On this cycling holiday, a quiet, one-way route takes you to explore three themes: wood- and heathlands in the National Park Veluwezoom, the lovely landscape in the meandering IJssel river valley and the well preserved medieval cities on its banks once belonging to the Hanseatic League. Opt to prolong your holiday by an extra day and with a new theme: the low-lying peat marshes surrounding Giethoorn, a village also known as “Venice of the Netherlands”.
Your cycling holiday starts in Arnhem, capital of Gelderland province and City of Fashion & Design. Working-class neighbourhood Klarendal has become the place-to-be for designers, artists and artisans, clustered together in Modekwartier (the Fashion District) full of hip stores and studios. Arnhem is also loved for its city parks and green surroundings. In fact, it is known as the Gateway to Veluwe Forest.
Today you have two options. If you choose to linger in Arnhem in the morning, you may want to take the shorter route. The most famous museum in Arnhem is Openluchtmuseum, a national open-air museum of cultural history focused on the everyday lives of ordinary people and the actual buildings they lived and worked in. Another popular attraction is the fabulous Burgers Zoo. When you are ready to go, leave the city of Arnhem through lovely Sonsbeek Park. The long route makes a loop northward, through desolate heathland with Highland cattle. The route continues through the rolling hills of Veluwezoom National Park. Although never really steap, the road is almost never flat either. This area is celebrated for its fragrant pinewoods, beautiful deciduous forest and Europe’s largest sand drifts. Most spectacular are the fields of heather which light up in vibrant varieties of mauve in August. Next, watch the scenery change as you proceed from the forest toward a wide-open river landscape, the valley of the River IJssel.
The long tour passes through less known and therefore more quiet heath and woodlands as well as villages in the transition landscape between the forest and the meadows along the IJssel River.
We have three hanseatic towns lined up for you today, so lots of history. The towns each have a beautiful historical town center, surrounded by (remainders of) town walls and town gates. As for the enchanting scenery, the washlands of the River IJssel, adorned with wild flowers in summer, lead on to typical Dutch farmland, cropfields, homely farmsteads and windmills reaching for the skies. To the west, Veluwe Forest can be seen on the horizon. You will pass the pretty town of Doesburg. It is particularly well-preserved and well worth the extra kilometers. Have a break at the lovely old inn with the red shutters. It dates to 1478 when it was a weighing hall doubling as an alehouse and has since continuously received hungry and thirsty guests looking for some company. In Zutphen, see if you can squeeze in one of the sixteen walking tours on offer. The tiny town of Bronkhorst is very picturesque. It developed 1000 years ago as a fortified farmers’ settlement. At the end of the day, a stroll through the center of Deventer is recommended and don't miss the historic Bergkwartier neighbourhood.
Get up early to continue your sightseeing in Deventer, a lovely town known for its bookshops, art shops and special festivals. The local delicacy (from 1595) is honey and spice cake, often eaten for breakfast. The place to savour it is coffee house Bussink on beautiful Brink square.
Follow the river IJssel further downstream and find out all about modern Dutch water management in the washlands. Due to climate change, it is expected that water levels in our rivers will rise and rise. Raising the river dikes even higher is one option to prevent floods, but another is moving them back, to give the river more room. During winter high flows, the washlands are flooded and temporarily store excess water thus slowing the flow downstream and protecting the dwellings behind the dikes from floods. In contrast, in a few strategic places where it is necessary to move excess water downstream more rapidly, ground and vegetation levels in the washlands are kept low to allow the water to pass unhindered.
After visiting the small hansa town of Hattem, cross the river to Zwolle. Surrounded by four waterways, the city has always been a busy hub welcoming travelers and traders from all corners. You will find remains of a medieval town wall and listed buildings from the time the town was affiliated with the Hanseatic League.
After breakfast, it’s time to go home, unless you opted for an extra day to “the Venice of the Holland”.
Day 5 Zwolle – Giethoorn (43 km)
Leave the hustle and bustle of Zwolle behind you and follow the River “Het Zwarte Water” into the marshlands. The wide views of the marshy washlands are a world away from our every-day preoccupations. When you reach Hasselt, take your time to sightsee this charming place of pilgrimage (since 1355), boasting seventy listed buildings of national importance, silent witnesses to the time when contacts within the Hanseatic League brought prosperity. Hasselt was a transit point for goods that were shipped down the rivers and loaded onto seafaring ships that crossed the Zuiderzee to friendly Hanseatic ports on the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Subsequently, different goods made the same journey back again. Our cycling route continues to Zwartsluis, a popular port for boaters and yachters to come ashore and explore the surroundings. Proceed through the wetlands of Weerribben-Wieden National Park. It may look like natural wilderness, but it was shaped by man and is, in effect, an abandoned and overgrown peat extraction site. Note the pattern of parallel lanes of water and land. The strips of land are the “peat banks” where the extracted peat was laid out to dry. The wider “dredging channels” are where the peat was extracted from and where the workers stood on small barges wielding their dredging poles; or picking up dried peat to take to market. Dried peat was sold as turf: fuel for household heating and cooking, in towns to the west, where firewood was scarce. As the channels got wider, the water started to make waves: Narrow peat banks got washed away in storms; and lakes developed.
Your journey ends in Giethoorn. Nicknamed Venice of the Netherlands, this centuries-old farming village has waterways instead of roads. Tourists rent silent electric boats to cruise down the main canal looking at the farmhouses with thatched roofs and the lovely gardens.
If you want to book this extra night in Giethoorn, please mention this in the remark field of the booking form.
Day 6 - Return home
Today your cycling holiday comes to an end. After breakfast, it is really time to go home.
|Double room, breakfast||445.00|
|Single room, breakfast||565.00|
|Extra night, breakfast only||70.00|
|Pillows Grand Hotel Ter Borch, Zwolle||40.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 3.50 x 4||14.00|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 4||20.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 4||12.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 4||24.00|
|Extra luggage||€ 5.00 x 4||20.00|
|Tag-along bike||€ 6.00 x 4||24.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 4||70.00|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
|Car transport service||per piece||100.00|
|Car transport to Giethoorn||per piece||100.00|
The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. A list of the hotels we work with appears below. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will try to request a comparable alternative if possible.
If you don’t bring your own bike, you can rent one from us. Our touring bikes are 24-speed gear. You can find all the information regarding our rental bikes below.
You will find your rental bike waiting for you at your first hotel. The hotel reception staff will give you the keys for your bikes and direct you to the bicycle shed. All bikes are provided with chain locks.
A standard hybrid bike is €13,00 a day.
Our hybrid bikes have 24-gears with hand brakes.
The hybrid bikes are circa 16,5 KG.
An electric bike is €27,00 a day.
The e-bikes have a small electric engine and battery, which can be charged at the hotels. You still have to pedal: it just makes pedaling much easier. Some experience with e-bikes is recommended, as the bikes accelerate faster and are heavier than regular bikes because of the electric engine. The weight of the e-bike is ca. 25 KG.
A child’s bike is € 10,00 a day.
For children who are at least 125 cm, we can also arrange bikes (these are 24”or 26” for children that are bigger than 140 cm).
The child bikes come with at least 7-gears and hand brakes.
The maximum body height for a child’s bike is 155 cm.
24" child bike:
26" child bike:
All our rental bikes come with a bell.
All our adult bikes come with hand brakes.
For children up to 30 months old (max. 15 KG) it is possible to rent a front child seat. This is not possible with e-bikes, due to the display.
For children older than 30 months (max. 22KG) it is possible to rent a rear child seat. This is also possible with e-bikes.
Both front- and rear child seats are €5,- per day.
It is possible to rent a GPS device when you start your tour in Amsterdam, Bruges, Utrecht, Huizen or Bunnik for €20,-.
Helmets are not mandatory in the Netherlands, but can be rented for €10,- per piece.
Available sizes: Adult: 54-61 cm, Child: 50-55 cm.
All our bikes come with both front- and rear lights. You need to push the button on the lamp and it will flash three times. This means that the lights will automatically start working when it gets dark.
When you push again, the lamp will flash one time and the lights will be turned off.
Our bikes come with a defender lock with plug in chain (cable lock that is attached to the regular lock, see picture).
You need to turn the key a bit, take out the pin from the cable lock and attach it to a pole/other bike/fence etc.
When you push the pin back into the regular lock, you need to lock the regular lock as you always do, and both locks will be secured.
1 pannier is included at the 'standard' bikes and the e-bikes.
Height: 42 cm
Depth front to the side: 17 cm
Wide top: 32 cm
Wide down: 23 cm
Volume: 20 liters
It has an easy click-on/click-off system. The panniers are water resistant, so everything will stay dry.
The rental bikes come with regular pedals, so no click-in/SPD pedals.
All our bikes come with a quick release system, which makes it very easy to adjust the height of the saddle and the handle bars.
There is one small puncture kit included, which can be found in the pannier. In case a rental bike has another problem, we always advise you to go to a bike repair shop or call the bike breakdown emergency number which is provided in the travel documents when you book this extra service.
Saddles can be adjusted in height without using any tools, see ‘Quick Release’.
Our saddles don’t come with a gel cover.
Dutch Biketours does not provide water bottles. We can also not guarantee that there are bottle holders on the bikes. You will always receive 1x pannier, so you can always store your water bottle in your pannier.
A Tandem bike is € 20,00 a day.
We have a limited amount of tandem bikes available on request.
Tandem bikes are suitable for two adults only.
The tandem bikes have a frame size of 48 cm.
We mostly use the Victoria Spezial 8.7.
This tandem bike comes with 24-derailleur gears or nuvinci gears.
The height of the handle bars on a tandem bike cannot be adjusted.
A family tandem is €20,00 a day.
We have limited family tandem bikes available on request.
The family tandems have 7-gears and can be used for one adult and one child with a minimum body height of 125 cm.
A Tag-along bike is €6,00 a day.
A tag-along bike is a good option for children between approx. 100 cm and 125 cm, as they can pedal themselves and on their own pace but don’t have to worry about other traffic.
A child trailer is €17,50 a day.
Child trailers can be rented for a maximum of two children who are up to 100 cm (max. 35 KG in total).
We mostly use the XLC Duo 2 child trailer.
Child trailers are not possible in combination with e-bikes.
Mile after wonderful mile of untroubled cycling is what we would wish our clients. However there is a minimal chance of breakdown along the way. If this thought is a nagging worry to you, a Bicycle Breakdown Assistance insurance policy may ease your mind. If you buy this insurance from our partner FietsNED in advance, their service is as follows. If your bike breaks down by the roadside a FietsNED bicycle repair man will drive to you in his repair van and fix your bike so you can continue your tour.You won’t have to pay him repair costs. If you are cycling on your own bicycle you will be charged for any new spare parts your bike may require. If you are renting a bicycle through Dutch Bike Tours any new parts are at our expense. If it turns out the bicycle cannot be repaired on the spot, or if you don’t wish to continue cycling, the repairman can drop you off somewhere in his van. One companion plus bikes may join you in the van.
The Bike Breakdown Pass is €3,- per day per bike and can only be booked for every participant in a booking.
Do you wish to insure your bike against theft? The cost is € 3,- per day per standard hybrid bicycle.
For an electric bicycle, premium bike or racing bike: € 6,00 per day per bicycle.
Please see the General Terms and Conditions for Bicycle Hire and Insurance.
If a rental bike gets stolen or damaged, we will hold the client responsible.
If your insurance does not cover this event, you will have to pay the costs yourself.
Article 1 Bike Rental Price
The bike rental price is determined by the rates mentioned on the Dutch Bike Tours website at the time of the booking; or as subsequently agreed.
Article 2 Payment
a. The rental price and any other due sums regarding the rental agreement must be paid before the bike is handed over to you.
b. If, for whatever reason, you cannot make use of the bike(s) you have rented, Dutch Bike Tours will not be held responsible for any resulting expenses or damage.
c. In the case of the article 2b, the client remains obliged to pay the full rental price and any other amounts mentioned in the invoice, in accordance with our General Terms and Conditions of Booking, unless the client can prove that his not being able to use the bike was the consequence of a defect that was already present at the beginning of the rental period.
Article 3 Rental Period
a. The rental period runs from the morning of the first cycling day (day 2) to the end of the holiday (the departure day), as stated in the booking confirmation.
b. Extension of the rental period is possible only after approval by us and according to the (extension) rates as mentioned in article 1.
c. No refunds are possible after the rental period begins. If you return the bike(s) to us before the end of your holiday, the rental agreement will automatically be terminated and you will not get any of your money back.
d. At the end of the last cycling day of your holiday, the bike(s) must be returned to the hotel from where it was/they were issued, no later than the time stated in the booking confirmation.
If you book a one way tour tour you can leave the bike at the last hotel of the trip.
e. If the bike(s) is /are not returned by the return time stated in the booking confirmation, we will continue to charge you rent until such time as the bike(s) is/are returned to us or is/are received by us. In the event of late return, the rates as mentioned in article 1 will continue to apply, plus a fine of €25 per day. We also reserve the right to demand payment for any costs and/or damages suffered by us due to late return of our rental bike(s).
f. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, in the event of late return of our rental bikes, we reserve the right to dissolve the rental agreement without judicial intervention and immediately claim back our bicycles where ever they may be and from whomever has them. Dutch Bike Tours also holds this right in the event that the client does not comply with any of the other conditions stated in this rental agreement.
Article 4 Improper Use
a. The bicycle(s) may only be used for its/their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the rental agreement.
b. The bike(s) must be returned to us in the same (clean!) state in which you received it/them.
c. You must take excellent care of the bicycle(s), as if it/they were your own. You must take every precaution against damage, loss or theft.
d. The bicycle may not be used on the beach; or on sandy paths in the dunes unless a paved path is unavailable.
Article 5 Damage, Loss and Theft
The renter will be held responsible for damages to or loss of the bicycle(s) or parts of it, as well as bicycle keys and chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. You must understand that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.
Article 6 Theft Insurance
It is possible to purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance. Covered are: damages arising out of the theft of the bicycle; and damages to the bicycle as a consequence of the theft. Not covered are: theft of bicycle parts; and damages arising out of attempted theft.
Article 7 Theft Insurance Premium
a. The premium for Bicycle Theft Insurance is € 3,00 per day per standard hybrid bicycle. For an electric bicycle € 6,00 per day as well for a Premium bike and racing bike.
The number of insurance days is the same as the number of cycling days as stated in our booking confirmation.
Article 8 Liability in the Event of Theft
a. If you did not purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance from us before the start of the holiday, you will be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
b. If you did purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance from us, but you failed to lock the wheel lock and failed to produce the original wheel lock key and failed to produce an official theft report drawn up by the police, you will still be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
Article 9 Costs During the Rental Period
Any charges and taxes regarding the rental bicycle(s), such as fines and ferry tickets, are to be paid by you. You will also be required to pay all costs ensuing from the use of the bicycle(s) such as parking fees, maintenance and repairs.
4 nights included
4 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Detailed roadbooks with maps and tourist information
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Arnhem (Return from Zwolle)
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included
Car transport service from start location to end location possible.
Nearest Airports are Flughafen Düsseldorf (DUS) or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
The train from Dusseldorf to Arnhem departs 1 time per hour. Travel time is about 1.4 hours.
The train from Schiphol to Arnhem departs 4 times per hour. Travel time is a bit more then 1 hour. A single ticket costs approx €19,- per person excl. bicycles.
For timetables and tickets, go to www.ns.nl/en . For bus details, how to reach the hotel, check: www.9292.nl/en.
I had a great time discovering the beautiful cities along the IJssel. The route was beautiful, with forests, fields and towns that had a lot to offer in terms of culture, architecture and food. The beer was always satisfying at the end of the dat!