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The Netherlands (Holland)

Windmills and Golden Beaches

Bike and Barge Holiday




8 days

Prices from

£980 P.P.
An easy-paced cycling holiday in Holland, a country synonymous with cycling. The classic artists’ landscape, flat, fertile and open, with long canals, windmills and historic towns and villages is best explored by boat and bike - spend your days cycling from place to place and your evenings relaxing on a comfortable barge on the canals and lakes.
Travelling north from Amsterdam you'll cycle across an area not recovered from the sea until the 17th Century. The land was reclaimed using hundreds of windmills many of which are still in working order; those we visit in Zaanse Schans a classic example. The cycling holiday route takes you over small dikes, along country roads, through vast polders and the most beautiful dunes in the Netherlands from Bergen to Schoorl. 
You'll cycle through Alkmaar, the capital of Dutch cheese with its own cheese market. You will be able to see cheese made by hand and how typical Dutch clogs are carved out of one piece of wood. Crossing to the island of Texel you'll cycle in this magnificent nature reserve before moving onto Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Edam and Volendam, important ports during the Golden Age of Dutch history with its traditional costumes and sailing ships.
These tours are run in conjunction with our partners in Holland and you will join their guests on the tour. Your accommodation for the week is on a specially designed boat, where you will be able to share experiences of the day with other cyclists over dinner. During the day route descriptions are provided and you are free to explore at your own pace if you wish. 

Holiday Highlights

  • The historic village of Monnickendam
  • Forests, dunes and beaches
  • The beautiful city of Hoorn
  • Staying overnight on the isle of Texel
  • The city of Den Helder, the Dutch naval port, situated at the mouth of the Noord-Hollandskanaal
  • The unique nature reserve Het Zwanenwater (The Swans’ Water),

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Saddle Skedaddle made it very easy from the start. Making it simple to organise our holiday and offering good advice about travelling there. This put our minds at ease straight away. Bitten well and truly by the cycling holiday bug!

Colin, Newcastle


Day 1
Arrival Amsterdam - Loop Ride
9 Miles / 15 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Dinner

Your tour starts in Amsterdam, and you should board the barge between 13:00 and 14.00. You’ll be met on board by the captain, crew and guide and after stowing your luggage you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and meet the other guests. Time permitting, there will be a short introductory loop ride tour through the northern part of the city. After dinner on board, your local leader will explain the programme for the next day and the coming week.

Day 2
Amsterdam to Hoorn
28 Miles / 46 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Early morning we’ll leave Amsterdam. A ferry will take us to the Amsterdam Noord quarter and soon you will be cycling through the rural area of Waterland. You’ll visit the former isle of Marken, whose museum shows you how people used to live and work here.

After Marken, the route continues to the historic village of Monnickendam, which received its municipal charter in 1355. There was a flourishing seafaring trade here with the Baltic countries and Suriname, as there used to be a direct waterway between the Zuiderzee (the Southern Sea) and the North Sea. For a long time Monnickendam has been renowned for its eel smoking; to this day eel and other fish are smoked in the harbours.

You’ll continue your cycling along the Gouwzee dike to Volendam, today’s destination. Originally Volendam was a small fishing community, whose inhabitants wore their distinctive and picturesque traditional costumes. From Volendam, you’ll sail to Hoorn. During the evening walk you will have the opportunity to explore this beautiful city.

Day 3
Hoorn to Enkhuizen
18 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

You’ll start cycling along the dike, with a wonderful view over the Markermeer on your right and West-Frisian villages on your left-hand side. The recently (1976) built dike from Enkhuizen to Lelystad (in the Noordoostpolder) will appear on the horizon.

Your destination for today will be Enkhuizen, a town which came into existence when two adjoining villages joined. You can end your day with a visit to the Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum, with both indoor and outdoor sections, shows you the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century.

Day 4
Enkhuizen to Texel
21 Miles / 35 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

The ride today will start on the IJsselmeer dike, which you’ll soon leave behind to go through a nature reserve and typical West-Frisian villages. Medemblik will soon come into sight, the oldest city of West-Friesland (1289), with an illustrious past and whose Radboud castle dates back to the 13th century.

In the summer months an old steam train runs between Medemblik and Hoorn, pulled by one of its five shining locomotives. Here you can take a break to have a closer look around. After Medemblik you’ll board your boat and sail the IJsselmeer and Wadden Sea to the isle of Texel.

Day 5
Loop Ride - Texel and the Wadden Islands
22/30/39 Miles / 35/48/62 Kms Approx. (3 options available)
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

The isle of Texel is the largest of the small Dutch Wadden Islands, highly appreciated by bird-watchers! In springtime around 80 different types of birds breed here, mainly in the dune areas, but all in all about 300 different species have been seen on Texel.

A tour around the island with its numerous cycle tracks is well worth the effort. The largest village on the island is Den Burg, where you’ll find most of the island’s shops. The local museum gives a good impression of island life and is housed in a building dating from 1599. De Koog, one of the oldest villages, is the principal bathing resort and De Cocksdorp, the northernmost village, is entered through a tunnel of interlocking tree branches! If you cycle to the most extreme northerly tip of the island you may be able to see Vlieland, the next island making up the chain of Wadden islands.

You can choose between round trips of 35, 48 or 62 Kms. (Note – The leader will cycle the 35 Kms.)

Day 6
Texel to Alkmaar
37 Miles / 60 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

The ship takes you back to the mainland, and you’ll disembark in the city of Den Helder, the Dutch naval port, situated at the mouth of the Noord-Hollandskanaal.

Today’s route will take you through the dunes. In April and May you will cycle through the flower bulb fields around Anna Paulowna, the centre of the North Holland flower cultivation. South of Callantsoog you’ll pass by the unique nature reserve Het Zwanenwater (The Swans’ Water), with its lakes and boggy hollows in the dunes. A little further on, you’ll cycle on the Hondsbossche Sea Dike, with its spectacular view of the North Sea.

Your destination for today is Alkmaar, also called the City of Cheese. Its weigh house was the first in the country and it is here that the weighing and trading of cheese used to take place. Like Amsterdam, Alkmaar houses a great many ‘hofjes’ or almshouses: typical 17th century enclosed courtyards with little houses inhabited by single women and usually supported by the church. Just under 400 heritage sites, canals and a harbour dominate the townscape.

Day 7
Alkmaar to Amsterdam (via Zaanse Schans)
37 Miles / 60 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After leaving Alkmaar the route will take you through Droogmakerij land with the 17th century towns of Schermerhorn, Graft and De Rijp.

You may also have time today to pay a visit to the Zaanse Schans, a unique hamlet where people live and work, with original houses and windmills from the river Zaan area. Traditionally this was a region where foodstuffs such as edible oil, nuts, rice and grain products were imported and processed. At the beginning of the 18th century the area boasted more than 600 windmills! Nowadays nearly all of them have been replaced by motor-driven pumps. The hamlet is dominated by three operating windmills, the oldest built in 1673, for grinding mustard, spices, paint and oil and for sawing wood into planks.

The last stretch of the trip takes you through the Twiske leisure park to Amsterdam. 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
Departure Amsterdam
  • Meals: Breakfast

After our last breakfast, it’s time to disembark (before 10am) and say goodbye to your fellow passengers, your guide and the crew before starting your journey home.

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The Cycling


The route is fairly easy-going and mostly flat (with just some gentle ups and downs when riding through the Dunes). The majority of the route will see you riding on a combination of cycle paths and cycle lanes (separated from motor vehicles), with around 35% of the route on roads shared with traffic. Due to the leisurely nature of the tour we do recommend a hybrid bike, however as the majority of the route sticks to tarmac the route is suitable for road bikes. (There may however be short sections on cobbles or hard-packed gravel or dirt roads where you may have to take extra care). The trip has a riding guide but you will get your own route notes on arrival, and maps are available to purchase so if you’d prefer not to stick with the group, you can cycle at your own pace.


Leisure Cycling Grade

Grade 1-2 : Easy/Gentle

Aspects of both our grade 1 and 2 holidays

Suitable for those looking for a relaxed ride

Occasional ups and downs

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Holidays that are graded as a 1-2, will have aspects of both our grade 1 and grade 2 holidays. These tours are still suitable for those looking for an accessible cycling holiday with manageable daily distances, along predominately flat terrain, however there will be some days / sections where we’d expect you to be up for a slightly cheeky challenge. It might be that the distances are a little longer on some days or that the terrain is slightly more undulating, but the rides are still relaxed and manageable for someone whose generally fit and healthy.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Whats Included Tick

A) Barge accommodation (shared twin / double en suite cabins) – Linen and towels provided

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) English speaking local leader

D) Daily route information

E) Ferry fares en route

F) GPX Tracks (available on request)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike

C) Single cabin (available if required)

D) Travel insurance

E) Personal clothing and equipment

F) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills etc)

G) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

H) Maps. These are available to purchase through Skedaddle. Great for if you want an overview of where you’ll be cycling. Please contact the office for more info

I) Travel to barge on arrival day and onward travel on departure day

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The Essentials

Travel Options

For this tour we ask that you make your own way to your barge on arrival and onwards at the end of the trip. If you plan on driving and taking the ferry to Amsterdam, the drive from Amsterdam to Oosterdok takes around half an hour. DFDS (www.dfdsseaways.co.uk) sail direct from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

The most convenient airport to fly into is Amsterdam (AMS). Once you have arrived at Amsterdam Schipol airport you will need to transfer by train to Amsterdam Central station. This takes around 20 minutes and costs approximately 5 Euros – there are many regular connections. We will provide you with directions from the Central Station to the boarding point at Oosterdok as it is only a short walk away. Alternatively you may wish to get a taxi direct from the airport to Oosterdok. A taxi from Schiphol to Amsterdam takes about 30 minutes and costs around 35 Euros.

Please check with Skedaddle before booking any flights so that we can ensure they fit in with the holiday schedule.


Accommodation for this trip is on a barge.

All 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 cabins. We recommend 1 large piece of luggage per person. You can slide this under the bed within the cabin.

Most cabins are 2-person cabins, the Liza Marleen also has cabins for 3 and 4 people. There are three ship categories that we use: Standard Plus (cabins with private shower/toilet; bunk beds) Comfort (cabins as StandardPlus but with twin beds) and Comfort Plus (with twin and double beds)

We will advise at the time of booking which standard of boat you will be on.

Bike Hire

The cost of bike hire is not included in the cost of the tour, but bikes are available to hire if required. Hire bikes are hybrids with semi-slicks, 24 gears and raised handlebars. They come with an odometer, a lock, pannier racks and bags, pump and water bottles.

Children’s bikes are available on request, we can provide child seats and for children between 4 and 8 tag-alongs are available. E-bikes, tandems and bike trailers can also be rented if requested far enough in advance.

Bikes do not come with helmets as standard, however we can provide them on request. Please request a helmet when booking. Helmets are compulsory for adults and children alike when riding with Skedaddle.

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