Fast Polder Cycling multiple day- bicycle tour in the Netherlands
Are you an experienced road cyclist and looking for a moderate difficulty- typical Dutch experience on your bike? Then the Fast Polder Cycling Tour might be the right tour for you. The Fresh and Salt tour combines excellent road cycling with the added experience of the unique Dutch polder landscape. You will also get a good impression of the Dutch water management systems.
The Fast Polder Cycling tour is a five day - four night tour while staying at the same overnight location in the beautiful scenic- and historic Gouda. Distances are 60 to 80 km per day (37-50mi) on flat terrain and therefore the moderate-difficulty level. Though the Netherlands is flat, most of the challenge is in the possible winds. Though by not cycling at the coast & when coming in cycling season (April to October) chances of strong winds relatively low.
The tour starts in the mid-size town of Gouda. Gouda is located 50 minutes by train or taxi from Amsterdam. Your hotel is near the train station, and situated in a quiet part of the historic town center. Gouda is the base for your tour and is famous for its cheese, candles and clay pipes. The historic center is dominated by a number of ancient churches and of course the imposing and beautifully decorated town hall, standing right in the middle of the large market square. We recommend that you take a walking tour along the highlights of the historic town center of Gouda - it’s really worth spending the couple of hours! You won’t start cycling until the next day so this day is perfect for exploring.
If you arrive earlier in the Netherlands we can also arrange you a pre-tour (or also post tour) hotel for you in Haarlem and/or Amsterdam for one- or more nights. Haarlem is close to Amsterdam (15 minutes by train to Amsterdam center) and one of the most famous and most beautiful medium-size historic towns in the Netherlands.
The next morning our representative will meet you for route and equipment instructions at your hotel. The first day you will start with an easy ride through the agricultural area around the village of Boskoop. This region is famous for its woody plant nurseries, which are situated on long strips of land, divided by narrow canals. The cycle paths and quiet country roads in this open landscape are perfect for the road bike cyclist. You cycle past the windmills at Zevenhuizen and one of the oldest and lowest (almost 7mtrs/20ft below sea level) polders in the Netherlands before returning to Gouda.
On your second day of cycling you will ride through two of the lake districts in mid Holland and pass through many villages and quiet hamlets. When cycling along the paths, ducks will noisily take flight while farmers in their blue overalls will look up from their work and greet you with a smile and a short Hallo – this is typical for Holland’s countryside. Along the route there are excellent stopping places where you can regain your strength while sitting down on a beautiful café terrace, enjoying delicious Dutch coffee and a delectable slice of Dutch apple pie with whipped cream.
The next day the route first takes you along the typically Dutch landscape: green pastures where you will see large, black and white spotted cows grazing peacefully. The innumerable ditches and canals form an ingenious drainage system of which the Dutch are rightly proud and have worked so hard to create over the centuries. And then there are the famous Kinderdijk windmills. No cars are allowed here and the bicycle path passes right under the nineteen windmills. That will make you feel as if you are cycling in a period a few centuries back. The route continues along the Alblasserwaard polder region. Ancient and proud villages are built along narrow canals. After another ferry crossing over the River Lek, you return to Gouda via the village of Bergambacht.
On day 5, your fourth- and last day of cycling you will first cycle to Oudewater, famous for its 15th century Witches Weighhouse. As in the past, you can still stand on the large scales to determine whether you are light enough to fly on a broomstick! The route continues to the historic village of Montfoort and the River Rhine valley. The road running along the top of the dike that keeps the river Lek on course, offers superb views from your bike of both the inland polders on one side, and the lazily flowing, wide river on the other - you will feel like the 'King of Holland' on his bike here. Your will pass the small town of Schoonhoven, situated on the banks of the River Rhine, and which is famous for its silversmiths. The final 15km/9mi of cycling along the winding River Vlist takes you to the tour finish in Gouda again.
Watch this lovely video to learn more about Gouda, it’s cheese and the area around it by these two lovely people Kara and Nate who visited the Netherlands in Autumn.