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Biking Vacation Netherlands Bike & Barge​

Activity Level: Easy  |  Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 4 hr
Pre-trip Extension:
Paris · 2 nights $545

Post-trip Extension:
Haarlem · 2 nights $295
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly to Amsterdam

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 attached 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 traffic).

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, +31 (0)654354601 or +31 (0) 681299101. Transfers provided by any other company will be at your own expense.

Please note: If you cannot find the VBT representative, or you've been delayed, please go to the Red & White Meeting Point and wait there.

Hotel check in time is 3:00 p.m. but they will do their best to get you to your rooms as soon as possible. After checking in to your hotel, 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

 At 6:00 p.m., one of your VBT Trip Leaders will meet you in the lobby of the hotel for a short welcome meeting. Then, try one of Amsterdam's wonderful restaurants for dinner on your own.

Day 3 - Embark barge / Warm-up ride / Cruise to Wijk bij Duurstede

VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for making your own way to meet our barge, the Iris, and to arrive between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. Please note that you cannot arrive before this time as the barge is being prepared for your arrival. If you are late, you must contact the barge as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements, as we sail shortly after this time. The barge will be moored in Oosterdok, near the entrance of the NEMO museum behind Amsterdam's Centraal train station. 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 tour handbook.

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. We board the barge at 12:45 p.m. in order to depart at 1:00 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 at Nigtevecht for your warm-up ride, which follows the river Vecht. This evening, gather onboard with the group for a welcome dinner while sailing to Wijk bij Duurstede. Once moored, you might enjoy an evening stroll into town.

Day 4 - Cycle in the Hoge Veluwe National Park

Breakfast is served during our cruise along the Nederrijn. Our Trip Leaders teach us useful phrases during a brief language class before we arrive in Wageningen, where our ride begins. Bike through the Veluwe Forest to Otterlo and then enter the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Cycle the beautiful biking trails through the park, with an optional visit to the Kroller-Muller Museum, famous for its Van Gogh collection. Our short riding option ends in the park, with a shuttle to the barge, which by now will be moored in Arnhem. Our longer riding option continues through the park to the southern exit at Schaarsbergen and on to meet the barge in Arnhem. After dinner on board, our Trip Leaders will walk with you to see the “Bridge Too Far” over the Lower Rhine and explain its importance to World War II history. We moor tonight in Arnhem.

Day 5 - Cruise to Doesburg / Cycle from Doesburg to Zutphen / Guided tour of Deventer

This morning, the barge sails into the Ijssel River to the town of Doesburg. From here, cycle through the pretty farming community of Bronkhorst and visit its lovely windmill before continuing to Zutphen. Here you meet the barge for an included lunch onboard. In the afternoon you can choose to remain onboard and cruise to Deventer or cycle there along the river. This evening, meet a local guide for a walking tour through this Hanze city. Stay in town to enjoy one of our guide's recommendations for dinner on your own. The barge is moored in Deventer overnight.

Day 6 - Home hosted discovery / Visit Hattem and Kampen

During breakfast, we cruise to Wijhe before cycling to the tiny Hanze village of Hattem, crossing the river by a local pedestrian ferry. Our trail takes us through open countryside and through a small forest park before following a small canal to the old lockkeeper's cottage and home of VBT friends Alice and Jaap van Zaal, who’ve invited us for a home-hosted picnic. After lunch, you can either join the barge at Spooldersluis or continue cycling to Kampen. This evening, in preparation for tomorrow's visit to the “new lands,” our Trip Leaders will describe the continual process of land drainage in the Netherlands. Dinner is served on board this evening. After dinner, enjoy a walk through the historic Hanze city of Kampen and learn about its old religious academy and many churches.

Day 7 - Old fishing ports of Elburg and Harderwijk / Typical pancake lunch

Again this morning, we sail during breakfast. Our destination is Roggebot Lock, where we cycle through the woods along the fringe lakes of newly reclaimed land. We arrive at the old fishing village of Elburg, where we have time for a walk through town before continuing through agricultural and forested areas to Nunspeet. Here you can join the locals for lunch at a typical pancake restaurant as our treat.

Our afternoon route continues through forest and heather areas to the old fisherman's town of Harderwijk. This evening, enjoy a walk through the town where renowned botanist Carl Linneaus and medical doctor Herman Boerhaave studied at the Gelderse Academy in the 18th and 17th centuries respectively. In the old city, explore its ancient warrens and gate, a monastery, churches and maybe the famous Dolphinarium of marine mammals. After our walk, stay in town for dinner on your own.

Day 8 - Old fishing village of Spakenburg

After breakfast, we ride from Harderwijk through the lovely open countryside. The final segment of our ride follows a bike path to the pumping station at Hertog Reijnout. This was built in 1882 and is the only remaining working pumping station in Western Europe that uses external water wheels. From here, continue along the river banks until we reach Spakenburg, where we meet up with our barge for lunch on board. After lunch, you may wish to visit the small local folklore museum (entrance not included) and see the ancient shipyard where wooden boats are still crafted. Keep your eyes open when walking around the village for the ladies who still wear traditional dress.

Our afternoon cycling option takes you on a loop through the open countryside around the twin villages of Bunschoten and Spakenburg. An aperitif of Dutch delicacies is followed by dinner on board this evening.

Day 9 - Muiderslot Castle / Return to Amsterdam

During breakfast this morning, the barge cruises to Huizen. Here we cycle along bike paths through the forest to fortified Naarden Vesting and to the fairytale castle of Muiderslot. Enjoy a guided visit of the castle and lunch in Muiden on your own. After, you may either shuttle back to Amsterdam or continue cycling via the town of Weesp, along lovely rivers and impressive brand-new city islands to our barge's home mooring in the center of Amsterdam. Dine on the barge one last time this evening.

Day 10 - Depart barge / Discover Amsterdam / 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 9:00 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 Trip Leaders, then take a short transfer to the hotel. After checking in, you have free time for independent exploration. Please note your rooms may not be ready at this time but the hotel will store your luggage. Enjoy dinner on your own in town tonight. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Amsterdam.

Day 11 - Depart for U.S. or begin optional Haarlem extension

After breakfast*, meet in the hotel lobby for your transfer to the Amsterdam airport and your flight back to the U.S. Please be sure that you are waiting at the designated time and transfer location.

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.

*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.
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