The best cycling holidays in Europe

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Cycling in Holland

Posted on March 5, 2014 by

Cycling in Holland makes for a fantastic holiday experience. There are so many plus sides and if you haven’t considered a cycling trip to the Netherlands before we really can’t recommend it enough.

We’ve already written about the practicalities and what to expect when cycle touring in Holland, and about Dutch bike and boat holidays, so this time we wanted to talk a bit more about what to see and where the tours typically go. Throughout we’ll also highlight some of our most popular tours.

Leisure cycling holidays in Holland

Ready to ride

 Amsterdam

No Dutch cycle trip would be complete without at least a short time in Amsterdam. In fact, with the incredible ease of transport connections to the Dutch capital you’re almost guaranteed to start your cycle trip there.

Luckily, there’s loads to see in Amsterdam. If you’re on a whistlestop tour a city canal cruise is a must, while art lovers should check out the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam is also very cycle friendly, with loads of cycle lanes and considerate motorists so an Amsterdam cycle break is the perfect way to enjoy the city.

Amsterdam - Holland

Amsterdam

But life in Holland doesn’t just start and end in the capital of course. While most of our tours generally allow for some time in the city, many also explore explore further afield as well.

The ‘Green Heart’ of Holland

Windmill - Tulips - Holland*Such is the pull of Amsterdam that many visitors to Holland don’t get to see anything beyond the capital. Subsequently, even for Europeans, much of the rest of the country remains something of a mystery, apart from vague notions of windmills and polders.

The Netherlands actually has loads to offer, and one of the most pleasant areas for cycling is the ‘Green Heart’ – or Groene Hart in Dutch. It’s a rural area circled by the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht and Haarlem. In contrast to the cities that guard it, the region is mainly agricultural and characterized by meadows – which come alive with flowers in the spring – and marshy wetlands criss-crossed by lakes, rivers and canals. Smaller and historic towns like Gouda, Oudewater and Nieuwkoop dot the landscape and make for excellent, relaxing stops on many of our itineraries.

 

Lake IJssel

Lake IJssel is western Europe’s largest lake, fed mainly by the River Rhine and is a dominant feature of the northern Netherlands. It’s actually an artificial lake, separated from the North Sea by a causeway, but still harbours plenty of nature around it.

As it’s very easily accessible from Amsterdam it’s a popular spot for local families and offers great cycling all around it. There are also plenty of opportunities for watersports like canoeing and sailing. You’ll also find lots of attractive small towns to visit, like Giethoorn, famous for having no roads at all, only small waterways. The locals all get around by boat! Our Classic Dutch Cycling Tour is a great way to see all the highlights of this wonderful region.

Cycling in Holland*

The North Sea Coast

For a small country, the Netherlands has a surprisingly long coastline, which covers the provinces of Zeeland, North and South Holland, Friesland and Groningen.

Many of our Dutch cycle tours include a visit to the coast, mostly concentrating on North and South Holland. They maybe also head down to Zeeland, especially if the trip is combined with some time in Belgium, like the Amsterdam to Bruge Cycling Holiday.

Bikes on the coast of Holland

Where are the others?

These parts of the North Sea coast will come as a pleasant surprise. They boast long sandy beaches, many backed by beautiful – and ecologically important – stretches of sand dunes. And there are many quaint fishing villages and historic towns to discover, too. Have a look at our Northern Holland Bike and Boat Holiday for a excellent way to really get to know this region.

Texel and the Frisian Islands

The Frisian Islands are a long string of small islands strung out just off the Dutch North Sea coast. Many are uninhabited but the settled ones are wonderful places to visit. The most accessible, and arguably most interesting, is Texel, which can be reached by a short hop across from Den Helder on the North Holland peninsula. If you’re on a cycle cruise your boat will take you there itself, otherwise it’s an easy ferry ride with the bikes onboard.

Texel - Holland*

Texel

Once there, you’ll find Texel is an idyllic retreat from the modern world. Most people use bicycle as their first means of transport and the island is covered with cycle paths. It’s possible to circumvent the island in a day, and it’s a pleasure to ride to its lovely, unhurried villages and quaint artists retreats. Texel is a highlight of many people’s trips to Holland, and features on our Northern Holland Cycle Cruises.

Cycling holidays to Ghent

Ghent

Across the border

Many of our Dutch tours actually cross over into Belgium to get the best of both worlds. They typically stick to the Flemish, Dutch speaking north of Belgium, with highlights including the great cities of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. They are all popular stops on our Amsterdam – Bruges Bike and Boat Holidays

Cycle touring in Holland – enjoy the ride

So as you see, cycling in Holland offers a surprising variety, with buckets of history, culture and great scenery. All those cycle lanes and almost overwhelmingly flat terrain make it a cyclist’s paradise, so what are you waiting for – check out our cycling holidays in Holland now and start planning a truly wonderful cycling experience.

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Easy:
Our easy cycling holidays offer short daily rides on mostly level terrain. A typical day’s ride will take 2 – 3 hours at a leisurely pace and the remainder of the day will be free for you to explore further or simply relax. These rides are particularly recommended for newcomers to cycling holidays and for families.

Leisurely:
Our leisurely cycle holidays will suit those who are reasonably fit through regular exercise of one kind or another – not necessarily cycling. On the whole, the terrain will be level but there may also be a few small hills to contend with along the way too. Daily rides will typically take around 3 – 4 hours to complete.

Moderate:
Our moderate cycle holidays are for regular cyclists, who are used to longer rides with regular climbs. A good level of fitness is needed and you can expect to be in the saddle for between 4 and 5 hours each day.

Challenging:
These holidays are for seasoned cyclists who cycle long distances regularly and who enjoy the thrill of long days in the saddle. There will undoubtedly be some challenging climbs along the way and you can expect to cover between 55 and 75 miles each day.

Simple
Simple 2 star hotels, pensions inns and B&Bs. All rooms feature en-suite facilities.

Comfort
Typically a mix of good quality 2 & 3 star hotels and in some cases all 3 star hotels. All rooms feature en-suite facilities.
Tours that have a mix of 2, 3 and 4 star hotels are also included here. All rooms feature en-suite facilities.

Superior
A mix of 3 and 4 star hotels & or in some cases excellent 3 star hotels.

Deluxe
High standard properties offering well-appointed guest rooms and good facilities. All rooms feature en-suite facilities.

Basic: Cabins with bunk beds and shared facilities.

Simple: Cabins with bunk beds and en-suite facilities

Comfort: Twin bedded cabins and en-suite facilities.

Superior: Well appointed en-suite, twin cabins.

Deluxe: Very high levels of comfort & service. All cabins are en-suite.

theme-icon-familyFamily: Cycling holidays that are suitable for families.

theme-icon-riversRivers & Lakes: Cycling holidays alongside rivers and/or lakes.

theme-icon-coastalCoastal: Cycling holidays that follow a coastline.

theme-icon-wineWine Lovers: Cycling holidays through well known wine regions.

theme-icon-gastroGastronomic: Cycling holidays through regions renowned for their cuisine.

theme-icon-ebikeE-bikes: Cycling holidays where e-bikes are available as well as regular bikes.