A World of Diverse Landscapes
While the typical image of Holland is one of flatlands and water, the low-lying country is actually home to a wealth of different landscapes, many of which can be seen on this extensive cycling tour. From woodlands and meadows too lakes and polders by way of rivers and canals, there's so much to see here you'll wonder how we fit it all in. But fit it in we will. We'll visit the North Sea coast, traverse a dike separating Lake IJsselmeer, take in numerous charming old towns, enjoy the world-famous cheese market held in Alkmaar, marvel at windmills, canals and polders, and take the time to explore the city of Amsterdam. Comfortable accommodation is included at the end of every day while luggage transfer is available between all hotels as part of the service.
Day 1: Arrival in Utrecht
Our tour commences in Utrect, where we stay overnight at a local hotel. The hotel offers free car parking for visiting arriving by road. Utrecht is also accessible by train, with regular services to / from Amsterdam city center and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Sample hotel: Hotel Mitland or Carlton President
Day 2: Utrecht to Amsterdam (67 km)
Our tour commences with a trip to Utrecht, a grandiose city with plenty to explore. Canals and wharves can be found throughout the city, many of which offer scenic settings that will make you want to stay for days. The Museum Quarter has plenty of history to soak up, both within its exhibits and amidst the architecture of its streets, while there are plenty of quieter streets to enjoy a spot of window shopping. As we leave Utrecht for Amsterdam, we'll pass along the River Vecht, which is punctuated by a selection of impressive stately homes. These once belonged to the merchants that made the region so opulent in the 17th and 18th centuries. The garden pavilions alone are enough to wish you lived 300 years ago. We follow the River Vecht to Amsterdam, arriving in time to spend a pleasant evening dipping a toe into the culture on offer. Especially recommended is a trek along the city's canal district, which - when lit up at night - is as enchanting as it is picturesque.
Sample hotel: Hotel Casa400 or Westcord Art Hotel
Day 3: Amsterdam - Zandvoort (42 km)
With so much to see and do in the city, you won't be able to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer, but you can give it a good shot. Before we commence the next leg of our journey, visit one of the many museums to be found in the city, including those dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh and Anne Frank, or the impressive Maritime Museum. Enjoy a coffee in one of the many street cafes or head to the red light district, Amsterdam's oldest neighborhood. Outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, we'll pass through scenic countryside as we head for the coast. We'll pass through Haarlem, a pedestrianized city that is perfect for shopping, marveling at the St. Bavo basilica which looms over the rest of the city skyline. Time depending, there are museums to visit and historic buildings to observe. This leg of the tour will come to a close as we reach the seaside resort of Zandvoort, where beaches and sunsets lay in wait.
Sample hotel: Best Western Palace Hotel Zandvoort
Day 4: Zandvoort - Alkmaar (54 km)
Sandy beaches and dunes headline this portion of the tour as we travel along the North Sea coast. The dunes serves as a sea defense system, protecting the hinterland from flooding, and also make for an exciting backdrop against which to cycle. We'll also pass through a National Park, home to an array of flora and fauna.
Sample hotel: Golden Tulip Alkmaar or Grand Hotel Alkmaar
Day 5: Alkmaar - Enkhuizen (54 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. The scenic towns of Hoorn and Enkhuizen hark back to Holland's Golden Age, with historical buildings aplenty. The Zuiderzee Museum features a recreated village to help you visualize what this part of the world once looked like. Here you can also learn about the seafaring villages and the trade routes that were so important hundreds of years ago.
Sample hotel: Hotel de Koepoort or Port van Cleve
Day 6: Enkhuizen - Hardervijk (62 km)
Our tour continues with a trip across the 32km dike which separates Lake Markermeer from Lake IJssel. On the other side we come to Lelystad, a town located in the Flevopolder. The polder - named for the engineer responsible for closing off the Zuiderzee and creating the lake - was reclaimed in 1968, making it the youngest region in all of Holland. Still, history is rife in the region. The Museum Nieuwland explains the history of these marvelous polders, and the impact it had on people, villages, towns and more. We learn how the closure damn which opened in 1932 helped generate new farmland which continues to flourish to this day. We continue on, passing beautiful crop fields and marveling at the unique, vast designs that urban planner have put together. We reach the former Hanseatic town of Harderwijk, once a thriving fishing port which saw more than its fair share of hustle and bustle. Today the town looks out upon the impressive polder, and offers some stunning views to enjoy in the process.
Sample hotel: Best Western Hotel Baars
Day 7: Harderwijk - Utrecht (67)
Our journey back to Utrecht takes us along the shores of the Randmeren lakes. One of the most noteworthy sites we'll come across here is the Hertog Reijnout pumping station, which for 100 years was used to drain the Arkemheen polder. The steam-driven pump was finally shutdown in 1983. We carry on towards the former fishing town of Spakenburg, which boasts a pleasing museum harbor and shipyard. Leaving the town, we pass through woodlands towards our destination. Along the way you might be surprised by what you see. A royal palace and a pancake inn pop out of nowhere while those feeling daring can try out a treetop climbing park.
Sample hotel: Hotel Mitland or Carlton President
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast is served before it's time to return home.
Total distance: 328 km
Average distance: 55 km
Shortest distance: 43 km
Longest distance: 63 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to September 23th.
689 Euro per person
7 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 - 84 euro (for other options please go to our bike hire page)
Road Service - 17.5 euro
Bike theft insurance - 3 euro per day (6 euro for electric bikes)
Single room - 210 Euro
Half board accommodation - 192.50 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