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Netherlands/Holland Biking
> Choose your tour > The Heathlands of Drenthe

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Five-day tours
5-03 | The Heathlands of Drenthe
Cycling tour through Westerbork, Hoogeveen and Emmen
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Peaceful Beauty
Traverse some of the loneliest places in the Netherlands on this route, which takes you through stunning moorlands, forests, marshy areas, and peatland. Charming villages dot the landscape, and ancient burial chambers are just waiting to be explored. The region is filled with folk stories about digging peat and herding sheep in ancient Drenthe. Old World War II stories are also prevalent in the region. The province of Drenthe is located in the northeastern part of the country, and it's mostly a rural area. Attractive cycling routes cross the area, following trails of gorgeous scenery. We recommend that you take this tour during the late summer or early fall because that's when the meadows are filled with mauve-colored heather. Just like on all of our bike tours, upon your return you'll enjoy top notch accommodation, and find your luggage waiting for you.


Day One: Westerbork
Upon arriving in Westerbork, you'll find your hotel to be comfortable and charming. There is no charge for parking there, and you don't need a reservation. Take some time to explore this village before you set out on your journey.

Sample hotel: Hotel Ruyghe Venne

Day Two: Westerbork to Emmen (55 km)
World War II buffs should definitely make Westerbork Memorial Center one of their first stops. Although the structure (which dates back to 1939) was originally meant to be used as a place for refugees who were exiting Nazi Germany, between the years of 1942 and 1944 the Nazis themselves actually used it as a base for deporting thousands of people, mostly Jews, to concentration camps throughout Europe. Today the building is a remarkable museum that sheds light on those affected by Nazi Germany. Visitors to the museum have an opportunity to view some original video that dates back to 1944.

Another point of interest in Westerbork is the Synthesis Radio Telescopes. These 14 antennae are stretched out across more than two and a half kilometers in a line from east to west. To get to the telescopes, you'll take a stroll along the Milky Way path, which winds through a forest. Along the path you'll see models of all the planets in our solar system.

This route also takes you through Odoorn and Middenveld/ Grolloo nature preserves. These recreational areas include a lake where you can swim, a watchtower, and a lovely beach. There's even a boardwalk there so that riders don't have to put their feet down in the wetland area. The landscape in this area includes forests mixed with heath and hundreds of lakes. There are also remnants of "hunebedden," stone burial structures that date back more than 5,000 years. The hunebedden are made up of huge boulders, which were pulled into position and then placed upright so that they formed very short passages. The province of Drenthe is home to 52 of these burial structures. 

When you finally ride into Emmen toward the day's end, you'll find a bustling small town with plenty of small eateries to choose from. You may opt to spend another day in Emmen to visit the Adventure Playground and Emmen Zoo, which is a well-known tourist attraction.

Sample hotel: Hotel Ten Cate

Day Three: Emmen to Hoogeveen (50 km)
Take heed of the stories about Brammert and Ellert-two mythical bandits known for robbing travelers in this area. But you've also got Gees nature preserve to look forward to as you get onto the road to Hoogeveen. Gees is filled with forests, stunning purple moorlands, and singing birds. Just a century ago, the area was filled with sand drifts. Then during the 1930s, area residents planted trees to help hold the sand in place and to provide a source of wood. Today it's home to a variety of animals, including adders, lizards, badgers, foxes, and birds. At the end of day three, you'll step off your bike in the village of Hoogeveen.

Sample hotel: Hotel Hoogeveen

Day Four: Hoogeveen to Westerbork (55 km)
When you leave Hoogeveen and get on the road back to Westerbork, you'll pass through an area known for its Peat Bog People. They are people who lived and died in the area about two millennia ago. Over time, their bodies have been pushed to the surface of the peat. The acidic water, paired with an airtight seal provided by the peat, preserved their skin. When you reach the village of Assen, you can stop in at the museum and see seven of these Peat Bog People.

As you ride through this stretch of the trip, your eyes will take in spectacular purple heath and the stunning Sleenerzand nature preserve. Forests, water, heath join remnants of the past like ancient crop fields and glacial hollows in this part of the journey.

When you ride into the town of Orvelte, you'll feel as if you stepped backward through time into the early 1900s. The entire town is a museum, and you'll have the opportunity to explore farms, walk on cobbled roads, and view demonstrations of old crafts. When you've wrapped up your ride for the day, you'll be back at Westerbork.

Day Five: Return Home (non-cycling day)
A filling breakfast will be waiting for you when you wake up at the hotel in Westerbork. After finishing your meal, you'll head home.

Riding Distances
 Total distance: 160 km
 Average distance: 53 km
 Shortest distance: 50 km
 Longest distance: 55 km

Time in the Year
From April 1st to September  26th.

385 Euro per person

Price includes:
 4 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

Optional services:
 24 gear bike hire - 48 euro (for other options please go to our bike hire page)
 Road Service - 11 euro
 Bike theft insurance - 3 euro per day (6 euro for electric bikes)
 Single room - 120 Euro
 Half board accommodation -  120 euro
 Extra night - 70 euro

Price does not include
 Ferry Crossing

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

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