Day 1, Saturday: Arrival. When you arrive on board the ship you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the guide, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers.
Day 2, Sunday: Nigtevecht – Breukelen or Vianen, approximately 15/29 miles (25/47 km). You take off to Nigtevecht by barge. From there you make a short bike trip to Breukelen along the winding river Vecht. You visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. By the end of the afternoon the barge takes you to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek, or if you would like to you can cycle all the way to Vianen.
Day 3, Monday: Vianen – Dordrecht, approximately 31 miles (50 km). In the morning your beautiful bike ride leads to Schoonhoven, the Silvertown. A visit to Schoonhoven means getting to know the rich past of the centuries-old traditional silversmith craft. From Schoonhoven you continue to Kinderdijk right across the Alblasserwaard. An impressive row of large windmills appears, built to drain the Alblasserwaard. You can visit one of the mills. Then the barge takes you further to Dordrecht, one of the oldest towns in Holland, and an important junction for shipping traffic, where you spend the night in the historic port of Wolwevershaven.
Day 4, Tuesday: Dordrecht, sailing to Willemstad or Bruinisse, cycling to Zierikzee, 33/15 miles (54/24 km). Today starts with a breakfast cruise to the delta of our great rivers. There used to be many open connections with the sea but after the big flood disaster of 1953 dramatic water works were carried out in the framework of the "Delta plan" (Delta Project). As a result most tidal inlets are now closed off from the sea by dams.
We recommend you to have a closer look at the interior and exterior of the storm surge barrier. You will find yourself surrounded by concrete that is to last for 200 years, by huge steel doors of 15 foot wide, with tidal waves storming and raging underneath. This is something not to be missed! A beautiful tour on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland comes next. Your destination for today is the well-preserved town of Zierikzee.
Day 5, Wednesday: Zierikzee – Middelburg, 31 miles (51 km) or sailing to Zandkreekdam, cycling to Middelburg, 19 miles (32 km). Today the barge sails to Middelburg. For the long route you take off towards the western part of the island, Schouwen. At Westenschouwen the crossing of the Oosterscheldedam is started. Halfway the dam the former artificial island Neeltje Jans offers an interesting exposition of the dangers of the sea and the construction work of the various dams.
Although all the islands of this province, Zeeland, are now connected, and should therefore literally no longer be named as such, they have all retained their own character. With a strong headwind this trip can be very strenuous. In that case you may prefer to do the first part of today's route on board the ship and start cycling at Zandkreek. Quiet country roads take you into Middelburg.
Day 6, Thursday: Middelburg – Ghent, 45 miles (73 km) or starting in Terneuzen, 25 miles (41 km) Ghent. By ship or on bike to Vlissingen (Flushing), an important port at the mouth of the Westerschelde. Here you can take the ferry to Breskens in Zeeuws Vlaanderen (Zeeland's Flanders), which takes about twenty minutes. Belgium is now getting close. While cycling through the spacious land with scattered villages, winding dike roads and remains of many old creeks you may not even notice that you are crossing the Dutch-Belgian border.
The city of Ghent is proud of its rich past, but is much more than just a museum town. This lively city with its numerous squares and cozy pubs is an excellent mixture of medieval edifices, stylish shopping streets, splendid mansions, working-class quarters from the beginning of the 20th century which now often house students and busy little squares where people eat out till the wee hours on a sultry summer night.
Day 7, Friday: Ghent – Bruges, approximately 29 miles (45 km). A quiet road leads you through the beautiful center of Ghent into the Leiestreek (Leie valley). You pass through St Martens-Latem, once an artists' center. Then across the Leie bridge and into the peaceful countryside of East Flanders. The route follows winding roads in the open country and now and then a forestry region. The final part of the trip is along the towpath of the canal between Ghent and Oostende and leads you to the city of Bruges. The second half of the afternoon and the evening can be spent in this charming town.
Day 8, Saturday: Departure.
Day 1, Saturday: Arrival. Bruges, boarding at 4:00 p.m., round tour, 9 miles (15 km). Your cycling tour starts in Bruges, capital of the Belgian province of West Flanders (with over 120,000 inhabitants).
Day 2, Sunday: Bruges – Ghent, 31 miles (52 km). In the morning you leave the city in an easterly direction towards Ghent, mainly following the canal between the two cities. It is a lovely, quiet cycle tour with a lot of variety. Early in the afternoon you arrive in Ghent, which allows you to visit the center with its age-old architecture and pleasant atmosphere. The city of Ghent is proud of its rich past, but is much more than just a museum town.
This lively city with its numerous squares and cozy pubs is an excellent mixture of medieval edifices, stylish shopping streets, splendid mansions, working-class quarters from the beginning of the 20th century which now often house students and busy little squares where people eat out till the wee hours on a sultry summer night.
Day 3, Monday: Ghent – Middelburg, 45 miles (73 km) or boarding in Terneuzen, 25 miles (41 km). Today you will leave Belgium and arrive in the Netherlands. Through a national cycle route through eastern Flanders you will ride to Breskens. In Breskens you can take the ferry to Vlissingen (ca. 20 min crossing). Vlissingen is an important port at the mouth of the Westerschelde located on the former island of Walcheren. From there you will cycle to Middelburg. The route goes through the wide country of Zeeland Flanders, with only a few villages, winding roads and remnants of many creeks. You have arrived in the Delta area of our great rivers. Previously, there was an open connection to the sea by the many river arms.
After the flood of 1953 the Delta works were build; dams have closed most tidal inlets of the sea. The province of Zeeland is nearly totally at or below sea level. In 1953 the dikes were in bad condition and lower than nowadays. There was a once-in-80-years' chance of flooding. The Delta Project, and in particular the storm surge barrier, has reduced this chance to once in 4,000 years. We recommend you to have a closer look at the interior and exterior of the storm surge barrier, which is in tomorrow's itinerary. You will find yourself surrounded by concrete that is to last for 200 years, by huge steel doors of 15 foot wide, with tidal waves storming and raging underneath. This is something not to be missed!
Day 4, Tuesday: Middelburg – Zierikzee, 31 miles (51 km) or cycling to Zandkreekdam and sailing to Zierikzee, 19 miles (32 km). First you will ride to the town of Veere, formerly an important trading place. From Veere you will cycle over the Veersgatdam (here you have the possibility of a beach visit) to North Beveland. Soon you will reach the Eastern Schelde Dam and on the south side you will have the opportunity for swimming (beach and dunes). About halfway through the Eastern Schelde Dam, the former work island Neeltje Jans offers a varied program of issues related to the damming and the sea.
All islands of the province are connected since the completion of the Delta, so they are not real islands anymore. However, they retain their character. This is a ride for strong cyclists, because it is always windy here. Near West Schouwen you reach the end of the trip on the dam and continue to cycle to Zierikzee, located on the south side of the island of Schouwen-Duiveland. In strong wind, you can opt for the crossing with your ship from Walcheren to Zierikzee on Schouwen-Duiveland. You then cycle from Veere to Zandkreekdam and go on board.
Day 5, Wednesday: Zierikzee, cycling to Bruinisse or Willemstad, 15/43 miles (24/54 km) and sailing to Dordrecht. A nice ride on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland is on the program. You ride to Bruinisse. The village is known as a very isolated community. The main source of income is the mussel fishery, on the dike to the Grevelingen you will find a statue of an opened mussels. You will go on board here and sail to Dordrecht or you ride on to Willemstad (an old fortified town) and go on board there. The cycling route to Willemstad is over the Grevelingendam through the south of Goeree-Overflakkee and the Hellegatsdam. You end in Dordrecht today, one of the oldest cities of Holland and located at the crossroads of busy waterways.
Day 6, Thursday: Dordrecht – Vianen, 29 miles (47 km). If you’ve left Dordrecht behind you, you cycle through the Alblasserwaard first. It is an area with elongated rural villages situated along winding watercourses. Here you will experience the tranquility of the countryside with sheltered roads, wide views across the meadows and the inevitable windmills, so typical for the Dutch landscape. Before you arrive in Vianen you will ride through the area between the major rivers that is called Vijfheerenlanden (Country of five gentlemen). The area owes its name to five men that in 1284 together kept the area from flooding. You will follow the route along the Merwedekanaal to Vianen.
Day 7, Friday: Vianen – sailing to Breukelen – cycling to Amsterdam, 25 miles (43 km). While having a breakfast cruise you pass through the dramatic locks in the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. Disembarkation in Breukelen, the charming town that rendered its name to Brooklyn, the well-known New York district. The final stretch takes you along meandering waterways and through smaller and larger villages. The diverse scenery of this route is very picturesque. On the river Vecht numerous 17th-century country houses for the upper middle class of those days can be seen.
Elegant gazebos or "teahouses" mark the corners of the spacious gardens on the water front. Almost without noticing you enter Amsterdam, following the Amstel River. The extensive network of bicycle paths ensures a relatively easy way back into the city, showing you some remarkable sites in the center. Then it is time to say goodbye to your bike. Before the fare-well dinner you may want to go for a walk in town. At night there you may want to take a canal trip or go on a city walk through the center of the city.
Day 8, Saturday: Departure. Amsterdam, end of the tour after breakfast.
- Amsterdam Start:
* April 23
* June 4
* August 27
* September 10
- Bruges Start:
* April 30
* May 7
* June 11
* September 3
* September 17.
- Ship Classification:
* Comfort: Cabins with private shower/toilet; twin beds; breakfast and dinner on board. Services on board (such as bed-clothes, two towels, bicycles, guide, routes etc.) have same level of quality throughout the "Cycletours" fleet
* Standard Plus: Cabins with private shower/toilet; bunk beds, breakfast and dinner on board. Services on board (such as bed-clothes, two towels, bicycles, guide, routes etc.) have same level of quality throughout the "Cycletours" fleet
- All cabins have washing facilities and central heating. The ships have a salon/dining room and a sundeck/bicycle deck. Most cabins are double cabins, but there are also ships with several 3 and/or 4 person cabins.
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