The Netherlands has 12 provinces and one of them is "Noord-Holland”. It fits the nostalgic image that foreigners have of Holland. It’s a picture-postcard landscape of canals, wooden bridges, dikes and windmills. The delights of this region can easily be discovered by bike: charming historical towns with busy marinas, art and cultural history museums and traditional local architecture. If you can, come in springtime when tulips, hyacinths and daffodils come into bloom and the bulb flower fields are a sea of colour. We know you will have a great time exploring these truly Dutch landscapes.
Arrival in Alkmaar. If possible, plan your trip so you can see the world famous Friday morning traditional cheese market put on for tourists from April till September.
But Alkmaar has more to offer. Wandering through the city centre with its monuments, canals, shops, museums and terraces you will be amazed by the beauty of the old city.
The cycling route to Zaandam is very diverse. In spring, when tulips, hyacinths and daffodils come into bloom, the area around Heiloo and Limmen is a sea of color. Pedalling on, you will reach the Zaan region, named after the River Zaan and justly famed for the adorable wooden houses, painted green, with white lace curtains in the windows! You can see several prime examples at Zaanse Schans, also known the world over for its gorgeous row of windmills. This whole place is picture perfect! There are lots of things to do and see here. You can visit windmills, workshops, museums, find out how to make wooden shoes or Dutch cheese... all in the name of nostalgia. After all that, sit down for a well-deserved pancake.
After a few pedals you'll reach recreational park Het Twiske. This is a favourite get-away for the people of Amsterdam. On a hot day, they’ll flee the city and cycle here to the lake for a dip. A varied landscape of wood, meadows and lakes will accompany you to Monnickendam, a splendid historical village that used to be one of the most important ports in the country. Freshly smoked fish was and still is the specialty here. Today’s cycling trip concludes in festive fishing port Volendam. Volendam village has long been a tourist magnet so join the crowd as they soak up the atmosphere at waterside cafes and check out the views of the lake and the harbour. Browse the home-decor and gift shops for a great find or visit Volendams Museum where you can find out all about this close-knit community’s history, culture and folklore. Inspiring period rooms, traditional costumes and jewellery are part of the permanent exposition. There’s a section on eel fishery complete with model boats. The art collection is a delight but just wait till you see that truly incredible mosaic...
Just north of Volendam lies Edam. Back in the Golden Age, cheese town Edam was specialised in shipbuilding and in shipping. The well-preserved buildings in the town centre date back to this prosperous 17th century period. Go for a walk and enjoy the bridges, squares, canals and monuments. Cycle further to Hoorn, taking in the ever-changing views of the glistening lake next to you.
The pleasing historical town centre of Hoorn boasts many lovely buildings that hark back to the 16th and 17th centuries. It was then that the town became prosperous thanks to trade and shipping. Ships sailing out of Hoorn harbour navigated as far afield as the Americas (Cape Horn!) and Japan. At home, merchants invested their earnings not only in the arts but also in the building of houses and warehouses which can still be seen today. Find out more at Westfries Museum which has specialised in the Dutch Golden Age, a period of great enterprise and maritime supremacy which we now look back on with mixed feelings. In the harbour you can visit a replica of VOC sailing ship “De Halve Maen”. This was one of a fleet of over two thousand ships belonging to the Dutch East India Company, the world’s first multinational.
Today’s route takes you from Lake Markermeer back to Alkmaar. Enjoy the polder scenery and pause for a photo opportunity in Schermerhorn where three polder windmills stand in a row atop a dike. One of them, Schermerhorn Museum Mill, can be visited. Learn how windmills were used to drain Lake Schermer in 1633 and continued to regulate water levels in the polder until 1929. After that head to your final destination Alkmaar.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will return home.
|Daily from April 1 till September 25|
|Single room, breakfast||645.00|
|Double room, breakfast||495.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Inntel Hotel Zaandam, Zaandam||30.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 2.75 x 5||13.75|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 5||25.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 5||15.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Add on bike||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 5||87.50|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
Alkmaar - Golden Tulip Alkmaar ****
Zaandam - Best Western Zaan Inn ***
Volendam - Hotel Old Dutch ****
Hoorn - Hotel de Keizerskroon ***
5 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7 days a week service hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel included
Parking possibilities at the hotel (free at hotel outside city center, fees at city hotel)
GPS tracks available
Any ferry crossings are not included