Sail and Bike Holland: IJsselmeer

Sailing Ship Elizabeth

Does it get any better than this? Combine a week of sailing and living on board a classic clipper built in 1913 on Holland's lake IJsselmeer with cycling touring to a long list of historic towns and villages. There really is no better way for anyone interested in sailing and cycling to explore what is a truly historic, beautiful and fascinating part of the world!

Your exciting tour of discovery on the stylish and beautifully appointed sailing clipper Elizabeth starts and finishes in Amsterdam and takes you along large sections of the IJsselmeer coast over the course of a week of sailing and cycling. Lake IJsselmeer was created in 1933 when the 32 km long "Afsluitdijk" (Enclosure dike) was constructed as part of the larger Zuiderzee land reclamation project. The construction of the Afsluitdijk across the Zuiderzee (a salt water inlet of the North Sea) resulted in the salt water inlet becoming the freshwater lake IJsselmeer. Today the many historic towns and the villages on the IJsselmeer are testament to a time when ships from the Dutch East India Company sailed from here to source their precious cargos of spices from across the seas. The entire region is crisscrossed by excellent cycle paths that you can pedal along to discover the charm of towns such as Monnickendam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen.

On the eastern shore of the IJsselmeer you will visit the province of Friesland. On the final day of your tour, wind and weather permitting, you will experience the thrill of sailing under full sail as you return to Amsterdam where you will have plenty of time to enjoy a last evening exploring the beautiful and exciting capital of The Netherlands.

Sailing Ship Elizabeth
As the result of a painstaking renovation in 1991 the three-mast clipper Elizabeth is today a luxuriously-appointed and authentic sailing vessel that is a living monument to the history of inshore sailing in Holland. Built in 1913 in Moerdijk as one of four identical large clippers, the Elizabeth was known then - and is still recognised - for her impressive appearance. During her painstaking conversion to a modern sailing ship a concerted effort was made to preserve all of the typical features and originality of a Dutch flat bottom sailing ship. With her flat bottom and shallow draught, the Elizabeth can venture where even small yachts would run aground. At low water it is possible for the clipper can beach itself on a sandbank and then continue the trip when the water returns on the next tide. Most importantly for guests on a ship and bike tour, the Elizabeth provides a unique opportunity to take a step back in time to when sailing ships ruled the seas. The Elizabeth features spacious 10 guest cabins with two single beds, an ensuite shower and toilet, a large salon with a bar and a comfortable seating area. A number of the cabins can be booked as a three-bed or four-bed cabins (the third and fourth beds as bunks). Eight cabins are located on the lower deck and two cabins on the upper deck. A popular feature of all of the cabins is the ability to open a window or porthole. All the cabins have a 220-volt socket. The Elizabeth is 41 meters long, 7 metres wide and has a sail surface of 445 M².

Tour Details Holland: IJsselmeer | Sailing Ship Elizabeth

Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Amsterdam
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is between 2 PM and 6 PM. The Elizabeth will be moored in the port of Amsterdam on the first night. In the afternoon and evening you will have plenty of time to stroll around the city, visit a museum, the flea market or to enjoy a canal cruise.

Day 2 (Sun): Amsterdam - Waterland - Monnickendam (35-50 km/22-31 mi.)
After breakfast following the distribution of bicycles your first cycling leg of the trip will take you through the magnificent rural nature reserve of Waterland with its many villages, canals and rivers. A highlight along the way is the village of Broek, a picturesque spot in the centre of Waterland that features wooden houses, canals and manicured gardens. If you have time and feel like cycling some more kilometres, the island of Marken which used to be on the Zuiderzee, is another village worth visiting. Your destination for the night is the port town of Monnickendam. Enjoy a stroll around the old port area after dinner.

Day 3 (Mon): Monnickendam - Volendam - Edam - Hoorn (37-52 km/22-33 mi.)
Cycling in Holland doesn't get much better than today's offering from Monnickendam via Volendam, Edam, De Rijp and Schermerhorn to Hoorn. Along the way you can visit a cheese factory, take a break in Volendam's bustling harbor and stroll through the narrow streets of the old whaling village of De Rijp. The wealthy merchants of the 17th century built many splendid homes and warehouses, which are still well maintained and to this day continue to characterize the image of the old towns you will be cycling through. When you wander through Hoorn, your destination for the day, you will marvel at the many beautifully ornate buildings that tell the history of this former Dutch East India Company town. A shorter cycling route for the day will take you via Volendam and Edam across the IJsselmeer dike to Hoorn.

Day 4 (Tue): Hoorn - Enkhuizen (28 km/18 mi.) | Enkhuizen - Lemmer or Stavoren
This morning you will enjoy beautiful views of the IJsselmeer as you pedal along an old dike from Hoorn to the port of Enkhuizen where you will enjoy your lunch today on board the Elizabeth. In the afternoon test out your sea legs for the first time as you sail across the IJsselmeer to Lemmer oder Stavoren in the province of Friesland (depending on the weather conditions). In the evening you will have the opportunity to take a stroll through the port. Make sure you take the opportunity to explore the picturesque village of Lemmer which has many cafés and quaint pubs along the canals and close to the old neo-gothic lock.

Day 5 (Wed): Lemmer - Frisian Lakes & Gaasterland - Stavoren (48 km/30 mi.) or the other way around
Cycletour from Lemmer through the rolling hills of Gaasterland. As you cycle from idyllic village to idyllic village highlights along the way are the Frisian lakes of De Morra and Fluessen, the historic centre of Sloten and Molkwerum a village that features many small canals. The tour ends in Stavoren, the oldest town in Friesland. When you sailed to Stavoren on Tuesday, todays bike tour is from Stavoren to Lemmer.

Day 6 (Thu): Lemmer or Stavoren - Enkhuizen
Today you will set the sails again for a sailing trip to Enkhuizen. In the afternoon you will have time for a short bike tour and the opportunity to visit the very interesting "Zuiderzeemuseum" and/or a stroll through the port where many Dutch East India Company ships berthed to unload their precious cargos of spices.

Day 7 (Fri): Enkhuizen - Amsterdam
This is the day where you pray to the weather Gods for a stiff breeze for the trip under full sail from Enkhuizen along the IJsselmeer coast back to Amsterdam. If you are interested the captain will let you take an active part in sailing the vessel; no maritime experience is required. In the afternoon after you reach the Dutch capital you will still have plenty of time to discover the "real" Amsterdam, world famous for its canals, its quirky 'leaning' buildings, museums, Anne Frank's home, the Waterlooplein Market, Amsterdam's permanent market place and Dam Square, the very centre and heart of the city and much, much more.

Day 8: (Sat): End of tour in Amsterdam
Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 AM: End of your trip. A beautiful journey full of new experiences has come to an end.

All distances are "approximate distances" of recommended bike tours.
When a guest does not want to cycle one day, he or she can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

A Sail & Bike tour is like a little bit of adventure: the only thing which is really fixed on this cruise is the departure and arrival harbor Amsterdam. The sailing routes to be taken depend largely on the weather and the wind. The skipper will determine from day to day the exact sailing schedule and discuss the possibilities with the guests. The skipper and his crew will do everything they can to offer you the program as planned so you can enjoy a fascinating week with a variety of activities, nature and culture, but it is possible that the departure and sailing times and/or the order of the program has to be changed. Enjoy and relax: the elements will lead you! Various parts of the tour will be sailed.

The standard bicycles on board are mostly unisex touring bicycles with normal mount (ladies model), 7 gears, hand brake and/or pedal brake and pannier bag. Other bikes (e.g. E-Bikes, children's bikes) and child seats (front or rear) are only available on these tours after prior request (by booking) and confirmation as a very limited number are available. Bike rental is optional. Guests are also allowed to bring their own bicycles (at no extra cost). Please note that the space on board the sailing ship is limited. The crew or tour operator is in no way responsible for any damage, loss or theft of such bicycles. In the Netherlands cyclists are not obligated by law to wear a bike helmet. Bike helmets are not available on board.

The daily bike tours are individual, conducted at your own pace and without a tour guide. There are daily briefings on board and detailed bicycle maps and directions are available. The cycling and sailing routes on the Ijsselmeer are dependent on the sail program, weather and weather expectation. The General Conditions (travel conditions) of Boat Bike Tours apply to cycling cruises, as well as to confirmation and cancellation of such tours. Children are very welcome on board, however, before booking, we advise you to satisfy yourself that your child is able to manage a cycle trip of ca. 30-55 km. Children's bikes, tandems, parent-child-tandems, slip streamers etc. are available on request. Of course you may stay one or more days on board instead of cycling (children under the age of18 years must be under supervision). Child discount on request. Life jackets for children can be arranged on request: please mention the age, height and weight of your child when you book the tour. The interior of the ship is a non-smoking zone: smoking is only allowed on the sun deck. As a safety measure, a statutory smoking ban applies in all cabins; this means that all cabins and rooms on board are non-smoking areas.


Amsterdam, Edam, Frisia, Lake Yssel, North Holland


  • Tour and accommodation on board in the booked category 8 days/7 nights (Saturday-Saturday) from/to Amsterdam
  • Full board (7x breakfast, 6x picnic lunch during bike tours, 7x three course dinner)
  • Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels on request)
  • cabin cleaning
  • Welcoming drink and -speech on the first evening
  • Board tour guide by the crew(multilingual) with daily briefings of the bike tours
  • Printed instructions and detailed maps for daily individual self-guided bike tours
  • Daily complimentary coffee and tea between 3 PM and 4 PM
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