Witness All the Landscapes Holland Has To Offer
Holland's varied landscapes will all be on show as you travel around Lake IJsselmeer taking in the beauty that's on display throughout. The tour itself is a shorter version of the Zuiderzee Tour, with the town of Stavoren marking the furthest point north we'll visit. Rather than traversing the Afsluitdijk dike, we'll ferry across Lake IJsselmeer, before enjoying some of the quietest roads the region has to offer. All the while we'll learn about the fascinating history of the region, visiting old fishing and trading villages and taking in some beautiful scenery, much of which is likely to surprise you. Comfortable accommodation is provided at the end of each day, while we'll happily transport your luggage from hotel to hotel so you can spend your time enjoying the scenery, not worrying about your baggage.
Day 1: Arrival
Our tour starts in the town of Huizen in North Holland, where we stay in a hotel overnight. Free parking (without reservation) is available for those traveling by car. Those traveling by air or sea should head for Naarden-Bussum railway station, which is connected to Amsterdam and Utrect, for a connecting bus service (30 minutes) to the town.
Sample hotel: Fletcher Hotel Nautisch Kwartier or Hotel Newport
Day 2: Huizen - Amsterdam (35 km)
The day starts with breakfast followed by a ride to the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, one of the most popular - and interesting - cities in the world. A visit to the "Venice of the North" isn't one that should be rushed, so take your time to enjoy all that's on offer. From the famed red light district - the oldest part of the city - to the city's numerous hidden churches, there's plenty to see and do. Be sure to check out the Old Church and Our Lord in the Attic. The latter is a Catholic church that was secretly built in the attics of adjacent properties during the Reformation. When you've seen the sights, sit down and enjoy a coffee at one of the many cafes on Rembrantplein.
Sample hotel: Hotel Casa400 or Westcord Art Hotel
Day 3: Amsterdam - Hoorn (56 km)
With so much to see and do in the city, it's impossible to enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. Before we leave for Hoorn, try to fit a few things in, perhaps a visit to the newly renovated Rijksmuseum or a trip to the Anne Frank Museum. Back on our bikes, we head northeast passing through Waterland, a magnificent region which features reeds and rushes aplenty and wet meadows that make constructing anything a major task. Buildings and bridges in the region are all built from wood to prevent sinking. This marvelous region is chronicled in "De Speelklok", a museum in the village of Monnickendam that is well worth a visit. As we move along we'll pass through the likes of Volendam - where traditional attire is still worn by some of the older residents - and Edam. The latter is, of course, famed for its salty cheeses, which have been exported across Europe and the world over the years. During the summer, Edam hosts a cheese market on Wednesday mornings, something worth considering when you're planning dates for your bicycle tour. After visiting these sites, we arrive at historical Hoorn, home to plenty of delights.
Sample hotel: Hotel de Keizerskroon
Day 4: Hoorn - Oudemirdum / Rijs (63 km)
Our tour commences with a trip along the shore of Lake IJsselmeer. We ride atop the old sea dike which offers tremendous views across the region, until we reach Enkhuizen. This beautiful town is home to a number of charming buildings, as well as the Zuiderzee Museum. Visit the museum and you'll learn how the Zuiderzee was cut off to create the lake as we know it today. You'll also learn about Holland's Golden Age, a time when ships set sail from these regions heading for a world of exotic climes. The Dutch East India Company - the first ever multinational company - traded in bulbs and spices, and dominated international trade. This golden age spawned magnificent building, which can be seen throughout the region. From Enkhuizen we make our way to Stavoren, where we catch a ferry across the lake. The 1 ½ hour crossing offers more magnificent sights for you to enjoy. The journey also offers a convenient time to learn the history of the lake, which was created when a dike was placed across the Zuiderzee to prevent flooding. Saltwater became freshwater while the aquatic life changed almost completely. Arriving at the other side of the lake, we enter Friesland province, where residents speak a different language that is closer to English than Flemish. We stay in Oudemirdum overnight.
Note: The length of this leg of the tour includes the ferry journey.
Sample hotel: Hotel Boschlust
Day 5: Oudemirdum / Rijs - Zwartsluis (61 km)
Our journey takes is through the rolling woodlands of Gaasterland through the town of Lemmer - famed for its watersports - and on to one of the more unique sites you'll see on this trip: the ir. D.F. Woudagemaal pumping station. Opened in 1920, this steam-powered pumping station replaced windmills as a source for draining the region's water, helping prevent flooding. Today the station is the largest in the world still operating, and visitors can enjoy a tour of the facilities. After visiting with the station, we head on to the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Here we'll witness a wide array of flora and fauna, although reeds and rushes rule the roost here. Nature lovers will enjoy their time visiting the park, which is considered to be some of the most valuable marshland in this part of Europe.
Sample hotel: Hotel Zwartewater
Day 6: Zwartsluis - Harderwijk (61 km)
We begin the day with an exploration of Zwartsluis, a town that's popular with those into boating and other watersports. From here we'll set of south, traveling along the Kamperzeedijken, a sea dike designed to prevent flooding. Our journey takes us to Kampen, a town which offers a glimpse into the past. Between the 13th and 17th centuries, Kampen was a Hanseatic town, ensuring safe passage for merchants that were passing through the region. Like other Hanseatic towns, prosperity followed, as did impressive architecture. Today Kampen is one of the best-preserved towns in all of Holland, with plenty of old buildings and amenities on show. The town gates, which can be found close to the River IJssel which runs through the town, are worthy of your attention. After exploring the town, we once more hit the trails and make our way through the outer edges of the Veluwe Forest, heading for the town of Harderwijk.
Sample hotel: Best Western Hotel Baars
Day 7: Harderwijk - Huizen (45 km)
This leg of our tour takes us along the shores of the Randmeren (or Bordering) Lakes, which separate the Flevopolder from the provinces of Utrecht and Gelderland. Along the way we'll take in the Arkemheen-Eemland National Heritage Landscape. Here you're able to see dikes that were originally constructed in 1360 to help prevent flooding. The regions features a number of creeks left over from the Zuiderzee's tidal streams. Look closely and you'll even spy plants that are more suited to saltwater than the freshwater that lies here today. A bird sanctuary / habitat has also been created on part of the polder. The Hertog Reiijnout pumping station - which controlled the levels of the waters in the polder for a century until closing in 1983 - can also be found in the region, and makes for an interesting visit. The day comes to a close as we arrive at Huizen.
Sample hotel: Fletcher Hotel Nautisch Kwartier or Hotel Newport
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast is served before it's time to return home.
Total distance: 324 km
Average distance: 54 km
Shortest distance: 40 km
Longest distance: 69 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to September 23th.
664 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
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