Amsterdam to Bruges Bike & Barge - Deluxe

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Amsterdam to Bruges 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 on board the comfortable barge

Trip Summary

Experience the great cities of Holland and western Belgium on this classic barge and bike trip between Amsterdam and Bruges. 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 through the 'delta' province of Zeeland to Belgium. 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.



The cycling is introductory (1) grade with daily cycling distances from 15 to 56km (9 to 34mi). 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.


At approximately 1:00pm, you can check into the barge (luggage can be brought on board from 11am). Later that afternoon, at around 2:00pm the barge sails to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek. Following distribution of the bikes you will have an opportunity to take a test ride in the surrounding area.

Meals:  D

In the morning we cycle through beautiful Dutch meadowlands to the silver city Schoonhoven. We continue through the Alblasserwaard region to the impressive 19 windmills of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO site. There will be an opportunity to visit one of the mills. From nearby Alblasserdam catch a “Waterbus”, a fast ferry, that will take you and your bike in approx. 10 minutes to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, which holds a strategic location along three rivers. Overnight in Dordrecht.

Meals:  B,L,D

As you enjoy your breakfast the barge will sail to the fortified town of Willemstad on the Haringvliet waterway, where you will start your day’s cycling to Tholen. Attractions today include the beautiful “Wouwse Plantage” forest, the fortress town of Bergen op Zoom and the impressive Kreekraksluis (lock). Tholen is a former fishing village amidst the large streams of the province of Zeeland. In the afternoon you will board the barge and sail to the port city of Antwerp, which is situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world's rough diamonds and is a city with a long list of attractions including: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle. After dinner we will visit the beautiful old city centre.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we cycle out of the port to the Zeeschelde, and follow this tidal river upstream on a bike path to St Amands, our destination for today. This part of the route takes us through the Temse region and is along a beautiful and winding section of the Schelde which over the centuries held strategic importance for the Romans, Vikings, Spanish and Napoleon. Along the way you can admire the magnificent Flemish countryside around the Schelde. 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.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning begins with a cycle from St-Amands to Dendermonde. From Dendermonde the bike tour again follows the river Schelde towards Ghent, a lively university city with a rich past. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to discover more of the city, or to shop in the lively centre. 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 when the textile industry brought great wealth. The Cloth Hall was established in 1425, bringing many merchants together, and many aristocrats remain today. The 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

This morning the cycle route starts just outside the city and leads us through the pleasant Flemish countryside, or Western Flanders, to Bruges. You will have ample time to explore Bruges, the 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 is not included and will be in town at a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).

Meals:  B,L

Today your last cycle takes you to a quiet canal where you’ll find lots of poplars (flowering plants), through an attractive polder landscape with nice small farm houses, and on to the North Sea coast. A 12 kilometer (7.5 mile) long sandy beach, numerous cafés and the attractive dune landscape of “Het Zwin” (a unique nature reserve) provide enough variety during your lunch break. Return cycle to Bruges for our last evening aboard. Alternatively the day is at your leisure if you choose to spend more time in Bruges.

Meals:  B,L,D

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

Meals:  B

Itinerary in 2021

Make your own way to the boat in Amsterdam for embarkation and check-in at 2pm. Your crew for the week will be waiting to welcome you on board. After unpacking your luggage in your cabin, you’ll have plenty of time to explore this famous city, eg visit one of its many museums or simply do some shopping. An introduction to the tour will take place back on board at 5.30 pm, when you'll meet the crew and dinner will be served. After dinner we'll enjoy a canal tour through the centre of Amsterdam.

Meals:  Nil

We’ll start our first day on the bike by cycling out of Amsterdam to the historical town of Muiden, with its 14th century waterfront castle. We'll ride along the Vecht River in an area famous for its beautiful mansions, small castles, impressive houses and their large gardens. Close to Vreeland we can visit a traditional cheese farm. After cycling through the charming villages of Loenen and Nieuwersluis, we’ll arrive at Breukelen, to rejoin the boat. Around 5 pm the boat departs for Vianen and dinner will be served while we're cruising. We'll spend the evening and night in Vianen, a small fortified town on the Lower Rhine river.

Meals:  Nil

Today we will cycle along a beautiful route to Schoonhoven – nicknamed Zilverstad (“Silver City”) – renowned for its talented silversmiths since the 17th century. Later in the day as we cycle through the Alblasserwaard region we will reach Kinderdijk, famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. All have a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and are a definite highlight – you will have the opportunity to visit one so don’t forget to bring your camera! From nearby Alblasserdam we will take the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry, that will take us and our bikes to Dordrecht (approx 10 minutes), one of the oldest towns in Holland.

Meals:  Nil

During breakfast, the boat will cruise to Willemstad, where we will start our day’s cycling. Willemstad is a beautiful old fortified town on the Haringvliet waterway. Today we will cycle to Tholen, once an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people fished for their living. Nowadays Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways, but it is still a picturesque village with many relics of an eventful past. In the afternoon we board the boat and cruise to the port city of Antwerp, situated on the river Schelde. Antwerp is famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and is a city with a long list of attractions including: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle. After dinner you can visit the beautiful old city centre.

Meals:  Nil

This morning we will cycle out of Antwerp along a picturesque section of the Schelde River to St Amands, our base for the night. This stage is without doubt one of the natural highlights of the tour.

Meals:  Nil

Today we will continue to follow the river Schelde to Ghent, where the barge will moor for the night at a lock in the suburb of Merelbeke, approx 30min by bike from the city centre. Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history. Since Roman times Ghent’s position at the junction of Leie and Schelde Rivers has ensured the town's success as a trading port. In total the city features an Opera House, 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Major attractions are St Bavo Cathedral, where a number of masterpieces of medieval art including the world famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck are kept, and the 91m belfry of Ghent, one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city centre.

Meals:  Nil

Today we will cycle from Ghent through the beautiful Flemish countryside of western Flanders to Bruges, widely described as the ‘Venice of the North’ and arguably the most beautiful of all the Flemish cities. Bruges attracts more than two million visitors every year who come to see the picturesque medieval town centre of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic city and a long list of historic attractions. An outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, Bruges has managed to maintain its historic fabric as it has evolved over the centuries, with the result that today the city’s original Gothic buildings form an integral part of the town’s identity. Here you can visit one of Bruges' many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a local café. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).

Meals:  Nil

The trip concludes after breakfast in Bruges. Disembarkation by 9.30am.

Meals:  Nil

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 city walks
  • Linen and change of towels as required
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Daily tea and coffee during breakfast and 3-4pm
  • 2020 - Kinderdijk mills visit, entrance to Antwerp cathedral, Ghent canal trip
  • 2021 - canal tour in Amsterdam, entrance to Antwerp cathedral, Ghent canal trip
  • Fees for ferries
  • WIFI
  • GPS tracks on request

What's Not Included

  • Travel to Amsterdam and from Bruges
  • 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
  • Transfers 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.
  • 2020 - Optional canal tour of Amsterdam - tickets can be purchased on board, approx EUR12pp (exclusive discounted price to tour participants)
  • 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


Duration:8 Days
Countries:Holland and Belgium
Starting Point:Amsterdam
Finishing Point:Bruges
Grade:introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:ABR
Prices From:GBP£1320 Per Person
Single Supplement (MAG/MAGIII):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.