A dream bike ride through Europe, from the canals of Amsterdam to the Eifeltower of Paris. These two European cities with big importance for history, world-famous buildings and museums are the start and the finish of this journey through 3 countries. In between famous and beautifull towns like Gouda, Antwerp and Ghent as you cycle through varied landscapes. You will experience great cycling in European cyclepardise Holland with water, windmills and a perfect cyclepaths systeme. Medieval cities and villages in Belgium with great food, beer and chocolate. And then of course France, beautiful France with it's very wide spectrum of food and wines.
Your cycling holiday starts in Amsterdam, one of the crown-jewels of Europe. With so much to see and do, you couldn’t wish for a more vibrant way to kick off your holiday. If you arrive early, make sure to go for a walk to marvel at the townhouses in the 17th-century canal district (listed as World Heritage). Have you got time and energy left? Opt to saunter down the infamous red-light district which attracts millions of curious tourists every year; or enjoy the street performers on friendly Rembrandtplein.
! Bikes are not allowed on the train from Paris to Amsterdam (or vice versa). We therefore strongly recommend to book this trip with rental bikes, so you can leave the rental bikes at the hotel in Paris at the end of the trip.
The first leg of the route takes you through the Green Heart of Holland, abounding in water. It is a true cycling paradise, with characteristic peat and polder landscapes, small farming communities and picturesque historical towns such as Oudewater. It was to this place that women who had been accused of witchcraft fled from all over Europe to try to have their innocence proven by weighing. End the day in medieval Gouda. Amble through the beautifully preserved town centre and visit the old town hall and St. John’s church. Stop off at a bakery to buy fresh syrup waffles (Gouda is the hometown of syrup waffles) and Gouda cheese - perhaps the world’s most famous type of cheese.
Today’s highlight is one of the Netherlands’ most popular tourist attractions: Kinderdijk, a world-famous complex of windmills. Nineteen historical windmills reach to the skies in the epitome of classical Dutch countryside. You can visit an authentic workshop and find out how these mills were built and how they work. Have you always wanted to be a miller? This is where you can still learn the trade! You will cycle through Dordrecht, one of the Netherlands’ oldest towns. A visit to the scenic harbour quarter with its wonderful historical buildings should not be missed.The route will take you right past one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe: Biesbosch National Park. Upon crossing a one-kilometre-long bridge high above Hollands Diep river, you will find yourself in the south of the Netherlands. In village after village, Brabant hospitality will entice you to stop for a cup of coffee and big slice of fruit tart. Today’s destination is Breda.
Breda is it the main city of Nassau in Holland, boasting many imposing monuments. The ancestors of our royal family converted Breda to a beautiful city with richly decorated buildings. The landscape along today’s cycling route is predominantly woody. On the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, catch your breath in De Zoom - Kalmthoutse Heide, a lovely cross-border nature reserve. The route takes you right into the historical and touristic heart of Antwerp. It’s the largest town in Flanders and Belgium’s most important port city. After viewing the historical town center you might like to venture to the hip and trendy parts of the city: ‘t Zuid and Het Eilandje. Have you worked up a thirst for Belgian beer? Consider visiting De Koninck beer brewery. It has been going strong since 1833 and has a new visitors centre welcoming guests wishing to look around and do some tasting. This brewery is best known for its ‘Bollekes’
Cycling South, along the banks of the river Scheldt you will start on the LF2 Cities Cycle Route. The wide Schelde is not only a natural, but also a tourist attraction. By switching to the LF5 you head towards Dendermonde and Ghent. The bushes and polders show the wild and pure nature here. At the end of the day the sparkling cultural city of Ghent is waiting for you. The Belgians call Ghent their most beautiful city and the city will undoubtedly charm you.
The river Scheldt is still your guide as you cycle to the old town of Oudenaarde (AD 974). Also centre of the famous classic cycle race "Ronde van Vlaanderen". The former towing paths along the banks have been transformed to smooth cycle paths, so now and then leafy and then through the open fields of Flanders. Down the road do try one of the most famous Belgian local products "Geraardsbergse mattentaart", a pie with an ancient history of making. Directly after Kluisbergen you leave Flanders and you will enter the province of Wallonia with just a 20 km to go to Tournai.
While leaving the 5 bell-towers of Tournai behind you, ride the last on the Belgian cycle path along the Scheldt, before arriving in France. This day offers a pleasant ride through to the Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut, the first French regional park. Here, Belgium and France link with the barges on Escaut river, between lands and waters where you pedal through to the forests, marshes and ponds populated with various species. You will discover the mining villages classified by UNESCO, the agricultural landscapes, but also the beautiful city of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, thermal station, near Valenciennes. Passing through typical villages and hamlets, you reach the town of Cambrai, peaceful city of Art and History. Take advantage of it to discover its streets, where half-timbered houses, rich private mansions, Flemish mansions mingle with pleasure. And don't leave without having tasted the famous "Bétises de Cambrai" or other local specialties!
Today, you leave Cambrai by lodging the Canal de Saint-Quentin (inaugurated in 1810 by the Emperor Napoleon 1st), discover the Haute Vallée de l’Escaut. Here is a jewel: the abbey of Vaucelles (XII century). As it is presented to you today, the abbey remains an unusual construction both in its dimensions and the quality of its restoration. A few pedaling strokes and you pass the sources of l’Escaut, the famous river that you follow for kilometers and whose course flows into the North Sea in Netherlands. Continue on towards the Touage Museum, this route takes you through small hilly roads between villages devoted to agriculture and memorial sites of the Great War: cemeteries, memorials and vestiges of the Hindenburg line. Find the canal and its cycle path to finally reach Saint Quentin. Discover its streets with Art Deco houses, the details of which deserve to be spotted. It is the style adopted during the rebuilding of the city, which was hardly destroyed during the Great War and once again became a dynamic city, the economic capital of Haute Picardie.
On the way to Compiegne, through the fertile valley of the Oise. The itinerary takes again the cycle path of the canals, to the discovery of Chauny. You cross vast natural areas with more than 200 species of birds. Continue towards Noyon, the route continues along the canal. Noyon is listed as a city of Art and History: medieval atmosphere around the cathedral which saw the coronation of Hugues Capet in 987. Then return to the shared tracks where a stop at the abbey of Ourscamp is recommended. A large town bordering the forest, a palace opening towards wooded immensities, these are the first impressions that Compiègne leaves. The city, furrowed by charming and shopping streets, has museums with varied collections.
The program of the day: Prestigious castle, medieval towns and large forest area! Your journey starts in the forest of Compiègne and then goes up the Automne river which gave its name to this valley, called the 35 bell-towers. You pass close to Béthisy-Saint-Pierre which is worth a detour. To finally cross the "plateau" of Nery but the slope is soft ! You cross the forest of Halatte before reaching the charming medieval town of Senlis. An ancient foundation, a royal residence during the Middle Ages, the city preserves its rich history and has several museums. Its protected environment of 40 ha is particularly appreciated by filmmakers. And finally, you reach Chantilly, world renown for its castle (sometimes compared to a castle of the Loire), its Great Stables, its porcelain, its lace and its gastronomy (yes the famous cream Chantilly would have been invented here)
Last day by bike before arriving in the City of Light, the culmination of your journey! Leave Senlis and cycle in the forest for an itinerary in the heart of nature. No crossing of village to the doors of the region “Ile de France”: guaranteed change of scenery with these great pines and this sandy soil you will be able to believe you ... in the Landes, south west of France ! From Gressy to Paris, the route follows the nice cycle track of the Canal de l’Ourcq, a rural setting on the last 30 kilometers for a safe entrance into Paris, far from cars! Crossing the capital along the Canal de l’Ourcq and Canal Saint-Martin really allows us to dive into a history book, an open-air museum.
End of your trip after breakfast. We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the beautiful city of Paris.
|Starting dates 2018:|
|21/06, 19/07, 02/08, 16/08, 30/08, 13/09|
|Per person in a double room
11 nights’ accommodation, breakfast included
|A supplement will be required for:|
|8 x Dinner (not in Antwerp, Paris and Gent)||220,00|
|Bike rental (incl Helmet)||150,00|
|Extra night (only possible in Amsterdam, before the start)||70,00|
Amsterdam - Westcord Art Hotel *** & ****
Gouda - Best Western Hotel Gouda ****
Breda - Golden Tulip Keyser Breda ****
Antwerpen - Hampton by Hilton ***
Gent - Best Western Chamade ***
Tournai - Hôtel Cathédrale***
Cambrai - Hôtel Le Mouton Blanc***
Saint-Quentin - Le Grand Hotel****
Compiegne - Hotel du Nord***
Cantilly/Senlis - La Porte Bellon***
Paris - Holiday Inn Paris La Villette***
11 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Amsterdam CS / Paris Gare du Nord.
New: Eurostar direct London to Amsterdam in less the 4 hours!
We advise to come by plane or train. Parking in Amsterdam is € 12,50 per day.
Any ferry crossings are not included