The Dikes of Zeeland
The moment you drive into Zeeland, you'll start to feel like you're on vacation. A sense of relaxation and freedom will take over as you breathe in the salty air. The province of Zeeland lies on the southwestern coast of Holland, in one of the few lonely places left in the Netherlands. Zeeland consists mostly of islands, and for many years it was separated from the other parts of the Netherlands. Only in the last 20 years or so have bridges and dams made the region accessible. The Delta Works were actually built to keep water out of an area that was often flooded. Man reclaimed the land in Zeeland from the sea, and much of it lies lower than the sea. One of the main attractions of this route is the exhibition about the Delta Works. Anyone who enjoys learning about history and creative ways to manage water will love everything Zeeland has to offer. Cyclists who take this tour will also enjoy white sandy beaches, lonely dunes, polders, and charming villages that seem lost in time. This route is mostly made up of flat terrain.
Day One: Burgh Haamstede
The hotel at Burgh Haamstede offers free parking, and you don't need a reservation. If you're heading into the town via public transportation, you should be aware that it takes approximately three hours from Hook of Holland Harbor or the airport in Amsterdam. Also you can't get there via Dutch Rail. Instead you'll have to travel from Rotterdam via bus. For a shorter travel time, you might want to start in Brielle instead of Burgh Haamstede.
Sample hotel: Fletcher Duin Hotel
Day Two: Burgh Haamstede to Brielle (50 km)
Today you'll get the chance to explore 21 kilometers of the most stunning shorelines in the Netherlands. As you pedal up Schouwen-Duiveland Island's coastline, you'll be taking in the white sandy beaches and windswept dunes. You'll also see the Delta Works, which is a string of 13 barriers protecting the land from the sea. Haringvliet Dam and Brouwers Dam belong to the Delta Works - you'll ride across them until you reach two more islands. At the end of the day you'll be in Brielle, a stunning small town with unusual fortifications that have been restored to their former glory. Brielle is also home to more than 400 buildings of note.
Sample hotel: Fletcher Hotel De Zalm
Day Three: Brielle to Willemstad (50 km)
This morning you'll ride over Voorne Putten Isle as you leave the coastline behind you. Waterscapes continue to follow you as you ride past creeks, rivers, and lakes. When you reach Hoeksche Waard Island, you'll view open meadows and fertile polders. Orchards dot the landscape, which is circled by dikes that are crowned with houses and trees. There were once many windmills here, but today there are just 12 left. But the area showcases land reclamation throughout history. Biodiversity is apparent here in the incredible spread of wildflowers throughout the region. When you finally reach the top of Volkerak Dam, you'll ride into Willemstad.
Sample hotel: Het Wapen van Willemstad
Day Four: Willemstad to Zierikzee / Noordgouwe (48 km)
On your fourth day you'll ride over Goeree Overflakkee Isle, enjoying a colorful landscape that's filled with windswept dunes, polders, and sand flats. You'll ride over a bridge that spans Grevelingenmeer Lakeand brings right back into Schouwen Duiveland Isle. When you reach the town of Bruinisse, which is referred to by many as Zeeland's gateway, take some time to explore the harbor or walk through the marina. When you decide it's time to move on, you'll ride to Zierikzee, a historic town that sits on the estuary Oosterschelde. Zierikzee's layout consists of wandering streets laid out in a medieval design. There are more than 500 historic buildings located in the town, and the marina is worth a stop as well. If you want to learn more about the history of the town, stop in at the Maritime Museum.
Zeeland is also famous for its Zeeuwse bolus, which is a type of pastry with cinnamon and syrup, and Schouws palingbroodje, which is smoked eel wrapped in a roll.
Sample hotel: Hotel Zierikzee
Day Five: Zierkzee / Noordgouwe to Burgh Haamstede (56 km)
On this day you'll get to explore Oosterschelde National Park, a tidal habitat which contains tidal flats that lie under the sea during high tide times. When the tide drops down, the flats are covered with food for the many water birds that reside in the area. You may even see a seal or two resting on the flats. The plants and animals in this area have adapted to be able to live in both salt water and fresh water.
The route takes you across Zeelandbrug Bridge over the Oosterschelde. You'll ride onto Noord-Beveland Isle, which is like stepping into a whole new world. As you ride west, you'll pass pastures and ride through small villages until you reach Oosterscheldekering, which is the most complex storm surge barrier in the Delta Works. It stretches for nine kilometers and connects Schouwen-Duiveland to Noord-Beveland. When it was first planned, it was going to be a solid dam without doors. However, environmentalists put pressure on the planners, so 62 sliding gates were installed. They're almost always open so that some seawater is able to get through, preserving the fragile ecosystem there. The only time these gates close is when the level of the sea will likely go up three meters or more.
Zeeland's top tourist attraction, Delta Park Neeltje Jans, sits part of the way across the dam on a manmade island. The attraction surrounds the Delta Expo and illustrates important details about the Delta Works, including the reasons for building them, how they work, and what role they play in the protection of the environment. In addition, there's a water park that has an incredible water slide, sea lion exhibition, aquarium, and more.
When you finally arrive back on Schouwen-Duiveland Isle, you'll ride through the Kop van Schouwen nature preserve. When you reach your final destination, you'll be right back where you started your journey.
Day Six: Return Home (non-cycling day)
After a healthy breakfast, you'll head home.
Total distance: 202 km
Average distance: 51 km
Shortest distance: 46 km
Longest distance: 53 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to September 25th.
459 Euro per person
5 nights‘ double/twin room bed & breakfast accommodation in *** or **** hotels
Luggage transfer between hotels
Tour book with detailed route descriptions and maps
Panniers for carrying things you need on the road
Emergency hotline operating 7 days a week from 7:00 to 23:00
7 gear bike hire - 60 euro (for other options please go to our bike hire page)
Road Service - 12.5 euro
Bike theft insurance - 3 euro per day (6 euro for electric bikes)
Single room - 150 Euro
Half board accommodation - 137.50 euro
Extra night - 70 euro
Price does not include
Discounts / Group prices:
3 people sharing a room:
A child aged 0-4 sharing a room with their parents is free of charge
A child aged 4-11 sharing a room with their parents enjoys a 20% discount
3 people over 12 years old sharing a room enjoy a 3% discount
A group of 7-8 people enjoys a 7% discount per person
A group of 9 people or more enjoys a 10% discount per person