Cycling holiday Friesland and Lake IJssel

Friesland and Lake IJssel

Frisian lakes and historic towns

Starting at € 1.095,-
Book now
  • 8 Days Thursday to Thursday
  • 40 km average per day
  • Arrival Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  • Departure Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  • Frisian cities like Sloten, Sneek and Stavoren
  • Sailing on the IJsselmeer
  • Lakes and waterways Friesland
  • Zuiderzee museum, a unique piece of Dutch history
  • Guided Tour
  • Group Tour
  • Bike & Barge
  • Cycling level 1

    The lightest cycling holiday; over mostly flat terrain, with not too long daily distances (average 50 km). Short steep slopes with height differences of up to ± 100 meters occur.

Discover Friesland and the IJsselmeer

The IJsselmeer (formerly the Zuiderzee ‘Southern Sea’) is inextricably connected with the period of prosperity in the 17th century, the Golden Age, when Holland was one of the most powerful seafaring trading countries. All around the IJsselmeer there are numerous ports, which at the time were even known at the other end of the oceans of the world.

After crossing the IJsselmeer you arrive in the province of Friesland. The peace and nature have made Friesland extremely popular with sailors and skaters, but certainly also with cyclists. The Frisian towns owe their rise to shipping and trade and its heyday lies between 1000 and 1500, Our route leads you through towns and villages, with the green watery countryside in between, where farming usually determines the horizon.
Other important parts of the scenery consist of the numerous little bridges, that ‘leap’ the ditches and the sailing boats that cross the vast lakes like white swans. The picturesque villages, historic towns and the original Frisian traditional costumes complete the image of the greenest province of The Netherlands. The last part of the tour you cycle along the Ijsselmeer back to Amsterdam again. One of the highlights on this tour is a visit to het Zuiderzeemuseum‘ in Enkhuizen. Crafts typical of the time are practiced in this open-air museum, and houses, boats and costumes can be admired.

Daily Program

  • Day 1 Amsterdam - Lelystad, 15 km

    Amsterdam, boarding between 1 and 2 pm. In the afternoon we sail to the new town of Lelystad, and after the short bike ride there the programme for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you at dinner time

  • Day 2 Lelystad - Sneek, 45 km

    From Lelystad, the barge sails across the IJsselmeer to Lemmer from where we continue by bike to Sneek. You ride via the wooded Gaasterland region. In this region you will find the old village of Balk. Later on you pass through IJlst, an idyllic little town with a narrow town canal, low houses and a ribbon of linden trees. The banks of the connecting waterway between IJlst and Sneek are covered with a fringe of reeds and the occasional willow and alder. Riding through this green landscape you can enjoy the abundant flora and fauna special to this region. You end the day in Sneek, a town living within the surrounding water. In the local museum you can get an impression of the Frisian history of seagoing and inland shipping as well as of shipbuilding and the ice-skating sport.

  • Day 3 Sneek - Leeuwarden, 40 km

    Riding out of Sneek you first pass through Boazum. Boazum offers you a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture: the church St. Maartenskerk. Further up the road you ride past several terp villages. You can recognise old dikes now meandering through the landscape, like the Slachtedijk. The Slachtedijk is a so-called inner dike, 42 kilometres in length. The dike makes an unforgettable impression on you as it winds through the landscape in a picturesque way. Today’s destination is Leeuwarden. It is the capital of Friesland and is a typically Dutch city with narrow streets, brick houses and canals, where you can visit various museums, shops and the historic town centre with a beautiful park.

  • Day 4 Leeuwarden - Makkum, 45 km
    Cycletours Holidays Barges Liza Marleen Side View Cloudy Sky

    You ride out of the provincial capital Leeuwarden and enter the flat land with meadows again. After about an hour cycling you reach the old university town of Franeker. It is a lovely town to walk around in. Here you can visit the world famous 17th century planetarium of Eise Eisinga. Via lovely villages with age old churches you will reach Makkum, a town famous for its pottery. If you want, you can make a short detour to the interesting harbor of Harlingen, yet another of the famous Frisian Eleven Cities. 

  • Day 5 Makkum - Stavoren, 40 km

    From Makkum you continue riding through the meadows to Workum, a town that flourished around 1300 when other towns lost their connection to the open sea. Next comes Hindeloopen wich is a town with its own dialect, traditional costume and painting style. In earlier times Hindeloopen did not have its own harbour, but only anchorage. The fleet was in Amsterdam while the captains spent the winters in their 'commandeurswoning' (captain's residences) in Hindeloopen. At Nieuwstad in the town centre you can admire these well-preserved houses. Today’s destination is the historical harbour town Stavoren. The city was granted city rights between 1060 and 1067, making it the oldest city in Friesland

  • Day 6 Stavoren - Hoorn, 30 km

    In the morning you sail to Enkhuizen crossing the IJssel lake, since 1932 the largest fresh water lake in the Netherlands. Enkhuizen is a nice old harbour town to explore, and after arrival in Enkhuizen you can visit the Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum shows you the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century. Today's cycling stage will take you to Hoorn along the IJsselmeer dike with on your left the IJsselmeer en on your right the lower lying land. Hoorn was a major harbour in the 17th century. From here ships sailed for the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), America, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean. 

  • Day 7 Hoorn - Amsterdam, 45 km

    The first part you sail to Volendam, originally a small fishing community, now a tourist attraction. Here your last cycling stage starts. You cycle to Monnickendam where you can see the towns many old gables, plaques, chur­ches and towers. Then on to Marken, a former island with many green painted wooden houses and its own particular character. Near the lighthouse there is a nice little beach where you can enjoy your lunch and perhaps take a swim in the fresh water of the IJsselmeer. The last part of the stage takes you through an area called Waterland. You will understand why it is called that when you see that the houses and other buil­dings are almost at water level and that the ground is soggy. At the end of the afternoon you will reach Amsterdam. Once you are back at the boat in Amsterdam it is time to take leave of your bikes. In the afternoon there still is some time to go into town and after dinner you may want to finish off your trip by going on a city walk or taking a trip on one of Amsterdam's canal boats.

  • Day 8 Amsterdam, end of tour

    End of the tour after breakfast, before 10 AM. 

Cycling in Friesland & Holland

Cycling in a cycle country

Our carefully selected routes will lead you along the most beautiful spots of the country. The average daily distance is around 45 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). Gps-tracks can be provided by e-mail.

Boarding in Amsterdam
Batavia replica, Lelystad
Sailing from Stavoren to Enkhuizen
Cycling from Enkhuizen
Taking the ferry

What else do you need to know?

Prices per person in 2024

 !Note: in 2024, the tour starts on Thursday!

Reservation costs € 25,- per booking
Contribution Dutch Guarantee Fund € 5,- per person (Insolvency Protection)

Liza Marleen

27 June
Twin cabin € 1.280,-
Single use € 1.865,- 
Superior cabin (15 m²) for 2 pax € 1.500,-
Superior cabin (15 m²) for 3 pax € 1.185,-


09 May
Twin cabin € 1.299,-
Single use € 1.660,- 
Triple cabin € 1.215,-

04 July
Twin cabin € 1.175,-
Single use € 1.495,- 
Triple cabin € 1.095,-

Extra options:
Rental touring bike per week (bike insurance included) € 110,-
E-bike per week (bike insurance included) € 220,- (from 155cm)
Special diet (gluten free, lactose free, vegan) € 75,- per diet (to be specified when booking)


  • All nights on board (8 days / 7 nights),  cabin in the booked category;
  • Full board (7 x breakfast, 6 x self-made picnic lunch for bike tours, 7 x three course dinner)
  • Use of bed linen and towels
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Tour guide, cycles with the group
  • Min. 3 city walks with the tourguide
  • Free WiFi (limited available in lounge and on deck)
  • Road book, 1x per cabin
  • GPS-tracks (on request)
  • Ferry fares on the route

Not Included

  • Reservation costs 
  • Contribution Dutch Guarantee Fund (Insolvency Protection)
  • Bicycle rent, optional
  • Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 25,- per tour
  • Other drinks on board
  • Personal insurance

Special details

  • This tour is operated by Cycletours
  • Please take good notice of Terms & Conditions.
  • Due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances, the route/program may be changed without notice.
  • We do not allow private e-bikes on board (due to safetly regulations)
  • 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; lactose free; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 75, – per week.
  • Cycletours Holidays reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.


Boarding is between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM. The barge leaves dock at 2 PMYou 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. If you want you can bring your luggage in advance: from 11:30 PM onwards.

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


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 € 6,- 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 € 60,-.


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 Centrum Oosterdok, (about € 275,- per week, it is not necessary to reserve in advance; 500m walking distance to the barge).

End of the tour

The tour ends one week later on Thursday morning after breakfast before 10 AM. You will spend the night from Wednesday to Thursday on board in Amsterdam. After the tour ends in 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 barge, 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 (twin or double beds), but some barges also have single and  triple cabins. All cabins have central heating and a porthole or window; they are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower/toilet and 220 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 suffer from food allergies or food intolerance (such as lactose- or gluten- intolerance/-allergy) or if you have special meal requirements (vegetarian; pescetarian; vegan meals; gluten free meals etc.), 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 and special food requirements cannot always be met in all details.
In case of vegan meals, gluten free or lactose diet, there is an additional charge. This charge is € 75,- per diet/ per person/per week when you  order the diet when booking and € 100,- per diet/ per person/per week when ordering on spot.

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, France and United Kingdom. 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.


  • Do you accommodate for special diets

    Yes, this must be notified when booking, but no later than 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.
    On some trips, in case of a gluten-free diet; lactose-free diet or vegan meals, a surcharge of € 75,- per diet per week applies. This is stated per tour.

  • Do I have to wear a safety helmet

    We recommond to wear a bike helmet on all tours. On our own tours (barges Anna Antal; Liza Marleen; Wending; Sailing Home; Zwaan and Clair de Lune) we provide a safety helmet with all our own rental bikes.
    In some countries a helmet is mandatory. This is stated on the tour page.

  • What happens when it rains?

    Most of the participants then wear rainwear. When the weather is so bad that cycling becomes really impossible (but that is almost never the case!), you can stay on board or your guide can organize an alternative program with, for example, cultural excursions and city tours (at your own expense).

  • Which countries do the participants come from

    The main countries represented by our cycling guests are: United States and Canada. We also receive guests from United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand. The common language on board is English.

  • Can I rejoin the barge before the end of a stage

    No, the barge doesn’t take the same route as the cyclists do. Sometimes the route may be altered because of weather conditions or repairs to bridges or locks and then the guests and the guide can arrange with the skipper to be met at a different place. Naturally you can always stay on board for one or more days.