Northern route Holland: bike & boat with MS De Willemstad
With bike and ship through Holland: Northern route
During this fascinating cycling cruise on board the ship De Willemstad you will discover the best of what the beautiful Provinces of North-Holland and Friesland offer. Explore flat “polder” landscapes – a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments – the North Sea coast, towering sand dunes, long sandy beaches, historic windmills, the island of Texel and the many picturesque harbor towns along the coast of IJsselmeer Lake. It is without doubt a tour not to be missed!
MS De Willemstad
The comfortable ship was completely renovated and converted in 2017/2018. There are two tour leaders on board during the tours with this ship. The ship was used for cycling cruises for several years on the Danube river under its previous name Arlene II. Look forward to meeting nice people, riding beautiful bike tours and spending pleasant hours on board. All cabins are ‘outside cabins’ that are equipped with two single beds, TV, mini safe and individually controlled air conditioning. Each cabin has a bathroom with shower, toilet and hairdryer. There are 8 suites (approx. 15 m² / 161 sq.ft) with a French balcony and opening floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door, two single beds, set together as a queen size bed and a small seating area. On the upper deck there are also 16 twin cabins (approx. 10 m² / 108 sq.ft) with two separate single beds.. The twin cabins on the upper deck have a panoramic window that can be opened. There are 24 twin cabins with two separate single beds and a large window with an upper hinged window that can be opened for ventilation. In the salon / bar with large panoramic windows on the upper deck, you can review the day’s experiences in a pleasant way while enjoying a beer or a glass of wine. Your physical well-being is taken care of in the tastefully furnished and air-conditioned restaurant on the lower deck. The spacious and partly covered sundeck offers space to let the landscape pass comfortably in a deck chair. The bicycles are stored on the rear part of the sun deck.
1. day Amsterdam Arrival
Embarkation and check-in between 2 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. in Amsterdam. Take the opportunity to go shopping, to explore downtown Amsterdam, to make a canal cruise or to visit a museum. At 5 p.m. welcome drink and safety instructions, dinner and first briefing on board. During dinner short cruise to Zaandam.
2. day Zaandam - "Zaanse Schans" - Alkmaar 44 km
The first cycling trip of this tour takes you via small villages through the beautiful flat and green polder landscape. The first stop is at the Zaanse Schans open air museum (free entry) with its traditional Old Dutch wooden houses, windmills and the cheese- and clog factory. After this visit you will cycle through the “Land of Leeghwater”, a green polder area between Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Hoorn. Stroll through the former whaler’s village De Rijp and pass by the windmills of Schermerhorn. Your ship will be waiting for you near the historical city center of Alkmaar.
3. day Dune tour: round trip from/to Alkmaar (33 km or 40 km) | Alkmaar – Den Helder
Today you can discover the beautiful North-Holland Dune reserve. This is a 5.300 hectare large forest- and dune area with its unique landscapes. In these dunes the drinking water for almost the whole province of North-Holland is gained. After a visit to the beach and artists village Bergen you will return to Alkmaar where you can visit the wonderful city center. In the afternoon the ship will sail over the North-Holland Canal to the navy harbor of Den Helder.
4. day Ferry to North Sea island of Texel: cycling round trip (several options from 15 km to 65 km) | Den Helder – Den Oever
After breakfast you’ll take a 20-minute ferry ride (ticket included) from Den Helder to the isle of Texel, where you can make beautiful cycling tours on the largest of the Dutch North Sea Isles. Ride through meadows, nature parks and dunes to small villages and have the opportunity for a stop and some bathing at the sandy North Sea beach, or visit the “Ecomare” seal sanctuary. In the late afternoon you will return by ferry to Den Helder. During dinner your ship will sail to Den Oever.
5. day Den Oever – Stavoren | Southwest Friesland: round trip from/to Stavoren (43 km or 55 km)
The vessel will cross the large inland lake IJsselmeer to sail to Stavoren in the Province of Friesland. You can opt for a shorter or longer cycling tour: discover the nature area of Gaasterland or explore a part of the wide lake district, that Friesland is well-known for. You can also combine both options. Night in the small harbor of Stavoren, one of the famous traditional 11 cities of Friesland.
6. day Stavoren – Medemblik | Medemblik – Hoorn – Enkhuizen (30 km - 50 km)
The ship will cross the IJsselmeer again during breakfast. Take the short cycling trip from Medemblik along the IJsselmeer coast directly to Enkhuizen, where you can spend the afternoon. Enkhuizen is an old city with many centuries of maritime tradition. The “herring city” boasts a beautiful old harbor, a historical old town centre and the very interesting Zuiderzeemuseum. If you prefer a longer cycling tour, ride from Medemblik to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn, in the 17th century one of the world’s leading harbors. Enjoy your lunch break and make a short stroll in the old city centre. Continue by bicycle to Enkhuizen via some picturesque rural villages. In the evening you can join a short city walk.
7. day Enkhuizen – Volendam | Volendam – Waterland – Amsterdam (35 km - 50 km)
During breakfast the ship will sail to Volendam. Your final day of cycling will lead you through the beautiful area of Waterland, with its hundreds of small lakes and tiny canals. Near Volendam you will have the opportunity to visit a cheese farm. Recommended (extra cycling miles) is a tour to the former island of Marken, to continue through the water shaped region of Waterland back to the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. If you didn’t go for a canal cruise on the first day, you can do so today.
8. day Amsterdam departure
You holiday ends leaving the ship after breakfast abaout 09.30 a.m.
The planned route is always subject to possible changes for nautical, meteorological or organizational reasons. In the event of high or low tide, for example, the captain can decide that the route must be changed for your safety. This is not a legally valid reason for a free cancellation of the trip.
prices & services
Individual tours: Here you decide when and with whom you would like to travel. We provide you with detailed tour documents and practical planning tips, and you enjoy our all-in, worry-free package with separate luggage transport throughout your tour.
Guided tours: You can simply get on your bike and enjoy a group holiday (8–20 participants). Your tour guide will take care of everything, and your luggage will be transported separately.
This overview shows you the grade of difficulty for our tours:
In the case of our original Velociped tours, we are the tour operator. We organise and accompany these tours personally.
So that you have an even bigger selection to choose from, we also cover additional routes in collaboration with long-standing partners. With these Velociped partner tours, we are the tour broker.
Prices are per person.
01.04. – 08.04.2023
15.04. – 22.04.2023
23.09. – 30.09.2023
09.09. – 16.09.2023
06.05. – 02.09.2023
bookable additional services
- 7 x accomodation on the ship
- daily cabin cleaning
- linen and towels
- welcome drink
- full board (breakfast, packed lunch and three course dinner)
- coffee and tea in the afternoon
- daily route conference on board
- guided tours at Alkmaar and Enkhuizen
- reduced tickets in several museums
- Maps and detailed route description
- all harbour-, bridge- and watergate fees
- 7 days hotline service
- WLAN / Wifi in the lounge
Below you will find specific information about the bike and boat tour in Holland. If you have further questions about this trip, you simply call us: Phone: 06421 – 886890.
Arrival by train
Amsterdam is easily accessible from all major cities in Germany by train. You will receive detailed information about where to find the ship together with your tour documents approx. 2 weeks prior to your arrival. Current schedule information and price information can be found at: www.bahn.de.
Parking possibilities in Amsterdam
If you come to Amsterdam by car, we recommend that you use Amsterpark.nl's valet service, which we offer with a pick-up and return service ("Valet Parking"). You will receive a registration form with the travel documents.
With valet parking, you drive your own car to the ship, from where your car is driven by a driver to a monitored parking area. A driver will be waiting for you in front of the ship, who will help you with your luggage. The driver, who is familiar with the area and the vehicle, will bring your car to a parking lot where your car will be parked under constant camera surveillance; When you return from the trip, your car will be in front of the ship within about 30 minutes of your call, so you can board and drive straight away.
Benefits of the Amsterpark Valet Service
No waiting, no loss of time, no boarding/departing/changing bus journeys, no need to carry luggage.
Because you reserve in advance, you have the security that a parking space is available.
You are immediately at your destination without having to take a taxi or public transport.
Your car is parked safely and guarded.
Reliable and responsible drivers with the appropriate papers take care of your vehicle.
Amsterpark Valet Parking is cheaper than many public car parks in Amsterdam and is accessible 24/7.
How much does valet parking cost from Amsterpark?
Valet parking: For only around €175.00 you can park your vehicle (car) securely and guarded for a week, including 2 x transfer services for your car.
Best parking possibilities in Amsterdam
Please notice that in the cabins is only a very little space for a suitcase!
Available rental bikes
So-called unisex bikes are available (suitable for men and women). They have a 7-speed gear shift with coaster brake and are available in different frame sizes. Please enter therefore your weight when booking the tour. On request and extra charge some electric bikes can be made available.
Bring your own bikes
You can take your own bike with you to a limited extent. There is little space available on the ship for a surcharge: € 10.00 per regular bike or € 25.00 per electric bike. Advance registration is required to bring your own bike.
Suite De Willemstad
Extra costs which are not included in the tour price
Arrival and departure, parking fees, drinks and coffee and tea after 4 p.m., rental bikes, entrance fees and excursion fees, personal insurance, tips and personal expenses.
A fuel surcharge due to the sharp rise in fuel prices, is not included in the cruise price and must be paid on board. The amount of the surcharge - if applicable - we will let you know approx. 3 to 4 weeks prior to your arrival.
7 days hotline service
In case of chain breakdown, flooding or other bad surprises that makes a continuation of your tour impossible: no problem, we also work during weekends and you can reach us 7 days a week in case of emergency.
Passport and visa requirements, health regulations
For EU citizens, there are no special passport or visa requirements and no health formalities to be considered for this trip.
Corona travel information:
Before booking your trip, please inform yourself about the measures in place to contain the Corona pandemic.
An up-to-date overview of applicable measures and travel and safety advice regarding Covid-19 for all countries in the EU and Switzerland can be found here:
You can also find more information on our website at:
Corona virus and holiday planning
The tour price already includes the statutory insolvency insurance. In addition, we recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance upon receipt of your travel confirmation in order to protect yourself against financial disadvantages in the event of travel cancellation, interruption of travel, illness or accident.
Amsterdam is one of the greatest small cities in the world. From Amsterdam canals to world-famous Amsterdam museums and historical Amsterdam sights, it is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe. Canal cruises are a popular way to see the city from the perspective of its canals.
The most obvious association with the name ‘Edam’ is its cheese. For centuries the well-known round Edam cheeses have been sent from this town to all corners of the world. The cheese market, once again restored to its place of honor, is enacted weekly during the summer months. And nearby cheese warehouses keep alive the memory of a colourful past. Edam is a city with a rich history. It began in the 12th century, when farmers and fishermen settled along the little Ye river. With that ‘Yedam’ was a fact. This primitive settlement developed into an increasingly prosperous town well into the 17th century. Shipbuilding played an important role in this growth. Once Edam had 33 ship-yards building many famous ships. A good example is the ‘Halve Maan’, the ship that the Englishman Henry Hudson sailed in 1609 when attempting to discover a northern route to the East Indies. A futile attempt in fact, because he ended up on the island of Manhattan!
Discover the wonderful little city of Hoorn near Ijsselmeer lake and enjoy the history, pleasant Enkhuizen atmosphere and beautiful natural surroundings. Hoorn’s heyday was in the 17th century, when it was one of the main VOC cities. Like Amsterdam and Enkhuizen, Hoorn became a very wealthy city. Today dozens of monuments and churches allow you to sense those historic times. Enjoy a day out in Hoorn and combine a guided tour of the historic city centre with an afternoon of shopping and a lovely dinner. Hoorn is a small shopping paradise with lots of terraces and restaurants to enjoy and rest. If you want to be active for a few hours, Hoorn offers excellent water sports facilities. The dunes and beaches nearby are perfect spots for nature lovers.
Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen, located in more than a hundred and thirty authentic houses, shops and workshops, shows the history and culture of this unique region. Much attention is given to the past, present and future of the area in relation to such themes as water, traditional crafts and communities. The Buitenmuseum (Open-Air Museum), open from March to October, is visited with a true museum ferry. Here, you will see authentic buildings and learn all kinds of things about life around the Zuiderzee between 1880 and 1930 – in other words, the last years before the completion of the Afsluitdijk in 1932. There are workshops, fish smokehouses and net makers, and you can visit Urk homes and share a meal in a 1920 household.
The history of the Dutch East India Company, the VOC, is still visible in Enkhhuizen today. In the 17th and 18th century the VOC was the largest trading company in the world that travelled to Asiatic countries with its beautiful ships to conduct trade. The favourable location beside the IJsselmeer made it attractive to base a 'VOC Chamber' here. The 'Drommedaris', the defence towers in the port, and the centre with its historical buildings are reminders of these prosperous times.
Duinen van Texel Nationalpark
Much of Texel’s dunescape forms part of the Duinen van Texel National Park. Nationwide there are 20 such National Parks, 17 of which have been planned by the state. These are all areas of outstanding natural beauty which require special attention and preservation. Texel’s National Park covers the entirety of the island’s dunes and woodland - from the southernmost tip at De Hors to the dunes close to the lighthouse at the island’s most northerly point. In total, an area of 43 square kilometres. The Duinen van Texel National Park is home to a wide diversity of landscapes.
Den Helder is situated in the northernmost tip of the province of North Holland. The town has a lot to offer, from beautiful nature to a naval base. Many activities are organized during the summer months. These include fleet days, markets and theater shows. The town is a part of the defense line 'De Stelling van Den Helder'. It was built in the Napoleon era. He thought Den Helder was perfectly located to become the 'Gibraltar of the North'. Construction of the defense line was completed under King William I. Today, the Royal Navy uses only Fort Erfprins. Fort Kijkduin is open to the public. The fortifications have been restored completely and now also offer a North Sea aquarium.
Alkmaar - City of Cheese
Alkmaar is known as the city of cheese in Holland, but that title covers only part of what the town has to offer. It has a beautiful old centre with many historic monuments, great shopping districts and countless welcoming terraces, cafes and restaurants for every budget. Alkmaar also has a range of interesting museums, including the Stedelijk Museum, Beer Museum, Beatles Museum and naturally the Cheese Museum. If you want to get out of the city for a while, the beach and dunes are just fifteen minutes away.
The Zaanse Schans is a residential area in which the 18th and 19th centuries are brought to life. Stroll past the bakery museum and enjoy the smell of fresh bread, or take a look at the warehouse where clogs are made. You should be sure not to miss the cheese factory, pewter foundry and the various windmills. The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands, full of wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops. Make a cycling or sailing trip, browse the shops or treat yourself at the pancake restaurant. A day out at the Zaanse Schans in North Holland is fun and educational.
Amsterdam Nemo Science Center
An immense green building is located about 15 minutes walk from Amsterdam Central Station. The fascinating construction – often compared to a ship – is located above the IJ Tunnel. This is the Netherland’s largest science centre with the illustrious name: NEMO. NEMO means ‘no one’, but is anything but a no-man’s land. In the science centre, visitors of every age and background can make an exciting journey of discovery through the wonderful world of science and technology. When it was opened by Queen Beatrix in 1997, the big green NEMO building, which has the highest square in the Netherlands on its roof, was the first tangible evidence of the regeneration of the banks of the IJ. The building was designed by the renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The Rijksmuseum, which in English means – The State Museum, exists for more that two hundred years and today belongs to the most breathtaking museums in the world. During its existence, the museum went through many transformations and remains now, especially after its complete renovation, the attraction you should not miss during your trip to the Netherlands. It is in 1800, that The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum opened first its collection to the public as the Nationale Kunstgallerij (National Art Gallery). Since then, it moved several times before being established in Amsterdam (1808) by the decree of the King of the Netherlands Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Named then the Royal Museum, received in 1815 from the Dutch King Willem I its present name. In 1885 Rijksmuseum moved to its beautiful building, designed by the Dutch architect Petrus J.H. Cuypers. It has been built in the then fashionable Dutch neo-Renaissance style, using historical neo-Gothic elements in it form and decoration.
Because Marken used to be inundated on a regular basis in the past, its inhabitants built their homes on poles and knolls. The characteristic houses can be found nowhere else in the world. Marken was separated from the mainland by a storm in the thirteenth century. This was followed by centuries of isolation for its population, who made a living as fishermen. It was not until 1957 that Marken was reconnected with the mainland and became a peninsula when a dike was built. Even so, Marken’s authentic nature has been preserved and the inhabitants kept many traditions alive.