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Duration
12 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 3 to 4 star hotels
Meals
  • 11 Breakfasts

Price

$2190USD

Walk and cycle Europe with confidence

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We've initiated extra cleaning and hygiene protocols on all trips

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Overview

Trip Code: UPA

Trip highlights


  • Cycling through three countries
  • Discovering a mix of cities and quiet country towns
  • Delighting in the flavours of France, Belgium and The Netherlands
  • Enjoying the everchanging scenery
  • Staying in small, family-run hotels

Cycle your way from the 'City of Lights', Paris, to the canals of Amsterdam on this diverse self guided cycling trip traversing three countries. Pedalling on a combination of dedicated cycle ways along canals and rivers, sleepy country lanes and urban cycle friendly roads, this is a relaxed ride where you can focus entirely on the changing scenery, flavours and languages as you make your way from France through Belgium and finally to The Netherlands. The trip is ideal for those who revel in city experiences, but also enjoy activity. Combine time at the museums and world famous buildings of Paris and Amsterdam with visits to Gouda, famous for its cheese, Antwerp, and the medieval architecture of Ghent. Your time in the saddle will be well rewarded in each country as you ride through changing landscapes and lifestyles, from beautiful French villages with their local food and wine, to Belgium's beer and chocolate and of course The Netherlands' iconic Kinderdijk windmills. Electric bikes will lower the grading and are an option to consider on this epic two-wheeled journey

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Make your own arrival to Paris and check into the first hotel. There is so much to do in ‘The City of Lights’: stroll along the river banks of the Seine or the Montmartre district or visit the famous attractions such as the Sacre Coeur Basilica, the Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre museum with the Mona Lisa and of course the Eiffel Tower. Note: Bikes are not allowed on the train from Amsterdam to Paris (or vice versa). We therefore do not recommend bringing your own bike on this tour.

Meals:  Nil

Today you start cycling! Exiting the capital along the Canal de l’Ourcq and Canal Saint-Martin which gives you the opportunity to dive into a history book, an open-air museum. For the first 30km from Paris to Gressy, the route follows the relaxed cycle track of the Canal de l’Ourcq, a rural setting away from cars, for a safe exit out of Paris. As you get closer to Senlis you will encounter forests and true nature as you reach the “Ile de France” region: a guaranteed change of scenery.

Meals:  B

Today's highlights are numerous; a prestigious castle, medieval towns and a large shady forest. Chantilly is world-renowned for its castle with its Great Stables, porcelain, lace and gastronomy (the famous Chantilly cream would have been invented here). An ancient foundation, a royal residence during the Middle Ages, the charming city of Senlis preserves its rich history and has several museums. Its protected environment of 40 ha is particularly appreciated by filmmakers. Leaving these lovely towns behind, you pass through the forest of Halatte then cross the "plateau" of Nery. Nearby Béthisy-Saint-Pierre is worth a detour. After descending to the Automne river, which gives its name to this valley, today’s journey ends in the former royal and imperial city Compiègne, with its palace opening towards the woods, charming shopping streets and interesting museums.

Meals:  B

In the morning, we recommend you make the abbey of Ourscamp your first stop of the day. The route continues along the canal, toward Noyon. Noyon is listed as a city of Art and History: a medieval atmosphere pervades around the cathedral which saw the coronation of Hugues Capet in 987. Further along the route, you cross vast natural areas with more than 200 species of birds and cycle through the fertile valley of the Oise before you reach Saint-Quentin. Discover its streets with Art Deco houses. It is the style adopted during the rebuilding of the city, which was partly destroyed during the Great War and once again became a dynamic city, the economic capital of Haute Picardie.

Meals:  B

The route in the morning takes you towards the Touage Museum, over small hills between villages devoted to agriculture and memorial sites of the Great War: cemeteries, memorials and vestiges of the Hindenburg line. A few pedaling strokes and you pass the source of l’Escaut, the famous river that you follow for kilometers and whose course flows into the North Sea in the Netherlands. In the Haute Vallée de l’Escaut lies a jewel: the abbey of Vaucelles (XII century). As it is presented to you today, the abbey remains an unusual construction both in its dimensions and the quality of its restoration. Passing through typical villages and hamlets, you reach the town of Cambrai, another city of Art and History. Take some time to discover its streets, where half-timbered houses, rich private mansions, and Flemish mansions mingle with interesting shops. And don't leave without having tasted the famous "Bétises de Cambrai" (boiled sweets) or other local specialties!

Meals:  B

This day offers a pleasant ride through to the Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut, the first French regional park. Here, the border between Belgium and France is linked with barges on the Escaut river. The day will see you pedal through to the forests, marshes and ponds populated with various species. You will discover the mining villages classified by UNESCO, rural landscapes, and also the beautiful city of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, famous for its thermal waters, near Valenciennes. This evening you stay in Tournai, with its impressive cathedral, the oldest in Belgium and the 13th-century Scheldt bridge.

Meals:  B

Leaving the 5 bell-towers of Tournai and the province of Wallonia behind, you continue cycling into Flanders. Down the road do try one of the most famous Belgian local products "Geraardsbergse mattentaart", a pie with a long history. The river Scheldt leads you to the old town of Oudenaarde (AD 974), the centre of the famous classic cycle race "Ronde van Vlaanderen". The former tow paths along the banks have been transformed into smooth cycle paths, occasionally leafy, and then through the open fields of Flanders. At the end of the day the sparkling cultural city of Ghent awaits. The Belgians call Ghent their most beautiful city with its cobble stone alleys, pretty bridges and quirky bars.

Meals:  B

Cycling north along the banks of the river Scheldt you join the LF5 (Flanders Cycle route) as you leave Ghent and cycle towards Lokeren. The wide Schelde landscape of bushes and polders is not only a natural attraction, but also a tourist attraction. By switching to the LF2 Cities Cycle Route you head towards Antwerp. It’s the largest town in Flanders and Belgium’s most important port city. After viewing the historical town centre, you might like to venture to the lively parts of the city: ‘t Zuid and Het Eilandje. Have you worked up a thirst for Belgian beer? Consider visiting De Koninck beer brewery, which has been going strong since 1833 and has a new visitors' centre welcoming guests wishing to look around and do some tasting. This brewery is best known for its ‘Bollekes’.

Meals:  B

The landscape along today’s cycling route is predominantly woody. On the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, catch your breath in De Zoom - Kalmthoutse Heide, a lovely cross-border nature reserve. Upon crossing the border, you will find yourself in the south of the Netherlands. In village after village, Brabant hospitality will entice you to stop for a cup of coffee and big slice of fruit tart. Today’s destination is Breda, the main city of Nassau in Holland, boasting many imposing monuments. The ancestors of the royal family converted Breda to a beautiful city with richly decorated buildings.

Meals:  B

The route today will take you right past one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe: Biesbosch National Park*. You will cycle through Dordrecht, one of the Netherlands’ oldest towns and a great place to stop for a lunch break. A visit to the scenic harbour area with its wonderful historical buildings should not be missed. Today’s highlight is one of The Netherlands’ most popular tourist attractions: Kinderdijk, a world-famous complex of windmills. The nineteen historical windmills are the epitome of classical Dutch countryside. You can visit an authentic workshop and find out how these mills were built and how they work. Have you always wanted to be a miller? This is where you can still learn the trade! End the day in medieval Gouda. Amble through the beautifully preserved town centre and visit the old town hall and St John’s church. Stop off at a bakery to buy fresh syrup waffles (Gouda is the hometown of syrup waffles) and Gouda cheese - perhaps the world’s most famous type of cheese. *Please note you will only cycle through the Biesbosch park on days that the ferry departs. It does not operate daily. If the ferry does not operate you follow an alternative route.

Meals:  B

Today’s route takes you through the Green Heart of Holland, abounding in water. It is a true cycling paradise, with characteristic peat and polder landscapes, small farming communities and picturesque historical towns. Your cycling holiday ends in Amsterdam, one of the crown-jewels of Europe. With so much to see and do, you couldn’t wish for a more exciting way to end your holiday. Make sure to go for a walk to marvel at the townhouses in the 17th-century canal district (listed as World Heritage). Have you got time and energy left? Opt to saunter down the infamous red-light district which attracts millions of curious tourists every year; or enjoy the street performers on friendly Rembrandtplein.

Meals:  B

The trip concludes this morning in Amsterdam. If you would like to extend your stay in Amsterdam we can assist with booking extra nights so you have more time to visit this beautiful city.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts
  • 11 nights in 3 to 4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • 27 speed premium touring rental bike with pannier, helmet, repair kit and lock (e-bikes, road bikes available - supplement applies). GPS device rental is included (one per room).
  • Luggage transfer between hotels - limited to 1 piece of luggage per person weighing a max 20kg - excess charge for extra luggage items to be booked and paid before departure. Please note that small bags cannot be attached to the main luggage. They will be charged as separate pieces of luggage.
  • Information pack including route notes, maps, tourist information per room booked (GPS tracks available on request)
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Paris and from Amsterdam
  • All drinks, lunches and dinners. A dinner package can be booked which includes a 3 course dinner on 8 nights (not in Antwerp, Paris and Ghent) - supplement applies.
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tour guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Entrance fees
  • Transfers and ferry crossings - allow 1 to 2 EUR per ferry
  • Excess luggage - supplement applies. Each piece of extra luggage will be charged a supplement. Luggage cannot be heavier than 20kgs due to work safety rules.

Bike information


Grading

moderate to challenging  

GRADE 4 - MODERATE TO CHALLENGING This trip involves 10 days cycling between 50 and 90km / 31 and 56mi per day usually along paved cycle paths and quiet county roads. The terrain is hilly at times out of Paris then mostly flat for the second half. In and out of the cities there will be some traffic. You need only carry your camera/rain gear and water bottle. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels/inns. Due to the long distances cycled you will need a good level of fitness to enjoy this tour. It is possible to hire electric bikes to help lower the trip grading. Note that parts of the ride are on unpaved roads or with cobblestones (in historic cities). *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list and we do provide one for each client.


Departure dates


Notes

DN1
Trip also operates in reverse - see UAP. Minimum of 2 people required per departure
DN2
High season is 4 Jul to 29 Aug - supplement applies
DN3
Due to logistics this trip is not suitable for solo travellers. It can be possible for single travellers to book on a date which already has bookings. Contact our team for more details.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$2190USD

Options & Supplements*
  • high season supplementUSD$16
  • Surcharge for this departure (dates denoted IT1) due Senlis hotel change - per personUSD$60
  • E-bike supplementUSD$170
  • dinner supplement (6 dinners - not in Antwerp, Ghent, Tournai, Saint Quentin and Paris)USD$280
  • single supplementUSD$830
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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