Easy cycling holiday among the polder fields, canals and windmills of North Holland
Enjoy fresh herring and eel in the lovely fishing village of Volendam
Meet the cheese makers and clog makers of Zannse Schans
Cycle along the serene shores of the IJsselmeer lake
Discover North Holland: self-guided cycling holiday
The Dutch province of Noord-Holland lives up to the nostalgic image that foreigners have of Holland. It’s a picture-postcard landscape of canals, wooden bridges, dikes and windmills. The delights of this region can easily be discovered by bike: charming historical towns with busy marinas, art and cultural history museums and traditional local architecture. If you can, come in springtime when tulips, hyacinths and daffodils come into bloom and the bulb flower fields are a sea of colour. We know you will have a great time exploring these truly Dutch landscapes!
As with all of our self-guided cycling tours, this trip includes luggage transportation and very comfortable accommodation.
|6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS||From €560 per person sharing*
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo travellers
|BIKE RENTAL||If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our touring bikes are 24-speed gear. All bikes are provided with chain locks and are equipped with saddlebags to carry whatever you need on the road. It is also possible to rent an electric bike.
You will receive your rental bike at the start of your holiday and return it before you go home. We deliver the bicycle at your first accommodation (evening of day 1 or morning of day 2) and pick it up from your last accommodation after your last cycling day. You just need to give us your body length, so that you receive the correct bike size, and we take care of everything else.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 1st and September 24th.|
Day 1: Arrival in Alkmaar
Alkmaar is easily reachable by train from Amsterdam Schiphol airport. If possible, plan your trip so you can see Alkmaar’s world-famous Friday morning traditional cheese market (April to September). Alkmaar has more to offer than this, however; wandering through the city centre with its monuments, canals, shops, museums and terraces you will be amazed by the beauty of this charming old town.
Day 2: Alkmaar - Zaandam
Distance: 43 km
Your cycling route to Zaandam takes you through a variety of landscapes. In spring, when tulips, hyacinths and daffodils come into bloom, the area around Heiloo and Limmen is a sea of colour. Pedalling on, you will reach the Zaan region, named after the River Zaan and justly famed for the quaint green wooden houses, with white lace curtains. You can see several prime examples at Zaanse Schans, also known the world over for its iconic row of windmills. This whole place is picture perfect! There are lots of things to do and see here. You can visit windmills, workshops, museums, find out how to make wooden shoes or Dutch cheese… all in the name of nostalgia. After all that, sit down for a well-deserved coffee and pancake.
Day 3: Zaandam - Volendam
Distance: 31 km
A short cycle takes you to the recreational park Het Twiske. This is a favourite get-away for the people of Amsterdam. On a hot day, they’ll flee the city and cycle here to the lake for a dip. A varied landscape of wood, meadows and lakes will then accompany you to Monnickendam, a splendid historical village that used to be one of Holland’s most important ports. Freshly smoked fish was and still is the specialty here. Today’s cycling trip concludes in the lively fishing village of Volendam. Volendam has long been a tourist magnet so join the crowd as they soak up the atmosphere in the waterside cafes and check out the views of the lake and the harbour.
Day 4: Volendam - Hoorn
Distance: 26 km
Just north of Volendam lies Edam. Back in the Golden Age, cheese town Edam was specialised in shipbuilding and in shipping. The well-preserved buildings in the town centre date back to this prosperous 17th century period. Go for a walk and enjoy the bridges, squares, canals and monuments. Cycle further to Hoorn, taking in the ever-changing views of the glistening lake next to you.
The pleasing historical town centre of Hoorn boasts many lovely buildings that hark back to the 16th and 17th centuries. It was then that the town became prosperous thanks to trade and shipping. Ships sailing out of Hoorn harbour navigated as far afield as the Americas (Cape Horn!) and Japan. At home, merchants invested their earnings not only in the arts but also in the building of houses and warehouses which can still be seen today. Find out more at Westfries Museum which has specialised in the Dutch Golden Age, a period of great enterprise and maritime supremacy which the Dutch now look back on with mixed feelings. In the harbour you can visit a replica of VOC sailing ship “De Halve Maen”. This was one of a fleet of over two thousand ships belonging to the Dutch East India Company, the world’s first multinational.
Day 5: Hoorn - Alkmaar
Distance: 36 km
Today’s route takes you from Lake Markermeer back to Alkmaar. Enjoy the polder scenery and pause for a photo opportunity in Schermerhorn where three polder windmills stand in a row atop a dike. One of them, Schermerhorn Museum Mill, can be visited. Learn how windmills were used to drain Lake Schermer in 1633 and continued to regulate water levels in the polder until 1929. After that head to your final destination, Alkmaar.
Day 6: Departure
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning