The lapping of North Sea waves provides a soundtrack for much of this tour, which takes in the northern part of the province of Noord-Holland (North Holland). A peninsular flanked by the North Sea, the Wadden Sea and Lake IJsselmmer (formerly the Zuiderzee sea), this is one of Holland's wettest regions. It's also one of the most picturesque. From vast bulb flower fields - including the largest in the world- to beautiful sandy beaches, you'll be surprised at what you find here. Our tour will also take in Texel, an island located off the coast of the mainland. A short boat trip away, the Wadden Island is home to beautiful scenery, with windmills, historic towns, sandy beaches and nature reserves all waiting to be explored. The flat cycle trails mean getting around and seeing everything is less of a challenge than you might think. Comfortable accommodation is provided at the end of each day, while we happily provide luggage transfer between hotels as standard, leaving you to worry about nothing but the view.
Note: This tour can also be booked without the trip to Texel at an adjusted price of ?459 for 6 days.
Day 1: Arrival
Our tour begins in the town of Alkmaar, where we will stay overnight in a hotel. Free parking is available for those driving to the hotel, while a regular train service connects Alkmaar to Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, for those arriving by air or rail.
Sample hotel: Golden Tulip Alkmaar or Grand Hotel Alkmaar
Day 2: Alkmaar - Hoorn (38 km)
The city of Alkmaar is home to many picturesque sites but it is the traditional cheese market that has become particularly popular with visitors. Between April and September, thousands of visitors make their way to the marketplace on a Friday morning to enjoy the delicious cheeses on offer. From Alkmaar, we'll cycle coast to coast across the peninsular heading for the beautiful town of Hoorn. Along the way we'll stop off at Schermerhorn, which lies on the border of the Schermer and Beemster polders. Once an island, heavy investment to drain the lands to create polders saw the region become an important agricultural center. Today you can still witness features from its time as a wetland, with windmills, canals and dikes on show throughout the region. The Schermer Museum Windmilll offers a great opportunity to see a windmill up close and in action. You'll hear the rhythmic creaking as its sails turn. Of course, all of this makes for a great photo opportunity. As we continue our ride onwards we'll take in the Beemster Polder itself. This magnificent example of reclaimed land dates back to the 17th century, and its impressive layout retains the design it was originally created to. The roads, canals, dikes, and settlements we'll pass by here all make for impressive viewing, and are part of the reason this historical site is not registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll pass along the shore of Lake IJsselmeer before arriving in Hoorn, a historic town that harks back to Holland's Golden Age.
Sample hotel: Hotel de Keizerskroon
Day 3: Hoorn - Medemblik (43 km)
Today's journey takes us along the coast of Lake IJsselmeer, where the old sea dike offers fantastic views of not only the lake but also farmland and orchards. Pretty farmhouses are scattered throughout the region. Our tour will takes us to the historic town of Enkhuizen, a settlement once known for its shipbuilding, fisheries and whaling industry. In the 17th century this was one of the busiest harbors in the region, with ships heading out across the seven seas from here, including those belonging to the Dutch East India Company. Today, the Zuiderzee Museum - located in the town - offers a wonderful perspective of these times gone by. After exploring the treasure trove that is Enkhuizen, we move on to Medemblik.
Sample hotel: Hotel Medemblik
Day 4: Medemblik - Den Helder (56 km)
The pumping-station responsible for draining the polder in the 19th century is located close to Medemblik and makes for an interesting visit. While it is no longer in use, it does house a steam engine museum, something you might not expect in the region. Back on our bikes, we head for Den Helder via the Wieringermeer polder, which dates back to the 1920s and 30s, when it was drained to create arable land. This region is home to one of the largest commercial flower gardens in the world. As you cast your gaze over this magnificent sight you'll be astounded by the seas of color on display, with daffodils, hyacinths and tulips all grown for (mostly) export. Spring - when the bulbs are in full bloom - is by far the best time to visit this wondrous site.
Sample hotel: Forest Hotel
Day 5: Tour of Texel
Den Helder's location at the tip of the North Holland peninsular makes it the perfect base from which to visit beautiful Texel, the largest of Holland's Wadden Islands. A 20-minute ferry crossing gives you access to one of the region's most scenic locales, and one that has plenty to see and experience. A bike tour of the island will serve up sandy beaches, impressive dunes, picturesque countryside, and quaint villages, all with the sound of the waves lapping against the shore. A variety of cycle routes mean you can witness the beauty in all its glory. A stop at the De Slufter nature reserve is highly recommended. Those visiting in the summer months of July and August can expect to be treated to a lilac sea of lavender, a sight well worth checking out.
Day 6: Den Helder - Alkmaar (60 km)
Our return to Alkmaar takes us through a plethora of landscapes. From the North Sea coast, through sandy dunes, and onto woodland expanses, cycling this final leg will offer a wide range of interesting and evocative sights. Seaside resorts frequent the coastline, while the Zwanenwater dune reserve demonstrates how the dunes protect this low-laying land from the sea. As we pass the town of Petten, you'll be able to see the Hondsbossche Zeewering, a man-made wall that was built to replace sand dunes that had been washed away. If you'd like to learn more about the wall, the "Dijk te Kijk" exhibit documents its history as well as its future. The exhibit is also offers an interesting narration about Petten and the people that have called it home over the many centuries in which it has been in existence. We conclude our tour back in picturesque Alkmaar.
Sample hotel: Golden Tulip Alkmaar or Grand Hotel Alkmaar
Day 7: Departure
Breakfast is served before it's time to return home.
Total distance: 197 km
Average distance: 39 km
Shortest distance: 38 km
Longest distance: 60 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to September 24th.
595 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
24 gear bike hire - 72 euro (for other options please go to our bike hire page)
Road Service - 16.50 euro
Bike theft insurance - 3 euro per day (6 euro for electric bikes)
Single room - 180 Euro
Half board accommodation - 180 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