Depart from the U.S.
for the Netherlands.
The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight
itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Amsterdam
Upon arrival at the Amsterdam airport, claim your luggage
and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving
the customs area -- VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area.
(Please note: Also make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag
so your VBT representative can identify you.) After exiting customs, enter the
arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign
and who will make arrangements for your transfer via taxi or minibus to your
Amsterdam hotel (transfer time is approximately 20 minutes depending on
Important: Transfers are provided by Schiphol Taxi, who will
be looking for you and carrying a VBT signboard. You may be approached by other
companies offering a transfer. Please use only Schiphol Taxi, telephone +31 654
354 601 or +31 681 299 101. Transfers
provided by any other company will be at your own expense.
Please note: If you cannot find the VBT representative, or
have been delayed in customs or because of lost luggage, please go to the Red
& White Meeting Point and wait there.
Please note that the hotel check-in time is 3 p.m. but they
will do their best to get you to your rooms as soon as possible. After checking
in, you have free time to explore Amsterdam. VBT provides you with City
Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes recommendations on what
to see and do in Amsterdam.
This evening, meet one of our VBT Trip Leaders at 6 p.m. in
the lobby of the hotel for an introductory meeting before trying one of
Amsterdam's wonderful restaurants for dinner on your own.
Day 3 - Embark barge/Warm-up ride/Cruise to Vianen
VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for making
your own way to meet our barge, the Iris,
and to arrive between 1 and 1:30 p.m. Please note that you cannot arrive before
this time as the barge is being prepared for you. If you are late, you must
contact the barge as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements, as the
barge will sail shortly after this time. The barge will be moored in Oosterdok,
near the entrance of the NEMO museum and behind the Amsterdam Centraal train
station. The contact telephone number is 0620 245 095 from within The Netherlands
or ++31 620 245 095 from abroad. Please refer to the information listed in the
VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After
breakfast, make sure your luggage is packed and ready to be transported to the
barge. At 9:30 a.m., meet one of our VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel lobby for a
guided walking tour of Amsterdam,
visiting many of the city's highlights. Board the barge at 1:45 p.m. in order
to depart at 2 p.m. At the docks, meet the barge crew and your second VBT Trip
Leader, who will welcome you aboard with refreshments. Cruise out of Amsterdam on the IJ
waterway, catching glimpses of houseboats and floating houses. The barge stops
before dinner for your warm-up ride, which goes along the river Vecht. This
evening, gather with the group for a welcome dinner onboard. After dinner there
is a crew presentation. We moor in Vianen, a small city on the river Lek.
Day 4 - Cycle and Cruise to Dordrecht
After breakfast we cycle along small canals of the
Krimpenerwaard. We pedal alongside the river through Schoonhoven, the “Silver City.”
Continue on to the Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site, where 19 of Holland's famous windmills
— some more than 260 years old — decorate the horizon. During a tour, we learn
how these gems were used well into the 20th century. Then we cycle (or cruise,
if you prefer) to Dordrecht, one of Holland's oldest towns and birthplace of the state of the Netherlands,
fathered by William of Orange. We stroll through the city's historic center to
get a glimpse of its rich past. This evening, your Trip Leaders will give you
an insight into water management systems.
We moor tonight in Dordrecht.
Day 5 - Cruise to Willemstad/Cycle to Tholen
This morning, enjoy a short language lesson whilst the barge
sails to Willemstad,
an old fortified town on the Haringvliet, where you can explore before cycling
to Tholen. Then pedal through a quiet farmland area and pass through historical
locks. Tholen was once an island in the middle of the large Zeeland
streams where many people fished for their living. Today, it is connected to
the mainland, but it remains a picturesque village with relics of an eventful
past. We have a picnic lunch at the historical locks before we arrive at our
destination. Tonight, we will have a home hosted visit in Tholen.
Day 6 - Cycle and Cruise to Antwerp
This morning we will cycle through the Wouwse Plantage, a
wooded area adjacent to Tholen. We'll cross the Oesterdam in the Oesterschelde;
our barge waits on the other side. From there, cruise to the impressive port of
Antwerp. After lunch on board the barge you have the rest of the afternoon to
explore Antwerp. Antwerp is not only known as the “Diamond City,” but also as
the native city of the painter Rubens. You may wish to visit the Cathedral of Our
Lady and the Market Square, which is surrounded by beautiful historic
townhouses. Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own in a local restaurant.
Day 7 - Cycle to Dendermonde
After we cruise out of Antwerp,
we begin another bicycle journey via Temse, Basel
castle, and along the old Scheld
River to Dendermonde. On
the way, lunch is on your own near Basel
Our afternoon route continues past magnificent river views
to Dendermonde, the centuries-old city with a Benedictine abbey at its center.
Dinner is served aboard the barge tonight.
Before dinner you can learn more about Belgium’s beer during our onboard
Day 8 - Tour Ghent
After breakfast, we cycle from Dendermonde to Ghent. Located at the
confluence of the Schelde and Leie rivers, this “City of 200 Bridges” was
founded around 600 AD and boasts many beautiful buildings dating back to
medieval times. Eat lunch on board the barge before a guided boat excursion to
the center of Ghent.
Then explore the city on your own before dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9 - Arrive in Bruges
During breakfast this morning, the barge cruises out of the
city while cyclists who have chosen the longer ride option begin cycling toward
remain on board until Aalter Bridge, where the shorter cycling route to Bruges begins. The barge
rejoins the main canal and arrives in Bruges
in the late afternoon.
Regarded by many as Europe's best-preserved medieval city, Bruges is filled with
beautiful houses, built by wealthy textile merchants that lined its network of
canals. A 350-foot, 13th-century belfry tower, which houses Europe's
most famous carillon, presides over the city's Market Square. You have ample time to
marvel at the medieval ambiance of this lovely city and to walk its winding
streets. Dine on the barge one last time this evening.
Day 10 - Depart Barge/Discover Bruges
VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, your tour ends.
It is important that you leave the barge no later than 9 a.m. Please refer to
the information listed in the tour handbook.
VBT Air Package guests and Post-Trip Extension guests: After
breakfast, say goodbye to your barge crew and one Trip Leader, then walk
winding streets to the hotel with your second Trip Leader. During the walk, you
will get an orientation of the historic city center. Please note that the hotel
check in time is 3 p.m. but the staff will do their best to get you to your
rooms as soon as possible. After checking in, you have free time for
independent exploration. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final
Travel Booklet that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Bruges.
Bruges was northern Europe's leading trade center between the 13th and 15th
centuries, based largely on thriving wool and textile industries. The city has
been famous for its fine lace for 500 years; you may wish to visit one of the
small cottage industries revolving around lace-making. Enjoy dinner on your own
in town tonight.
Day 11 - Free day in Bruges
Today is free for you to independently explore Bruges or one of the
nearby villages. Dinner is on your own in town tonight.
Day 12 - Depart for U.S. or
begin optional Brussels
After breakfast* meet in the hotel lobby for your transfer
to the Brussels airport and your flight back to
Please note: Be sure that you are waiting at the designated time and transfer
Important: The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is
prepaid. VBT transfer times and
departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual
guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return
transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.
* Note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast
at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk to verify
the times that breakfast is served.