Immerse yourself in the medieval Hanseatic period of Dutch history while discovering beautiful river landscapes, diverse natural areas, numerous historical cities and picturesque harbour towns. This area of Holland thrived during the Middle Ages under the auspices of the Hanseatic League, a confederation created to protect the economic interests of cities and countries throughout the Baltic region.
Cycle through the Rhine valley and its very beautiful tributary the IJssel River, one of the most important trade routes in Europe during the Middle Ages. Cross the border lakes of the IJssel, which lie between the “old” land of many beautiful harbour towns and the “new” land of the Flevoland, which was once the bottom of the IJssel lake before the land was reclaimed in 1932. This central region of Holland has fascinating cities you will visit such as Amsterdam, Doesburg, Deventer, Hardenwijk and Elburg, to name a few.
Day 1 Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede
Arrive Amsterdam and board your barge at 2 pm. At 3 pm you embark on a cruise through the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to Wijk bij Duurstede on the Rhine, where you will spend your first night.
Day 2 Wijk bij Duurstede - Wageningen/Rhenen – Arnhem (30 or 50 km)
Cruise during breakfast to Wageningen where you commence cycling through the picturesque river valley of the Rhine. Along the way visit the protected nature reserve “De Blauwe Kamer” (the Blue Chamber), followed by the woods and moorlands of Veluwe National Park. The 5400 hectare park is home to many plant and animal species and, importantly, the Kröller-Müller Museum, the largest private Van Gogh collection in the world. Continue to lovely Arnhem where you spend the night.
Day 3 Arnhem - Doesburg – Vorden – Zutphen (35 or 45 km)
Follow the Hanseatic Town Route to the small village of Doesburg and along the IJssel to Bronkhorst, which has the distinction of being recognised as the smallest town in Holland. You then have the choice to follow the river to Zutphen or a longer ride via Vorden passing country houses, castles and rural estates. During dinner, cruise to Deventer then take a guided stroll through the town afterwards.
Day 4 Deventer - Hattem – Zwolle – Kampen (50 or 60 km)
Ride along the IJssel riverbank before boarding a ferry at Wijhe to cross the river to Hattem. The 800-year-old town of Hattem has a rich history that is still clearly visible today. Option to continue cycling to Veluwe. During dinner, cruise to Kampen nad afterwards join a guided walking tour in the largest Hanseatic town in the Netherlands.
Day 5 Kampen – Elburg – Elspeet – Harderwijk (40 or 60 km)
Cruise to the IJssel estuary and across the border lakes of the IJssel to the fishing harbour of Harderwijk. In the 1500s Harderwijk boasted the largest fish market in the Zuiderzee region and is still a fascinating old city to explore. From Harderwijk cycle along Veluwe Lake, a popular swimming and boating place. Continue through woods and moorland at Elspeet back to Hardewijk to spend the night in the lovely old fishing harbour.
Day 6 Harderwijk – Bunschoten – Spakenburg (30 to 55 km)
Follow a coast route today with a longer alternative through adjacent woodlands to reach Spakenburg, a village where locals dress in traditional costumes.
Day 7 Spakenburg - Huizen – Naarden – Muiden – Amsterdam (35 or 50 km)
Either cruise with the vessel or bike to Huizen from where you will cycle to the beautiful fortress towns of Naarden and Muiden, famous for its historic castle. From Muiden cycle along quiet roads to your final destination, the world famous city of Amsterdam where you have free time in the afternoon to explore.
Day 8 Tour ends in Amsterdam
Disembark after breakfast
Easy flat cycling mostly on dedicated cycle paths. You will need to be reasonably fit as there are days of 50 – 60 km of cycling. You do have the option to cruise with the barge if you wish to ‘skip’ a bike tour.