Around IJssel Lake

tours / Cycling

Around IJssel Lake information and booking

  • Duration
    8 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
    introductory - moderate
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

  • 7 nights barge
Equipment Required
Bike helmet, wet weather gear, sunscreen, jogging shoes and sun hat. Note that storage capacity is limited in cabins and we recommend you bring a soft luggage bag. A comprehensive gear list is included in the pre-departure information provided on booking. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.


  • Cycling through countryside Holland
  • Visit lively harbour towns with traditional sailing boats
  • Cycle past a variety of landscapes including the Weerribben National Park
  • Exploring the towns of Kampen and Elburg enroute to Amsterdam
  • Soaking up the hospitality onboard the comfortable barge

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

This varied itinerary follows the coastline of the former inner sea Zuiderzee, the present IJssel Lake and several border lakes. We pass quaint fishing villages and busy ports, like Spakenburg and Hoorn. We cycle through the beautiful scenery of northern Holland and the unique natural reserve of the Weerribben National Park. Wind your way along the waterways of Giethoorn and through the vast woods and moorlands in the Veluwe area. We stay overnight on our barge in scenic spots including the Hanseatic town of Kampen and Lemmer - the 'water town'.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners (does not include drinks) continental breakfasts are served and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. at breakfast you will prepare your packed lunch for the day which will be sandwiches, fruit & juice. if you choose not to cycle on a particular day, the crew will serve lunch onboard. dinner will consist of three courses inclusive of either a pasta, vegetarian or meat dish.
  • 7 nights accommodation aboard a barge with private facilities on a twinshare basis. if you are travelling by yourself you will be matched with another passenger. depending on the boat, cabins are configured with two lower beds and/or bunk beds.
  • Bicycle with 7 gears, lock, pannier and insurance
  • Visit to mill / cheese farm
  • Several city walking tours
  • Information pack including route notes and maps
  • Experienced multilingual (english, german and dutch) guide for cycle tours and city walks


Day 1 Arrive Amsterdam, join barge to Hoorn for warm up cycle (15km)
We board our barge in the magnificent European city of Amsterdam, and set sail through a myriad of locks to the infamous IJssel Lake – a shallow freshwater lake created in 1932 due to the establishment of a dam on the former inland sea of Zuider Zee. The sailing time to Hoorn is about 4 hours. Hoorn was once an important base for the Dutch East India Company, and the reason why Cape Horn (Kaap Hoorn) was named in the 17th century by a Dutch explorer after his hometown. This evening we go for a test ride on the bikes in and around Hoorn.
Day 2 Cycle through ancient villages and stop for walk in port of Lemmer (30km)
Our cycle today takes us through countryside and villages typical of North Holland – or as the locals say ‘Noordholland’. We enter the region of Friesland, famous for Friesan cattle and home to 195 of Holland’s 1200 windmills. Frieslanders are known for their height and excel at sports – with many talented speed skaters hailing from the region. From Enkhuizen we get back on board our barge and make the crossing to Lemmer. We will spend the evening walking around the character filled port here, discovering the local charm of this area.
Day 3 Cycle through the Friesland province and continue to Weerribben NP (35km)
Today we learn why the province of Friesland is so well-known for its numerous lakes and other waterways. We pass numerous canals and Tjeukemeer Lake enroute to the tiny village of Ossenzijl. Located on the edge of the Weerribben National Park, this quaint settlement is home to the Natuuractiviteitencentre, a small museum jam packed with information about the history and wildlife in the Weerribben. This natural reserve is home to the largest area of peat bog in Western Europe and is one of the largest areas of reed harvesting in the world. Many of the reed roofs of Europe came from the Weerribben, and the local people have been peat and reed harvesters for generations - jobs that are among the most backbreaking and hardest imaginable. Our cycle trip ends today in Blokzijl/Vollenhove.
Day 4 Paddle to Giethoorn or canoe / bike in Weerribben (40km)
Our barge remains in Blokzijl/Vollenhove today while we explore nearby Giethoorn, known as ‘the Venice of the North’. The lack of cars here is refreshing and the preferred mode of transportation is by flat-bottomed boats, locally called ‘punters’, steered by a long pole called a ‘punt’. You may even see the local spectacle of farmers taking cows to pasture on them. There is time to either rent a ‘punter’ to explore the canals or simply cycle around at your leisure. We visit Lake Beulaker Wijde and Dwarsgracht as we make our way back to Blokzijl/Vollenhove. As an alternative to today’s itinerary you can of course choose to spend the day independently exploring the Weerribben nature reserve and its 450 species of plants, some 100 different species of birds and 23 kinds of fish by bike or canoe.
Day 5 Travel to Zwartsluis and visit the Hanseatic town of Kampen (60km)
Today we will pass more lakes including Belter Wijde and Schutsloter Wijde on our way to Zwartsluis. Here, in this lively town situated on a crossing of waterways, we wander at our own leisure and relax on the multitude of terraces. We arrive in Genemuiden by ferry and cycle up the Kamper Zeedijk dike, to the charming old Hanseatic town of Kampen. Kampen is full of impressive gothic architecture and it is worth exploring the three ancient surviving city gates. Our barge is waiting for us in Kampen – moored on the River IJssel.
Day 6 Visit Elburg, a must see fortified town and Harderwijk (45km)
This morning our first stop is at the splendidly preserved fortified town Elburg. In the middle of its picturesque town centre is the prominent fish gate built in 1392. At that time Elburg was located at the coast of the Zuiderzee (Southern sea), which was partially drained in the first half of the 20th century. We have time to explore the streets, canals and old small houses that were built for the poor and lean up one on side against the city wall. After exploring this fascinating place we pass Nunspeet as we enter the moorlands of Elspeet. The countryside continues to diversify as we pass through the forests and countryside of ‘Huis te Leuvenum’. Finally we reach Harderwijk, a cosy port that is known for its amazing dolphinarium.
Day 7 Cycle past traditional fishing villages enroute to Amsterdam (60km)
Today our barge takes us to the traditional fishing village of Spakenburg. Here the customs of yesteryear are still very much alive with many of the locals still wearing traditional dress. Our journey continues past Blaricum and the woods and moorlands of the Tafelberg. After a short visit to 14th century fortified town of Naarden-Vesting, we arrive back in Amsterdam. In the evening you may wish to join your guide for a walk though the centre of the city or you may wish to explore the streets, canals and wonders of Amsterdam on your own.
Day 8 Trip concludes Amsterdam
The trip concludes after breakfast.