Amsterdam – Bruges

Introduction

We have devised a wonderful cycling holiday through the Netherlands down into Belgium, past towns, villages, canals – on high-quality cycling paths. In eight days of cycling, you will discover many delightful places you otherwise wouldn’t have chanced upon. Starting in Amsterdam and travelling in a southwesterly direction you will go to the following towns: Gouda, Dordrecht, Willemstad, Zierikzee, Middelburg, Vlissingen (Flushing), Sluis, Damme and Bruges. They count among the most picturesque towns in the Netherlands and Flanders and are remarkably well-preserved and evocative of centuries past. The route is predominantly rural and passes through a number of nature reserves.


We also offer this tour with Bruges as the starting point. This is not a round trip! It is possible to book a bus transfer back to Amsterdam at the end of your trip for €100/person (only on Saturdays between May 4th and August 31st). If you are interested in this transfer, please mention this in the remark field of the booking form and then we will send you further details.

Day to Day

Start on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 12 April and 5 May
between 6 September and 22 September
Daily start from 6 May till 1 September

Day 1 - Arrival Amsterdam

Your bicycle holiday starts in Amsterdam, famous for its gorgeous 400-year-old canal district; museums (the new Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Anne Frank etc); street artists and performers on Dam, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein; a notorious red-light district and more. This city is brimming with things to see and do and you couldn’t wish for a more dynamic beginning to your holiday. Try to arrive early so you have time to admire the elegant tree-lined canals and tall narrow townhouses and warehouses dating from the 17th century (World Heritage Site).

Day 2 - Amsterdam – Gouda

After staying the night in bustling Amsterdam, plunge into the peace and quiet of the “Groene Hart” or Green Heart, a pleasant rural area of low-lying polders with peat meadows and grazing cattle. It’s a flat, open, spacious landscape where church spires and windmills touch the horizon and clouds are reflected in lakes and canals. For centuries, people flocked from far and wide to buy horses, cows, meat, turf, seed, cheese etc, at weekly and annual markets in Gouda. We recommend an evening stroll around the old part of town to soak up the yesteryear atmosphere and marvel at the large and attractive market square boasting a wonderful fifteenth-century town hall as well as a Weighing House (“Waag”). Would the 80 km be too long for you then you can split this day by booking an extra overnight in Woerden (49 km and 43 km)?

Day 3 - Gouda - Papendrecht/Dordrecht

From Gouda you’ll cycle via the “Greenheart of Holland” to the village of Kinderdijk, explore the site where 19 windmills have been standing majestically in rows since 1740. They were used to drain excess water out of the low-lying polder up into the River Lek. One of the mills is open to the public. Your destination, Papendrecht, is just a ferry crossing away from of one of Holland’s oldest towns; Dordrecht. Dordrecht is completely surrounded by rivers. Beautiful bridges take you across the water into the heart of town. Around the harbour, you will see many monumental buildings. The hotel in Papendrecht is just 3km outside the centre of Dordrecht on the north banks of the river. You can upgrade to ****Hotel Bellevue Groothoofd if you want to stay right in the centre and on the crossroads of 2 major rivers. Here the bike can only be parked outside, in front of the hotel (with camera surveillance).

Day 4 - Papendrecht/Dordrecht – Willemstad

The result of a major flood in 1421, Biesbosch is one of the few remaining wetland habitats in Europe where the ecosystem has adapted both to saltwater coming in from the sea through tidal creeks and to freshwater coming down in the rivers. It’s an ever-changing labyrinth of creeks and rivers encompassing countless little islands of willow woods and reeds, a paradise for birds. The ride takes you along the edges of this National Park. Round off the day in Willemstad, a fortified town shaped like a seven-point star.

Day 5 - Willemstad – Schuddebeurs/Zierikzee

Today you will enter Zeeland, a province of the Netherlands marked by light, wind, water and lots of space. It is made up of islands so bridges and ferries will be carrying you across the waters as you drive down towards Belgium. Picture-book towns with ancient houses and cobbled streets are lined up for the coming days. Traverse a patchwork landscape of vast polders, idyllic countryside, rolling dunes and golden sand flats.

Day 6 - Schuddebeurs/Zierikzee – Middelburg/Vlissingen

A wander down the narrow streets of Zierikzee is an absolute delight. Quaint little old houses take you back in time to the town’s glory days when ships set sail to sell salt, wool, fish, grain and red dye as far afield as the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Your route continues to the charming village of Veere. From 1541 everything that was exported to Holland from Scotland (mainly wool) came ashore in and was distributed from Veere. This contract brought the town not only prosperity but also a very lively Scottish expat community that stayed for 300 years. Walk in their footsteps as you take a tour of the sights. Cruising further south, you will discover the nostalgic splendour of the city of Middelburg, capital of Zeeland. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was one of the most important centres of trade in the Netherlands.

Day 7 - Middelburg/Vlissingen – Brugge

After a hearty breakfast, you will cycle to Vlissingen. After Vlissingen hop on a ferry boat to Zeelandic Flanders with its winding country roads, pollard willows, wet meadows and scattered villages. Having crossed the border into Belgium, you will reach the charming little town of Damme on the banks of the romantic Damse Vaart. From here, it’s only a short stretch to Bruges, known as the pearl of Flanders! It’s a truly enchanting town that has been welcoming tourists for about 150 years. With most of its medieval architecture intact, it remains exceptionally well preserved and can really give you a sense of times gone by when it was at the centre of the European wool and cloth trade.

Day 8 - Return home

After breakfast, your cycling holiday has come to an end. It is possible to book a bus transfer back to Amsterdam at the end of your trip for €100,- per person (only on Saturdays between May 4th and August 31st). If you are interested in this transfer, please mention this in the remark field of the booking form and then we will send you further details.

Practical Info

7 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
not included:
Amsterdam Sloterdijk / Amsterdam CS
Bruges – Amsterdam via Antwerpen
Parking possibilities at the hotel
GPS-tracks availible
Any ferry crossings are not included
Train back to Amsterdam is not included

Accommodation

Categorie B:
Amsterdam – Westcord Art Hotel
Gouda – Campanille Hotel
Dordrecht – Postillion Hotel Dordrecht
Willemstad – Hotel Mauritz
Noordgouwe – Hostellerie Schuddebeurs
Vlissingen – Hotel Piccard
Brugge – Velotel

EXTRAS