Bike Tour: Bike Boat Across the Green Heart - 8 days
During this eight day/seven night, tour on board of one of the charming barges you will discover the ‘Green Heart’ of Holland by bike, a region steeped in history, natural attractions, world famous cities and beautiful scenery.
In collaboration with: Boat Bike Tours.
Bike Boat Across the Green Heart
Along the way you will visit historical cities such as Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Leiden and Gouda. You will discover many culturally historic attractions and, more importantly, you will be able to immerse yourself in the heart of this fascinating and very Dutch part of Holland.
Also, if you are an art lover, you will enjoy the visits to Leiden, Haarlem and Delft where painters such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Vermeer lived and worked. But far from just being about big cities and Dutch history, this tour is also about the picturesque villages and beautiful scenery of the ‘green lung’ districts of central part and South-Holland province. One thing is certain: by the end of the tour you will not only go home with a new-found appreciation for bike and barge cruising, but for everything that is Dutch.
A bonus during this tour is the fact that the barges docks in and around the city center of the various cities and villages visited at the end of each day’s cycling, giving you the opportunity to visit and explore at your leisure at night.
The ship – Your sailing hotel In between cycling excursions, you cruise along with the ship, which travels to a new destination every day. You dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board. You’ll receive a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like. There are rental bikes on board, but you can also bring your own if you mention it when booking.
Fully Guided Accompanied by a competent, professional and multilingual tour leader, you and the group will visit interesting sights and places on the daily cycling tours. During the bike tour, they will explain the local history and culture behind the things you encounter along the way. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of the Ride with GPS app and our BBT cycling map (available on board).
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is from 2 p.m. in the center of Amsterdam. After unpacking your luggage in your cabin an introduction to the tour will take place at 3 p.m. After that your rental bicycles will be distributed and your tour leader will invite you to a short test-ride. Upon your return your first dinner on board will be served.
Day 2: Amsterdam – Zaandam | Zaanse Schans – Haarlem
After a short cruise on board the barge, you are finally off and cycling today after first visiting the lovely open-air museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ in Zaandam where an authentic 18th and 19th century Dutch village has been reconstructed. In the museum you will learn about iconic Dutch traditions such as windmills and cheese and clog making. You will then cycle to Haarlem where celebrated portraitist and genre painter Frans Hals lived and worked in the 16th century. In the evening you can stroll through the lovely city center and the Grote Markt (market square). If preferred, today’s cycling tour can also be extended with a visit to the sea locks of IJmuiden and the Kennemer Dunes. During this cycling tour you can visit some forts of the Defense Line of Amsterdam (UNESCO World Heritage Site).). (40 km / 24 miles or 55 km / 34 miles)
Day 3: Haarlem – North Sea coast – Leiden
After enjoying breakfast with your newfound cycling friends, you will pedal today along the North Sea coast through seaside dunes via the resorts of Noordwijk and Katwijk aan Zee to the vibrant university city of Leiden, the birthplace of celebrated artist Rembrandt van Rijn. The city’s picturesque old city center is crisscrossed with canals lined by beautiful 17th-century buildings and is very definitely a must to see. The longer cycling tour leads you from Haarlem to Cruquius (steam engine museum) and Hillegom (several flower nurseries) to Leiden. (42 km / 25 miles or 50 km / 34 miles)
Day 4: Leiden – Delft
From Leiden you will cycle to Delft, famous for its Blue porcelain (Delftware), where you will have the opportunity to visit a porcelain studio. Another major attraction in the beautiful city center of Delft is the royal crypt of the House of Orange. The longer cycling tour brings you to seaside resort Scheveningen and to The Hague, where you can visit the Binnenhof (Parliament) and the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis) and then continues to end in Delft.. (35 km / 22 miles or 41 km / 34 miles)
This morning you will sail from Delft on the barge through the remarkable international port of Rotterdam. From here you can start cycling or you can hop on the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry that will bring you and your bicycle over the river in 30-40 minutes to Alblasserdam. From there you cycle just a few miles to Kinderdijk, world famous for an impressive row of 19 large windmills. These 19 windmills 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 Kinderdijk you will cycle directly to the cheese city of Gouda, or if you prefer, on a longer tour via the silver city of Schoonhoven to Gouda, your destination for the day. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board). (several options from 23 km / 15 miles to 66 km / 41 miles)
Day 6: Gouda - Kudelstaart
The highlight of today’s cycling tour is the naturally idyllic beauty of the South Holland landscape. Your destination for the day is the village of Kudelstaart where the Flora will be waiting for you. Along the way you will cycle along numerous small canals and past picture-perfect farms and small villages. At the mooring place on the banks of the Westeinder Plassen (‘West End’ lakes) there is a beautiful view to savor while enjoying a wine during or after dinner. (45 km /28 miles or 55 km / 34 miles)
Day 7: Kudelstaart – Amsterdam
If you are keen for an early start to the day you can visit the largest trade center for plants and flowers in the world at Aalsmeer (optional extra, not included). The market is a hive of activity; it is guaranteed that you will never have seen so many flowers in the one place. After a late breakfast you can either stay on board the barge as it cruises through the City of Amsterdam to its mooring place or you can cycle into the city through the city park ‘Amsterdamse Bos’ or along the Amstel river. Once you reach Amsterdam take the opportunity during the afternoon and evening to go for a canal cruise, discover Anne Frank’s House, the Rembrandt House Museum, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and Dam Square, the very center and heart of the city. (32 km / 19 mi.)
Day 8: Amsterdam
End of your tour: You leave the boat after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
Twin lower deck single use
Twin or triple lower
Price per person €
Twin eco main deck single use
Price per person €
Twin or triple lower
Twin lower deck single use
Price per person €
Gandalf The Gandalf is a small and comfortable passenger barge. The ship, owned and operated by skipper Hans Petrus, sails under Dutch flag has been sailing in various areas in The Netherlands and Belgium for many years. The Gandalf is a very popular ship, ideal for bike and barge tours.
Description of the cabins: The Gandalf has ten twin cabins (10 m² – 108 sq.ft.) with two separate beds. In two of the cabins a bunk bed as third bed is possible (on request). Each cabin has a recently renovated bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. Windows can be opened and the cabins have ventilation and central heating. A hair dryer is available on request.
Description of the ship: On the upper deck of the Gandalf you will find the large and cozy lounge with the bar and dining area. Wi-Fi is available. The barge also has two large sundecks with storage room for the bicycles and sitting areas with tables and chairs, where you can have a drink. On nice evenings, or while cruising, you can enjoy the scenery from here. Furthermore, equipped with a double-roof of solar panels, the Gandalf runs for a great part on green energy! This is not only environment-friendly, but also comfortable for guests: since the ship hardly needs to use a generator to produce electricity, the nights are still and quiet on board.
Facts about the ship Length: 45 m (148 ft.) Width: 6,2 m (20 ft.) Crew: 4 Cabins: 10 Pass.: 20 (max.)
Flora The Flora is a small, cozy and comfortable passenger barge, which has successfully been sailing the Green Heart of Holland tour for several years now. The ship was renovated in 2007 and is now owned by Berthus van den Berg and Jonne Muller. The Flora is a very popular small river barge for boat and bike tours.
Description of the cabins: The Flora has eleven twin cabins (8 m² – 86 sq.ft.), ten with two separate single beds and one with a double bed. In two of the cabins a bunk bed for children up to age 12 (weighing no more than 40 kg) is available upon request. Each cabin has a private shower, toilet and basin. The small windows in the cabins can be opened and the cabins have central heating. Furthermore, in each cabin you will find a mini safe. A hairdryer is available upon request.
Description of the ship: The lounge, nostalgically furnished, offers an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. In the lounge, you will find the bar and dining area. Wi-Fi is available. On nice evenings or while cruising, you can enjoy the scenery from the sundeck.
Facts about the ship Length: 40 m (131 ft.) Width: 6 m (20 ft.) Crew: 2 Cabins: 11 Pass.: 24 (max.)
Sarah The Sarah is a comfortable and cozy passenger barge. During the conversion of the barge from cargo vessel to passenger barge, the owners of the Sarah decided to choose quality instead of quantity. The Sarah is spaciously built for a small group of passengers and offers an attractive, “feels-like-to-be-at-home” atmosphere. The Sarah sails under Dutch flag and management and is a very popular small river barge on several tours in the Netherlands.
Description of the cabins: The Sarah has ten comfortable cabins (10 m² – 108 sq.ft.). There are six twin cabins with two single beds, two twin/triple cabins with two single beds and a bunk bed and two double cabins with one double bed. In one of the twin cabins, on prior request the beds can be set together. Each cabin has a private shower, toilet and basin. The cabins all have a ventilation system, central heating and windows that can be opened. Furthermore, you will find a mini safe and hair dryer in each cabin. The corridor is air-conditioned, thus also cooling the cabins.
Description of the ship: On the upper deck of the Sarah you will find the cozy air conditioned open lounge with large windows, a TV, a dining area and a bar. Wi-Fi is available. Please note that due to the mobile network connection, the quality is not always stable. The barge also has a beautiful sundeck, partially with awning. On nice evenings you can have diner over here and while cruising, you can enjoy the scenery.
Facts about the ship Length: 45 m (148 ft.) Width: 6.5 m (22 ft.) Crew: 4 Cabins: 10 Pass.: 22 (max.)
Vegetarian meals are possible at no surcharge. Other diets (like gluten free or for lactose intolerance) are possible at a fee. All diets and vegetarian meals must be booked and confirmed well in advance (only vegan meals are not possible).
Included in this tour:
8 days/7 nights
7 x breakfast
6 x 3-course dinner
Coffee and tea on board
Use of bed linen and towels
Daily cleaning of the cabin
Daily briefings by the tour leader
Fully guided cycling tours
Fees for ferries
BBT cycling map (1 per cabin)
Use of a waterproof pannier bag
Biodegradable water bottle
Carbon offset payment to the non-profit organization Justdiggit
Excluded in this tour:
Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
Gratuities (at your discretion)
Entrance fees and excursions
Transfers to/from the docking place
SGR Insolvency protection
Additional options & information
Rental bicycle: € 90 per week
Rental E-Bike: € 225 per week (only on request, limited number available)
Helmets: A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.
Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle €10/week (only bookable in advance)
Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike €25/week (only bookable in advance)
Parking own bicycle: € 10 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
Parking + charge station own E-Bike: € 25 per week (only a limited number of parking places available: pref. reservation by booking)
Canal cruise Amsterdam: Ticket for a 1-hour canal cruise through Amsterdam – special price for our guests: € 16 (at the ticket desk approx.: € 19). Please book your ticket in advance and you can collect it on board of your ship on the first day of the tour.
Parking in Amsterdam (valet parking):
prices and pre-booking on request. Embarking on a boat bike tour means leaving your worries behind. If you’re arriving for one of our tours by car then you can start your carefree experience immediately thanks to the CentralParking valet service.
With this parking service, you can drive directly to your ship’s departure dock. Arrange a drop-off time in advance and a CentralParking valet driver will be waiting to help you with your luggage. Your valet will then drive your car to a secure garage where it will be parked under 24/7 camera surveillance.
Set a pick-up time with CentralParking for your return and your car will be ready and waiting for you when the ship arrives, so you can set out on the road immediately.
The Limitation of liability package includes:
In case of theft of a properly locked bicycle, you are not liable for the loss/cost of the stolen bicycle, as long as you can present the original key of the lock as proof;
In case of a breakdown, technical failure or flat tire during your tour – but only after you have called and spoken to your tour leader – you can arrange the repair at a local bicycle shop (fietsenmaker). After presenting the receipt, repair costs will be reimbursed;
In case of damage, no cost for repair will be charged, except when this is a result of your own deliberate or neglectful acting;
When – as a result of a breakdown, technical failure or damage during your cycling tour – you cannot continue your cycling tour with this bicycle, and after you have spoken with your tour leader, you can safely store and lock the bicycle and travel to your ship by public transportation (if not available: by taxi). After arrival on board travel costs will be reimbursed;
If necessary and applicable, you can use another bicycle/e-bike for the remaining days of the tour at no extra costs.
**: These arrangements solely apply to and are valid for bicycles and E-bikes that have been rented from Boat Bike Tours. For tours, for which Boat Bike Tours is not the organizing tour operator (but the intermediary), and another partner company is the organizing tour operator, other arrangements may apply.
Please note: For safety reasons, it is not allowed to use the rental (e-) bikes for self-arranged rides in Amsterdam: in these cases, the limitation of liability does not apply.
Almost all of the rental bicycles are traditional touring bicycles (women’s models) with 7 or 8 gears, hand brakes (some with pedal brake) and pannier bags. E-bikes feature a small electric engine and battery that assist and ease your pedaling, but they do not feature autonomous propulsion. It is like having a tailwind, so it is easier, but you still have to pedal. Please note: all bicycles have normal pedals, no click pedals. So please wear ordinary sporting shoes. Changing pedals is not possible.
Prices for other rental bicycles, like children’s bikes, tandems, trailer bikes (slip streamers), children’s seats, and bike trailers are available on request. Guests are also allowed to bring their own bicycles or E-bikes, please let us know so we can reserve a space on board for you. However, the crew or tour operator is in no way responsible for any damage, loss or theft of such bicycles.