail by barge through the Schelde-Rhine Canal and the imposing Kreekraksluis (Kreekrak lock). Here the bicycle 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 you will join the barge again for an enjoyable afternoon cruise to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, which holds a strategic location along three rivers. During the cruise you will pass through the impressive Volkerak lock system and the fortified town of Willemstad. Today, the skipper and guide will discuss with you which part of the tour will be covered by bicycle. After dinner there will be a visit to the town centre of Dordrecht.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you catch a waterbus (fast ferry) for 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 out of the low Alblasserwaard polder. There will be an opportunity to visit one of the mills. We will then continue cycling to the 'Silver City' of Schoonhoven, renowned for its talented silversmiths, and on to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek. In the evening you can explore this town at your leisure.

Meals:  B,L,D

The day begins with a barge crossing to Breukelen, where you disembark and your last cycling tour starts along the winding river Vecht. This area is well known for its spawling mansions, small castles and beautiful houses with large gardens and parks. Pass through the small villages of Nieuwersluis, Loenen and Vreeland to Nigtevecht, where you can visit a traditional cheese farm. Continue cycling through the historical town of Muiden and on to Amsterdam and the barge's mooring place in the harbour for our last evening aboard. You may wish to explore the lively Dutch capital on foot and do some shopping or make a roundtrip of 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 until 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).
  • 7 speed trekking bike rental with handbrake or backpedal brake (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)
  • 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
  • Daily tea and coffee during breakfast and 3-4pm
  • Fees for ferries (approx. €5) and Waterbus (€4)
  • Kinderdijk mills visit, entrance to Antwerp cathedral, Ghent canal trip
  • WIFI
  • GPS tracks on request

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.
  • Optional canal tour of Amsterdam - tickets can be purchased on board, approx EUR12pp (exclusive discounted price to tour participants)
  • 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

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£1355 Per Person
Single Supplement (MAG/MAGIII):GBP£340  Click for more information
Single use of twin cabin Supplement (MAG IV/MAGIV/Zwaantje/Fleur):GBP£570  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.