Cruising on a boat and cycling through a colorful countryside is the perfect recipe for a successful holiday. Biking and active during the day, the boat accompanies you along the river to welcome you at the day’s goal as your floating hotel. And if you do not want to cycle you can enjoy the tour on board, admiring the passing scenery!
We follow the Rhine valley downstream, first through industrial areas where we learn about the important history of the river, later wide and flat along farmland and meadows. You will enjoy the gorgeous river scenery of the rivers Rhine and IJssel, first in Germany and later in the Netherlands. We also bike along the edge of National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant scenic. The last part of the tour you will bike through the flat, peaceful countryside of Holland, with the famous windmills along the way. You bike along the winding river Vecht with its impressive mansions on its banks and you visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional method. Apart from the beautiful landscape, you will see cultural highlights, art treasures, and you can enjoy regional culinary specialities.
Arrival in Cologne embarkation before 4 PM.Welcome drink and crew introduction. Free time to explore the city. Cologne is the oldest of the bigger German cities, founded by the Romans. It got its city rights already 50 years after Christ as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippa. Later Cologne became one the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Landmark is of course the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248 they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in the 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored.
Cycling direction Düsseldorf you will stay close to the Rhine in order to be in Düsseldorf not too late in the afternoon. There is time to visit the Alstadt. You can try their famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed to what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners.
Today we head first for Krefeld. In the 18th century Krefeld grew thanks to the textile industry. Velvet, silk and brocade were sold to emperors and kings from all over the world. There is still the statue of a silk weaver. The weavers worked in small houses that simultaneously served as a factory and house. In Krefeld, one can still see some of these houses. Leaving Krefeld behind us, we enter the Ruhr-area.
Today we focus on the Ruhr area where Germany’s and probably Europe’s largest industries are housed. On a surface of 4.600 km2, very rich in coal, a vast landscape folds out of steel plants and textile industries, combined with chemical industrial plants. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhaussen and Dortmund are glued together through a maze of highways, railways and waterways. Once very prosperous and therefore a target in 1923 when Belgium and French troops tried to enforce WW-1 payments of Prussia. And a number 1 target in 1944-1945 for sure. Hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort in re-developing the area after the closing down of many a factory. In the afternoon we visit the enormous landscape park of Duisburg-Nord, where we get to see huge former industrial plants and more detailed explanation and information about this area. It may not be always scenic, but it is an impressive landscape indeed and not to be missed when one visits the Rhine. We go on board at Wesel and sail to Rees, a town with impressive remains of fortification
We sail to Emmerich, a bigger town with a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. At Tolkamer the Dutch used to impose tolls on incoming ships. We pass the border at Lobith, a village every schoolchild in Holland knows and we take the right bank of the Rhine to Doornenburg. This town has a wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene for many a movie
First you bike along the edge of National Park de Hoge Veluwe with its abundant scenic beauty. Later you bike along the river Nederrijn and you can enjoy great river landscape. At Wageningen you go on board and sail to today's destination: Wijk bij Duurstede, an old settlement at the river Lek.
During breakfast you will sail to Breukelen from where you will cycle to Amsterdam along the two most beautiful rivers of Holland, the Vecht and the Amstel. Along the route you will find the magnificent country houses and mansions from the 18th century with their splendid, well-kept gardens. After dinner you have the option to take a canal cruise through the canals of Amsterdam
End of the tour after breakfast, before 10 AM. If you have an early flight, ask the the tourleader to arrange a taxi to the Airport.
Cycling in 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.
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 € 50, – 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.
The program is subject to change without notice.
Boarding is between 3PM and 4PM. You are expected on our barge on Saturday at the latest 4 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. If you want you can bring your luggage in advance, from noon onwards. The mooring place of the barge in Cologne/Köln is Rheinau Sporthafen Köln GmBh, An der Kaimauer (Rhenaniahaus), Bayernstrasse 28a, Zip-code 50678.
The nearest international airport to the embarkation point of the barge is Frankfurt Airport (FRA). You can take a direct train to Cologne (Köln Hauptbahnhof). Travel time is about 1 hour. From the station in Cologne you can take a taxi to the mooring place of the barge (Bayenstraße 28a). The tour ends one week later in Amsterdam, so another possibility is to fly to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). From the airport you can take the international train to Cologne (Köln Hauptbahnhof). Travel time is about 3 hours (changing trains once) and a one-way ticket (2nd class) costs about € 35,-.
The nearest train station to the embarkation point of the barge is Cologne Central Station/Köln Hauptbahnhof. A taxi ride from the station to the mooring place (Bayenstrasse 28a, Köln) takes about 5 minutes. It costs about € 15,-.
The parking guidance system tells you where and how many free parking spaces can be found in Cologne’s city centre car parks: car parkings
End of the tour
The tour ends one week later in Amsterdam on Saturday morning after breakfast before 10 AM. You will spend the night from Friday to Saturday on board. The mooring place of the barge in Amsterdam is at the Oosterdok (near Science Center: ‘NEMO’, Oosterdok 2); 1.2 km/o.75 miles from the Central Station in Amsterdam. You can take the train to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. There is a direct train that leaves 6 times per hour from Amsterdam Central Station to Schiphol Airport . It takes about 16 minutes. The price for a train ticket Schiphol-Amsterdam is € 4,20 per person for a single journey, 2nd class. Should you have an early flight, no problem. You may leave as early as you need to. Should you need to travel to Frankfurt Airport you can take the international train from Amsterdam to this airport. Travel time is about 4 hours and a one-way ticket (2nd class) costs about € 55,-.
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.
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).
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 € 50, – per week.
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).
Yes, this must be notified when booking, but at least 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 or 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.
Most people wear rainwear and get on their bicycle. If the weather makes cycling absolutely impossible (this doesn’t happen very often!) the guide will arrange an alternative programme which might include a longer visit to one of the towns along the way or cultural excursions.
The main countries represented by our cycling guests are: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and France. However we regularly welcome South Africans and Japanese guests.The common language on board is English.
No, the barge doesn’t take the same route that 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.