What is a Bike and Barge Tour?
You are served a nutritious and varied breakfast buffet every day, after which you make your own packed lunch (sandwiches, fruit and something to drink). You usually leave the ship between 8:30 and 9:30. While the boat is travelling to the next harbor, you set off on your cycle ride, over mostly quiet paths and lanes and past all the interesting sights. The daily cycling distance varies – depending on your trip – from around 25 to 60 kilometers. Every day you will have lots of time to go sightseeing, explore the towns and villages, enjoy a break at a café or visit one of the many museums en route. At the end of the day you will be welcomed back aboard by the crew with coffee, tea and snacks. And you will be able to chat with the other guests about your interesting day!
Do you not feel like cycling? Then stay aboard to enjoy watching the countryside sail by! Simply find a nice spot on the sun deck or in the salon. That is what is so perfect about our Bike and Barge Tours!
In the evenings you will be served a delicious three-course meal. Various drinks (such as beer, wine, water, soft drinks) are available at the bar (for a fee). You can spend the rest of the evening in the salon, at the bar or outside on deck. The tour guide will tell you about next day’s cycle ride and there will be several city walks for you to go on. Of course, if you would rather explore on your own, that is fine too. The boats are usually docked close to or in the town center, making sure the sights, museums and shops are all in walking or cycling distance.
Your hotel room will be sailing along with you on your Bike and Barge Tour. You will not have to move from room to room and have to keep unpacking. You will spend every night in the same bed, but with a new view every day!
Tailor made trips for groups
It is also possible to rent a whole barge with family or friends – a so-called group booking. In that case, we will make a tailor-made program for you. Do you want to bike more? Do you want to bike less? Spend more time in a city you like a lot? It can all be discussed.
Even if you do not intend to ride a bike, you can still book a trip with one of your barges. Then the barge is your mode of transport, in combination with touring buses and/or public transport. More than on the biking trips, the emphasis will be on the history and the culture of the region we visit. There will be excursions and guided tours of the cities.
Information on group bookings
Do you want more information on group bookings? Please send us an e-mail.
Routes: trips all over Europe
The Netherlands and Belgium, of course, are perfectly suited for a nice bike & barge vacation. The countries are flat and there are separate bicycle paths almost everywhere. Many of the historic cities are situated on the water and the barges can dock within walking distance of the city center. Outside the cities, the countryside is very varied and there are many places worth seeing, such as the famous Keukenhof; the historical village, De Zaanse Schans; and De Hoge Veluwe National Park.
For anyone wanting to go on a bike & barge vacation outside the Netherlands and Belgium for a change, Eurosail also organizes trips through Germany, France and Italy. For instance, the barge Iris can be found on the river Mosel in Germany and France. A splendid bicycle path runs parallel to this romantic river with its welcoming wine villages, age-old cities, and evocative castles.
Fleur is ideally tailored to the small French canals and locks, and has been cruising all around France since 2002. For anyone who loves the unspoiled French countryside as well as good food and a good glass of wine, a cruise on the Fleur is an excellent choice. The Ave Maria and Vita Pugna sail a unique tour in the Po valley in Italy that ends in the Venetian Lagoon.
Bikes, E-bikes and helmets
During the trips of Eurosail you can rent a bicycle. The type of bicycle you can rent depends on the type of trip you are on. You will get a 24-speed bike on all our trips in Provence and Italy. For all the other trips we usually use 11 or 8-speed bikes of the German brand Gudereit. Bicycle bags, panniers, are standard on all bikes.
On request we can also supply children’s bicycles, child seats, and for children aged 4 through 8 bike trailers are available on request. Tandems can also be rented at an extra charge, provided we are notified in advance.
Space to store bicycles on the barges is limited. Therefore it is only possible to bring your own bicycle if there are medical reasons, and only after consulting us. In that case, neither the owner nor the crew of the barge, nor the travel organization is liable for theft of and/or any damage to the bicycle.
Electric bicycles or e-bikes
On most trips it is also possible to rent an e-bike. But because we have only a limited number of e-bikes available early booking is recommendable. On some trips you can bring your own electric bicycle and charge it aboard: please find out before booking a trip if this is possible for that trip.
Wearing a bicycle helmet is not required by law in Europe; however we do recommend you wear one. Helmets are available on most barges, sometimes free of charge, sometimes you can rent one for € 10,- or € 15,- per week.
All our bicycles are fitted with proper locks. You are not liable for damage or theft of the bicycle, unless the bicycle was stolen during an excursion due to the fact that it was not locked properly.
Tour guides and barge crew
On your bike trips you will be accompanied by an experienced guide, who knows the area well, speaks the local language and who will show you the sights with great enthusiasm. On most of our individual trips there will be 2 guides to accompany the group. That makes it possible to offer a shorter and a longer option each day.
Every evening after dinner, the tour guide will discuss next day’s cycle ride, answer your questions, share some tips and tell you where to find the best spots for a rest or an interesting stop. Afterward the guide will often take you on an evening stroll.
The guide will also try to solve any problems with the bikes that may occur along the way.
But of course you don’t have to bike along with the group. You will find detailed maps with cycle routes on board, which enables you to plan your own day tour. And while you are biking, the ship cruises to the next destination.
It depends on the tour you choose which captain, cook or hostess will be on your barge. But you can be sure that you will always meet skilled and enthusiastic people. The cooks will surprise you with special dishes, always made with fresh ingredients.
The captain will give you a warm welcome aboard and be more than happy to tell you about the charms of sailing.
In short, the crews on the barges of Eurosail will do everything they can to exceed your expectations and make your vacation pleasant and a very memorable one.
Levels of difficulty
Most of our trips are rated as easy. These holidays are appropriate for anyone with good physical condition and basic cycling skills. The countryside is mostly flat and we use separate bike paths as much as possible. But even so, there is some difference is the difficulty of the tours. Therefor we use 3 levels to indicate the difficulty of our trips. Are you unsure about the level that is right for you? Please contact us and we will advise you.
Level 1 – Easy
The lightest cycling holiday, suited for everyone and people of all ages. On virtually flat terrain, with distances up to 50 kilometers. You spend about 4 hours on your bicycle.
Level 2 – Relaxed
Quiet and relaxed cycling. Distances up to 50 kilometers per day. You spend about 5 hours on your bicycle. Short slopes with heights up to 100 meters.
Level 3 – Moderate
Some stages are a bit more challenging. Average distances up to 50 km. Short slopes with heights up to 200 meters. Sometimes a short stage with a little more climbing.
A good physical condition is important
On some parts of the route there are separate cycle paths, but we will often have to share the road with car traffic and we will have to cross busy intersections. Your physical condition is important, because every day we bike between 40 km and 60 km and it is not always possible to join the ship halfway. Moreover, it is not always sunny and calm weather. Even under poor weather conditions you should feel safe and able to cover the distance. Of course there is always the possibility to stay on board for a day and have some extra rest. In cases of physical and medical issues we recommend you to consult a doctor and inform us if necessary.
During our daily bike trip we often pay a visit to historical or cultural highlights. We may visit for example a beer brewery, a local wine grower, a museum, a castle or a cheese farm.
Entrance fees regarding these visits are not all included in the cost of the tour and should be paid to the guide on board the barge. Should you wish to take part in all the visits, you have to expect an amount of approximately 30 euro per week.
Some entrances however are included in the tour price. You can find these details in de description of the specific tours.
On all our barges there is a WIFI system on board.
Each device (smartphone, laptop, etc.) receives 100 Mb per day free, to be used on that day. Additional amounts can be purchased via credit card or PayPal. The barge crew can assist you. However, due to the nature of the barge’s varied docking points, internet access may not always be available. As such, if stable internet access is critical to you we recommend you purchase your own bundle before leaving your home country.
Most of our travelers come from English speaking countries and a large part of our guests are over 50. But we also have guests from European countries like Germany, France, Denmark and Italy.
Because the groups are always small (average 20 guests), you really have the chance to get to know each other and become friends with your fellow travelers, the guides and crew.
Often it is wise to book a hotel for the night prior to the barge trip. That way you are sure you can board the barge in time and rested.
On some trips the barge leaves the harbor right after boarding. Then it is extra important that you arrive in time.
(link to external website, Eurosail is not the offering party).
Cancellation by the traveler (see General Conditions for more details)
If an agreement is cancelled, the traveler shall pay the following cancellation costs in the event of cancellation, in addition to any reservation costs:
- more than 84 days before the date of departure 10 %
- 84 to 42 days before the date of departure 30 %
- 42 to 28 days before the date of departure 60 %
- 28 days to 1 day before the date of departure 90 %
- on the date of departure or later 100 %
- always in % of the agreed tour (package) price
- If a traveler from a touring group cancels his agreement for a joint accommodation in a hotel, apartment, holiday home or other accommodation, he shall have to pay the cancellation costs.
- If the size of the remaining group for this accommodation is stated in the price table, the travel organizer shall offer a proposed change to the remaining traveler(s), which is appropriate for the new group size, for the same period and in the same accommodation.
- For traveler(s) referred to in sub b. the tour (package) price shall be changed in conformity with the price table. The normal payment rules of article 3 shall apply to the payment of the changed tour (package) price.
- If the proposed change is not possible or not accepted, all agreements shall be cancelled and all travelers shall have to pay a cancellation sum.
- The total sum of the cancellation sums and changed tour (package) price(s) shall never exceed the total of the tour (package) prices of the original travelers. A possible surplus shall be reduced from new tour (package) prices.
The traveler who cancels the trip shall be obliged to pay the cancellation costs in conformity with the provisions in the previous paragraphs, unless he can motivate why the loss of the travel organizer was lower. In that case the travel organizer shall charge this lower loss. Loss shall be taken to mean incurred loss and lost profit.
Outside office hours
Cancellations outside office hours shall be considered to have taken place on the next working day.
Article 8 (see general conditions) shall apply in the event there is no cancellation, but when another person replaces the traveler.
Cancellation by the travel organizer
- The travel organizer shall be entitled to cancel the agreement due to weighty circumstances.
- Weighty circumstances shall be taken to mean circumstances of such a nature that a further commitment of the travel organizer to the agreement cannot be required in reason.
- A coverage restriction referring to the agreement of the Calamiteitenfonds Reizen (Travel Contingency Fund) shall be a weighty circumstance.
- If the cause of the cancellation can be attributed to the traveler, the resultant loss shall be paid by the traveler.
- If the cause of the cancellation can be attributed to the travel organizer, the resultant loss shall be paid by the travel organizer. Whether this is the case shall be decided on the basis of article 12 (see general conditions).
- If the cause of the cancellation cannot be attributed to the traveler nor to the travel organizer, parties shall bear their own loss as worked out in article 13 (see general conditions).
- If the travel organizer saves money because of the cancellation, the traveler shall be entitled to this saving with regard to his part.
Every trip has its own page of details. On the left hand side you will find extensive travel information and photos, and on the right hand side the cabin types and availability. If you click on a cabin type, a calendar will pop up with the available dates including the price per person. Select your travel date and click on the green arrow down the bottom to reserve the trip.
Step 1: reservation process
A new window will open with an overview of the chosen trip on the right.
Fill in the number of people top left. You can also reserve a hire bike, tell us about your dietary requirements and select one or more types of insurance.
The total price of the reservation (including €15 reservation costs) will be calculated on the right.
Click on ‘Next’ to go to step 2.
Step 2: personal data
You fill in your personal information here such as your name and address.
Click on ‘Next’ to go to step 3.
Step 3: overview
An overview of you personal information and the fee. If you want to make any changes, click on step 1 or step 2. When you have checked everything, check the ‘Terms and Conditions’ box. You can also add yourself to the Boat Bike Tours mailing list, and receive the newsletter with all the last minute deals, new trips and other interesting news about once a month.
Click on the green button that says ‘Confirm booking’ to confirm your booking. You will receive a confirmation email of your booking.
We will receive your reservation request. First we will check availability, after that you will receive a confirmation email with the bill included.
Period of consideration
Because we comply with the General Conditions of Thuiswinkel.org, you have an automatic maximum of 14 days to consider your booking. Within this timeframe, you can cancel any reservations made via our website free of charge.
After making the booking you will receive a travel confirmation and a bill. Usually you will have to pay 40% of the travel fee when booking and the 60% additional costs approximately 6 weeks before your departure date. You will find the details on your travel confirmation.
An extra €15 per booking will be charged for reservation costs. These costs will be added to the grand total at the end.
All prices are including VAT.
Terms and Conditions
Boat Bike Tours’ Terms and Conditions are applicable to all our cycling/sailing holidays and all the related travel arrangements and confirmations. If you book a trip with us these conditions will become part of the travel arrangement. If any deviating stipulations are applicable to your booking, you will be informed of that fact by us in writing before you book the trip or when you are booking it. Your confirmation is binding. Timetables and other information are subject to change, for example due to metrological, technical or nautical reasons.
We advise you to look into our casualty, baggage or cancellation insurance (if you have not already got continuing travel insurance, of course). Please note that most insurance companies demand that cancellation insurance is arranged at the same time or shortly after you book your holiday.