When booking this route you will get to experience the 2 countries, The Netherlands and Belgium. Most part of the route will be in the Netherlands, though finishing with a guided city tour on city bikes in Bruges. After your tour you can decide to go back to the Netherlands, or continue your trip in Belgium. Your Holland Bike Tours advisor can help you making these post tour plans.
In this blog we like to go more into detail about what you will see along the Holland and Bruges tour.
Your tour will start in Haarlem
Haarlem is located just west of Amsterdam with excellent connection to the capital; 10 minutes by train with no transfers. Often dubbed "little Amsterdam," Haarlem has all the appeal of the capital city with none of the crowds. Visit the intimate historic town center with the Jopenkerk, a brewery housed in a converted fourteenth-century cathedral.
From Haarlem you cycle along the North Sea coast for the first time this tour. The route will take you right through the sand dunes on the smooth bike paths of the North Sea cycling route. Enjoy the nature and keep an eye out for the small wildlife and birds that inhabit this peaceful region. Consider a stop for lunch at one of the seaside pavilions before continuing your way to the historic town of Leiden A beautiful city patterned by canals. Leiden is the birthplace of the painter Rembrandt and has the oldest University of the Netherlands. Leiden is still an attractive city for students today.
You continue your route into the ‘Green Heart’ of Holland. A typical Dutch landscape of green pastures, narrow waterways and well-maintained front gardens belonging to the many proud farmhouses. You cycle right through the beautiful Reeuwijk lakes area before reaching today's destination Gouda This town 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.
The next day you cycle towards the River Lek. After crossing the river by ferry you will pass along the windmills of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here there are nineteen windmills in a row, which are best viewed from the bicycle path running past them. To cycle through this site, you do not need to buy entrance tickets, but if interested you can apply for a guided tour at the entrance and see a windmill from the inside. After Kinderdijk you will cycle through the polders of the River Rhine delta before reaching the historic town center of Dordrecht, strategically located at the confluence of three rivers.
From Dordrecht you first cycle to the Biesbosch nature reserve. The silence found in this labyrinth of creeks and rivers is only disturbed by a variety of birds and the whispering wetland reeds. This is cycling at its best! You now cross the most southern river bridge on the Rhine and Maas delta before entering the more wooded southern province of Brabant. You spend the night in the quaint village of Bosschenhoofd.
On the fifth day the route continues into Zeeland. This most southwestern region of the Netherlands is characterized by open spaces, salt water bays, the impressive Deltaworks (Deltawerken) waterworks and cycle paths running along the tops of the dikes. If you decide to do some extra mileage, you will ride through the small historic town of Willemstad and along another water defense dam. Your accommodation for the night is right in the middle of this landscape, on one of the islands of Zeeland.
The second last day of the route passes the former fishing village of of Zierikzee and also the Oosterscheldekering, which is Holland’s longest sea barrier with the most fantastic sluice system. Todays route also takes you through the beautiful harbor town of Veere, one of the most important trading towns in the Netherlands during medieval times. Continuing southwards, you reach Middelburg, the historic capital of Zeeland. Your overnight accommodation is located close to the historic central square and harbor district.
The last day of the cycling tour brings you to Bruges,, the pearl of Flanders. But before you can reward yourself with a delicious Belgian beer, you have to cross the wide salt water Westerschelde channel by ferry. The last part of the route involves a tranquil cycle ride along the banks of a canal. This runs from the Netherlands-Belgium border village of Sluis to Bruges. Your hotel is located in a quiet part of the historic town center of Bruges. Here you will meet our representative late afternoon, for the pick-up of the bikes (included in the tour price).
On day 8 breakfast is followed by a 2.5 hour guided bike tour on city bikes (included in the tour price). You cycle along the treasures of Bruges, which includes part of the circular defense walls and the city canals. And you can take more time exploring Bruges by strolling through the town center with its market squares and numerous historic buildings.