8. Holland & Belgium 

- Dutch and Flemish impressions - 

Alphen-Willemstad-Antwerpen-Dendermonde-Gent-Brugge or vv

On our way to Belgium you will experience the beauties of the Dutch provinces South Holland and North Brabant. In Belgium you will then be charmed by the probably most popular Flemish cities with their rich history. You will visit Antwerp, diamond city and birthplace of the baroque painter Rubens. Also luring are the lively and historical Gent and Bruges, the pearl of Flanders.
Enjoy beautiful cruises on larger waterways like the Hollandse IJssel, the Scheldt-Rhine Canal, and the Belgian tidal river Scheldt. Subsequently, discover the watery Scheldeland with picturesque villages and the idyllic, green surrounding countryside of Bruges as well as the Belgian Nordsea shore on your guided cycle tour. This tour is a route tour, which ends in Bruges.

Saturday: Alphen a/d Rijn
Embarkation at 16.00 o' clock with welcome by the crew. After our first dinner on board there will be time for a walk along the Old Rhine into the centre of Alphen.

Sunday: Alphen-Willemstad (ca. 30km. by bike)
In the morning your first cycling tour will start from Alphen, passing Boskoop, the lake district of Reeuwijk ("Reeuwijkse Plassen") and Gouda on the way to Gouderak. From here the Ali-B2 will take you on the Hollandse Ijssel and the very busy confluence of three rivers at Dordrecht into the beautiful fortified town Willemstad, located on the "Hollands Diep".
Enjoy the beautiful view of the city and water during you walk over the still preserved ramparts.

Monday: Willemstad-Tholen-Antwerpen (ca. 30km. by bike)
With the Ali-B2 you will pass the impressive Volkerak Locks and sail on the Scheldt-Rhine Canal up until the former fishing village Tholen. From there the journey will continue by bicycle southwards through the forest rich regions "Wouwse PLantage" up until the imposing Kreekrak Locks. We will cross the Belgian border and sail through the lively port area of Antwerp up until our berth in the city centre. Subsequently, you can explore the bustling city centre of Antwerp with its countless sights like the historical Grote Markt surrounded by magnificent guild houses from the Golden Age, the richly decorated city hall from the Renaissance or the seven-nave Cathedral of Our Lady, the landmark of the city.

Tuesday: Antwerpen-Dendermonde (ca. 30km. by bike)
You will sail upstream on the tidal river Zeeschelde through the charming natural landscape into the provincial town Dendermonde. On your cycle tour after lunch you will follow the Dendermonde-route through the beautiful flat and calm river landscapes of the Dender and Scheldt with a stop in the picturesque village Wietze.
In the evening visit the medieval marketplace and the St. Alexius beguinage.

Wednesday: Dendermonde-Gent (35/42 km. by bike)
Today's programme depends on the tides, which determine the travel time of this section of the Scheldt. We will either sail until Gent in the morning and subsequently cycle along the Lys-route, southwest of Gent. The river Lys, the forests surrounded by villas and art form a special scenery. Alternatively, we will already disembark after breakfast and cycle along the meandering Scheldt through the landscape of green shores, tidal flats and salt marshes up until the university city Gent.
The lively and authentic Gent, in the Middle Ages the second largest city of Western Europe, has preserved its architectural richness in the historical city centre up until today. You will find countless impressive monuments within a small area: together the Belfry, the St. Bavo Cathedral and the St. Nicholas' church form an imposing tower row, which is also called "the Manhattan of the Middle Ages".
Finish the day with a romantic evening walk though the beautifully illuminated alleys of the old town.

Thursday: Gent-Bruges
After breakfast the ship will depart for todays boat cruise on the Gent-Ostend Canal to Bruges. Those who like can travel part of the route by bicycle.
Bruges, the pearl of Flanders, welcomes us and guarantees an unforgettable day in this city. It is not without reason that the historical centre belongs to the UNESCO world heritage list. Medieval alleys and canals, countless traditional chocolatiers, Flemish art in churches and castles and of course the Bruges lace, invite to be discovered. The "Venice of the North" of course invites for a boat ride through the narrow canals with their romantic bridges.

Friday: Bruges: cycle tour around Bruges until the North Sea shore (42-52km)
After breakfast we will start with a wonderful cycling tour through Bruges' beautiful surroundings. We continue in westerly direction through i.a. a unique century-old pasture landscape (Uitkerkse Polder), the largest breeding ground for meadowland birds in Flanders. We will take a break in the nostalgic North-sea bath De Haan before we continue through the lush landscape along dreamy farms back to the Ali-B2.
After dinner on board the romantic old town of Bruges tempts you to take a foray through the past and countless cafes invite to linger. For beer lovers we can reserve a guided tour through a Bruges Brewery, which at the same time includes a Beer museum.

Saturday: Bruges
Breakfast and individual departure.

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