Discover one of Europe’s most attractive regions on an exciting biking trip, taking you through the Netherlands, Belgium and France. From the canals of Amsterdam to the Eifel Tower of Paris, you will get to know the two iconic cities as well as the authentic countryside and charming towns between them. In the Netherlands, you will enjoy a perfect cycling path system, taking you along the many canals and windmills that the country is known for. Belgium will enchant you with its medieval cities, beer and chocolate, and France will welcome you with a wide variety of food and wines.
This trip is perfect for those who are looking for a soft cycling adventure holiday, combining both nature and cultural sites. The daily routes go mostly on designated cycling paths and quiet country roads, with minimal elevation gain, so the trip is suitable for both beginner and intermediate cyclists in good physical shape.
- The Golden Age canals of Amsterdam
- De Biesbosch National Park
- The city of Gouda and its delicious cheese
- De Zoom–Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park
- Tournai, the City of the Five Bell Towers
- The lively town of Cambrai
- The monument-lined boulevards, museums and galleries of Paris
Please note bikes are not allowed on the train from Paris to Amsterdam (or vice versa). We therefore strongly recommend booking this trip with rental bikes so that you can leave the rental bikes at the hotel in Paris at the end of the trip.
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Day 1: Arrival Amsterdam*
Your holiday starts in Amsterdam, one of the crown jewels of Europe. With so much to see and do, you couldn’t wish for a more vibrant way to kick off your holiday. If you arrive early or book an extra night before the holiday, make sure to go for a walk to marvel at the townhouses in the 17th-century canal district (listed as a World Heritage Site). If you have some time and energy left, you can also explore the infamous red-light district, which attracts millions of curious tourists every year; or enjoy the street performers on friendly Rembrandtplein.
*Please note that the following surcharges are applicable depending on the timing of your holiday:
Stay in Amsterdam on Saturday: 22 GBP per person
Stay in Amsterdam in the periods listed below: 40 GBP per person per night
28 & 29 May 2023
Minimum of 2 nights is required on these dates.
- Accommodation: Westcord Art Hotel or similar
Day 2: Amsterdam – Gouda | 79km
The first section of the route takes you through the green heart of the Netherlands, abounding in water. It is a true cycling paradise, with characteristic peat and polder landscapes, small farming communities and picturesque historical villages. End the day in medieval Gouda. Amble through the beautifully preserved town centre and visit the old town hall and St. John’s church. Stop off at a bakery to buy fresh syrup waffles (Gouda is the hometown of syrup waffles) and Gouda cheese – perhaps the world’s most famous type of cheese.
- Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Gouda or similar
- Cycling for the day: 79km
Day 3: Gouda – Breda | 81km
Today’s highlight is one of the Netherlands’ most popular tourist attractions: Kinderdijk, a world-famous complex of windmills. Nineteen historical windmills reach to the skies in the epitome of the classical Dutch countryside. You can visit an authentic workshop and find out how these mills were built and how they work. You will then cycle through Dordrecht, one Netherlands’ oldest towns. A visit to the scenic harbour quarter with its wonderful historical buildings should not be missed. The route will take you right past one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe: Biesbosch National Park. Upon crossing the Netherlands Diep river by ferry, you will find yourself in the south of the Netherlands. Passing through village after village, Brabant hospitality will entice you to stop for a cup of coffee and a big slice of fruit tart. Today’s destination is Breda.
Please note that in case the ferry is not operating (it happens sometimes), you will be provided with an alternative route.
- Accommodation: Golden Tulip Keyser Breda or similar
- Cycling for the day: 81km
Day 4: Breda – Antwerpen | 73km
Breda is the main city of Nassau in the Netherlands, boasting many imposing monuments. The ancestors of the royal family converted Breda to a beautiful city with lavishly decorated buildings. The landscape along today’s cycling route is predominantly woody. On the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, catch your breath in De Zoom – Kalmthoutse Heide, a lovely cross-border nature reserve. The route takes you right into the historical and touristic heart of Antwerp. It’s the largest town in Flanders and Belgium’s most important port city. After viewing the historical town centre, you might like to venture to the hip and trendy parts of the city: ‘t Zuid and Het Eilandje. Have you worked up a thirst for Belgian beer? Consider visiting De Koninck beer brewery. It has been going strong since 1833 and has a new visitors centre welcoming guests wishing to look around and do some tasting. This brewery is best known for its ‘Bollekes’.
- Accommodation: Hampton by Hilton Antwerpen or similar
- Cycling for the day: 73km
Day 5: Antwerpen – Ghent | 90km
Cycling south, along the banks of the river Scheldt you will start on the LF2 Cities Cycle Route. By switching to the LF5, you head towards Dendermonde and Ghent. The bushes and polders show the wild and pure nature here. At the end of the day, the sparkling cultural city of Ghent is waiting for you. The Belgians call Ghent their most beautiful city and the city will undoubtedly charm you.
- Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Chamade or similar
- Cycling for the day: 90km
Day 6: Ghent – Tournai | 79km
The river Scheldt is still your companion as you cycle to the old town of Oudenaarde (AD 974). Also the centre of the famous classic cycle race “Ronde van Vlaanderen”. The former towing paths along the banks have been transformed to smooth cycle paths, so occasionally leafy and then through the open fields of Flanders. Down the road do try one of the most famous Belgian local products “Geraardsbergse mattentaart”, a local delicacy with an ancient history. Directly after Kluisbergen, you leave Flanders, and you will enter the province of Wallonia with just a 20km to go to Tournai. Today we also offer you two alternative routes that go through the Flemish Ardennes, in case you don’t want to follow the river all day long.
- Accommodation: Hotel D’Alcantara or similar
- Cycling for the day: 79km
Day 7: Tournai – Cambrai | 74km
While leaving the 5 bell-towers of Tournai behind you, ride the last part on the Belgian cycle path along the Scheldt, before arriving in France. This day offers a pleasant ride through the Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut, the first French regional park. Here, Belgium and France link with the barges on Escaut river, between lands and waters where you pedal through the forests, marshes and ponds populated with various species. You will discover the mining villages listed by UNESCO. Passing through typical villages and hamlets, you reach the town of Cambrai, peaceful city of Art and History. Take your time to discover its streets lined with half-timbered houses and private Flemish mansions. And don’t leave without having tasted the famous “Bétises de Cambrai” or other local specialities.
- Accommodation: Logis Hôtel Mouton Blanc or similar
- Cycling for the day: 74km
Day 8: Cambrai – Saint-Quentin | 51km
Today, you leave Cambrai by lodging the Canal de Saint-Quentin (inaugurated in 1810 by the Emperor Napoleon 1st), discover the Haute Vallée de l’Escaut. Here is a jewel: the abbey of Vaucelles (XII century). As it is presented to you today, the abbey remains an unusual construction both in its dimensions and the quality of its restoration. A few pedalling strokes will take you to the sources of l’Escaut, the famous river that you follow for kilometres and whose course flows into the North Sea in the Netherlands. If you want, you can take a 6 km detour to visit the interesting canal tunnel and the Touage museum. The route takes you on small hilly roads between villages devoted to agriculture and memorial sites of the Great War: cemeteries, memorials and vestiges of the Hindenburg line. Find the canal and its cycle path to finally reach Saint Quentin. Discover its streets with Art Deco houses.
- Accommodation: Hôtel Memorial or similar
- Cycling for the day: 51km
Day 9: Saint-Quentin – Compiègne | 75km
On the way to Compiegne, pedal through the fertile valley of the Oise. Continue towards Noyon along the canal. Noyon is listed as a city of Art and History; take in its medieval atmosphere around the cathedral which saw the coronation of Hugues Capet in 987. Then return to the shared tracks where a stop at the abbey of Ourscamp is recommended. When cycling through the woods of Compiègne, you will go past the “Clairière de l’Armstice”, where the armistice (and the actual end) of the WWI was signed (and where Hitler as revenge forced the French to sign the surrender treaty in 1940). Then you reach Compiègne, a large town bordering the forest.
- Accommodation: Aiden by Best Western T’Aim Hôtel or similar
- Cycling for the day: 75km
Day 10: Compiègne – Senlis | 75km
Your journey starts in the forest of Compiègne to go via Pierrefonds and its enchanting castle to the abbey of Saint Jean aux Bois, with its well preserved abbey grounds, city gates and 850 year old oak tree. The route continues alongside a number of Gallo Roman ruins to the Automne Valley, followed by the climb to the beautiful village of Néry. Via the forest of Halatte you’ll arrive in Senlis. In case you have some energy left, cycle an additional 15 km through the forest of Halatte via Chantilly to Senlis. Chantilly is known for its castle, its Great Stables, its porcelain, its lace and its gastronomy.
- Accommodation: Logis Hostellerie de la Porte Bellon or similar
- Cycling for the day: 75km
Day 11: Senlis – Paris | 72km
From Gressy to Paris, the route follows the nice cycle track of the Canal de l’Ourcq, a rural setting on the last 30km for a safe entrance into Paris, with no cars around. Crossing the capital along the Canal de l’Ourcq and Canal Saint-Martin really allows you to dive into an open-air museum and a history book. For those who want to continue exploring the city by bike, we can offer an optional 24km of cycling, starting from your hotel, and going along the river Seine (and the Notre Dame) towards the Eiffel Tower and back.
- Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Paris – Canal de la Villette or similar
- Cycling for the day: 72km
Day 12: Departure
End of your trip after breakfast. We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to explore the beautiful city of Paris.
What to expect
Comfortable 3-star and 4-star hotels, all in twin/double rooms with en-suite facilities. 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
- Best Western Hotel Gouda
- Golden Tulip Keyser Breda
- Hampton by Hilton Antwerpen
- Best Western Hotel Chamade
- Hotel D’Alcantara
- Logis Hôtel Mouton Blanc
- Hôtel Memorial
- Aiden by Best Western T’Aim Hôtel
- Logis Hostellerie de la Porte Bellon
*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. For lunch and dinner, you can enjoy the cosy restaurants along the way.
Difficulty and terrain
The route of the tour goes along beautiful cycle paths and quaint side roads. The terrain is mostly flat, with an average daily distance of 75 km. Previous cycling experience and good physical shape are recommended for enjoying the trip to the maximum. Renting an E-bike is also possible, which will make cycling effortless (read more about difficulty grades). Upon arrival, you will receive detailed travel information with route maps or overview maps, route descriptions, tourist attractions and important telephone numbers.
When to go
This trip is available for departure on the following dates: 1 June, 31 July and 31 August 2023. Paris to Amsterdam available on 11 June, 10 August and 10 September 2023.
The best time for cycling is between June and mid-September when the wildflowers are in bloom, and the weather is generally good. Earlier in the season, there may be some residual snow patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills.
FCO up-to-date travel advice on the Netherlands, Belgium and France is available here, here and here.
Click to view travel options
We advise coming by plane or train. Parking in Amsterdam is approx. €15 per day. Our recommended arrival/departure airport is the one in Amsterdam.
By train or bus
- The train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Sloterdijk departs 6 times per hour. Travel time is about 10min. A single ticket costs approx €4,- per person excl. bicycle.
- For timetables and tickets, go to https://www.ns.nl/en.
- For bus details, how to reach the hotel, check https://9292.nl/en or use the Omio planner above.
- Paris is the final destination of this tour. You can fly back home from Paris, or take the train back to Amsterdam Schiphol. The fast train Thalys takes you back to Amsterdam in 3h and 17min, bookable 3 months in advance starting at 39 €, one-way p.p. During weekdays this train runs every 2 hours. Mind that you can not take a bike on this train (we take care of the rentals).
- 11 overnights in 3 and 4-star hotels as listed in the itinerary
- 11 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers between hotels (max. 1 piece of 20kg per person)
- Detailed travel information, including route maps, route description, tourist attractions info and important telephone numbers
- GPS tracks
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare, connecting land transfers and ferry crossings
- 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
Options, extras and supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- Bike / e-bike rental
- Bike theft insurance
- Helmet rental
- One extra night in Amsterdam before the cycling holiday
- One extra night in Paris after the cycling holiday
If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our bikes are lightweight and make excellent touring bikes with 27-gears and disc brakes. Renting an e-bike is also possible. 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) may only be used for its/their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the booking
- The bike(s) must be returned to us in the same (clean) state in which you received it/them
- You must take excellent care of the bicycle(s) as if it/they were your own. You must take every precaution against damage, loss or theft.
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 and chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. You must understand that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.
It is possible to purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance, covering: damages arising out of the theft of the bicycle; and damages to the bicycle as a consequence of the theft. Not covered are: theft of bicycle parts; and damages arising out of attempted theft.