This is the best time of year to cycle around The Netherlands and it doesn’t get any better than our Southern Tour of Holland, on board our barge, your home away from home. Not only will you get the chance to visit a number of famous Dutch cities, and the Keukenhof park, but you will also uncover another side of Holland as you cycle through the countryside – the country’s "Green Heart". It is here that you will see a landscape of water, meadows, grazing cows, windmills and picturesque farms… it is a landscape that is impossible to feel or look any more Dutch. In short the Southern tour is the perfect tour for anyone wanting to see as much of “typical” central Holland as is possible in one week. What you will come away with at the end of the tour is a greater appreciation of why this part of the Netherlands attracts so many visitors from all corners of the globe every year. As well as being able to discover the natural beauty of Holland’s Green Heart you will visit:
The world famous city of Amsterdam
Utrecht, the geographical center of Holland
Rotterdam, the busiest port in Europe
Delft, a city with close ties to the Dutch Royal family and the world renowned painter Johannes Vermeer
Haarlem, a sightseers’ paradise
Other attractions over the course of the tour include the cheese city of Gouda, the windmills at Kinderdijk, the silver city of Schoonhoven, the dunes and beaches of the North Sea coastline and the open air museum "Zaanse Schans". For the duration of the tour you will live and travel on board the barge MS Anna Maria Agnes. In 2014 all of the barge’s cabins and the salon/restaurant at the front of the vessel were fully renovated, with the result that you are guaranteed a week of travel in total comfort. For many years the MS Anna Maria Agnes has been one of the most beloved vessels for cycling touring cruises in the Netherlands.
Day 0 (Fri): Depart: Logan Airport, Boston USA
Check in withour group at 6:30pm in Logan airport terminal E.
If we have not already received them we will give you your tour trip SWAG & BLING! You will get four heavy duty laminated luggage tags with your home address and destination (barge) printed on them along with some other trip goodies. We will all check in together as a group. We depart Boston at 9:30 pm. IF YOU ARE NOT TRAVELING ON OUR GROUP FLIGHTS We WILL MEET US IN AMSTERDAM AIRPORT (Schiphol) AT 1 PM.
Day 1 (Sat): Arrival & Embarkation: Amsterdam
We arrive in Amsterdam airport. We travel as a group to our Barge and place our luggage on-board. The crew will welcome us on board (from 2 PM in Amsterdam center). While we are in Amsterdam you should take the opportunity to do some shopping, visit a museum or enjoy a canal tour (reduced price tickets available on board, until 10 PM). A canal tour is a unique way to see the capital of Holland from a different perspective. Our first night on board will be spent in Amsterdam, so we will have plenty of time to explore the city.
During breakfast the MS Anna Maria Agnes will cruise to Breukelen where, following the distribution of bicycles, our first day of cycling we will see tour
along the beautiful and winding river Vecht with its enchanting background of imposing castles, country houses and quaint tearooms… there is simply no better way to start a cycle tour. We will follow the Vecht into the center of Utrecht where we will have the opportunity to explore the Dom Cathedral tower and the beautiful center of the old village. In the afternoon we will continue by ship from Utrecht to Rotterdam, our destination for the day. In the evening we will have a short city walking tour (included).
We will cycle today via the jenever city of Schiedam (jenever is a traditional Dutch gin) and through the Delfland area to Delft, famous, of course, for its blue earthenware. Visit the beautiful city center with its small canals, picturesque streets, bridges and alleys. For many guests a visit to the Delftware factories of "Royal Delft" is one of the highlights of the tour. In the evening enjoy a dinner cruise from Rotterdam to Dordrecht with arrival at around 8 PM. In the evening enjoy a short walk around the city of Dordrecht (included).
First thing this morning the MS Anna Maria Agnes will sail from Dordrecht to Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 large windmills. All 19 windmills have a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and are a definite highlight – We will have the opportunity to visit one so don’t forget to bring your camera! We then have the choice between a longer bike tour with a visit to the beautiful cheese city of Gouda or a short bike tour through the Alblasserwaard. Both tours end in the "silver city" of Schoonhoven on the Lek River, where we can visit a silversmith. In the evening enjoy a small cheese tasting on board the MS Anna Maria Agnes.
Today we will cycle from Schoonhoven through the beautiful "Green Heart" of Holland via Oudewater (visit the Witches Weigh House) to Utrecht. Near Oudewater we can visit a traditional cheese farm where we can also buy delicious farm-made Gouda cheese. In the late afternoon the ship will sail from Utrecht to Beverwijk, Our destination for the night. In the evening enjoy live music on board.
Or we will have the choice of 2 bike tours today, with both finishing in the historic city of Haarlem. If you are up to the challenge the longer tour takes us through the sand dunes of the North Sea coastline via Bloemendaal and Zandvoort; the shorter tour heads inland to Haarlem. On both tours we will cycle back to Beverwijk. In the evening our ship will sail to Zaandam.
Day 7 (Fri): Zaandam – Amsterdam (Approx. 30 km/19 mi.)
From Zaandam Our final day of cycling will take us to the open air museum "Zaanse Schans" with its beautiful windmills, traditional wooden houses, an old Dutch village, a cheese farm and a traditional wooden clog maker. After exploring the museum we continue to cycle through the recreational area of Twiske to Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. If We didn’t go for a canal tour on the first day, We will have the opportunity to do so today.
Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Amsterdam
Disembarkation after breakfast: End of Our trip.
We transfer frpm our barge and home for the last week to Amsterdam airport wher our flight departs at 2pm and arrives in Boston at 6:35pm. If you are on our trip extension to Iceland your flight will arrive in Keflavik, Iceland at 3:10pm.
All distances are "approximate distances" of recommended bike tours.
If you do not to cycle, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next harbour.
Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.