Quintessential Dutch Experiences
Gouda, Delft, Leiden, Haarlem, and Amsterdam are some of the favorite cities for bicyclists in Holland. Each one of them has its own character, and they are all filled with experiences you would expect to have while in the Netherlands. All five of these cities make for the ultimate bike trip. The distances between them are rather short, which means you'll have more time to check out the sights and visit museums. Even though you'll remain inside of the Randstad metropolitan area, you'll still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the quiet of the country, which is filled with flowering fields, windmills, rivers and lakes, and polders. This tour includes seven full days of the best the Netherlands has to offer.
Day One: Amsterdam
Please note: if you decide to drive into Amsterdam, you'll find it difficult to locate a place to park. The hotel does charge a fee for parking your car there. Please call ahead and secure a reservation.
No matter how you get to Amsterdam, try to arrive there early so that you can wander the canals. If you'd like a glimpse of the city's busiest areas, check out Amsterdam's three squares: Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein, and Dam. If you'd rather get away from the busy city, rent a special canal bike to see how it appears from out on the water or take a walk up Brouwersgracht.
Sample hotel: Hotel Casa 400
Day Two: Amsterdam to Haarlem (29 km)
Get up early and get ahead of the lines at the Anne Frank or Van Gogh museum. Later in the morning, bid Amsterdam farewell and get on your bicycle. You'll ride through Kennemerland, which is home to a wide variety of country sights, including polders, gardens, estates, and peatland. At night you'll stop in Haarlem, which has a beautiful city center with plenty of opportunities for cultural experiences, dining out, or shopping.
Sample hotel: Golden Tulip Hotel Lion d'Or
Day Three: Haarlen to Leiden (38 km)
Take your time and explore downtown Haarlem thoroughly before you leave. You might want to take a city tour and learn about the hidden hofjes scattered throughout. Hofjes are small groups of almshouses situated around a courtyard. Churches or charities often built them to serve as a place where older single women could reside. Also in the city, don't forget to go to the Frans Hals museum, which houses not only works by Hals, who was an expert in group portraiture, but also those of his fellow townsmen, like Pieter Saenredam, who painted many church interiors, and Jacob Ruysdael, who is known for his sea and landscapes.
When afternoon arrives, it's time to set out on a colorful tour through a region known for its bulbs and dunes. A great time to visit this area is before the middle of May, which is when the flowers are in full bloom. Hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses, and tulips are grown in this area for the purpose of exporting them. But in the meantime, they create a colorful landscape that's practically a must-see tourist attraction for those who visit the Netherlands. If you do decide to spend an extra day at the Keukenhof flower show, you'll want to reserve another night at the hotel in Leiden. The city offers a busy calendar filled with cultural events and a bustling city center. You'll also find a variety of museums, windmills, monuments, and canals. While you're there, don't miss the stunning botanical gardens.
Sample hotel: Best Western Hotel Leiden
Day Four: Leiden to Delft (24 km)
When you finally leave Leiden, you'll ride into the peaceful countryside. The landscape on this stretch of the route is filled with polders, most of which are made up of land that was reclaimed from the peat. Sparkling lakes, peaceful pastures, and old farmhouses and windmills will guide you to the next stop on your trip: Delft. The city is best known for its white and blue pottery, which is painted entirely by hand. Also Johannes Vermeer, a famous painter, spent his entire life in Delft. You can learn more about his life at the Vermeer Center, although you won't find any of his original works there.
Sample hotel: Best Western Museum Hotel
Day Five: Delft to Gouda (34 km)
On this part of your trip, you'll ride into an area known as the Green Heart. It's one of the few rural areas left amidst the urban sprawl that is the Randstad metropolitan area. You'll ride over a number of polder dikes, take in charming villages, and enjoy wide open spaces filled with lively green fields.
When you ride into Gouda towards day's end, you'll want to stop in at the Gothic-style town hall, which dates from 1450, and the Weigh House, which was built in 1667. The city's canals and St. John's church should also be on your agenda. If you can, you may want to plan your journey so that on day four, you're waking up on a Thursday to experience the cheese market that is active during the morning. Also don't forget to stop in some of the local shops and restaurants to check out the homemade candles and try the waffles.
Sample hotel: Best Western City Plus Gouda
Day Six: Gouda to Amsterdam (72 km) (*)
Your final day of cycling for this part of the tour is the longest stretch of all. You'll be heading back to Amsterdam, but not until you make a side trip over to Utrecht. Lakes, polders, and rivers are everywhere. Bird lovers will definitely want to bring their binoculars to check out some of the local bird life. When you reach the middle of Utrecht, You'll see Dom Cathedral and the Oude Gracht, or Old Canal. The wharves in Utrecht are unlike wharves you'll see anywhere else. If you take a stroll along the canal, you'll have plenty of local eateries to choose from. The Dutch apple tarts are one of the best staples of local cuisine. Once you're refreshed, you'll get back onto your bicycle and continue your trek, following the Vecht River back into Amsterdam.
(*) If this day is to long for you, we invite you to split it into two days and spend the additional night in Mijdrecht.
Prices: A supplement of 70 Euro per person + 1 more bike hire day
Day Seven: Return Home (non-cycling day)
After a healthy breakfast, you'll head home.
Total distance: 186 km
Average distance: 37 km
Shortest distance: 29 km
Longest distance: 57 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to October 1st.
589 Euro per person
6 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
GPS (Only if you start & finish in Amsterdam) - 60 Euro
7 gear bike hire - 72 euro (for other options please go to our bike hire page)
Bike theft insurance - 3 euro per day (6 euro for electric bikes)
Single room - 180 Euro
Half board accommodation - 165 euro
Extra night - 70 euro
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 4-12 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 5-6 people enjoys a 5% discount per person
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