On the road of traditions by bike aboard the Zwaan
Discover the typical landscapes of the Dutch countryside by bicycle aboard the Zwaan.
The northern route takes routes through the Dutch polders and in the most beautiful dune region of the Netherlands between Bergen and Schoorl. Visit the island of Texel, charming Dutch villages and of course the very beautiful city of Amsterdam on this unforgettable cycling trip.
The highlights of your cycling holiday in Holland :
- The fishing villages of Volendam and Enkhuizen
- Texel Island
- Beemster Polder
- Windmills at Zaanse Schans
Day 1 - Amsterdam, boarding at 4 p.m. / 15-20 km
Arrived on board the boat scheduled between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., you can settle in your cabin. Then meet the guide, the skipper, his crew and other passengers. You can take your first bike tour north of Amsterdam. The program of the stay will be explained to you at dinner time.
Day 2 - Amsterdam - Hoorn 46 km
You drive through rural Waterland, here the roads and houses are almost at the same level as the water!
Then you visit Marken, an ancient island that can only be visited on foot or by bicycle. Driving is prohibited, except for residents.
After Marken you continue to Volendam, once a small fishing village. Now it is an important tourist spot, where locals still wear traditional dress.
You then sail to Hoorn, another important port town in the 17th century where you can admire the old facades, canals and bridges.
Day 3 - Hoorn - Enkhuizen 30 km
The road to Enkhuizen follows the dike while enjoying a magnificent view of the Markermeer on your right and small Dutch villages on your left. The Enkhuizen dyke in Lelystad was built recently (1976), to create a new large polder: the Markerwaard, but the project was unsuccessful because the environment and freshwater supply were priorities.
The stage ends in Enkhuizen. You can visit the Zuiderzee Museum which shows the daily life of the inhabitants of the Zuiderzee seaside, before the construction of the Afsluitdijk. This dike transformed in 1932 the Zuiderzee (a sea in open connection with the North Sea) into IJsselmeer (a lake in fresh water).
Day 4 - Enkhuizen - Medemblik, navigation to Texel 34 km
Before crossing a nature reserve, you follow the IJsselmeer dyke and then cross typical villages of the region to Medemblik. You can admire the castle of Radboud. You embark aboard the Zwaan to sail the IJsselmeer and the Waddenzee (the Wadden Sea) to the island of Texel. The Waddenzee is the world's largest uninterrupted system of mud flats and sandbanks. There is a multitude of habitats there: tidal channels, sandbanks, seagrass meadows, mussels, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes. The place is home to many species of plants, animals and marine mammals such as seals.
Day 5 - Texel, round trip 35/48 or 62 km
The island of Texel is the largest Dutch island with an average length of 20 km and a width of 8 km. Texel is very popular with bird watchers with its 300 different bird species. The dune ridge presents a hilly expanse of flowers and wild grasses and the beaches are wide. You cross wheat fields and meadows colonized by cows. A visit to this island with its many cycle paths is a must. You can choose between 35, 48 or 62 km loops.
Day 6 - Texel - Alkmaar 58 km
The boat takes you back to the mainland to Den Helder, the main port of the Netherlands Navy. Once on the bike, you cross the dunes and the Zwanenwater which is an impressive nature reserve, with its lakes and marshes. Further on, on the dike of Hondsbossche Zeewering, you have a wonderful view of the North Sea. Towards Schoorl you contemplate the highest dunes in the country covered with dense forest.
The stage ends in Alkmaar, a historic city with 400 monuments classified as national monuments. One of the best known is the 15th century Grote Kerk. Alkmaar is known as the 'city of cheese'. It used to be that they weighed and sold cheese à la Waag (an old word for "balance"). This public scale is housed in a 16th century building. Every Friday the famous cheese market takes place in front of the Waag.
Day 7 - Alkmaar - Amsterdam 55 km
After visiting the cheese market, you cycle through some remarkable polders including the Beemster Polder, which is an exceptional example of land conquered from water.
On the way to Amsterdam you visit Zaansche Schans and its traditional wooden houses, warehouses and windmills. You can also visit a cheese factory, a clog factory and a traditional bakery.
In Amsterdam, it's time to leave your bike on the boat and enjoy a last night on the town along the canals.
Day 8 - Amsterdam
End of stay after breakfast before 10am.
Due to the navigation plan, the route may be reversed or changed.