Arrival in Huizen
Hit the tracks and head for Naarden. The town of Naarden is a good example of a star-shaped fortification (have a peek on google maps!). It’s very well preserved, complete with walls and a moat. Next up is the village of Muiden, at the mouth of the River Vecht. Although very picturesque in itself, it is best known for its small moated castle built around 1280 - well worth a visit! As the sun sets in Amsterdam, you could go for a leisurely stroll through the romantic canal district.
There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam! Make sure you have an early start. Have you been to see the Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum after the make-over? Why not pop in for a quick visit before you hop back on your bike and plunge into peaceful countryside. Waterland awaits, with wet meadows, wooden bridges and windswept reeds and rushes. Waterlandsmuseum “De Speelklok” in the pretty village of Monnickendam explains (in English) the history of this extraordinary cultural landscape. Then cycle up the shore of Lake Markermeer to friendly Volendam. The quaint stone houses in the distinctive heart of the catholic fishing village seem to have been drawn up without an organized street plan. "De Dijk”, overlooking the harbour, is lined with souvenir shops, pavement cafes and restaurants. Just around the corner is the pretty village of Edam. For centuries, small, round, salty cheeses produced by dairy farmers in neighbouring polders were shipped out of Edam and exported all over Europe. For six weeks in summer a traditional Wednesday-morning cheese-market is put on for tourists (10.30 -12.30 hrs) by local volunteers. At the end of the day, you’ll reach the lovely, historical town of Hoorn. Like Enkhuizen (see day 4), it has a history in whaling, shipbuilding, fishery and of course shipping. Both towns housed branches (“chambers”) of the Dutch East India Company (along with Delft, Middelburg, Amsterdam and Rotterdam).
Continue up the shore of Lake IJsselmeer, atop the old sea dike, to the beautiful town of Enkhuizen. Opt to visit fun Zuiderzee Museum which tells the story of the days when ships from the Zuiderzee sailed the seven seas trading in bulbs and spices; the days when Holland dominated world trade and the Dutch East India Company was the first-ever multinational. This period is known as the Golden Age and roughly spans the 17th century. The museum also has also combined a collection of local historical architecture with demonstrations of traditional trades. Before you know it, it will be time to catch the ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren. It’s a trip of 1 ½ hours, crossing Lake IJsselmeer. The lake was created in 1932 when a closure dike cut off the Zuiderzee from the North Sea. This was necessary to stop the sea from flooding towns on the Zuiderzee. Once the dike was in place, the sea had become a lake. By 1940 the saltwater had been replaced by fresh water from the River IJssel. Except for the eel, none of the Zuiderzee fish survived. A new fresh water fish population replaced them. On the other side of the lake, you will find yourself in Friesland province. The people of Friesland have their own language (a proper language, not a dialect) closely related to English. When they say butter, bread and green cheese, it sounds like English and not like the Dutch "boter, brood en groene kaas”. The length of this daytrip includes the boat.
In the morning, you will cycle through Gaasterland, undulating and woody, to your first port of call, the picturesque town of Lemmer, a favourite with boaters in summer. Next, it’s full steam ahead to a World Heritage Site - if you are a steam enthusiast this is your lucky day... Wouda steam-driven pumping station has been operational since 1920 and was used to drain a lake. For centuries, windmills took care of water management in the Netherlands before steam engines took over. Nowadays most of our 1600 pumping stations are electrically powered. In the afternoon, nature lovers will bask in the beauty of Weerribben-Wieden National Park where water, reeds and rushes dominate the landscape. It is said to be the most valuable marshland of north-western Europe.
After exploring Zwartsluis, popular with boaters and other water sports enthusiasts, you will set off atop the old Kamperzeedijken (Kampen sea dikes) to the marvellous town of Kampen. It has one of the best-preserved town centres in the country. Check out the town gates on the River IJssel side of town. Kampen was a member of the Hanseatic League, a northern European alliance of trading guilds in the 13th-17th centuries. Their main aim was to ensure safe passage for travelling merchants. They also helped each other with information, knowledge, contacts and privileges. This network generated income, allowing merchants to invest in culture and architecture. Perhaps this explains why Hansa towns, centuries on, are so attractive to tourists. The River IJssel, which emptied into Zuiderzee sea, counted several Hansa communities on its banks. In the afternoon, jump back on your bike and follow the fringes of Veluwe Forest down to Harderwijk.
Set those wheels in motion and pedal along the shores of Randmeren lakes. Arkemheen-Eemland is wide open, empty and a National Heritage Landscape. The area was surrounded by dikes in the year 1360 to stop cropfields from being flooded by the sea. Arkemheen polder is special because the original lots are still intact. The lots are divided by curvy creeks, remnants of Zuiderzee tidal streams. Some plant species still recall the influence of salt water. Part of the polder is being preserved as a bird habitat for “Natura 2000”. The visitors’ centre has more information. Should you have an abiding interest in the Age of Steam, you may like to visit steam-driven pumping station Hertog Reijnout. It controlled water levels in the low-lying polder from 1883 till 1983.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will return home.
|Daily from May 1 till September 23.|
|Single room, breakfast||895.00|
|Double room, breakfast||685.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Westcord Art Hotel, Amsterdam||10.00|
|van der Valk hotel Hoorn, Hoorn||20.00|
|Surcharges per room||€|
|Stay in Amsterdam on saturday||35.00|
|Stay in Amsterdam from:
2019-05-20 - 2019-05-21
2019-06-12 - 2019-06-15
2019-09-12 - 2019-09-16
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 2.75 x 7||19.25|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 7||35.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 7||21.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 7||42.00|
|Add on bike||€ 6.00 x 7||42.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 7||122.50|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
Huizen or Amsterdam
In collaboration with:
Huizen - Fletcher Hotel Nautisch Kwartier***
Amsterdam - Westcord Art Hotel*** & ****
Hoorn - Hotel de Keizerskroon***
Oudemirdum - Hotel Boschlust***
Zwartsluis - Hotel Zwartewater****
Harderwijk - Best Western Hotel Baars****
7 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
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included
...We have recently retired and decided to cycle in Holland. We enjoyed our tour immensely. It was varied with routes along the coast on or beside dykes, through agricultural land, woods and through some very picturesque towns. We felt we visited parts of Holland on the Ijsselmeer tour which were not overrun by tourists so we had a glimpse of a real Holland. It was our first time in Holland on holiday and we look forward to going back...
...We have now arrived back from our wonderful Zuiderzee cycling holiday which we thoroughly enjoyed, thank you very much for all your excellent organization. All the hotels were lovely (particularly Hotel Jans at Rijs) and they were very helpful and accommodated our cycles excellently, the gpx route was great too. We are very impressed with your beautiful country, so clean, tidy and well looked after - and the cycle routes are to die for!! Try dicing with death on UK roads, car drivers and potholes! Many thanks...
...Fantastic holiday that showcased the best of Holland. Pretty villages, spectacular housing, windmills, bridges, canals, rivers and ferries. Plenty of cafes and water everywhere, Bird life was interesting, and all of the duckings, goslings and cygnets caused many stops. Good hotels, great food and friendly staff. Bikes and equipment was well maintained and fully adjustable to suit. Luggage was transferd efficiently. What more can you ask for! Sunshine and we got it!...
...Just wanted you to know we are having a great time biking in Holland. The bikes are wonderful and the GPS is "spot on". Our lodging places have been wonderful and people so helpful and kind...
...We enjoyed the trip: good accommodation, good quality bikes...