Historic towns, picturesque villages, a rural environment abounding with water, dunes and beaches: those are the typical ingredients of the Southern tour. And lets not forget the eighteen breathtaking mills in Kinderdijk.
This varied trip guarantees a striking introduction to the green and cultural heart of Holland. On one day you will be roaming the centre of Haarlem, Leiden or 16th Century Delft, the next day you will cycle along the reedy borders of the Lek or Vecht river. In the historic towns there is time for visiting a museum (Frans Hals, Rembrandt and Van Gogh), shopping, or relaxation in an outdoor cafι. You will visit the beach and the dunes near The Hague by bike, just like many Dutch people. You will sail through the worlds largest seaport Rotterdam very appropriately by boat. Absolutely overwhelming are the eighteen mills in Kinderdijk driven by the wind and built around 1750. In 1997 they were put on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO. An optional canal tour by boat through Amsterdam will make this route complete.
Time for tulips April and May are the tulip months. You can visit the Keukenhof for a few hours, a park full of hundreds of different tulips and many other flowers.
The route from day to day +km
Amsterdam, embarkation at 4 PM near Central Station short round trip 20
Amsterdam Zaanse Schans - Haarlem, 45
Haarlem biking via the dunes or the Keukenhof (in April/May) Leiden, 48
Leiden Delft, 49
Delft, possible visit to The Hague
Delft, sailing to Rotterdam, fast ferry to Kinderdijk biking to Schoonhoven/Nieuwpoort or Vianen, 52
Schoonhoven/Nieuwpoort or Vianen sailing to Breukelen biking to Amsterdam, 42
Amsterdam, debarkation before 10 AM near Central Station
1 km = 0.62 miles
Level 1 For everyone
The lightest cycling holiday, suited for everyone and people of all ages. On virtually flat terrain, with distances up to 50 kilometers. You spend about 4 hours on your bicycle.
Reduction children: 0-2*: free of charge
*if child is travelling together with at least 1 one full-paying person
Reservation costs: 20,- per party
Bicycle rent per week:
Hybrid, 24-gears: 70,-
Electric bike, unisex bike with 7 gears: 130,-
Helmet rental: 10,- per week (to be ordered when booking; can not be rented on board)
Children's bicycle rent (helmet included):
Child's bike, 21 gears: 50,-
Bike seat: 15,-
Trailer bike, 3 gears: 50,-
Bike trailer: 85,-
Daily cycling program
(The program is subject to change without notice)
Day 1 Saturday: Amsterdam, boarding at 4.00 pm; round tour approx. 20 km 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. Your bicycle will be handed out to you and you can join a short tour on bike from the ship's berth through the quieter parts of the city. If time permits the tour will also take you a short way out of the city. Back on board, after the bike ride, the programme for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you at dinner time.
Day 2 Sunday: Amsterdam Haarlem, 47 km The ship is left behind and a ferry takes you across the IJ where the cycling starts in the Amsterdam-Noord district. Soon you are out of the city, pedalling through the recreation area 't Twiske (a 650 hectares' area, one third of which is water) to the 'Zaanse Schans'. The Zaanse Schans, with its traditional weatherboard houses, warehouses and windmills may give you the feeling of stepping back into the 17th or 18th century. When you have spent enough time at the Zaanse Schans you continue on your way and cycle along the green-painted timber houses that are so typical for this area. After crossing the IJ once again you cycle to Spaarndam. Spaarndam is a village on the river Spaarne. Here you can find the statue of Hansje Brinker on the IJdijk. Further on to Haarlem. Haarlem offers you many interesting sites from the 17th century.
Day 3 Monday: Haarlem through the dune area or via Keukenhof (April/May) Leiden 38/48 km Today starts with a short tour on bike through the centre of Haarlem, to have a better look at some of the city's typical almshouses. Upon departure from Haarlem you may cycle to the 'Cruquiusgemaal' (Cruquius Pumping Station): one of the three steam-powered pumping stations that drained the Haarlemmer Lake between 1849 and 1852. Now a museum, it gives you an excellent idea of the Dutch 'battle against the water'. In summer you now cycle through the dunes to the beach, in springtime you can cycle through the bulb field area to the Keukenhof. The Keukenhof is a 32 hectares' park where every spring (March-May) the very best and most beautiful bulb flowers are shown to the world. The Keukenhof has become one of the best-known places of our country and is now one of the most-photographed sites in the world. In the neatly laid-out fields over 7,000,000 daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other flowers can be seen. The night is spent in Leiden. Leiden is a historic city with many little courtyards, faηades, and historical buildings built between the 15th and 18th century.
Day 4 Tuesday: Leiden Delft, 49 km You leave the city in a southerly direction and cycle along the Vliet canal. In Voorschoten you turn westwards towards the coastline. At 'Wassenaarse Slag' you can take a break on the beach. The Wassenaarse Slag is an entrance to the beach near the Dutch town of Wassenaar. The coastline is over 8 km. long. The beaches can be reached through the Meijendelse Slag on the southern end and the Wassenaarse Slag in the northern direction (or through Katwijk aan Zee, the Zuidduinen and then the beach). The route to Delft takes you along the water once again. The old centre is well worth a visit. This is a well-conserved mediaeval city with canals, a magnificent town hall and a royal tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk.
Day 5 Wednesday: Visit to Delft, the Hague or Rotterdam Today you will have the day to your free disposal. You can stay in Delft and discover the old centre, visit The Hague by public transport or go to Rotterdam by bike. Delft Delft is a beautiful town to wander round; learn more about the famous dutch painter Vermeer at the Vermeer Centre or visit the Nieuwe Kerk. When the weather is clear the view from the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is spectacular; a large part of the Southern Tour can be seen from here! The Hague The city of The Hague has an international character with its wide avenues, parks and stately mansions. Possible visits are Peace Palace (housing the International Court of Justice), the 'Binnenhof' with the 13th-century 'Ridderzaal' (Knights' Hall), seat of the Dutch Government and Parliament. Rotterdam This bustling city has many architectural highlights, some interesting museums and is the main port of Holland. Skyscrapers stand in the scaffolds or rise steadily towards the stars. On the Maas River, Erasmus Bridge is the gateway to the Kop van Zuid district. The modern architecture on what is known as Manhattan on the Maas is unmistakeable.
Day 6 Thursday: Delft sailing to Rotterdam, fast ferry to Kinderdijk cycling to Schoonhoven/Vianen, 44/52 km The first part of today's route will be sailed through the centre of Rotterdam, thus giving you the best view of the modern architecture of this port. Your cycling day starts in Kinderdijk and then take you through the Alblasserwaard, situated in between rivers and showing you wide scenery of water and meadows. The many inundations and the slowly sinking surface made water management essential in this fenland. Canals and ditches were dug and windmills were constructed; of the latter nineteen remain today. Their job has nearly totally been taken over by electric pumping stations. After a visit to one of the mills you will continue on bike. Via the 'storks' village' of Groot-Ammers you cross the river Lek and enter Schoonhoven renowned for its silver industry. The short route then mainly follows the Lek until Vianen; the somewhat longer route goes along the idyllic little river Vlist via Haastrecht to Oudewater. One more river crossing takes you into Vianen, a small, old, fortified town where we spend the night.
Day 7 Friday: Vianen sailing to Breukelen - cycling to Amsterdam, 42 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. You cycle through Vreeland, Loenen and Nieuwersluis. Loenen is definitely one of the most beautiful towns upon the Vecht. Nieuwersluis is mainly known for the Willem III Kazerne, a military detention place.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 centre. 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 centre of the city.
Day 8 Saturday: Amsterdam, End of the trip after breakfast.
Extra tour information
All nights on board (incl. bed clothes, 2 towels)
Breakfast and dinner on board
Lunch packages when on the road
Coffee and tea on board
Road book, 1x per cabin
Ferry fares on the route
Reservation costs 20,- per party
Bicycle insurance (optional) 15,- per bicycle
Bicycle insurance Electric bike (optional) 40,- per bicycle
Entrance fees to museums; approx. 15 per tour
Travel risk insurance / cancellation insurance (optional)