Explore South Holland by bike and boat on a natural adventure that takes you into what’s often described as the green heart of the Netherlands. Spend eight days cycling through traditional Dutch towns such as the ancient fortified beauty of Gorichem, the riverfront city of Leerdam, famous for both cheese and glassmaking and the tranquil wetlands of De Biesbosch National Park. As well as the famous cities of Rotterdam and Utrecht where the Old Canal is one of the country’s finest. On this trip you spend each night on board a riverboat, with ensuite outward-facing cabins and all meals included.
This tour, which starts and ends in Rotterdam, just 45 minutes from Amsterdam, is also reachable by rail.
- Windmills and historic old towns
- Green heart of the Netherlands
- Riverboat accommodation
Click to view map
Day 1: Rotterdam
Check-in on board from 16.00 taking time to explore Rotterdam, a multicultural city famous for its contemporary arts, award-winning architecture and funky food scene.
Day 2: Rotterdam to Dordrecht | 40km
Today’s route runs alongside the waterfront via Krimpen aan den IJssel to Kinderdijk, home to the most famous group of windmills of the Netherlands. Dating back to the 18th century, the 19 mills feature on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Continue through the polder area of Albwasserwaard to Dordrecht, which is believed to be the Netherlands’ oldest city.
Cycling for the day: 40km
Day 3: Dordrecht – Gorinchem | 46-53km
Begin the day with a short ferry ride to De Biesbosch National Park, where several rivers come together to form a vast freshwater delta. Here there is the option to enjoy a boat trip of the area, crossing over to Gorichem by water taxi.
- Cycling for the day: 46-53km
Day 4: Gorinchem – Utrecht | 47km
Today’s journey takes you to Leerdam, famous for Leerdammer cheese and the fortified city of Vianen, where you take a ferry boat across the River Lek and continue cycling to the village of Vreeswijk. Continue on to the town of Nieuwegein, where you can take a diversion to Fort Jutphaas, before coming to Utrecht.
- Cycling for the day: 47km
Day 5: Utrecht to Schoonhoven* | 40-49km
Before setting off for the day, be sure to take some time to explore the city of Utrecht. Your cycling itinerary takes you through polder landscape again, this time via Oudewater, with its famous Witches Weigh House. Continue on to Schoonhoven, also known as the Silver City of the Netherlands as silver and goldsmiths have been producing fine work here since the 17th century.
*Route dependent on mooring distribution to be decided spring 2024. Alternative route: Utrecht – Vianen 45-55km.
- Cycling for the day: 40-49km
Day 6: Schoonhoven* – Rotterdam | 43km
From Schoonhoven, begin with a leisurely cycle to the city of Gouda, which is famous for its cheese. Today’s destination is the multicultural and vibrant city of Rotterdam.
*Route dependent on mooring distribution to be decided spring 2024. Alternative route: Vianen – Gouda – Rotterdam 59km.
- Cycling for the day: 43km
Day 7: Rotterdam | 40-70km
You have various options for today. The first is to take time out from cycling and just explore explore Rotterdam on foot, or by boat on a harbour tour. Cycling options are on circular routes further afield, either to the beautiful canal-ringed city of Delft or to the historic capital of The Hague, which is within a easy cycling reach of the North Sea coastal resort of Scheveningen. The return to Rotterdam can either be by bike or train (rail and bike transport is not included, approx. €16, not available in rush hour between 16:30 and 18:00).
- Cycling for the day: 40-70km
Day 8: Departure
Departure after breakfast.
What to expect
Accommodation is in an outward-facing cabin on a comfortable riverboat, with maximum 100 passengers, for the duration of the tour. For more details see below.
Click to view default ship
- MS Normandie: A comfortable riverboat with onboard restaurant, bar and cosy lounge area. There are three single cabins and 49 twin cabins, with 33 cabins on the main deck and 18 cabins on the promenade deck. All cabins are en-suite.
Full board package includes: breakfast buffet, lunch on board (non-cyclists) or packed lunch (cyclists), afternoon coffee break, dinner.
Difficulty and terrain
The cycle path is flat or, at times, on a gentle downhill slope and is ideal for cyclists with less experience and children. The tour is rated easy due to it being mostly on flat terrain (read more about difficulty grades).
When to go
This trip is available March to October 2024, departing on a Saturday.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
- If you are able to travel to Rotterdam without flying, this holiday is reachable by rail with train stations in Rotterdam and the surrounding areas – For more details, see the national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).
- For more information, use the Omio planner above.
- From the UK, there is a direct train service with Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Amsterdam Centraal (4h).
Please note: If you are planning on travelling to Amsterdam from London by Eurostar, this direct service is suspended for six months between June 2024 and January 2025. There will still be an option to take a train from London to Brussels and then change trains there to Amsterdam, but Eurostar will not be operating their usual direct, cross-Channel service during this period, due to renovations taking place at the Dutch capital’s main railway station.
- 7 nights in outward-facing cabins with private facilities and air conditioning
- Harbour charges
- Welcome drink
- Full board: breakfast buffet, lunch on board (non-cyclists) or packed lunch (cyclists), afternoon coffee break and dinner
- Tour guide on board
- Daily information meeting (cycle tours)
- Detailed travel documents (printed) and GPS tracks (one per cabin)
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Bike rental
- 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
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a cabin of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single cabins)
- Cabin upgrades (upon request: upper deck)
- Bike and e-bike rental
7-gear-unisex-trekking bike by Velo de Ville. Bikes come with hand break and pedal brake or upon request handbrake only.
8-gear e-bikes by Velo de Ville. E-bike hire is subject to availability due to space onboard.
All bicycles are equipped with panniers and have rental bike insurance included.
Helmets are not available for purchase onboard, so it is recommended to bring your own.