Start this tour in the modern city of Rotterdam, voted 5th in the top 10 'world top cities' (Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2016) Leaving the skyscrapers and port cranes of Rotterdam behind you, plunge into tranquil countryside. The far horizons give you a feeling of peace, space and freedom.
You will visit the old town of Dordrecht with its picturesque harbour quarter. Next you will head south to Willemstad, a former garrison town inside star-shaped fortifications. The next day enter Zeeland province, mainly made up of islands. For a long time it was somewhat cut off from the rest of the country and only in recent decades have dams and bridges opened up the region to visitors. We are talking about the dams and coastal defences of the Delta Works, constructed to keep the sea out of this region plagued by floods; a region in which most of the land is manmade, won from the water, and below sea level.
Arrival in Rotterdam
Firstly from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk. With all its pitoresque windmills.
Pedalling on, you will reach one of the oldest towns in Holland: Dordrecht, completely surrounded by water. The area around the marina is a true gem. This oldest part of town counts over a thousand historical buildings and three nostalgic canals.
Round off the day in Willemstad, a fortified town shaped like a seven-point star.
Make your way across the isle of Goeree Overflakkee amid a mosaic landscape of rectangular polders, rolling dunes and golden sand flats. A bridge will take you across Grevelingenmeer Lake back to the isle of Schouwen Duiveland. In mussel town Bruinisse, "the Gateway to Zeeland”, look around the fishing harbour or stroll over to the attractive marina. Back in the saddle, pedal on to the historical town of Zierikzee, a real gem, situated on the Oosterschelde estuary. The street plan is medieval and meandering, the historical buildings number over 500, the impressive marina is well worth a visit. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a Zeeland delicacy: "Zeeuwse bolus” (pastry with syrup and cinnamon -sometimes buttered) or "Schouws palingbroodje” (a bread roll stuffed with smoked eel). If you want to delve into local history, do explore the Maritime Museum revealing all on Zierikzee’s glorious (notorious?) seafaring and trading past.
Oosterschelde National Park is an estuarine tidal habitat. Tidal flats are submerged by seawater at high tide and re-emerge at low tide covered in food for water birds. They are also a favourite resting place for seals. Flora and fauna in and around the Oosterschelde adapt to both freshwater from the rivers and salty seawater. Today you will cross the Oosterschelde on Zeelandbrug Bridge to the isle of Noord-Beveland. It’s like entering a different world. Few tourists have made it this far! Cycling west, past fields and pastures and through tiny villages, you will reach world famous Oosterscheldekering. This is the Storm Surge Barrier, the largest, most ingenious and expensive of the Delta Works. Nine km long, connecting Noord-Beveland to Schouwen-Duiveland, initially it was planned as a closed dam. But under pressure from the fishing lobby and environmentalists, sixty-two big sliding sluice gates were installed in the dam. These steel doors are nearly always open, allowing sea water to pass thus safeguarding Oosterschelde’s saltwater ecosystem. They close only when sea levels are expected to rise more than three meters. Halfway across the barrier, on an artificial island, lies Delta Park "Neeltje Jans”, Zealand’s number one tourist attraction, built around the Delta Expo. It offers illuminating insights into the Delta Works, why they were necessary, how they protect our coastline and relative environmental matters. But there’s more: a water theme park with a playground, an amazing waterslide, saltwater aquarium, sea lion show and more... Back on the isle of Schouwen-Duiveland, you will cycle through the tranquil woods of "Kop van Schouwen” nature reserve.
Twenty-one kilometres of the Netherlands’ most pristine coastline await you this morning. Pedalling up the beautiful coast of Schouwen-Duiveland island, you will enjoy bright white beaches and rolling dunes. The Delta Works, a series of thirteen sea barriers, sluices and dams all down the coast of Zeeland were constructed to protect the low-lying hinterland from flooding. But it also dramatically improved infrastructure in the region. Brouwers Dam and Haringvliet Dam are part of the Delta Works and will take you across to the next two islands on today’s route. Ride atop the dams with the sea to your left and lakes on your right. You will end the day in the town of Brielle. The star-shaped fortifications (including moat, canals, ramparts, bastions) have been lovingly restored and the 400+ listed buildings are a sight to behold.
Today’s cycling distance is short, which means you will have plenty of time to explore the bustling city of Rotterdam.
After breakfast at your hotel, it’s time to go home.
|Daily from April 1 till September 24.|
|Per person in a double room
6 nights’ accommodation, breakfast included
|A supplement will be required for:|
|Single room (€ 30 x 6)||180,00|
|Dinner (€ 30 x 6)||180,00|
|Bike rental (€ 12 x 6)||72,00|
|E-Bike (€ 25 x 6)||150,00|
|Emergency Call Out Service/Bike breakdown pass (€ 2,75 x 6)||16,50|
|Rotterdam (with parking cost) Burgh Haamstede (free parking)|
Rotterdam - Hotel SS Rotterdam****
Willemstad - Het Wapen van Willemstad***
Noordgouwe - Hostellerie Schuddebeurs***
Burgh-Haamstede - Fletcher Duinhotel****
Brielle - Fletcher Hotel de Zalm***
6 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
...Intersting route from Schuddebeurs to Burgh-Hamsteede because of the storm barriers. All in all we were very satisfied...
...Part of the joy of a self guided cycling holiday is the adventure of following an unknown path, discovering new places off the usual tourist trail, being out and active in the environment. The tour gave us a terrific guide for the route and what to look out for and accommodation all arranged with our luggage waiting for us at the end of our day of riding...
...Cycling through the magical Kinderdijk, into the walled towns like Doredrecht, Zierikzee and the star shaped Willemstad’s and Brielle was delightful. We enjoyed riding with the sun warming us on one day and riding into the fog on another day over the vast expanses across the sea between the islands. It made us really feel at one with the environment. Recovering with a delicious Dutch beer at the end of the day cycling we marvelled over the feats of engineering, the history and the ingenious agricultural endeavours we’d seen...
The holiday was excellent. ...Bike quality – very good, Hotel accommodation – very good.Routes and direction information – excellent. I particularly liked the daily maps which were provided to the right scale and were easy to follow. The routes provided some really good impressions of the Dutch countryside. My wife, daughter and myself were all impressed. Overall, I have very positive views of Dutch Biketours and would recommend your company to others. If we return to Holland, we will come to you again, Thanks for making it a pleasant experience...
...The holiday was excellent. Bike quality – very good. Hotel accommodation – very good.
Routes and direction information – excellent. I particularly liked the daily maps which were provided to the right scale and were easy to follow...