A Cycling Marathon with Polders Everywhere
Every experienced cyclist will enjoy this long tour, which covers 100 kilometers and at least five provinces each day in six days. You'll wide through a wide variety of landscapes, including massive polders, sandy beaches, historic towns, and charming fishing villages, as well as museums and cheese markets. You'll see plenty of waterscapes and fields that never seem to end. The harbors on IJsselmeer Lake will bring you back in time to the days when the Dutch ruled the world seas through their trade and shipping industries. You'll follow the dunes along the coast of North Sea and enjoy an amazing array of towns, cities, and villages that will provide plenty of entertainment along the way.
Day One: Arrive in Bunnik / Utrcht
You can easily catch the train that originates at Amsterdam Airport, or if you wish to travel by car, you'll find that the hotel in Bunnik offers free parking.
Sample hotel: Postillion Hotel Utrecht Bunnik
Day Two: Bunnik / Utrecht to Lelystad (95 km)
The trip from Bunnik to Lelystad is a beautiful one filled with woods, polders, and water. You'll ride along the edge of the Randmeren lakes until you come to Harderwijk, which was once part of the European trading alliance, Hansa League. This very town was once a bustling port on the sea, although now it sits on the shores of a lake and looks over a polder.
To leave the mainland, you'll pedal over Flevopolder until you come to Lelystad, which was named for Cornelis Lely, who engineered Zuiderzee Works. The Works separated Zuiderzee Bay from the North Sea and then drained some parts of the lake that was created by that separation so that land could be reclaimed for building homes and growing crops. You can learn all about this project at the Museum Nieuwland, which will explain how, when, and why the Works were created. On the other hand, if you'd like to do a little shopping, check out Batavia Stad, a major shopping area.
Sample hotel: Apollo Hotel
Day Three: Lelystad to Alkmaar (90 km)
Today you'll ride across the Houtribdijk dike, which separates IJsselmeer and Markermeer lakes and provides a connection between Lelystad and Enkhuizen. When it was completed in 1975, the dike was intended to be used for another polder in the area, but environmentalists blocked the plan, which means that Markermeer still is a lake.
When you come to Enkhuizen, you'll see stunning homes constructed in the 1600s, during the heyday of the successful Dutch East India Company. The Dutch traveled the world trading flower bulbs and spices, and wealthy traders sponsored science and the arts during this period. You can learn all about it at the Zuiderzee Museum, which also contains a village recreated to look just like the local towns did in those days.
As you ride on, you'll see charming villages and plenty of peaceful places with horizons that seem to stretch on forever, traditional farmhouses, flower fields, windmills, and orchards. Next you'll come into Hoorn, which also became prosperous during the Dutch Golden Age. You'll pedal from the coast of IJsselmeer Lake over to the coast of the North Sea, passing through Alkmaar (which is known for its cheese) along the way. You can stop and see a windmill that's open to tourists and ride through Holland's oldest polder, which was drained in 1612 using windmills.
Sample hotel: Hotel Herenhuys Alkmaar
Day Four: Alkmaar to Medemblik (108 km)
When you ride south, you'll see a large area for growing flower bulbs. The majority of the flower bulbs grown here will be exported. During the spring, this whole area is filled with color as the daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips all come into full bloom. The path goes on through Wieringermeer, which is a polder that was drained of its salt water so that more land could be reclaimed from the sea. When you arrive at Medemblik on the shores of IJsselmeer Lake, you'll find a charming museum that's all about steam engines and a marina.
Sample hotel: Hotel Medemblik
Day Five: Medemblik to Amsterdam (101 km)
This part of the tour takes you through West-Friesland, which is filled with wide open spaces, charming villages, quaint farmhouses, flower fields, farmlands, orchards, and windmills. Your route takes you across an old dike, which gives you continual views of IJsselmeer Lake.
Next you'll ride to the edges of Markermeer and Hoornsche Hop lakes and through pleasant villages like Monnickendam, Volendam, and Edam. In Volendam, you'll ride past some remarkable stone houses, which sit right in the heart of the village. It appears that Volendam was built without any strategic street plan in place. Many tourists stop at De Dijk, which sits on the harbor and offers a variety of local eateries and souvenir shops. From there you'll get on the path to Amsterdam, which is filled with romantic bridges, canals, and over 800,000 bikes. The city is virtually made for exploration. Whether you're into culture, art, or just having a night out on the town, you're sure to find plenty to do. You may want to book a canal trip and check out the beautiful houses that line them.
Sample hotel: Hotel Casa 400
Day Six: Amsterdam to Scheveningen (80 km)
Today you'll ride through Haarlem, which has been voted "Best Shopping City". Don't forget to scan the historic building fa?ades while you're there and look for the stepped gables. The tour then takes you to Zuid-Kennemerland, which is filled with natural glory.
The route then takes you to the beach resort Zandvoort before heading south through an area known for its dunes and flower bulbs. The dunes serve to protect the low-lying area from the water, and they're also home to many kinds of plants and animals. The best time of the year to visit this area is April, when the tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils are in full bloom. When you reach the coast, you'll want to visit the beaches and resorts there. Upon riding into Scheveningen, you'll also have plenty of activities to attract your attention.
Sample hotel: Boulevard Hotel
Day Seven: Scheveningen to Bunnik (101 km)
Today's trip starts with a ride to The Hague, which is where the Queen of the Netherlands and the nation's government reside. There are numerous activities and sights to be taken in. One point of interest is Mauritshuis Museum, which is home to The Girl with the Pearl Earring, a famous painting by Vermeer. Another well-known painting here is Panorama of Scheveningen, which Mesdag painted in 1881. When you've gotten your fill of The Hague, you'll take off into open meadows and ride to Gouda, which is known for cheese, candles, and waffles. You may want to plan your trip so that you'll be in Gouda on a Thursday so that you can check out the weekly cheese market.
Your last stretch of riding today takes you through forests and past grand homes, rivers, polders, parks, lakes, and fens. You may wish to visit a dairy to see how cheese is made or stop in at De Haar Castle. Toward day's end, you'll have the opportunity to explore Utrecht, which has a beautiful Museum Quarter. It's also home to the Oude Gracht, a canal with unusual wharves you'll only find in Utrecht.
Day Eight: Return Home (non-cycling day)
After a healthy breakfast, you'll head home.
Total distance: 563 km
Average distance: 94 km
Shortest distance: 89 km
Longest distance: 104 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to September 23th.
690 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) - 10 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