The Bruges to Amsterdam bike and barge cycle tour is an exciting and diverse holiday experience that highlights some of the most beautiful cities of Holland and Belgium. On a daily basis you will cycle through a variety of flat landscapes through charming villages and historic cities while cruising along the impressive waterways of Zeeland, the River Schelde and the picturesque Vecht and Lek Rivers. The tour is perfect for families who want to cycle together and enjoy barge life or, for that matter, anyone wanting to enjoy a delightful week of cycling to a long list of historic destinations. During the tour you will visit the world famous cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. Each in their own right are destinations of significance with a long list of sights and attractions to discover. Along the way you will cycle through the beautiful Dutch landscape of Zeeland, will visit a real Dutch cheese farm and 19 Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk and will discover the western Flanders region of Belgium. The province of Zeeland is essentially one big river delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt Rivers famous for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities and Delta works, while the Flanders region of Belgium boasts a number of world famous medieval towns and has a well-deserved reputation for superb food and drink.
Day 1: Embarkation in Bruges, ~11 km/6 miles
Embarkation time in Bruges is between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The ship awaits you in the Bruges harbor. After a welcome meeting with the crew at 2 PM there is time for bicycle fitting and a short test-ride through the countryside around Bruges. After dinner the guide will take you for a short walk through the center of town. We advise you to come to Bruges one or more days earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to discover the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical city of Bruges, aptly named the “Pearl of Flanders”. While you are there make sure you visit one of Bruges many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.
Day 2: Bruges - Ghent, ~35 or 57 km/24 or 32 miles
You will start your first day of cycling by pedaling towards Ghent through the beautiful Flemish landscape along the Ghent canal. On arrival in Ghent make sure you make the effort to discover the best of what this historical city has to offer during an afternoon stroll. Ghent’s medieval center features lovely illuminated streets that are a must to explore, while the architectural richness in the center of the city has to be seen to be believed. During the Middle Ages Ghent was the 2nd largest European city, after Paris. The ship will dock for the night at a lock, in a suburb of Ghent and approx. 30 cycling minutes from the city center.
Day 3: Ghent - St. Amands, ~40 or 53 km/24 or 32 miles
After breakfast in Ghent you will cycle downstream through a diverse landscape along the tidal Schelde River to Dendermonde located at the confluence of Dender and Schelde rivers. There is only one way to describe the landscape along the Schelde and that is: “magnificent”. It is without doubt one of the natural highlights of the tour. During this section of the Schelde the speed of the ship will be determined by the height of the tide. You will travel from Dendermonde to St. Amands by either bicycle or barge depending on the tides. Your floating hotel will be docked for the night in St. Amands.
Day 4: St. Amands - Antwerp, ~32 or 49 km/19 or 31 miles
Today we will follow the Schelde river further downstream through the Temse region to Antwerp. Over the centuries the Schelde River has held strategic importance for the Romans, Vikings, Spanish and Napoleon… Today it is a beautiful waterway just perfect for bike and barge holidays! Antwerp, your destination for the day, is a harbor city famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and as the birthplace of the famous painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens. There are many highlights in the city to discover including: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle. Dinner will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).
Day 5: Antwerp - Dordrecht, ~20 or 36 km/13 or 23 miles
This morning, the ship will sail along the Schelde-Rhine Canal and over the huge Kreekrak lock system. Here your bicycle tour starts through the beautiful “Wouwse Plantage” forest to Tholen, Tholen once was an island in the middle of the large Zeeland streams, where many people fished for their living. Nowadays Tholen is connected to the mainland in various ways. But it is still a picturesque village with many relics of an eventful past. From Tholen you will join the ship again for a nice afternoon sail to the city of Dordrecht. Halfway the ship will pass the impressive Volkerak lock system. Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands is your destination for the day. The guide will take you for an evening walk and tell you about the history of the Netherlands.
Day 6: Dordrecht - Vianen, ~32 or 57 km/19 or 36 miles
Today you will start your tour with the “Waterbus”, a fast ferry that will take you and your bicycle in just 10 minutes to Alblasserdam. After just a few minutes of cycling you will reach Kinderdijk, a village famous for its impressive row of 19 UNESCO cultural heritage-listed windmills - one of which you can visit (don’t forget your camera!). The windmills were constructed in the 18th century to pump water out of the low Alblasserwaard polder (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments). You will then continue to cycle via Schoonhoven to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek (Lower Rhine), where you will stay for the night and where you can explore at your leisure after dinner.
Day 7: Vianen - Amsterdam, ~36 or 46 km/23 or 28 miles
During breakfast the ship will cruise to Breukelen where you disembark to start your final day of cycling. Ride along the Vecht River in an area famous for its beautiful mansions, small castles, impressive houses and their large gardens. After cycling through the villages of Nieuwersluis, Loenen and Vreeland you will arrive at Nigtevecht where you can visit a traditional cheese farm. Continue cycling through the historical town of Muiden and on to Amsterdam where you will meet the barge for the final time in the Amsterdam harbor.
Day 8: Disembarkation in Amsterdam
Disembarkation after breakfast until 9:30a.m. If you wish, you can explore Amsterdam or one of its numerous museums, do some shopping or go on a canal tour (not included).
Your boat - MS Magnifique
The hull of the Magnifique was originally constructed as a seagoing sailing vessel: this explains the unique shape of the ship. But the vessel was then converted to become a passenger barge for inland waterways. The premium barge was fully restyled and refurbished in 2010 and, during the winter of 2012/2013, extended by 14 meters. Roy van der Veen, owner and skipper of this fine barge, sets high standards to atmosphere, personal service and comfort, with the aim to offer his guests an unforgettable stay on board, in line with the “premium” classification. The Magnifique sails under Dutch flag and management and is a very popular ship on several tours in various parts of The Netherlands and Belgium.
Description of the cabins
The Magnifique has sixteen cabins, situated on the lower deck. Guests are accommodated in eleven twin cabins (11 m² - 118.5 sq.ft.) with two single beds set next to each other, four premium twin cabins (14 m² - 151 sq.ft.) with two single beds next to each other and a small sitting area and one single cabin (7 m² - 75.5 sq.ft.). On prior request, the beds in most twin cabins can be set together as a double bed. On request, an additional bed is available in some twin cabins (as fold away bunk bed, above one of the other beds). Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and wash basin. All cabins have an individually regulated air conditioning, ventilation system and central heating; the portholes in all cabins are fixed for safety reasons. Furthermore, each cabin has a flat screen (satellite) TV, a mini safe and a hair dryer.
Description of the ship
On the upper deck, the Magnifique has a tastefully furnished lounge with air conditioning, restaurant, a beautiful bar, a sitting area with cozy corners, a wide screen TV and large windows. Wi-Fi is available. Furthermore, the Magnifique offers two partly covered teak wooden sundecks with chairs and tables where you can have a drink when the weather is nice and enjoy the scenery while cruising. On the elevated aft deck you will find a barbecue and a whirlpool/Jacuzzi to relax.
Facts about the ship
Length: 62 m (203.4 ft.), Width: 7.2 m (23.6 ft.), Crew: 5, Cabins: 16, Passengers: 35 (max.)
Two other boats are used for this tour, Magnifique I and Magnifique II. They are simillar to the MS Magnifique.
7 nights in cabin in booked category
7x copious breakfast
6x packed lunch
6x dinner (3 course menu)
tea or coffee on board
towels and bed linen
daily cabin cleaning
some short guided tours in towns
maps and tour information on board
fees for ferries
visit Kinderdijk Mills
entrance cathedral Antwerp
canal trip through Ghent
guided tour - 8 days / 7 nights
arrival on Saturday and Wednesday
season II (+80 €/person)
route (1): ~210-310 km/130-195 miles
flat and on cycle paths and small roads
how to get there
by car: motorway to or Bruges or Amsterdam
by train: station Bruges or Amsterdam
by plane: airport Bruges or Amsterdam
parking and transfers
is not included in either Bruges or Antwerp
tour possible in both directions
some of our bike tour suggestions