Sail & Cycle the Frisian Islands
8 Day Sailboat Tour
The Netherlands is a place where water and land are forever intertwined. You’ll experience this on a very special trip, where we’ll sail on the calm, protected Wadden Sea and IJsselmeer Bay and cycle on the islands just off the coast of North Holland. This ecologically rich area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll be cycling in probably the most bicycle-friendly country on Earth. And the best part of all? We’ll be staying on our own private tall ship with a jacuzzi!
The tour still has space. Make your travel arrangements.
Flat terrain on paved bike paths and separated bike lanes. Leisurely cycling level.
7 nights lodging on the sailboat Mare van Fryslan, 7 breakfasts, 5 sack lunches and 1 lunch on board, 6 dinners, Wi-Fi, rental hybrid bicycle and insurance, and trained bilingual guides.
Hybrid bicycle with 7 gears is included in the price of the tour. Electric-assist bikes are an additional $295.
The Mare van Fryslan has 14 cabins and a dining room on the lower deck, plus a bar and jacuzzi on the upper deck. Each cabin has two beds, a flat screen TV and a private bathroom. Triples are available by adding a third bunk bed to a cabin. Contact us if you're interested.
Fly in and out of Amsterdam, Netherlands, taking a train both to the start and from the finish of the tour. Then walk or take a taxi to our sailboat.
DAY 1: We meet at 2:00pm on board our sailboat, the Mare van Fryslan, a beautiful three-mast schooner that will be docked in Enkhuizen (pronounced ENK-how-shen), an old port city on the inland bay of IJsselmeer. If you arrive early, take time to visit the Zuiderzee Museum, where you’ll be steeped in Dutch cultural and maritime history, or stroll through the Snouck van Loosen Park to view historic Dutch homes.
Our home away from home has 14 cabins and a dining room on the lower deck, plus a bar and jacuzzi on the upper deck. Each cabin has two beds, a flat screen TV and a private bathroom. After introductions to the skipper and crew over aperitifs, an orientation to the ship and a bike fitting, we'll enjoy our first dinner together on the ship. 0 miles.
DAY 2: We’ll start the morning with breakfast on the boat. Then, with bag lunches ready to go, we embark on the first part of our journey, cycling along a large lake that used to be a saltwater inlet of the North Sea. The day’s scenery also offers fields of cabbage, thatch-roofed homes and lots of water and sky.
After the easy warm-up, we take a break in the once prosperous trading town of Medemblik, now known for its steam engine museum and 13th century castle. In the harbor town of Den Oever, we catch up with the Mare van Fryslan and set sail for the largest of the West Frisian Islands, Texel, where we will anchor and spend the night. 25 miles.
DAY 3: Get ready for a fantastic day exploring sand dunes and beaches and being in the company of birds and seals, grazing sheep and cattle, and perhaps even a whale skeleton or shark. Known as a cycling paradise, Texel is an island of unique flora and fauna, all of which can be seen from its 85 miles of bike paths.
More than a third of the island is deemed nature reserve, and we‘ll explore the Dunes of Texel National Park that stretches along the entire west coast. We’ll have time to visit Ecomare, a nature museum and park where we will learn about the Wadden Sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the world’s largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats. You can get up close and personal with a porpoise, and find out which animals thrive (or don’t) in these dunes, marshes and mud flats. 24 – 28 miles.
DAY 4: Relax your cycling legs while your sea legs enjoy a pleasant day of sailing on the Mare van Fryslan. We will set sail in the morning for the island of Terschelling about 6 hours away. As we glide along the Wadden Sea, we may be lucky and encounter friendly sea lions.
Once anchored, we’ll have time to explore the small town of Terschelling on foot. The famous Brandaris lighthouse in the town square was built in 1594 and is still in use. Dinner is off the boat on your own this evening, and for good reason. The town has plenty of charming restaurants and sidewalk cafes, as well as scenic spots for a picnic. 0 miles.
DAY 5: With more than 45 miles of cycling paths crisscrossing 33 square miles of land, the island of Terschelling is ours to ride and revel in! We will get a taste of it all – from white beaches and cranberry fields to sand marshes blooming with purple sea lavender to vast mud flats teeming with crustaceans and small villages that once thrived as cultural maritime centers. Keep an eye open for the elegant white spoonbill, one of Terschelling’s most beloved residents. In the afternoon, we will sail back to the mainland to the harbor city of Harlingen in the province of Friesland. 25 miles.
DAY 6: Unlike other Dutch provinces, Friesland has its own language (West Frisian), as well as its own breed of spotted cattle and black horses. We will likely observe all these things, and plenty of iconic windmills and canals, as we cycle the verdant countryside today. Along the way, we’ll stop in the village of Franeker, home of the oldest working planetarium in the world. We’ll complete our ride in the beach town of Makkum, back on the Ijsselmeer Bay. 32 miles.
DAY 7: Our final bike ride will take us to Stavoren but not before visiting a small village of only 900 people known for its decorative folk art painting and ice skating museum. We’ll meet up with our ship and sail across Lake IJssel to spend the night back in Enkhuizen. 25 miles.
DAY 8: After a farewell breakfast, we’ll disembark from Mare van Fryslan by 9:30 am. We’ll be happy to direct you to the train station or airport for your trip home or onward in Europe. Tot ziens! 0 miles.