Are you ready for a family holiday in the Netherlands to reconnect and spend quality time together? This tour takes your whole family from the capital city of Friesland in the northeast of the Netherlands to the islands off-shore by sailboat. You’ll spend a few days learning about local culture in small cities and villages of Friesland, a few days canoeing along the canals and camping out in beautiful nature together, and a few more days aboard a sailboat island-hopping for an epic adventure!
If you’d prefer to focus your time on campsites and quiet time in nature, take a look at our 8-day or 5-day camping adventures. If you would prefer more time island hopping, you might like this special sailing journey through the Wadden Sea.
There’s sightseeing in the Netherlands that includes the museums and galleries of Amsterdam, and then there’s our kind of sightseeing. With TravPact, we take you beyond Amsterdam to explore the natural beauty and unique culture of the Netherlands. Get off the typical tourist track with us!
You’ll stay in charming hotels filled with character as well as campsites where the kids can play with other campers. You’ll get to disconnect from the stresses of daily life while exploring new places together. Everyone can learn, laugh, and breathe that beautiful fresh air as you enjoy our type of Netherlands sightseeing tour as a family.
With 1 family of 4 persons: €5600 per family
With 2 families of 4 persons: €3850 per family
Note that there are a total of 28 berths on the sailboat, this is not a private sailing adventure.
Your family holiday in the Netherlands will begin in the beautiful northeastern city of Groningen. You can arrive by plane directly to Groningen Airport Eelde from some cities in Europe, by train from Schiphol Amsterdam or Eindhoven airports, or by car. If you arrive without a car, we can either arrange car rental or adapt the itinerary for you so that it can be done entirely by public transport and/or bike.
You have the rest of the day to yourself, with a variety of activities to enjoy in Groningen. We suggest taking an evening bike ride or a walk along the canals of the town. Tonight, you will stay at a charming and cosy hotel that is centrally located, with five buildings overlooking the canal to accommodate travellers – perfect for a relaxing family holiday.
You will start the day by driving north from Groningen towards Noordpolder, where a very special part of your Netherlands family adventure will begin. Here, you will enjoy canoe tours through the canals, with visits to villages and the ability to take in the characteristic Groningen landscape. These activities can be tailored to yours and your family’s wishes.
Why is a canoe holiday perfect for you and your children? The pace is easily regulated, you can make as many stops as you would like, and the path is planned in a way that everyone from the novice to the experienced can get the most out of their time on the water. This will be a true outdoor adventure for the family, with camping overnight along the way. There is even the possibility of renting equipment to prepare a meal on an open fire! Let the children help out and this is guaranteed to be a memorable bonding time.
Most of the camping sites will offer basic sanitary facilities and some will also have play areas for kids.
This morning, your canoe trip is officially over, and it is time to step onto dry land to head towards Friesland. Your destination is the village of Terherne – a perfect family holiday destination in the Netherlands. Here, you will find facilities accommodating all sorts of watersports, as well as varied recreation options and playgrounds for children. We suggest you take the time today to explore the area at your own pace, with multiple walking and biking routes available.
To complete a day of relaxation and recharging, you will stay at a charming hotel on the water, offering comfortable and cosy rooms, as well as multiple outdoor terraces perfect for observing the stillness of the water. The hotel restaurant strives to give a “homely” feeling to guests and serves delicious meals made from regional produce, in combination with fine wine.
Today will be full of adventures for our younger travellers! You will spend the day at Kameleondoarp, where the children can put all their energy to use at the adventure island and even help solve a mystery involving strange suitcases in Lenten, the life-size reconstructed village of Hielke and Sietse. You can also visit the chameleon farm and enjoy a pram ride in the surroundings of Terherne, pushed by the Kameleonboot. If the weather is not in your favour, there is also a covered farmyard with a variety of activities to explore for the children.
Make today all about the Kameleondoarp – a perfect day out for the whole family, where children can explore freely, and the parents can relax by the water. You may decide to return to the village for meals, in which case we will help you arrange a reservation. However, if you would like a more special bonding experience, we recommend choosing one of the “cook-your-own-meal” options available, with barbecue, pizza, pancake, and other facilities offered with ingredients and equipment. It all makes not only for a filling, warm lunch or dinner, but a fun activity for the whole family!
Your day will start early; just after breakfast you will leave Terherne and drive northwest towards a Frisian town called Harlingen. This will be the starting point for your sailing adventure!
Harlingen and the surrounding area are home to multiple attractions and boast picturesque walking, sailing, and biking places. Walking through the town, try counting all 21 of the restored advertisement murals on buildings, perfect for taking your old-fashioned townscape pictures in the form of a self-organised treasure hunt!
Look into the alleys – wide, narrow, crooked, and bumpy, each one has a story to tell! Here, you will also see the “stumbling stones” (Struikelstenen) on the pavements in front of houses where Jewish residents used to live before the Holocaust. These are placed in order to cherish their memory.
In the evening, you will board the sailboat and your skipper will introduce you and your family to the boat and go over all safety rules and procedures. Your Netherlands sightseeing tour by sea begins!
After breakfast today, you will start sailing towards Terschelling, the biggest of the Dutch Frisian Wadden Islands. After the sails have been hoisted, the engine is turned off, and you can enjoy the quiet sailing experience with wind in your hair and water as far as you can see.
You will have the opportunity to look over the mudflats and maybe even spot the first seals of this sailing adventure! A nice lunch will be served on deck, weather permitting.
Until dinner time, you will continue sailing, and see the colours of the sky change, gradually becoming darker. Upon your arrival at the island, you are invited to stretch your legs and go on a historical tour through West-Terschelling, maybe grab a drink in one of the charming cafés or bars, and enjoying settling into the “island life”.
Today you will explore Terschelling further – this time in daylight – with over 200km of unpaved walking paths to take a stroll along. You will receive a packed picnic lunch today, and a target time for your return to the sailboat.
Choose your own adventure! Enjoy horseback riding through the forests and along the coast, explore wild and natural dunes formed without human intervention, make sure to look at the wet mudflats, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered the “delivery room” for millions of migrating bird species. Enjoy a day out in nature, have lunch overlooking the sea, and – upon your return to the sailboat around dinner time – head towards Vlieland, a neighbouring island. Here, we suggest walking on the sandbanks stretching into the sea and watching the sunset play with the water. With some luck we will also see seals!
Waking up to sounds of birds chirping and waves splashing, you will have breakfast and start exploring Vlieland. A car-free zone, this island offers perfect tranquillity and an opportunity to connect with nature. You will have a packed picnic lunch today, allowing you freedom of choice for your activities.
Check out the Kroon’s Polders, which is a perfect spot for birdwatching. Or enjoy the charming and authentic Oost-Vlieland, the only remaining village on the island. Explore the Bomenland Forest, with a 3,5km walking path showcasing the biodiversity of Vlieland.
Take the time to appreciate the freedom and stillness of this tranquil place. Experience true island life and you are guaranteed to return to the sailboat feeling recharged and ready to share stories at the dinner table.
You will have breakfast in the port and start the journey back to Harlingen this morning. With lunch served on the deck or in the cabin, depending on the weather, we invite you to absorb the salty air and enjoy this last part of your adventure on the sailboat.
You will arrive in Harlingen in the afternoon and have the evening to yourself. If you wish, we can arrange a dinner reservation for you as well.
You depart from Harlingen today. We hope the whole family has enjoyed this Netherlands sightseeing adventure and we wish you a safe trip home or on to your next destination!
TravPact is Travelife Certified, which means our tours are in line with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Industry criteria and our certification is formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
With a professional background in the nonprofit sector working in international development, we are keenly aware of the impact tourism can have on a destination and its people.
That’s why we choose to bring your focus away from driving long distances, and instead offer alternatives such as bikes, sailboats, kayaks, or simply walking to reach a destination where possible.
Moreover, in order to give you the most authentic experience, we give preference to small local hotels, B&B’s, and campsites. In these spaces, you can connect with the Dutch culture in an authentic way and experience the cities and villages of the Northern Netherlands.