Historic harbour towns, green polder and Dutch nature reserves
8 days/7 nights | Self guided cycling tours from/to Amsterdam
- Water-rich nature areas, polder landscapes, dikes and mills
- Active sailing or enjoy the sailing trip on the IJsselmeer comfortably on board
- Amsterdam - gabled houses, canals and famous museums
- De Beemster (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve
- Former islands of Urk (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Schokland
- Harbour town Volendam - old harbour, fish trade and historic wooden houses
- Monnickendam - lively town with canals and bridges
- Enkhuizen - stately mansions, canals, churches and city walls
- Weerribben-Wieden National Park
- Hoorn - charming harbour town
Sail & Bike along the coast of the Ijsselmeer. Once a salty sea, now the largest sweetwater lake in all of Holland! Discover this unique part of the Netherlands aboard a magnificent and comfortably furnished sailing ship, and while riding excellent cycle paths and tracks. Sailing experience is not necessary. Just a desire to give it a go. Cycling can be done on your own or by joining a tour leader. Whatever you like best.
Up until 1932, the Ijsselmeer was an inland sea called the Zuiderzee. Since the Middle Ages, the area played a major role in the economic development of the Netherlands. Along its banks many picturesque, historical harbour and trading towns, centuries-old polders (fields of reclaimed land below sea level) and beautiful inland villages are still witness to a rich seafaring past. The Ijsselmeer’s now sweet water is home to a huge diversity of birds, plants and fish.
You will visit many of those historical towns and polders on both the western and eastern banks of the Ijsselmeer. The tour also leads you through various Dutch national parks and gets you as far as the province of Overijssel. On the final day the ship sails back to Amsterdam, while you can relax on board. We do stop for a last short bike ride though: through the Oostvaar dersplassen—a nature reserve known for its rewilding, meaning that the area is left alone to create its own natural balance of animal and plant life.
If you feel up to the challenge, you may – instructed by the experienced crew – lend a hand during navigating and raising of the sails on board your ship. Of course, you are just as welcome to relax and enjoy the fresh air, sailing and scenery. Since the ships are very large (up to 55 meters) and very stable, there is almost no risk of seasickness.
Day 1 (Saturday): Amsterdam – Monnickendam/Volendam testride Monnickendam (10 km)
Your week of sailing and cycling starts in Amsterdam. The crew welcomes you on board around 2 P.M. Once all guests have checked in, the ship sails under motor to Monnickendam. From the port of this former fishing village, a short warm-up ride leads you through the rural nature reserve of Waterland with its many villages.
Day 2 (Sunday): Monnickendam – Volendam | Volendam – Hoorn (32 km or 51 km)
A very Dutch start of the day: you cycle to a nearby, family-run cheese and clog shop for a short demonstration of cheese and clog making, and of course a cheese tasting. Continue pedaling along the dikes to Purmerend, in the heart of a polder named De Beemster, 11½ feet (3.5 meters) below sea level. Divided into a tight geometric pattern of squares and quadrants, it is recognized by UNESCO as “a creative masterpiece”. Your next destination is Edam, a lovely town whose lanes and canals deserve a stroll. Edam is known worldwide for its cheese covered in red or yellow wax. Via the main dike of the IJsselmeer you arrive at the promenade of Volendam, where the ship is docked. You will have some time on your own to check out the souvenir shops. After dinner, let the historical city center lure you into a digestive walk. Later in the evening, the ship sails to Hoorn.
Day 3 (Monday): Hoorn – Enkhuizen – Urk (28 km or 39 km)
Through small rural hamlets and villages, today’s ride brings you to Enkhuizen. Pass by windmill De Krijgsman (The Warrior), the highest windmill in the province of North-Holland and one of a handful of old Dutch windmills still in use to produce flour commercially. In the 17th century, Enkhuizen was one of the wealthiest cities in Holland, thanks to its harbour that shipped then-costly spices from Asia. Be astonished by the stately mansions, canals, churches and city walls that to this day reflect the city’s rich history and wealth. In the afternoon, weather permitting, we sail across the IJsselmeer to the port of Urk. On board, you can help the captain sail the ship if you wish. In the evening you may stroll through the narrow streets and alleys of Urk. The houses in this picturesque fishing village were built close to one another on elevated grounds to protect them against the water, and that is still visible today.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Urk – Vollenhove | (37 km)
After breakfast, cycle along the lake on a tarmacked cycle path to the former island of Schokland. Since the reclamation of the Northeast polder (Noordoostpolder) in 1942, Schokland – just as Urk – is no longer an island. Since 1995, it belongs to the cultural heritage of UNESCO. Continue your bike ride through the polder to Vollenhove, another charming, former fishing village.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Vollenhove – Giethoorn (37 km or 49 km)
From Vollenhove, cycle paths through open countryside lead you to the small town of Blokzijl. This is where you enter the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, the largest freshwater wetland in northwestern Europe and a peaceful oasis for plants, animals and humans. A bicycle path through the center of the park takes you far away from roads, immersing you in the tranquility of this region. Keep your eyes peeled for a fleeting kingfisher or—if you’re really lucky—an otter, the symbol of the park. You pass through Kalenberg, a village that till the fifties of the last century could be reached by boat only. A twisting route through an agricultural landscape of narrow strip fields surrounded by dikes takes you to the lovely town of Giethoorn, known as “small Venice of the North”.
Day 6 (Thursday): Giethoorn – Lelystad
Today you can enjoy a full day of sailing and relaxing on board. Again, you can help the captain sail the ship if you wish. Or you can simply sit back on deck and relax. Early afternoon the Elizabeth will arrive in Lelystad, capital of the province of Flevoland that was entirely reclaimed from the sea. Here you can stretch your legs and visit the Batavia Werf, an extraordinary shipyard, where ships with an important maritime history are taken from oblivion and returned to their former glory. Or go shopping at Batavia Stad, an outlet center with all the famous brands.
Day 7 (Friday): Lelystad – Blocq van Kuffeler | Blocq van Kuffeler – Amsterdam (20 km or 29 km)
In the morning you’ll disembark for your last half day of cycling. You’ll ride through the Oostvaardersplassen—a nature reserve on new land, left to find its own balance like nature did in old times on old land. Sections of the ride wind through forested areas, while others give you panoramic views of expansive reed beds and marshes. This is a birdwatchers’ paradise. The ship picks you up in the small harbor of Oostvaardersdiep for the return voyage to Amsterdam. Celebrate this marvelous week around the IJsselmeer while having a farewell dinner aboard the ship.
Day 8 (Saturday): Amsterdam
Your tour ends today with a nice breakfast. Disembarkation afterwards until 9.30 AM.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only. The tour operator and the captain of the ship reserve the right to change the routes and programme due to nautical, technical or other reasons including weather conditions.
Route difficulty level
The cycle routes are on sealed cycle paths, farm roads and along secondary roads with little traffic. There are no significant gradients.
Unisex bikes with seven gears with Shimano transmission, with luggage rack and bag, hub dynamo, hand brakes (drum brakes) and freewheeling. Each participant is given his or her personal bicycle; when booking please state your height. Own bikes are possible. Rental E-Bikes have 3 support levels, 7 gears, range 60–65 km.
Arrival and parking
Plane or Train – Airport: Amsterdam Schiphol. From here to Amsterdam’s main station (Amsterdam Centraal) a train leaves every 10 minutes (approx. 4.90 €).
Car (parking in Amsterdam) – Oosterdok underground car park near the station for 37,50€ for 24 hours as at May 2023, but only for cars up to 2.1 metres high. You cannot reserve parking spaces. Alternative: Centralparking, secure parking can be reserved in advance for approx. 175€ per week including pick-up service. A valet will bring your car from the vessel to the underground car park and back to the vessel on the day of your departure.
- Entry Requirements / Visa: EU-citizens are required to have a valid passport or ID-card, not expiring within 6 months of the return of your journey. We kindly ask non-EU citizens, EU-nationals with dual citizenship or anybody who has to respect special legal entry requirements for the country to visit, to inform about visa and entry documents at the responsible embassy.
- This trip is not suitable for guests with reduced mobility.
- Minimum number of participants: Ten individuals up to four weeks before departure.
- You cycle the bike trips at your own risk.
- Travel information and route descriptions are available in German and English.
The impressive clipper built in 1913 boasts a plush interior design. During the painstaking renovation to become a modern passenger sailing vessel great attention was paid to retaining the original features of the characteristic Dutch flat bottom boat.
Roomy cabins with ensuite shower and lavatory, a large salon with bar and a snug seating area ensure your stay will be comfortable. The vessel has a total of 10 guest cabins with two single beds. All cabins have been completely renovated in the winter 2015. Some of the cabins can be booked as a three-bed or four-bed cabin (the third and fourth beds as bunks). Eight cabins are located on the lower deck, two cabins on the upper deck. You can open a window or porthole in all the cabins.
All cabins have a 220-volt socket. On the benches between saloon and upper deck you can sit comfortably under the white sails of the Elizabeth. The captain knows how to create a warm and relaxed atmosphere on board.
Max. 20–35 passengers | Length: 41.00 m Width: 6.90 m
Sail area: 445 m²
Currency on board: Euros, only cash accepted
Languages on board: German, Dutch, English | Flag: NL
2024 Arrival Dates (on Saturdays)
June - 08th, 15th, 22nd & 29th
July - 06th, 13th, 20th & 27th
August - 03rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st
September - 07th
June to September 01st (Price per person)
(Price per person)
Small Twin cabin
|1.149 €||1.049 €|
|Twin cabin||1.249 €||1.149 €|
Twin cabin (for single use)
|1.873 €||1.723 €|
|1.199 €||1.099 €|
|1.149 €||1.049 €|
|Cycle hire (7 gears)||90 €|
|E-bike hire (on request)||225 €|
- Minimum number of participants: 10
- 15% reduction for children up to incl. 15 years old, only applicable when staying in the cabin with 2 adults.
- 7 nights in the selected cabin
- 7 x breakfast, Packed lunches, 7 x 3-course dinner
- Coffee and tea on board
- Welcome drink
- Use of bed linen and towels
- Cleaning of the cabin once a week
- Daily briefings by the crew
- Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
- GPS tracks
- Use of a waterproof pannier bag
- Biodegradable water bottle
- Carbon offset payment to the non-profit organization Justdiggit
- Bicycle rental or E-bike rental
- Helmet rental
- Personal insurances
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Fees for ferries
- Transfers to/from the docking place
- Parking fees