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Exterior view of the MS Gandalf

The Green Heart of Holland, MS Gandalf

Green heart of Holland

8 Days / 7 Nights
Exterior view of the MS Gandalf

On this 8 day/7 night tour aboard the charming barge, MS Gandalf, you cycle individually and at your own pace whilst discovering Holland's 'green heart', which is a region steeped in history, natural attractions, world famous cities and beautiful scenery. Along the way you can visit historical cities including Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Leiden and Gouda. 


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Itinerary at a glance

Embarkation and check-in is possible from 2pm. The crew will welcome you on board the boat in the centre of Amsterdam. After unpacking your luggage in your cabin an introduction to the tour will take place at 3 pm. After that your rental bicycles will be distributed and your tour leader will invite you to a short test-ride. Upon your return your first dinner on board will be served.

After a short cruise on board the MS Gandalf, you are finally off and cycling today after first visiting the lovely open-air museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ in Zaandam where an authentic 18th and 19th century Dutch village has been reconstructed. In the museum you will learn about iconic Dutch traditions like windmills, cheese and clog making. You will then cycle to Haarlem where celebrated portraitist and genre painter Frans Hals lived and worked in the 16th Century. In the evening you can stroll through the lovely city centre and the Grote Markt (market square). If preferred, today’s bike tour can also be extended with a visit to the sea locks of IJmuiden and the Kennemer Dunes. During this bike tour you can see/visit some forts of the Defence Line of Amsterdam.

After enjoying breakfast with your newfound cycling friends, you will cycle along the North Sea coast through seaside dunes via the resorts of Noordwijk and Katwijk aan Zee to the vibrant university city of Leiden, the birthplace of celebrated artist Rembrandt van Rijn. The city’s picturesque old city centre is crisscrossed with canals lined by beautiful 17th Century buildings and is  definitely a must-see. The short bike tour leads you from Haarlem to Cruquius (steam engine museum) and Hillegom (several flower nurseries) to Leiden.

From Leiden you will cycle to Delft, which is famous for its blue porcelain. You will have the opportunity to visit a porcelain studio there. Another major attraction in the beautiful city centre of Delft is the royal crypt of the House of Orange. The longer bike tour brings you to The Hague, where you can visit the the Binnenhof (Inner Court) and the the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis). You then continue to Delft. 

This morning you will sail from Delft on the MS Gandalf through the remarkable international port of Rotterdam. Here you have to hop on the "Waterbus", a fast ferry that will bring you and your bike to Kinderdijk, a village famous for an impressive row of 19 large windmills. All 19 windmills have a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and are a definite highlight – you will have the opportunity to visit one so don’t forget to bring your camera! From Kinderdijk you will cycle directly to the cheese city of Gouda, or if you prefer, on a longer tour via the silver city of Schoonhoven to Gouda, your destination for the day. Dinner tonight (not included) will be in town in a restaurant of your choice (recommendations available on board).

The highlight of today’s cycle tour is South Holland's beautifully idyllic natural landscape. Your destination for the day is the village of Kudelstaart where the MS Gandalf will be waiting for you. Along the way you will cycle along numerous small canals and past picture-perfect farms and small villages. At the mooring place on the banks of the Westeinder Plassen (‘West End’ Lakes) there is a beautiful view to savour while enjoying a wine during or after dinner.

If you are keen for an early start to the day you can visit the world's largest trade centre for plants and flowers in Aalsmeer (optional extra, not included). The market is a hive of activity! It is guaranteed that you will never have seen so many flowers in one place before. After breakfast you can either stay on board the MS Gandalf as it cruises through the City of Amsterdam to its mooring place or you can cycle into the city through the city park Amsterdamse Bos or along the Amstel River. Today you also have the opportunity to visit/see some forts of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. Once you reach Amsterdam take the opportunity during the afternoon and evening to go for a canal cruise, to discover Anne Frank’s home, the Rembrandt House Museum and the Royal Palace there!

After breakfast it is time to disembark until 9:30 am.

Route information


This tour consists of easy cycle rides without any large hills. The relatively short distances that you cycle each day on this tour also mean that it is suitable for novice cyclists. 

Prices and dates

Prices per person in EUR

Services & Information

Further details about this tour


  • Tour according to itinerary
  • Full board (7x breakfast, 6x packed lunch on bike tours, 6x three course dinner)
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Welcome drink
  • Use of bed linen and towels
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Daily briefings by the tour leader
  • Fully guided cycling tours
  • Fees for ferries
  • Printed instructions and detailed maps for cycling tours, 1 set per cabin
  • Use of Wi-Fi

Optional extras

  • Bike rental insurance €10/week, for e-bikes €25/week. Risk and limitation of liability in the case of damage or loss of the rental bike by you.
  • Parking space for own bike EUR 10, for own electric bike EUR 25

Arrival / Parking / Departure

  • Amsterdam train station is close to the pier
  • Oosterdok car park: secure car park at the train station, about €20/day, reservation on your own possible
  • Car park Amsterpark.nl /Valet Parking Services: Drop off your car at the pier upon arrival, car will be back at the pier on day of departure. This costs €150 per week (application form in the travel documents)


  • Further important information according to the package travel law and additional information about your bike and boat trip can be found here!
  • The use of your own bike is limited due to space on deck! Please specify when booking whether your own bike is an electric or normal bike.
  • The owner of the ship, the crew, the tour guide and the organiser are not liable for the damage or theft of own bicycles. 
  • Minimum number of participants: 12
  • This tour is a partner tour.

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Christine Pölzleitner
Christine Pölzleitner
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