A Truly Stunning Route
Cyclists who love to spend time by the water won't want to miss this tour. Not only are there plenty of beaches, but you'll also have opportunities to learn about the country's rich seafaring history. The landscapes you'll see on this tour are so diverse that you'll never stop being amazed. The beaches sit in front of windy dunes, and behind them there are vast flower fields that are brimming with color every spring.
This route takes you through a chain of coastal towns and resorts as you head into Rotterdam, a modern city with Europe's largest port. Rivers, meadows, dikes, and farmhouses will be the stars of the final portion of this route. Stop at traditional fishing villages, windmills, and polders along the way and don't miss the exhibition which explains how and why the Zuiderzee Bay was transformed into IJsselmeer Lake and then partially drained to form the Flevopolder. While visiting villages along what was once Zuiderzee Bay, you'll see grand homes that were constructed in the 1600s when the Netherlands was the leader in world trade and wealthy merchants sponsored science and the arts.
This tour's difficulty depends entirely on how strong the wind is. Riding along the coastline and up and down dunes while there's a headwind could be a real challenge. As with all of our bike tours, we'll make sure that your luggage is waiting for you when you arrive at the excellent accommodation we've arranged for you along your journey.
Day One: Arrive in Utrecht
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 Utrecht offers free parking.
Sample hotel: Hotel Mitland or Carlton President
Day Two: Utrecht to Harderwijk (67 km)
You'll fall in love with the beautiful forests, polders, and waterscapes along the route from Utrecht to Harderwijk. You'll follow the shorelines of several lakes in the Randmeren area before you come to Harderwijk. Though this village was once a bustling fishing port right on the sea, today it looks over a polder and sits on the shore of a lake.
Sample hotel: Best Western Hotel Baars
Day Three: Harderwijk to Enkhuizen (62 km)
Ride through the forests and farmlands in Flevopolder all the way to Lelystad, home of an exhibition that will show you the formation of the polder. You'll ride over a 32 kilometer dike to get across Lake IJsselmeer toward the town of Enkhuizen. One stop you might want to make there is the Zuiderzee Museum, where you'll learn about the Golden Age and see a recreated village from those days.
Sample hotel: Hotel Restaurant De Koepoort
Day Four: Enkhuizen to Alkmaar (63 km)
Today's journey gives you another glimpse of the Golden Age through Hoorn, which is filled with historic buildings. The route takes you from the coast of Lake IJsselmeer, through Alkmaar, which is known for its cheese, all the way to North Sea. You'll pass the oldest polder in the Netherlands on your way. Windmills were used to drain it in 1612. There's also one museum windmill that's worth a visit along the way.
Sample hotel: Fletcher Hotel Heiloo
Day Five: Alkmaar to Zandvoort (49 km)
The beautiful North Sea beaches front systems of dunes that keep the low-laying area protected against the sea. On this day you'll ride through a nature preserve and a park that keep the numerous species of plants and animals safe on the dunes. You'll ride into Zandvoort, which is a famous resort by the sea.
Sample hotel: Best Western Palace Hotel
Day Six: Zandvoort to Scheveningen (43 km)
On this day you'll visit 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 Scheveningen
Day Seven: Scheveningen to Rotterdam (55 km)
When you ride south, you'll follow the coastline, weaving through the dunes and going through seaside resorts. Next you'll push east to the New Waterway, which you'll follow past a number of fishing villages, distilleries, and windmills until you reach Rotterdam.
Alternative Path through Delft
If you'd like to take a side tour, why not check out the town of Delft? It's a college town situated on the Schie River right between Rotterdam and The Hague. Take a stroll along cobbled streets while you check out the town center, which is filled with charming bridges and canals and crooked canals. You can opt to tour the Delft Blue factories where the easily recognized ceramics are made. Check out the Vermeer Center and Vermeer Walk to learn about Johannes Vermeer, a well-known painter who resided in Delft during the Baroque Period. Also check out Nieuwe Kerk, a church where the royal family has been buried for the past four centuries.
Sample hotel: Hotel Maritime
Day Eight: Rotterdam to Papendrecht (31 km)
You'll start today in Rotterdam, which is a modern city where you'll find port tours, incredible architecture, art, a museum dedicated to maritime life, and plenty of shopping. Some of the city's hotspots are the harbors, which have been redeveloped over the years.
When you reach Dordrecht, which is considered to be one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands, you'll see that it sits amidst several rivers. Stunning bridges will carry you over the water and into the town center. The harbor here is especially beautiful.
Sample hotel: Apollo Hotel Papendrecht, four stars
Day Nine: Papendrecht to Gorinchem (59 km)
Today you'll ride through Biesbosch National Park, which is one of Europe's last freshwater tidal regions. This part of your ride will take you past marshy forests, meadows, and landscapes filled with reeds. Water birds are a common sight in this area because they spend a lot of time breeding, foraging for food, and resting here. If you're especially fond of wildlife, stop in at Biesbosch Center Dordrecht to learn more about the inhabitants of this area.
Sample hotel: Hotel Gorinchem
Day Ten: Gorinchem to Utrecht (55 km)
The town of Gorinchem (pronounced gorcum) has a rich but troubled history and a town center that's filled with more than 200 monuments to mark these turbulent memories. The town was once a thriving trade center and fishing village, but floods often plagued it and armies frequently attacked it because it was Holland's entrance point.
After your exploration of Gorinchem is complete, you'll ride north to Utrecht. The old inner city contains the Oude Gracht, or Old Canal. A string of caf?s lies along the Old Canal, which has quaysides that unlike those in other cities. Don't forget to visit the city's stunning Museum Quarter. Also Utrecht is a great place for shopping. In Utrecht you‘ll set off at the hotel where you started.
Day Eleven: Return Home (non-cycling day)
After a healthy breakfast, you'll head home.
Total distance: 484 km
Average distance: 54 km
Shortest distance: 31 km
Longest distance: 67 km
Time in the Year
From April 1st to September 20th.
950 Euro per person
10 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 - 120 euro (for other options please go to our bike hire page)
Road Service - 27.50 euro
Bike theft insurance - 3 euro per day (6 euro for electric bikes)
Single room - 300 Euro
Half board accommodation - 300 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