Call us to book or enquire: +44 203 1294634
From: 520 €
Duration: 9 days
The IJsselmeer is a region full of cultural history which offers several magnificent cycling routes, with distances appropriate for everyone.
Whether you are a speed freak or a short-distance rider, you can glide to your heart's content along both sides of the IJsselmeer, while you take in the beautiful scenery and culture. Holland's most exceptional and popular cycling tour is the "400-kilometre" Tour around the IJsselmeer, rightly regarded as a challenge for cycling enthusiasts. The route takes you through typical towns of the Zuiderzee, such as Volendam, Enkhuizen, Workum, Hindeloopen, Blokzijl, Kampen and Harderwijk. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the Waterland area, the Gaasterlandse woods, the Wieden wetlands and the fragrant heath of the Veluwe. This tour is characterised by pleasant scenery, cultural history and endless water. Unforgettable!
Arrive in Purmerend
Villages along the way: Purmerend
Starting in Purmerend, you cycle toward the picturesque villages of Edam and Volendam. Edam is a beautiful fossil from the Golden Age, Volendam is famous for its harbour and the tasty smoked eel produced there. Then you cycle North past a fortress, to enter an open landscape of dikes, water and polders. Along the way, windmills in Schellinkhout and Wijdenes. Just before Hoorn, you pass a boundary pole from 1761. To your right, you look out over the water of Hoornse Hop where, in 1573, the Dutch had a famous sea battle with the Spanish. Take your time to look around Hoorn but be sure to leave some for Enkhuizen, with its beautiful open air Zuiderzee museum. Just after Enkhuizen you pass 'De Ven' lighthouse, from 1700, and Rabout castle in Medemblik.
Villages along the way: Edam, Volendam, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Medemblik
From Medemblik, you cycle onward past the famous 'Gemaal Lely' water-pumping station, named for the engineer who also created the Afsluitdijk. In the water, you'll see an offshore wind generator park. Further on, the cycling path takes you through a small forest to the fishing harbour of Den Oever, starting point of your 36 km trip on the Afsluitdijk. To the right you have lovely views over the 'Ijsselmeer' while, on the other side, the Waddenzee is ever-changing, as its tides sculpt the landscape. Back on the mainland you cycle south to the village of Makkum, famous for its pottery.
Villages along the way: Medemblik, Den Oever, Afsluitdijk, Makkum
A marvellous ride through the province of 'Friesland'. Some of the villages here, such as Piaam, are built on mounds to protect them from high water. You cycle through three of the famous 11 cities in this province, Workum, Hindelopen and Stavoren. All connected by dikes, these small cities are steeped in tradition and folklore. To end today's tour, you do an ascent to the cliffs of Minser and Oudemirdum.
Day's tour, you do an ascent to the cliffs of Minser and Oudemirdum.
Villages along the way: Makkum, Workum, Hindeloopen, Stavoren, Koudum, Oudemirdum
Another small section along the Ijsselmeer. Once you pass the fishing harbour of Lemmer, the landscape changes and you cycle into the peat-moors of the Wieden and Weerribben National Park. A land of reeds and small lakes with an overwhelming number of birds and animals, on your way to the pretty town of Blokzijl. Then onwards to Giethoorn, also called Venice of the North, an enchanting village where homes are connected by waterways.
Challenge: 65 - 55km
Villages along the way: Koudum, Oudemirdum, Lemmer, Kuinre, Weerribben, Blokzijl, Vollenhove, Giethoorn
As you leave the peat-moors and reed lands, you come to the lovely village of Vollenhove. From the polder of Mastenbroek, the Hanseatic city of Kampen appears on the horizon. The historical heart of this city still conserves 3 of the former 21 city gates. A wonderful spot to stop for a lunch break and a stroll around the centre. Then you cycle to another Hanseatic city, Elburg, and on to Harderwijk. Across the water, the Flevopolder comes into view. The lake found here, just off the mainland, offers an excellent opportunity for a swim.
Challenge: 65 or 75km
Villages along the way: Giethoorn, Vollenhove, Wieden, Zwartsluis, Kampen, Elburg, Harderwijk
A chance to see the dolphin show at the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk and later take a stroll to the harbour, full of sailboats and yachts. As you cycle further along the dike, sea-gulls and other water birds accompany you to Spakenburg. You pass a small beach at Nulde, lovely spot for a paddle on a warm day. Then the Eem dike brings you to the city of Naarden, one of the best examples of a 17th century fortified town.
Villages along the way: Harderwijk, Bunschoten, Spakenburg, Huizen, Naarden
On your last day, you cycle first to the castle of Muiden, then it's on to Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. Cycling in this city is an adventure, but this afternoon you'll be able visit the city by train from Purmerend. Today's cycling route takes you north of the capital, to cross 'het IJ' by ferry to the picturesque isle of Marken, just half a mile off the coast near Monnickendam.
Villages along the way: Naarden, Amsterdam, Waterland, Marken, Monnickendam
After breakfast, your arrangement comes to an end. If you've booked extra nights in advance, you can extend your trip with a visit to Amsterdam, by train from Purmerend or from a comfortable hotel in the city centre.
Accommodation in comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels
The airport closest to Purmerend is Amsterdam Schiphol. From Schiphol there is a direct train going to and from Purmerend.
The rental bike is a comfortable 7-speed bicycle together with a standard repair kit in case of mechanical problems.
Trip availability: From April 1st to October 31th