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Holland - Top of Amsterdam

Holland - Top of Amsterdam

Degree of difficulty - A

Not until the 17th Century were large parts of the area north of Amsterdam recovered from the sea and reclaimed through the use of hundreds of windmills.  It's here that you will find the typical Dutch landscape of polders, mills, harbours, and tulips.

This new tour brings you over small dykes and country roads. Many of the windmills are still in working order. You can get a feel for the old Dutch atmosphere in Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Edam and Volendam: traditional costumes, sailing ships and long johns on the clotheslines. On day 4 you'll sail to Texel, an island with thousands of sheep and a magnificent nature reserve.
Back on the mainland the route brings you to Holland's most beautiful dune area. These are also the only kilometers you will be cycling above sea level!
Alkmaar will also provide a good picture of ancient times. It is the capital of Dutch cheese with its own cheese market and weigh-house for cheese. In Zaanse Schans, a lovely little hamlet on the banks of the river Zaan, the mills, houses, shops and traditional Dutch crafts bring the past to life.

There are many different barges to choose. The barges and their cabins are classified according to their comfort ranging from:
Comfort Deluxe - Comfort Plus - Comfort 

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier.


Day 1 (Sat) Amsterdam, embarkation from 3pm - 4 pm. Round tour, 15 km
A simple settlement at the mouth of the river Amstel, with open connection to the sea: this was Amsterdam in the 12th century. Back on board, after the bike ride, the programme for the next day and the rest of the week will be explained to you at dinner time.

Day 2 (Sun) Amsterdam-Volendam 42 km
You now leave Amsterdam, which is still very quiet at this hour. A ferry takes you to the Amsterdam Noord quarter and soon you will be cycling through the rural area of Waterland. In this soggy peat land the houses and villages are hardly above the level of the water. The former isle of Marken is visited. It was not until 1957 that this island was connected to the mainland by a dike and it has retained its own particular character. The inhabitants are the only ones allowed to use their cars, so Marken can only be visited on foot or on bike. The route continues to the historic village of Monnickendam, which received its municipal charter in 1355. Now you continue your way along the Gouwzee dike to Volendam, today's destination. Originally Volendam was a small fishing community. Practically all its inhabitants used to wear their distinctive and picturesque traditional costumes. Volendam started as a settlement when Edam (to be visited tomorrow) dug its new, shorter waterway to the Zuiderzee in the 14th century. The old harbour became superfluous, a new dike was built and soon farmers and fishermen settled down. In the second half of the 15th century a new village came into being: Volendam.

Day 3 (Mon) Volendam – Enkhuizen 58 km (or go ashore in Hoorn 27 km)
If you have decided to cycle today’s entire itinerary your first stop will be Edam. Famous for its little 'Edamers', the round cheese balls (coated with red wax for export). Together with the Gouda equivalent they are probably the best-known types of cheese in the world. Here you can sample the atmosphere of a well-maintained old-Dutch town, though now lacking its former activity. After Edam the tour continues through broad meadows. You cycle alongside the Beemsterringvaart. Water from the polder on your left is pumped into this canal. The route further takes you along the dike in a northerly direction towards the city of Hoorn, where a longer break can be had. For those who have enjoyed the morning's trip on the barge the cycling is taken up here. You will have the opportunity to get a good impression of this beautiful city with its rich past. You continue on the dike with a wonderful view over the Markermeer on your right and West-Frisian villages on your left-hand side. The recently built dike from Enkhuizen to Lelystad (in the Noordoostpolder) appears on the horizon. This was meant to be a polder dike for a huge new polder: the Markerwaard. However, the plans were never executed: with time perception changed. The environment and fresh water supply became more important. So today the dike is there, but no polder...
The trip for today ends in Enkhuizen, a town which came into existence when two adjoining villages amalgamated.

Day 4 (Tues) Enkhuizen – Medemblik, sailing to Texel 43 km
You can start your day with a visit to the Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum, which consists of an indoor and outdoor part, shows you the history of everyday life around the Zuiderzee until the middle of the 20th century.
The cycling tour starts on the IJsselmeer dike and is then left behind to go through a nature reserve and some typical West-Frisian villages. Then Medemblik comes in sight, the oldest city of West-Friesland (1289), with an illustrious past and with Radboud castle, dating from the 13th century.
After Medemblik the trip continues through the Wieringermeer, the oldest of the IJsselmeer polders. At Oude Zeug you get on board and sail to the isle of Texel.

Day 5 (Wed) Texel round trip 40/50/66 km
The isle of Texel, which is one municipality, is the largest of the Dutch Waddeneilanden (Wadden islands). The average length of Texel is 20 km and the average width 8 km. Texel is highly appreciated by bird-watchers. In springtime about 80 different types of birds breed her, mainly in the dune areas, but all in all about 300 different species have been perceived on Texel. A tour around this island with its numerous cycle tracks is well worth the effort.

Day 6 (Thur) Texel – Alkmaar 58 km
(or ashore in ‘t Zand/Schagerbrug or St.Maartensvlotbrug 30/40 km, Tulip tour 67 km (only in April/May)
The ship takes you back to the mainland, where you disembark in the city of Den Helder, the Dutch naval port, situated at the mouth of the Noord-Hollandskanaal. Today's route takes you through the dunes. In the months of April and May you will first cycle through the flower bulb fields around Anna Paulowna, the centre of the North Holland flower cultivation. You pass by the unique nature reserve Het Zwanenwater (The Swans' Water), with its lakes and boggy hollows in the dunes. A little further you cycle on the Hondsbossche Zeewering (Hondsbossche Sea Dike), with a spectacular view of the North Sea. You enter the area of the Schoorlse Duinen (Schoorl Dunes), where you will find the highest dunes in the country. During the last century many pine trees were planted here so now it is a rather woody region. Bergen is an artists' village which attracts many painters, writers and architects.
Your destination for today is Alkmaar, also called the City of Cheese. Its weigh-house was the first in the country (for weighing and trading of cheese).

Day 7 (Fri) Alkmaar – Zaanse Schans – Amsterdam 45 km
You now have the choice of cycling the whole way or staying on board till Zaandam. Alkmaar's famous Friday cheese market starts at 10.00 am. After leaving Alkmaar the stage takes you through the 'droogmakerij' land with the 17th century towns of Schermerhorn, Graft and De Rijp.
The last stretch of the trip takes you through ’t Twiske (the Twiske) Leisure Park. Since the beginning of the Christian era the peat region around the Zaan had been used for cattle grazing. In the peat land ditches were dug to help draining the land. The dried peat was used as fuel. Once you are back at the barge in Amsterdam it is time to take leave of your bikes. In the afternoon there is still some time to go into town and after dinner you may want to finish off your trip by going on a city walk or taking a trip on one of Amsterdam's canal boats.

Day 8 (Sat) Amsterdam
End of tour after breakfast.

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier.


€1200 (standard season) per person sharing in a 2 bed cabin
€1710 (standard season) for single cabin occupancy 
€1200 (standard season) per person sharing in a 2 bed bunk cabin

€1015 (low season) / €1120 (standard season) per person sharing in a 2 bed cabin€1185 (low season) / €1305 (standard season) for single cabin occupancy 2 bed cabin

€1070 (low season) / €1180 (standard season) per person sharing in a 2 bed cabin 
€1170  (low season) / €1280 (standard season) per person sharing in an extra large 2 bed cabin 
€1515 (low season) / €1670 (standard season) for single cabin occupancy in a 2 bed cabin

€1090 (low season) / €1200 (standard season) per person sharing in a 2 bed cabin
€1550 (low season) / €1710 (standard season) for single cabin occupancy a 2 bed cabin low season

Standard Season: May 11 – June 22, August 24 – August 31
Low Season:           July 6 – August 18

Tour Includes

- 7 nights on board (incl. bedding, towels, soap)
- Breakfast and dinner on board
- Lunch packages when on the road
- Coffee and tea on board
- Bike rental
- Bike helmet
- Tour guide who cycles with the group
- Route info & road book (1 per cabin) 
- Ferry fares on the route
- at least 3 city walks with tour guide

€80 - supplement for an E-bike
Gluten free / vegan meals +€50

Group tour dates ( Red = booked out / not available, Blue = Limited Availability and Green = available)

11-May, 18-May, 25-May,
1-June, 8-June, 15-June, 22-June,
6-July, 27-July,
3-August, 24-August, 31-August,

Self Guided Tour Information

Self Led tours are not an option on this route.

Our motorized passenger vessels, about 35-45 meters in length, are former river vessels especially converted for this kind of holiday. The barges all comply with the strict safety regulations laid down by the Dutch Shipping Inspection Authorities. On board you find a cozy dining room, a sun deck/a deck for the bicycles. All cabins are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower and toilet, 220 Voltage and central heating. There is limited storage space in the cabin. We recommend 1 suitcase per person. You can slide the suitcase under the bed. 
Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. The Bike & Barge Holidays are for people who really enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury!

Zwaan – Category Comfort Plus

Zwaan Barge Zwaan Barge2 Zwaan Barge3

Hotelboat Zwaan's chef prepares nice meals, which are served in the livingroom or, 
wheather permitting, on the sundeck. 
Capacity: 14/18 persons 
Wifi: on board (only in the Netherlands) 
Electricity: 220 V 
Cabins: Seven cabins with private hot shower and toilet
2x Family-style room, 2/3 p with double bed + single bed - 2x Friends-style room
2/3 p with 3 single beds (one bunk) - 2x Twins-style room, 2 p with two separate beds
- 1x Lovers Nest, 2 p with double bed

Wending – Category Comfort 

Wending Barge Wending Barge2 Wending Barge3

The “Wending” is a former freight barge that started a new life in the early nineties as a luxury passenger motor barge. Since then the “Wending” is a familiar fixture on several routes in the Netherlands and Belgium. 

Capacity: max. 28 people/ On the Bike & Barge tours: max. 25 people 
Cabins: The ”Wending” has 8 double and 2 triple cabins. The beds in the cabins are side by side. 
In the triple cabin one bed is placed over the other two. All cabins with private bathroom and central heating. 
Day Stay: The “Wending” has a roomy and cosy salon, equipped with a complete music installation and TV. 
After a strenuous bike ride it is a great place to relax. 
Electricity: 220 V

Sailing Home - Category Comfort de Luxe

Sailing Home Barge Sailing Home Barge1 Sailing Home Barge2

The "Sailing Home" started cruising in 2001. 
This beautiful passenger ship can accommodate 26 overnight passengers. 
The interior of the salon and bar is decorated in a modern Victorian style and offers a lot of comfort.

Cabins: 13 spacious and comfortable guest cabins for two (lower beds) and each cabin has a private bathroom. 
All cabins have central heating and air-conditioning. The “Sailing Home” has two floors. 
On the top floor you will find the salon, a roomy lounge, a cosy bar and a sun deck.
Electricity: 220 V

Liza Marleen - Category Comfort

Liza Marleen Barge Liza Marleen Barge1 Liza Marleen Barge2

The “Liza Marleen” is a luxury motor passenger barge, built in 1997-98 
on the completely dismantled shell of a seafaring freight logger. 

Cabins are being fully renovated for the 2016 season. Capacity: max 22 people.

This robust barge is ideally suited for trips on the wider waterways, like the Dutch Waddenzee, the 
IJsselmeer and the Zeeland Streams, but it can also be found cruising on the smaller inland waterways 
of the Netherlands and Belgium. The “Liza Marleen” has 8 double cabins and 2 triple cabins. 
All cabins come with a private bathroom and central heating. The triple cabins have one double bed on 
top and one single bed underneath. The double cabins have two separate beds on top of each other.

The “Liza Marleen” has a beautiful, spacious and tastefully decorated salon and plenty of room on 
deck. The dayroom has audio-equipment and TV. 
Electricity: 220 V

How to get to the start point port:

To get from Schiphol airport to the ship. The distance is approx. 20 km. At Schiphol airport you can take the train to Central Station Amsterdam. These trains leave approx. every 8 min.and takes approx 15 minutes by train from the airport into Amsterdam, a ticket costs approx €5 per person for single journey. From Amsterdam Central Station it is a 10 minute walk to the place where the ship is docked.
A taxi from Schiphol to Amsterdam takes about 30 minutes, it costs about €35.

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier.

As always please contact us in the office for more information (info@cyclingsafaris.com).

I enjoyed the trip immensely, the barge was so nice and couldn't ask for better staff. Our guide was excellent, very informative and great with everyone. Bikes were excellent and comfortable to use. We met lovely people from all over the globe and we all got on very well. Looked forward to each days cycle and would recommend this holiday 100%, can't wait to go again! 

Lorraine S (Top of Amsterdam Group Sept 2016)

Really enjoyed doing the Top of Amsterdam tour. It was very well organised. It was lovely visiting the various places. The food and accommodation on the boat were excellent. The crew and guide were very helpful. 

Donal (Top of Amsterdam August 2016)

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Cycling Safaris
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UCD, Dublin 4,

Telephone: +353 1 2600749
Fax: +353 1 7161168


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