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 geometrically ordered polder countryside is pleasant to the eye. It is flat and uncluttered so often you can see all the way to the horizon. Overhead, impressive cloudscapes make for interesting contrast with the order below.
The pleasing historical town centre 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 the coast of Lake IJsselmeer to the North Sea. The province is big in horticulture and agriculture. 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. Next, stop for lunch in the market town of Alkmaar where an old-fashioned cheese market is re-enacted for tourists, on Fridays from 10 -14 hrs. At the end of the day, breathe in the sea air in Egmond aan zee. Make yourselves comfortable on the beach to watch the sun set into the sea.
Cycle a round tour to the north of Egmond aan zee. Here, in March, April and May you will see tulip fields in row upon row of different colours. After looking around the town of Bergen, discover the dunes of Schoorl, the Netherlands’ highest and widest. This nature reserve is a unique mix of beach, dunes, woods and fields of heather. Dozens of bird species breed here. Cycle back to Egmond aan zee along a coastal route.
The route to Amsterdam is very diverse. Start off going south to Castricum aan zee, another beach resort. Then head for Zaanse Schans on the banks of the River Zaan. It is a quaint-looking neighbourhood where windmills, traditional local architecture and businesses have been grouped together to preserve them for posterity. At the end of the day, Amsterdam awaits. The city welcomes tourists with its romantic canals, bridges and… more than 800.000 bicycles. There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam! Whether you like art and culture, history or just wandering around, you’ll have a great time. A canal boat trip is a good opportunity to get a good look at the canal houses.
On today’s wonderful route, firstly, feast your eyes on the countryside just north of Amsterdam known as Waterland. The village of Broek in Waterland was the setting for the 1867 book Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates. A Story of Life in Holland by Mary Mapes Dodge. Next, visit 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. 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. 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. At the end of the afternoon, cycle back to Hoorn, taking in the ever-changing views of the glistening lake.
After having breakfast at the hotel, you will pack your bags and go back home.
|Daily from April 1 till September 25|
|In case of staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturdays a surcharge applies
of € 15,- per person in a double room
|Per person in a double room
5 nights’ accommodation, breakfast included
|Single room (€ 30 x 5)||150,00|
|Dinner (€ 27,50 x 5)||137,50|
|Bike rental (€ 12 x 5)||60,00|
|E-Bike (€ 25 x 5)||125,00|
|Emergency Call Out Service/Bike breakdown pass (€ 2,75 x 5)||13,75|
|Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a double room||15,00|
|Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a single room||30,00|
Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam during the periods
Hoorn - Van der Valk Hotel Hoorn****
Egmond - Hotel Zuiderduin****
Amsterdam - Westcord Art Hotel*** & ****
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
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included