• more than 30 years of experience
  • wide range throughout Europe
  • guided and self-guided
  • good quality bikes

Grand Tour of the Netherlands

Two weeks cycling through 7 provinces

Schiphol Airport

  • Start
  • Finish

Schiphol Airport

This is a Bike & Barge tour in the Netherlands for the experienced cyclist covering distances of up to 70 to 80 km a day. There are hardly any hills in the Netherlands; however, there will be wind most of time. Of course, this can either be tailwind or headwind.
We cycle mainly through the eastern and central part of the country where winds tend to be rather moderate compared to the coastal regions in the west. On this tour we offer an itinerary mainly through regions that you will not visit on any of our other tours in the program. A tour along beautiful old towns on our main rivers, plenty of countryside, woods, lakes and villages, and above all excellent cycling roads and lanes. This arrangement offers a varied tour of almost a thousand kilometres visiting ten out of our twelve provinces! Lots of cycling fun on this Grand Tour of the Netherlands.

  • Type of tour Guided
  • Level 5
  • Duration 15 days
  • Distance 70 km , average per day
  • 1000 kilometers of Cycling
  • The lakes of Friesland & Lake Ijssel
  • Historic towns
  • Cycle paths

Daily Program

1 km = 0,62 miles
Day 1

Saturday: Amsterdam, boarding between 1 PM and 2 PM, cycling to Vianen


On Saturday we leave Amsterdam in southward direction. Depending on departure time, weather or wind we cycle out of the city to Breukelen where we will board the ‘Zwaan’ and sail for Vianen. Alternatively, we sail first, followed by a nice short cycle ride along the river Vecht and thereafter sail for the small town of Vianen on the river Lek.

Day 2

Sunday: Vianen - Gorinchem


Today a tour in the region of the rivers Lek, Linge and Waal is scheduled. Beautiful villages, winding roads, lots of greenery and windmills. Today’s final destination is Gorinchem, a former fortress on the river Waal.

Day 3

Monday: Gorinchem - Den Bosch


We continue our journey to Den Bosch. We leave the province of Holland and arrive in ‘the south’. Along rivers, dikes, the fortified town of Heusden, nature reserves and woods we arrive in the age-old capital of the province of Noord-Brabant with its impressive Saint John’s Cathedral.

Day 4

Tuesday: Den Bosch-Grave


Our route winds around on our great southern river Maas, which originates in the east of France. Once again, dikes, rivers and charming villages. There is always time for a break on a nice spot. Another former fortress, Grave, is today’s destination.

Day 5

Wednesday: Grave-Nijmegen


We cycle to and fro in our most southern province, Limburg, with the river Maas running through it as its spine. We will encounter the first hills of our tour and we will even cross the border into Germany briefly. We will stay for the night in Nijmegen on the river Waal. Nijmegen was one of the most northern border towns of the Roman Empire and one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands.

Day 6

Thursday: Nijmegen-Doesburg


The river Rhine and the hills of the south Veluwe determine today’s backdrop. It is time to change into low gear. There are also plenty of woods in the second half of this stage. The ship will be moored in the town of Doesburg where the rivers IJssel and Oude IJssel merge.

Day 7

Friday: Doesburg-Deventer. Sailing to Zutphen, cycling to Deventer


We start today with a sailing trip on the IJssel, a beautiful stretch with a view of the hills of the Veluwe. We disembark in Zutphen (medieval town) for a stiff stage east of the IJssel in the provinces Gelderland and Overijssel.

Day 8

Saturday: Deventer – Zwolle/Hattem


Today we follow the course of the river IJssel for a while, then cut through the woods to the valley of the river Vecht, which originates in Germany. Zwolle is the ever-more bubbling capital of Overijssel. It has an excellent network of cycling lanes. For those with some energy left after the 60 km to Zwolle, there is the opportunity for a trip to Hattem, across the river, where the woods of the Veluwe begin.

Day 9

Sunday: Zwolle/Hattem; sailing to Hasselt and sailing to Vollenhove


During breakfast we sail in northern direction across Zwarte Water. In Hasselt our cycling trip starts. From low-lying West-Overijssel we proceed to the province of Drenthe which was very thinly populated until the beginning of the twentieth century and for the greater part consisted of heath and peat bog. There are lots of nice cycling roads here. Via the ‘Kop van Overijssel’ today’s stage ends in the small town of Vollenhove, during the middle ages an administrative centre of the bishop of Utrecht. There were no less than two castles and various ‘havezathes’. Vollenhove used to be by the sea. Now you can overlook the new land which was reclaimed in 1942 when construction of the Noordoostpolder was finished.

Day 10

Monday: Vollenhove – Lemmer


Today we cycle through North West Overijssel, a region abounding in water, with its natural reserves Wieden and Weerribben. We also cycle briefly on the former seabed in the Noordoostpolder and arrive in Lemmer late in the afternoon. This used to be a fishing town but has now become an aquadrome with marinas, cafés, restaurants and shops.

Day 11

Tuesday: Lemmer - Sneek


From Lemmer we cycle northward through Gaasterland, among others. This is a relatively small but varied region, which was partly shaped by the last ice age, with a slightly undulating terrain and even some modest cliffs on the coast. Dikes are not always necessary here. We cycle through the province of Friesland, a region with its own language and culture. It is a very important region for dairy farming. Sneek is our mooring for the night.

Day 12

Wednesday: Sneek, round trip


From Sneek we do a roundtrip through the central part of Friesland. Lots of greenery, quiet roads, small villages on terps, artificial mounds from the days before the dikes were built, and beautiful, well-preserved town centres.

Day 13

Thursday: Sneek – Stavoren, 54 km and sailing to Enkhuizen


On this Thursday we cycle through the south-west of the province with lots of pastures and water. We call in at some more towns and in the afternoon we go aboard for the crossing to North Holland. Enkhuizen is a beautiful port that could compete with Amsterdam at the beginning of the 17th. century. The town has still less inhabitants than in its hey-day of trade and shipping. A stroll through the town is an absolute must.

Day 14

Friday: Enkhuizen sailing to Hoorn and cycling to Amsterdam


While having breakfast on the last day of the Grand Tour of the Netherlands we sail to Hoorn, another beautiful port with its hey-day in the 17th. century. As in Enkhuizen it also had its office of the ‘Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie’ (United East Indies Trading Company), an extensive enterprise trading in the East Indies via its various local offices. Finally, an easy-going stage to conclude our tour. Amsterdam is our final destination. On our way on winding dikes with commanding views we visit nice old towns, and via a practically carless route we reach Amsterdam thus concluding the Tour of the Netherlands. While cycling and sailing on this two-week tour you will get a very good impression of our small, yet varied and interesting nation.

Day 15

Saturday Amsterdam, end of the trip after breakfast, before 10 AM

Travel Dates

Date Availability Departure Accomodation Category  
5/11/2019 - 5/25/2019 Available Amsterdam Zwaan Comfort Plus Book now

Tour prices

Accommodation Room Price Children 0-2 years Children 3-11 years
Prices are per cabin 0 0
Zwaan Twin style cabin € 4440,- free of charge 30% reduction
Zwaan 2-berth Family Style cabin € 4440,- free of charge 30% reduction
Zwaan 2-berth Friends Style cabin € 4440,- free of charge 30% reduction
Zwaan 3-berth Family Style cabin € 6480,- free of charge 30% reduction
Zwaan 3-berth Friends Style cabin € 6480,- free of charge 30% reduction
Zwaan Cabin for single use, in the front of the barge € 3240,- 0 0

Rent a bike

Image Name Type Price per week
Hybrid bicycle, 24 -gears 2 weeks Hybrid bicycle, 24 -gears 2 weeks Batavus Boulevard, incl. helmet €180
Electric bicycle, unisex 2 weeks Electric bicycle, unisex 2 weeks Van Dijck Eris, step-through bicycle incl. bike helmet €340
Cycletours bicycle insurance 2 weeks Cycletours bicycle insurance 2 weeks No own-risk €30
Cycletours bicycle insurance E-bike 2 weeks Cycletours bicycle insurance E-bike 2 weeks No own-risk €80


  • All nights on board
  • Breakfast and dinner on board
  • Lunch packages when on the road
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Tour guide, cycles with the group
  • City walks with your tour guide
  • Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck
  • Ferry fares on the route

Not included

  • Reservation costs € 20,- per party
  • Bicycle rent
  • Bicycle insurance (optional) € 30,- per bicycle
  • Bicycle insurance electric bike (optional) € 80,- per bicycle
  • Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 35,- per person
  • Cancellation insurance (optional)

Special details

  • Please take good notice of Terms & Conditions.
  • If you have special meal requirements we ask you to mention this when booking, but at the latest until 14 days before arrival. Diets which need a special preparation or special ingredients can only be offered in limited form. We will do our best  to meet your needs, but we also ask for your understanding as due to limited logistic possibilities on a barge we are not able to prepare complete specialized menus. In case of Celiac; gluten free diet; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 100, –.
  • Cycletours Holidays reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.
  • The program is subject to change without notice.

Arrival info

Boarding  is between 1 PM and 2 PM. You are expected to arrive on our barge on Saturday at the latest at 2 PM.
You can recognise the barge by the banner with Cycletours written on it. The name of your barge is printed on the voucher, which you will receive separately. After arrival there’s coffee and tea on board. Other drinks are also available on cash payment. You can bring your luggage in advance: from noon onwards.

The mooring place of the barge in Amsterdam is Oosterdok Zip-code 1011 VX (near the Science Center: ‘Nemo’, Oosterdok 2).

Cycletours Holidays Where is the barge Amsterdam


The nearest airport to the embarkation point of the barge is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS).
There is a direct train that leaves 6 times per hour from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station. It takes about 16 minutes. The price for a train ticket Schiphol-Amsterdam Central is € 4,30 per person for a single journey. Walking distance to the barge is about 10 to 15 minutes.
A taxi from the airport to the barge in Amsterdam takes about 30 minutes. It costs about € 45,-.


The nearest train station to the embarkation point of the barge is Amsterdam Central Station. Walking distance to the barge is about 10 to 15 minutes. A taxi from the station to the barge takes about 5 minutes: Costs about € 10,-.


If you arrive by car, we recommend you to arrive earlier to unload your luggage. You can find more information about parking possibilities at I amsterdam.The nearest parking is Parking Oosterdok,  (about € 150,- per week, it is not necessary to reserve in advance; 500m walking distance to the barge).

End of the tour

The tour ends two weeks later on Saturday morning after breakfast before 10 AM. You will spend the night from Friday to Saturday on board in Amsterdam. After the tour ends you can take the train back to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. Should you have an early flight, no problem.  You may leave as early as you need to.

Our ship, your hotel

Imagine a floating hotel sailing to the next stage, while you are calmly pedalling along. No lugging of luggage: that is exactly what Bike & Barge is all about! In the pleasant atmosphere on board you can have a chat, go through the day with the others, and enjoy the meals prepared specially for cyclists. In the evenings you can enjoy a drink in the salon or admire the setting sun on deck.

Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. The Bike & Barge Holidays are for people who really enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury.
Free WiFi is (limited) available in lounge and on deck.

What are the cabins like?

Most cabins are 2-person cabins, but some barges also have triple. There are four categories: Standard Plus (cabins with private shower/toilet; bunk beds), Comfort (cabins as StandardPlus but with twin beds), ComfortPlus (cabins as Comfort, small ship or air conditioning) and Comfort DeLuxe (a very comfortable and tastefully furnished 5-star ship; cabins have twin beds and air-conditioning).

In all categories the cabins have central heating and a porthole or window; they are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower/toilet and 22o voltage. There is limited storage space in the cabin. We recommend 1 suitcase per person. You can slide the suitcase under the bed.

The team, hospitality comes first

The captain/skipper, the chef and your tour guide all welcome you warmly. They are prepared specifically for these trips and will provide good and safe passage, good meals, and a friendly, pleasant atmosphere. They will, of course, also give you a great deal of interesting information during and after the cycling and sailing.
The skipper is responsible for the smooth running of things on board; the cook is in charge of the catering. A tour leader accompanies you during the bike ride and can assist in case of breakdowns. He/She will be your guide to point out the things of interest along the way and is multi-lingual (Dutch/English, some speak German and/or French).

The meals

Your chef is used to cook delicious meals for hungry cyclists. Besides an extensive breakfast, you will also be offered a packed lunch for on the road. It consists of different types of bread and sandwich fillings, juice, a snack and a piece of fruit. Lunch package needs to be prepared by yourself after breakfast. Dinner is different every day. There is a first course, main course and dessert The meals on board are included in the price, as are coffee and tea. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks can be obtained at a reasonable charge. When you return on board after the day’s cycling, a cup of tea or coffee with a biscuit will be waiting for you.
If you have special meal requirements we ask you to mention this when booking, but at the latest until 14 days before arrival. Diets which need a special preparation or special ingredients can only be offered in limited form. We will do our best  to meet your needs, but we also ask for your understanding as due to limited logistic possibilities on a barge we are not able to prepare complete specialized menus.
In case of Celiac; gluten free diet; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 100, –.

You and the group,new friends from around the world!

One of the most attractive aspects of the Bike & Barge holidays is that you encounter an international company on board, including people from e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and France. It’s a great opportunity for you to get to know various cultures at the same time! We have people of all ages, solo travelers, couples and also families with children (during the school holidays). Most groups are made up of 12 to 26 people.

Cycling in Holland

Holland is a cycling country: 17 million inhabitants all with bikes. The number of cyclists necessitates a cycling infrastructure: cycle paths (30,000 km), cycle routes (long and short distance), cycle bridges, cycle tunnels, cycle ferries and special signposts for cyclists.
Cycling is part of normal life in the Netherlands; parents bring their children to school by bike, people go to work by bike, factory workers, doctors, even the prime minister!
Cyclists, of course, have to observe traffic rules and regulations.
The most important rule is to remember that you are not alone on your bike and that you are sharing the road with your group and other road users. Your guide on board will tell you all you need to know about the traffic rules and regulations.

The most beautiful cycling routes

Our carefully selected routes will lead you along the most beautiful spots of the country. The average daily distance is around 70 kilometers. Most participants prefer riding in a group with the cycling guide, but you can also ride individually. A road book is included (1x per cabin). Bike maps can be purchased when booking and will be handed over to you on board.

Book this tour

Frequently asked questions

  • What biking level are the Bike & Barge tours in the Netherlands?

    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.

    The Grand Tour of the Netherlands:
    For experienced cyclists: daily distances up to 85 km/ 54 miles per day. You spend about 5 to 6 hours on your bicycle.

    For each of our holidays you should at least have the basic skills of cycling. Also an average physical condition is required.

    For more information see Cycling and Safety under ‘ Travel preparation’.

  • Do you accommodate for special diets?

    Must be notified when booking, but at the latest until 14 days before arrival. Diets which need a special preparation or special ingredients can only be offered in limited form. We will do our best to meet your needs, but we also ask for your understanding as due to limited logistic possibilities on a barge we are not able to prepare complete specialized menus.
    In case of Celiac; gluten free diet; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 50, – per week. On some tours there also is an additional charge of  € 50, – for lactose-free meals.

  • What packing list do you suggest?

    What you need to bring with you on the Bike & Barge tours starting and/or ending in the Netherlands and along the Mosel & Saar:

    Specialised cycle clothing may be handy but not strictly necessary. What you do need (among other things) is the following:
    •    shorts/ long trousers/ track suit/ legging
    •    shirts/ sweater/ rain clothing
    •    gloves (in case you booked a tour in April and October. It can be chilly in the morning)
    •    good shoes/ sneakers
    •    sunglasses/ cap/ swimming costume
    •    shower gel
    •    shampoo (available on the barge Sailing Home)
    •    insect repellent
    •    hairdryer (220V) (available on the barges Sailing Home and Zwaan)

    The final packing list we suggest for your tour will be included in your travel documents.

  • What is the average daily temperature during my holiday in the Netherlands?

    The average daily temperatures per month are listed below:

    April: 13°C / 55.5°F
    May: 19°C / 66°F
    June: 21°C / 70°F
    July: 23°C / 73.5°F
    August: 23°C / 73.5°F
    September: 20°C / 68°F
    October: 15°C / 59°F

    The rain is spread pretty evenly over the year, so there is not much point in trying to avoid the Dutch drizzle. Current weather forecast

  • Is WiFi on board available?

    Yes, free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck.

  • Can I bring along my own bicycle?

    Yes, you may. On most tours this has no bearing on the total cost of the trip, however, please mention this at time of booking. Sometimes an additional charge may be requested for the bicycle when transferring from one place to another.

  • Do you have to wear a safety helmet in Holland?

    No, but it is of course sensible to wear one. We provide a safety helmet with our rental bikes, child seat, slipstreamer (tag-along) and child’s bicycle.

More questions

Price starting from € 2220,- * * There are no extra's included in this price



About the barge Zwaan

The Zwaan is specialized in Bike and Barge tours in the Netherlands, Belgium. On board of the Zwaan you find a cosy dining room, a sun deck/a deck for the bicycles. All 7 cabins are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower and toilet, 220 voltage and central heating. There is limited storage space in the cabin. We recommend 1 suitcase per person. You can slide the suitcase under the bed. The Zwaan is known for the high quality of the meals and the friendly atmosphere on board. The crew consists of the captain, chef and hostess for 14/15 guests.

Cabin plan

7 cabins with private hot shower and toilet
2x Family-style room, 2/3 p with double bed + single bed
2x Friend's-style room, 2/3 p with 3 single beds (one bunk)
2x Twin-style room, 2 p with two separate beds
1x Smaller cabin in front of the barge, 2 p with double bed, accessible with steep stairs, entrance on deck

  • Offical name Zwaan
  • Length 34 m
  • Width 6.1 m
  • Capacity 14 persons
  • Electricity 220 Volts

Grand Tour of the Netherlands


What others think of this tour

Leave your review