Old Dutch Cities Tour
Netherlands Bike Tour
During the 17th century, Holland was famous for its blooming economy. Nowadays, Holland is famous for its great bike paths, cheeses and blooming tulips. Of course one of the routes takes you straight into the bulb region. In Springtime, the fields contain all colors of the rainbow. Also, you will cycle through the typical Dutch polder landscape, where black-and-white cows are grazing in green meadows under a blue-white sky. You will see Old Dutch windmills when cycling over narrow dikes. But it’s not only the cycling that makes this tour wonderful. Every day, you will end in an Old Dutch City that still retains much from the prosperous Golden Age. Oudewater is a picturesque village with lots of 17th century houses. Gouda is famous for its historical cheese-market. From Leiden, where Rembrandt was born, you will go to Amsterdam, where Rembrandt’s world famous Nightwatch is on display. Hiversum is famous for its Dudok-architecture. Every day you can enjoy the attractive combination of cycling and city-sightseeing. In all cities city-walks are available which will show you all highlights of the Dutch Golden Age.
Where You’ll Stay
Nice hotels and/or B&Bs.
- 7 nights accommodations
- Hybrid bicycle
- Maps & route information
- Luggage transportation
- Additional tourist information
- Daily from April 1 to October 31, 2013.
Easy, self-guided hotel tour. Daily distances range from 27 to 36 miles over flat, excellent bike paths and side streets.
- Arrival in Oudewater.
- Day tour to Gouda and Gouda city walk, 32 miles (51 km)
- Oudewater – Leiden, 30 miles (48 km)
- Leiden – Amsterdam, 35 miles (56 km)
- Amsterdam: city walk or visit to Zaanse Schans
- Amsterdam – Hilversum, 27 miles (43 km)
- Hilversum – Oudewater, 36 miles (58 km)
- Departure Oudewater
DAY 1: Arrival in Oudewater.
When arriving early in Oudewater, you can visit the Witch’s Stool. During the Middle Ages, this was used to determine whether someone was a witch and should therefore be sentenced to the stake. The accompanying museum comes highly recommended.
DAY 2: Day tour to Gouda, 32 mi. (51 km) & Gouda city walk
Today, you’ll cycle in the ‘Green Heart of the Netherlands’! What about a visit to Gouda, world famous for its cheeses and “stroopwafels” (a type of cookie)? Of course, the route will take you to the cheese market right behind the beautiful Town Hall. Every Thursday morning, farmers in traditional Old Dutch clothes come to the market to have their cheeses weighed and sold. The tour continues along the Reeuwijkse Plassen, a collection of 10 lakes. Nowhere else in the world is there so little land between lakes. The route takes optimal advantage of the available amount of mainland.
DAY 3: Oudewater – Leiden, 30 mi. (48 km) & Leiden city walk
From Oudewater, the route takes you north into ‘The Green Heart of Holland’. Here lies the Nieuwkoop Lake Area, an oasis of peace and tranquility. The route winds through rustling reed lands and along beautiful Dutch landscapes before you reach the city of Leiden. When cycling through Leiden, you’ll notice its rich history still seems very much alive. The Academy building of the University, the Weighing House and the Citadel, the stately mansions along the Rapenburg canal, the beautiful churches and the 35 almshouses each tell of Leiden’s interesting past. This is where Rembrandt was born and learned how to paint, where Clusius planted the first tulips in Western Europe and where Holland’s first university was founded.
DAY 4: Leiden – Amsterdam, 35 mi. (56 km)
Today’s route takes you straight through the bulb area of Holland. In Spring, the tour passes along bulb fields on its way to the Keukenhof. Vast, colorful fields of hyacinths, daffodils and tulips line the route to the park, which hosts the world’s most famous bulb flower exhibition; here millions of bulbs are displayed in the perfection of artistry. From the Keukenhof the route takes you to Aalsmeer for a visit to the world’s largest flower auction, then on to Amsterdam, the finishing point for today.
DAY 5: Amsterdam City Walk or visit Zaanse Schans
Most people will choose to visit Amsterdam. You can spend hours taking guided tours on the world famous canals. There are plenty of choices for those who would like to make a cultural trip. The Rijksmuseum accommodates the world famous ‘Nightwatch’ by Rembrandt. The works of another great Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, can also be found in the Van Gogh Museum.
If you would rather avoid the city’s bustle, you can also make a day trip to the Zaanse Schans, an amazing open-air museum. The windmills, warehouses and traditional wooden houses that you’ll see offer an extraordinary impression of this 17th century commercial center around Amsterdam. From here, the route takes you to Haarlem, a colorful area that offers a great diversity in scenery and culture. The area lies right behind the magnificent dunes to the south of the North Sea canal. The medieval appeal of Haarlem, the hospitality of the fashionable seaside resort of Zandvoort and the fascinating area of Bloemendaal with its nature reserves makes the area a perfect destination by bicycle.
DAY 6: Amsterdam – Hilversum, 27 mi. (43 km) & Hilversum city walk
Today’s first 25 kilometers will take you along the border of the former Zuiderzee (South Sea). By constructing the Afsluitdijk causeway, the Zuiderzee was turned into the biggest lake in the Netherlands: the IJsselmeer (IJssel Lake). You will pass the medieval Muiderslot Castle, built in 1280 AD by count Floris V. Here it is hard to imagine that you are only 15 km away from the dazzling city of Amsterdam. Be amazed by the utter calm when you cycle over the dikes, leaving the city behind you. Narrow bike paths will take you across vast heather fields before you reach Hilversum. During the 1920’s and 1930’s Hilversum architecture went through its very own golden age. No other town in the Netherlands was shaped to such an extent by the hand of the single architect: Willem M. Dudok. The route takes you along several of his works. In fact, you will find your hotel close to the Town Hall, designed by this world famous architect.
DAY 7: Hilversum – Oudewater, 36 mi. (58 km)
From Hilversum, the route takes you south, and in the first part the Vecht River will be your guide. You will be cycling along narrow dikes, many 17th century cottages and tea domes can still be found here. Near Breukelen, you will pass the Kortrijk Mill that was built in 1696 AD. Further south the route takes you through the classical Dutch landscape: green meadows, black-and-white cows, blue ditches and white clouds. It can hardly get more Dutch than this!
DAY 8: Departure Oudewater
Departure following breakfast.
*Please note, it is possible to begin and end this tour in Amsterdam. Ask us for details.