This is a wonderful self-guided holiday cycling from Amsterdam to Bruges, heading through the Netherlands down into Belgium, past towns, villages and canals – all the time on high-quality cycling paths. In eight days of cycling, you will discover many delightful places off the beaten track. Starting in Amsterdam and travelling in a southwestern direction you will pass through Gouda, Dordrecht, Willemstad, Zierikzee, Middelburg, Vlissingen (Flushing), Sluis, Damme and Bruges. They are 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.
- Passing through the historic towns in the Netherlands and Flanders
Click to view map
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, the notorious red-light district and more. This city is brimming with things to see and do, guaranteeing a 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 back to 17th century (World Heritage Site).
*Please note that the following surcharges are applicable depending on the timing of your holiday:
Stay in Amsterdam on Saturday: £24 per person
Stay in Amsterdam in the periods listed below: £40 per person per night
29, 30 and 31 March 2024
20 April 2024
26,27 and 28 April 2024
09, 10, 11 and 12 May 2024
17,18 and 19 May 2024
Minimum of 2 nights is required on these dates.
- Accommodation: Westcord Art Hotel or similar
Day 2: Amsterdam – Bodegraven | 58/68km
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”).
- Accommodation: Gr8 Hotel Bodegraven or similar
- Cycling for the day: 58/68km
Day 3: Bodegraven – Dordrecht | 38km
From Gouda you’ll cycle via the “Greenheart of the Netherlands” 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 the Netherlands oldest towns – Dordrecht, 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.
- Accommodation: Postillion Hotel Dordrecht or similar
- Cycling for the day: 38km
Day 4: Dordrecht – Willemstad | 65km
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 De Biesbosch National Park. Round off the day in Willemstad, a fortified town shaped like a seven-point star. Please note that on days the ferry is unable to run to De Biesbosch National Park, an alternative cycling route will be provided.
- Accommodation: Hotel Mauritz or similar
- Cycling for the day: 65km
Day 5: Willemstad – Schuddebeurs | 50km
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 drift 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.
- Accommodation: Hostellerie Schuddebeurs or similar
- Cycling for the day: 50km
Day 6: Schuddebeurs – Vlissingen | 43km
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 the Netherlands from Scotland (mainly wool) came ashore 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.
- Accommodation: Hotel Piccard or similar
- Cycling for the day: 43km
Day 7: Vlissingen – Bruges | 66km
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.
- Accommodation: Brugge – Velotel or similar
- Cycling for the day: 66km
Day 8: Onward travel
After breakfast, your cycling holiday has come to an end.
What to expect
Comfortable 3-star hotels during the trip and a 4-star hotel in Bruges. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Click to view default hotels
- Westcord Art Hotel
- Gr8 Hotel Bodegraven
- Postillion Hotel Dordrecht
- Hotel Mauritz
- Hostellerie Schuddebeurs
- Hotel Piccard
*Please note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included each day. You can enjoy the cosy restaurants along the way for lunch and dinner. The inclusion of dinners is possible upon request.
Difficulty and terrain
The route of the tour goes along beautiful cycle paths and small side roads. The terrain is mostly flat and some of the longer sections can be made easier by adding an extra day in the middle or renting an e-bike so the trip is suitable even for those who are new to bike travel (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in April, May and September. Daily in June, July and August. There will be obligatory supplements on specific dates (check the itinerary above).
The weather is best in July – August.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended airport for this tour is Amsterdam.
By train or bus
- There are good train connections both in Amsterdam and Bruges. Parking is possible at the hotel in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is less than 4 hours by train from London St Pancras (see details or use the Omio planner above).
- 7 overnights in 3 and 4-star hotels as listed in the itinerary
- 7 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers between hotels
- Detailed travel information including route maps, route description, tourist attractions info and important telephone numbers
- GPS tracks
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
- Ferry fare to De Biesbosch National Park on day 4 (payable on spot by card)
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- Half-board meal plan (dinner included for the evenings)
- Bike rental
- Theft insurance
- One extra night in Amsterdam before the cycling holiday
- One extra night in Bruges after the cycling holiday
- Obligatory second overnight / supplement for the hotels in Amsterdam on specific dates – check the itinerary above
If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us, choosing between the following options:
- Standard touring bike with 24-speed gear
- E-bike, with a small electric engine and battery, which can be charged at the hotels
All bikes for this tour come with a defender lock with plug-in chain (cable lock that is attached to the regular lock)
- The bicycle(s) should only be used for their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the booking
- The bicycle(s) should be returned to us in the same clean condition in which you received them
Damage, loss and theft
The renter will be held responsible for damages to or loss of the bicycle(s) or parts of it, as well as bicycle keys, chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. Please note that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.
It is possible to insure your bike against theft. Bookable upon request.
Liability in the event of theft
- If you did not purchase bicycle theft insurance from us before the start of the holiday, you will be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
- If you purchase bicycle theft insurance from us, but don’t use the wheel lock, produce the original wheel lock key or a police theft report, you will be responsible for replacement cost, determined by us according to standard prices.