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.
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.
Testride: 10 km/6 miles
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.
Bikeride: 32 km/19 miles or 51 km/31 miles
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.
Bike ride: 28 km/17 miles or 39 km/24 miles
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.
Bike ride: 37 km/23 miles
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 town of SintJansklooster and subsequently to the small city of Zwartsluis. Here you’ll get back on the ship.
Bike ride: 55 km/34 miles
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 ship 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.
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.
Bike ride: 20 km/12 miles or 29 km/18 miles
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.
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Bicycle rental: € 75,-
E-Bike: € 175,-
Sailing Ship Elizabeth
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.
On the benches between saloon and upper deck you can sit comfortably under the white sails of the Elizabeth. Captain Folkert communicates his enthusiasm for sailing and the beautiful harbors around the IJsselmeer. He knows how to create a warm and relaxed atmosphere on board.
The vessel has a total of 10 guest cabins with two single beds. 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.
The rooms, beds and sanitation facilities have been completely renewed in April 2015.
Length: 41,00 m | Beam: 6,90 m | Sail surface: 445 m² | Guests 20-35 | Flag: NL
Currency on board: Euros, only cash accepted
Languages on board: German, Dutch, English
- Seven nights' accommodation in the cabin class booked with shower and lavatory
- Full board (7 x breakfast, 6 x lunch or packed lunch, 7 x three course dinner)
- Coffee and tea on board till 4 PM
- Welcome drink
- Bedding and bed linen
- Hand towels (replaced as required)
- Cabin cleaning once a week
- Daily briefing of bike trips by the crew
- GPS tracks
- Use of a waterproof pannier bag
- Maps and route description, one set per cabin.
- Drinks, Coffee and tea on board after 4pm
- Travel to and from Amsterdam
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Bicycle rental (with pannier) €75,- or €175 for an e-bike
- Helmet rental
- Personal insurances
- Fees for ferries
- Parking fees
Rental bikes are with 7 gears, hand- and pedal brakes, pannier bag. Rental E-Bike (brand: Flyer) with 3 support levels, 7 gears, range 60-65 km (36-39 miles): (only on request, limited number available). Each participant is given his or her personal bicycle; when booking please state your height.
Bikes for children on request.
Total distance: approx. 200 km. The cycle routes are on sealed cycle paths, farm roads and along secondary roads with little traffic. There are no significant gradients.
Arrival by plane, rail
Airport: Amsterdam Schiphol. From here to Amsterdam's main station (Amsterdam Centraal) a train leaves every 10 minutes (approx. € 4.00). The berth is not far from the railway station.
Arrival by car, parking in Amsterdam
Oosterdok underground car park near the station for €20 for 24 hours as at July 2018, 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 € 150 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. Full details are included with your travel information.
Minimum number of participants:
Ten individuals up to four weeks before departure
- Routes are subject to change.
- You undertake these bike trips at your own risk.