Bike & Barge: North Holland & Texel Island
8 days | MS De Holland | Self-guided cycle tour
Experience a world of windmills and waterscapes; flat Noord-Holland polderlands, the gentlest Friesland hills and huge skies; coastlines of golden dunes and islands past and present. With the barge MS De Holland as your ‘floating hotel’, enjoy some superb gentle cycling through awe-inspiringly natural and man-managed landscapes, where the only thing to take your breath away will be the stunning scenery itself.
From Amsterdam’s historic canals and the museum-showcase of bygone Dutch rural life, ‘Zaanse Schans’, head up across the former lake and marshlands reclaimed from the sea in the 1600s, past cheese market town, Alkmaar, to Noord-Holland’s tip. Cruise across the Wadden See to the bike-friendly North Sea island of Texel with its famous seal sanctuary, then via Den Oever across the great watery expanse of the IJsselmeer to historic Stavoren and the undulating Gaasterland landscapes of Friesland, dotted with lakes and one-time islands.
Back across the former Zuiderzee, the time-honoured cities of Holland’s Golden Age of sea-trading line up ready to be discovered on two wheels. At historic Enkhuizen, don’t miss the magnificent Zuiderzee Museum to find out all the histories and mysteries of this fascinating watery conundrum, including the legendary harbour city of Horn and the beautiful former island village of Marken near cheese-city, Volendam.
Nice & Easy - Gentle touring by bike along flat, mainly paved cycle tracks and minor roads. Some small and short ascents only in areas where there are drainage dykes and bridges but no gradients of note. Cycle map includes route options, so you have the flexibility to shorten or extend your bike tour as you wish.
* Amsterdam – the cosmopolitan capital, with a canal area that’s brimful of culture and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site * ‘Zaanse Schans’ - open air museum of old Holland and rural crafts * Alkmaar – home to traditional cheese market * Den Helder – naval port and beach resort * Texel – Holland’s largest North Sea island, home to the EcoMare seal sanctuary * Stavoren – the oldest city in Friesland * Gaasterland – Friesland’s lovely area of rolling hills *Enkhuizen * Medemblik *Hoorn - historic towns of the Dutch Golden Age * Volendam (near Edam) –because every Dutch tour needs a cheese stop! * Marken – former island with traditional wooden houses.