Lake IJssel used to be a saltwater inlet of the North Sea called Zuiderzee. After yet another big flood in 1916 it was finally decided to build a dike across the mouth of the Zuiderzee, cutting it off from the North Sea. The Closure Dike was completed in 1932. Fresh water from the River IJssel replaced the salt water creating a lake. By 1968, the Dutch had transformed part of the lake into squares of usable land called polders. But most of the lake remained water, used mainly for recreational purposes.
Arrival in Utrecht
In the morning, the lively centre of the big city of Utrecht will draw you to its attractive canals and unique wharves, of which Oude Gracht is a prime example. Explore the pretty Museum Quarter or go (window) shopping on one of the quieter shopping streets. Then plunge into peaceful countryside. On the banks of the River Vecht, beautiful stately homes and garden pavilions built by rich Amsterdam merchants in the 17th and 18th Centuries are reminders of the Golden Age. Follow the River Amstel into Amsterdam. Why not crown your day by roaming the prized canal district? In the evening, the bright white lights coming from the many windows of the tall narrow canal houses make for an enchanting scene.
Just north of Amsterdam, the Zaan is a region of great interest. On the banks of the River Zaan, you will discover the rich industrial heritage of many centuries. If you are into industrial architecture, you’re in luck! Seventeenth century Amsterdam was global leader in shipping and trade. The tiny Zaan region provided the industry to make it all possible - fuelled by wind power! Around six hundred industrial mills, sawmills for example, drove the economic growth. Millers, blacksmiths, weavers, carpenters, ship builders and countless other craftsmen helped produce paint, cloth, sailcloth, paper, tobacco, candles, barrels, whale oil, etc. Find out more at Zaans Museum. Next door is Zaanse Schans, a collection of 17th and 18th century local architecture: adorable green wooden buildings, bridges and windmills. Tourists watch clog-, cheese- and tin-making demonstrations. Treat yourself to a pancake before you hop back onto your bike and head for Heiloo and the final destination Alkmaar.
Alkmaar is world famous for the traditional Friday morning cheese market put on for tourists from the beginning of April through to the beginning of September. On today’s coast-to-coast bike ride you will stop off at the picturesque village of Schermerhorn on the border of Schermer and Beemster polders. Schermerhorn was an island of whalers until, in the 17th century, private investors from Amsterdam decided to transform the lakes surrounding the village into polders and then sell off the new land. The polders were drained by windmills that scooped the water up over the dike into a discharge canal. Just outside the village stand three of the windmills that did this job – what a pretty picture they make! Opt to visit Schermer Museum Windmill and experience the workings and rhythmic creaking of the moving parts. “The Beemster Polder, dating from the early 17th century, is an exceptional example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles” is how the entry on the World Heritage List reads. On the shore of Lake IJsselmeer, you will see the Dutch Golden Age reflected in the historical buildings of the pretty towns of Hoorn and Enkhuizen. For a history lesson go to Zuiderzee Museum. It boasts a recreated village of old, complete with traditional craftsmen in folk costume. You can also learn about the trading routes sailed by seafaring villagers from the shores of the Zuiderzee: For centuries, dried fish and Edam cheese were exported all over Europe; grain from Poland was shipped to Italy; wine shipped back to Amsterdam etc.
A 32-km dike will take you across the waters to the town of Lelystad in the Flevo Polder, the newest part of the Netherlands, reclaimed in 1968! Lelystad is named after the architect of the Zuiderzee Works, Cornelis Lely. The Zuiderzee Works started with the building of the great closure dam (1932) that cut off Zuiderzee sea from the North Sea. It turned a choppy sea into a harmless lake and put a stop to regular floods. Subsequently, polders were created in the lake because there was a great need for more farmland. Museum Nieuwland explains in detail why and how the Flevo Polder came to be and how it affected the people who used to live by the sea. Our bicycle route continues on the new land, through woods and cropfields, while we try to imagine how much fun spatial planners and urban planners must have had planning this whole place from scratch. At the end of the day you will reach Harderwijk. Once upon a time it was a bustling Hansa town and a thriving fishing port by the sea - but now it’s on a lake overlooking a polder!
Please note that until further notice the cycle path on the dike is partly closed due to construction works. There is a shutte bus you can take (incl. bike). You will receive more information in your travel documents. In the summer months the cycle path is expected to be open again.
Set off along the shore of Randmeren lakes. In the afternoon the forest takes centre stage and harbours all kinds of surprises: a famous pancake inn, castles, a royal palace and – for the adventurous among you – a forest rope-climbing experience.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will return home.
Daily from April 1 till September 24
|Single room, breakfast||785.00|
|Double room, breakfast||605.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Surcharges per room||€|
|Stay in Amsterdam on saturday||35.00|
|Stay in Amsterdam from:
2019-09-12 - 2019-09-16
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 2.75 x 6||16.50|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 6||30.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 6||18.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 6||36.00|
|Add on bike||€ 6.00 x 6||36.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 6||105.00|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
Utrecht or Amsterdam
Utrecht - Hotel Mitland****
Amsterdam - Westcord Art Hotel*** & ****
Alkmaar - Grand Hotel Alkmaar****
Enkhuizen - Hotel de Koepoort****
Harderwijk - Best Western Hotel Baars****
6 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included
...We loved the bike tour. The quality of the bikes, the baggage delivery and so on was excellent. We had a fantastic time and we will do it again. It is a wonderful way to visit your beautiful country...
...we really enjoyed the trip. It was well organised with interesting sights to see each day. The hotels were good also. Casa in Amsterdam offered us towels at reception when we arrived as it was a bit wet that day. I also liked it that there was indoor storage for the bikes at all the hotels...
....Everything was fine....
...GENERALLY THE HOLIDAY WAS MOST ENJOYABLE AND MOST THINGS WORKED OUT FAIRLY WELL. THE STANDARD OF THE HOTELS AND BREAKFASTS WERE VERY GOOD, THE RESTUARANTS WE FOUND WE GREAT AND THE LUGGAGE TRANSFER WORKED VERY SMOOTHLY...