A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance. We have nine such sites in the Netherlands. You can see five of them on this tour: The canal district in Amsterdam, The Beemster polder, Wouda steam-driven pumping station, Schokland and surroundings and The Defence Line of Amsterdam. What else can you look forward to on this tour? To name but a few highlights: delicious Beemster cheese, the pretty town of Edam, the cheese market in Alkmaar, medieval Muiden Castle, quaint fishing villages, a star-shaped fortified town, polders old and new, a boat trip across IJsselmeer and diverse and charming scenery all the way.
The tour kicks off in the town of Huizen. Passing Muiden, Weesp and Naarden you will reach Amsterdam. Muiden Castle and Fort Pampus are part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam the first of many remnants of this world heritage which you will encounter on the route. Huizen is on the border of Goois Nature Reserve, a lovely area of woods and heath. After a stop at Muiden Castle, you will continue to Amsterdam. Amsterdam will welcome you with 165 romantic canals, 1281 bridges and... more than 600,000 bicycles! Amsterdam is for exploring. There is so much to see and do. Whether you like art, culture, an evening out or just looking around the canal ring or the trendy Jordaan neighbourhood, you’ll have a great time. A canal boat trip is a good way to get a better look at the canal houses.
There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam. Have you seen the new and improved Rijksmuseum? The Maritime Museum, Van Gogh, Anne Frank…? Pick and choose and then hop back on your bike and plunge into peaceful countryside: Waterland awaits, with wet meadows, wooden bridges and windswept reeds and rushes. Cycle up the shore of Lake Markermeer to the Isle Marken and from there the boat 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.
On this day trip you will cycle a cross-section of North Holland province from Markermeer to the North Sea coast. From Volendam you will follow part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam in a westerly direction. Fort Edam is a part of it. You will enjoy four types of landscapes. Firstly the banks of Markermeer; then the old Zuiderzee sea dike leading up to Edam and Volendam; subsequently, polders such as Beemster and Schermer that were reclaimed over many centuries; and finally to Alkmaar. Don’t forget to get hold of some Beemster cheese made with milk from the cows grazing this very polder - and tastier than Edam and Gouda put together! The traditional cheese market in Alkmaar is on Friday mornings.
From Alkmaar you will cycle via Hoorn to Enkhuizen. After looking around pretty Hoorn, which also made its fortune trading in the Golden Age, you will set off on today’s bike route to the Ijsselmeer. The vast polder landscape, with Dutch windmills on the horizon, local-style farmhouses and extensive cropfields, will keep you fascinated minute-by-minute. In Zuiderzee Museum, in Enkhuizen, learn all about the days when ships from villages on the Zuiderzee sailed the seven seas trading in bulbs and spices. The biggest attraction is a re-created Zuiderzee village of old, boasting adorable local architecture. Inquisitive minds can spend a whole day here, so if history is your thing, consider booking an extra night.
Today you will catch the ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren. It’s a trip of 1 ½ hours, crossing Lake IJsselmeer. From Stavoren 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.
Leaving Lemmer, continue on the Zuiderzee Route before entering the Noordoost Polder. The layout of the new land (drained in 1942) was arranged and designed according to the most innovative notions of the day. Planners could determine every aspect of the land. Whereas on “old land” a landscape is shaped gradually under the influence of habitation by man, on new polder land planners started with a clean slate. Therefore it is easy to recognize Schokland in the landscape: The former peninsula was incorporated into the new polder and looks like an island in its flat surroundings.
In 1795 the tiny isle of Schokland in the Zuiderzee counted almost 650 inhabitants living in ramshackle fishermen’s cottages. Isolated by water from the mainland and by religious strife from each other, the two communities both developed their own dialects. In 1859, inhabitants were forcibly evacuated from their homes with threat of flooding. Most people moved to nearby Vollenhove. Continue the route to Flevo Polder and the town of Lelystad where you can find out much more about the history of the New Land.
Leaving behind the buzz of town life, enter a unique nature reserve known as the Oostvaardersplassen. As you may know, unspoilt natural environments do not exist in the Netherlands: Man has had a big hand in shaping all the landscapes we see today. But this spot is little different. After the polder was finished in 1968, this expanse of fertile clay soil was "left to nature”. The marsh eco-system spontaneously developing here, the food chains that have established themselves, the balanced variety of life that occurs here now, have been interfered with by man as little as possible – except for the introduction of large herbivores in 1984. Feast your eyes on near-true wilderness! Today’s route continues to Almere, the Netherlands’ newest town, and ends in Muiderberg, a former seaside resort.
After breakfast in your hotel it’s time to go home.
|Daily from May 1st till September 22.|
|In case of staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturdays a surcharge applies of € 17,50 per person in a double room.|
|Per person in a double room
8 nights’ accommodation, breakfast included
|A supplement will be required for:|
|Single room (€ 30 x 8)||240,00|
|Dinner (€ 30 x 8)||240,00|
|Bike rental (€ 12 x 8)||96,00|
|E-Bike (€ 25 x 8)||200,00|
|Emergency Call Out Service/Bike breakdown pass (€ 2,75 x 8)||22,00|
|Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a double room||17,50|
|Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a single room||35,00|
Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam during the periods
staying overnight in a double room
|Huizen or Amsterdam|
Huizen - Fletcher Hotel Nautisch Kwartier***
Amsterdam - Westcord Art Hotel*** & ****
Volendam - Hotel Old Dutch***
Alkmaar - Grand Hotel Alkmaar****
Enkhuizen - Hotel de Koepoort****
Lemmer - Hotel Lemmer***
Lelystad - Apollo Hotel Lelystad City Centre****
8 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
...Enkhuizen and Huizen were both very appealing and relaxing and the variety of having the ferry transfer at Enkhuizen was interesting...