Explore acres of beautiful flower fields and typical Dutch delights! Our two-province adventure includes the amazing Keukenhof Gardens, a visit to a real…
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
EXPLORE acres of beautiful flower fields and typical Dutch delights! Our two-province adventure includes the amazing Keukenhof Gardens, a visit to a real working windmill and family-owned cheese farm. We also experience a historic cheese market and the famous Alsmeer Flower Auction. Always lots included in your trip!!
Check in and cycle/sail to Alkmaar
Our trip starts early Saturday morning when Flora sets off sailing out of Amsterdam to the city of Alkmaar at the top of North Holland. Cyclists will leave from Amsterdam and cycle through the beautiful nature area of Het Twiske to the 17th century village of Zaanse Schans.
We will stroll down streets lined with green wooden houses and graceful bridges, and poke into tradesman workshops, tiny stores and working windmills. Flora will meet us here and you can choose to sail or continue with a guide cycling us to beautiful Alkmaar.
While sailing we will enjoy snacks and a talk about our tour. We celebrate the evening with a Welcome Dinner and introduction of guests and crew.
Alkmaar - cycle the flower fields
A fishing village from the 10th century, Alkmaar gained prosperity and cultural richness as one of the main headquarters of the East Indies Trade Company. We will explore this beautiful city on a quiet early morning tour.
Then, we are off on bikes towards the North Sea coast and a visit to the village of Bergen from the 1500s. From here we follow snaking trails through miles of forest and most beautiful dunes. Turning inland we cycle through landscapes of colorful flower fields as far as the eye can see. We return to Alkmaar via small hamlets dotted by old windmills and tiny houses with beautiful gardens.
Haarlem (25-27 miles)
Flora sails us during breakfast to a beautiful lake where we start our cycling towards the ancient town of Haarlem. The capital of North Holland, Haarlem boasts a town center full of old Dutch architecture, a beautiful market place, quaint courtyards called hofjes dating back to 1300 and other Dutch sites to charm the visitor.
On our way to Haarlem we stop at Spaarndam, an adorable village paying homage to Hans Brinker at the site of the oldest lock of the Netherlands from 1285. We will visit the ruins of Brederode Castle, once a stronghold of a ruling Dutch family from 13th century.
Arriving in Haarlem we hope to visit the Haarlem Museum with interactive film of the town's history.
Leiden (22 miles)
We depart Haarlem into the flower fields for exciting cycling and photo taking. Mid-way in our route we stop at Keukenhof Gardens to browse the blooming acreage for 2.5 hours.
We head for Leiden Center to enjoy this unusually preserved Golden Age city. An early Roman city founded on the Rhine, Leiden is the birthplace of painter, Rembrandt, and home to the first University in Holland (1575) which has developed into a world-famous center of science.
Of special interest is that in the 16th century, botanist Clusius brought the first Dutch Tulips into flower here. Also, Leiden was home to the famous English separatists, and highlights of their life here is featured in an interesting Pilgrims Museum.
Gouda (25 miles)
We leave Leiden heading south to Lidia and Teo's Farm- The Vierhuizen. The Van Leuwens run a nine generation milk farm- now prized for their organic Gouda cheese. We'll take a tour, learn how cheese is made and buy things to take home from their lovely shop.
With over 300 preserved buildings, Gouda boasts a vibrant historic center including the 123-metre long St. Janskerk (St. Johns Church) with its world-famous stained-glass windows, the fabulous Gothic Town Hall, the Waag (Weigh House), and many wonderful museums such as the pipe and earthenware museum.
We'll make a special visit to see, and of course enjoy, traditional Stroop Waffles made and sample chocolates from an original Gouda candy store.
Gouda Cheese Market-Kudelstaart (25 miles)
We will linger a bit this morning for the Thursday morning GOUDA CHEESE MARKET - a spectacular and historic scene with lively cheese trading and a market square full of assorted vendors showing their foods and trades.
We take leave of Gouda into the Goudse Hout (woods)- a recreational area surrounded by a huge lake that we cycle across like we're floating on the water while gazing upon a beautifully preserved grassland landscape.
Flower Auction-Amsterdam (25 miles)
We leave our boat early and cycle a few miles to get first peak at the workings of the famous Flower Auction of Aalsmeer - largest in the world. We will witness the exciting process in which millions of flowers and plants are bought and sold to be shipped to countries all over the world.
Heading to Amsterdam, we enjoy its Amsterdamse Bos (forest) at the southern edge of the city. Created in 1937 from unused wetlands, the Bos is now a favorite place for cycling and watersports. We'll stop at Meer Zicht where Suzie and Roger love to treat the group to popular Dutch pancakes - Pannekoeken.
Tonight we celebrate our final evening together with a special Farewell Dinner!
Goodbye to the Netherlands
Saturday morning we will have breakfast, say our goodbyes to cycling friends and the wonderful hospitality of our captain and crew. We disembark at 9 a.m. for home.
- 7 nights on lovely Flora boat-hotel with lower beds and private bath
- Hearty breakfasts, 6 packed lunches and 6 wonderful dinners
- Stops for Dutch favorites like Apple cake with coffee, Pannekoek lunch; an afternoon wine and cheese social
- Visit to working windmill and family-run farm, experience a medieval castle, museum/church tours, Keukenhof Gardens, Flower Auction
- All ferry fees
- 24-speed bicycle rental (note that e-bikes are $100 additional per week)
- This tour guided by longtime guide/historian/friend Seitse Huizingh