Ijsselmeer Round: Self-Guided

This 8 day/ 7 night tour is one of the most varied and relaxing cycling vacations possible in Holland. Imagine cycling through five provinces in 6 days. Discover historic, cozy and picturesque IJsselmeer towns, such as Nunspeet, Purmerend, Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Stavoren, Kampen and Zwartsluis, mostly following the winding dike that separates the north west of Holland from the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer, formerly known as the South Sea, is now enclosed by the Afsluitdijk (Barrier Dam). A scenic 1.5 hour ferry ride takes you across the IJsselmeer from Enkhuizen to Stavoren in Friesland. Enjoy the views over Western Europe’s largest bird sanctuary and explore the Weerribben Nature Reserve by bike. You’ll stay in comfortable, mostly 3-star accommodations on this tour.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Nunspeet
Arrive at your leisure today to a pleasant hotel in Nunspeet, a town located in the middle of the “Veluwe”, the picturesque “highland” (above sea level) in the center of the Netherlands! Nunspeet is often called the “Pearl of the Veluwe” because of its proximity to the handsome old farms, fertile green meadowland and woods in the area. At the hotel you’ll receive detailed maps, route descriptions and your comfortable, seven speed rental bike sufficient for Holland’s flat terrain.

Day 2: Nunspeet – Amersfoort – 37 miles (60 km)
Dutch vacationers love to cycle in the Veluwe – one of the most picturesque areas of Holland! They treasure the forests and heather fields, the thatched roofed cottages and small farms, the castles that remind them of their history! It is amazing that you can find all this natural beauty a mere 60 miles from Amsterdam! You’ll arrive today in Amersfoort, a town that has kept its medieval character and where history is still alive. It is a small city and all sights can be seen in one afternoon. You’ll have time to walk through the cozy streets inside the former city walls before dinner. It is also a perfect place for some shopping.

Day 3: Amersfoort – Purmerend – 43 miles (70 km)
Your first stop today is in Naarden, a perfectly preserved example of a star fort, complete with fortified walls and a moat. The walls and the moat have been restored and are in a very good condition. The fortress has six bastions, a double wall and double canals. It is easy to walk along the ramparts. After your visit you’ll bike on to cross the Schellingwoude bridge and you enter a landscape full of water and bird life. You will be following the sea dike through very pretty villages with colorful wooden houses to the former island of Marken. In Marken many age old traditions, such as its national costume, have been preserved. You can visit the Marken Museum or just stroll around in this lovely village. From here you can either take the ferry to Volendam or bike to Volendam over the dike, visiting historic Monnickendam, another lovely fishing village, on your way. Then, in the watery landscape of the province of North Holland you’ll reach your destination for the night, the 4 star Golf Hotel in Purmerend.

Day 4: Purmerend – Enkhuizen – 34 miles (55 km)
This morning cycle to Edam, a town most prominently known for its round, red cheeses. Edam also prides itself on the 178 buildings that are officially listed as monuments. Take a walk along the canals and enjoy the views, the high bridges, richly decorated gables and, of course, sample the tasty Edam cheese. 80 million of these chesses are produced annually in the Netherlands. After some biking on the dike you will arrive in Hoorn, one of the largest harbors for the trade with the East and West Indies in the 17th century. Hoorn’s architecturally wonderful town center seems to consist of nothing but marvelous monuments. Later continue to Enkhuizen, another important 17th century seaport, almost as beautiful as Hoorn.

Day 5: Enkhuizen – Stavoren – Harich/Lemmer – 22 or 25 miles (35 or 40 km)
After breakfast you’ll take the 8:30 AM ferry with your bike and luggage to Stavoren. You need about 2.5 hours to bike from Stavoren to Harich or Balk, both small villages in Gaasterland, the wooded part of the province of Friesland.

Day 6: Harich/Lemmer – Zwartsluis – 31 or 38 miles (50 or 62 km)
From Rijs the winding sea dike takes you to the Nature Reserve ‘Weerribben’. This area was created through human effort, cutting peat which was used as fuel and by growing reed. The peat was dried on long strips of land, called ‘ribs’. The stretches of water in between are ‘weren’, hence the name ‘Weerribben”. The moorlands, crossed by the cycle paths you are using, are rich in flora and bird-life and is one of the most important botanical regions of NW Europe. Stop for coffee in the quaint little village of Blokzijl to visit the old ramparts as it was once a fortified town. From here you‘ll bike on to Zwartsluis, a former fortress and today the ‘place to be’ for water sport lovers.

Day 7: Zwartsluis – Nunspeet – 32 miles (52 km)
The most interesting place on the way to Nunspeet this morning is Kampen. The town was given city rights in the year 1230 as a member of the Hanseatic League. Kampen has two theological colleges and a training school for the theater. Four majestic gates give access to the attractive town center that has been preserved in excellent condition. There are actually 500 monuments in Kampen to admire. Your biking continues along the Randmeer, the water separating the old country from the new Flevoland polder. You’ll pass through the village of Noordeinde and then are back in the Veluwe landscape traveling to Nunspeet.

Day 8: Nunspeet: The tour ends after breakfast.

Getting There

You will arrive at your leisure at your Nunspeet hotel. From Amsterdam or Schiphol Airport take the train to Amersfoort and then to Nunspeet. Trains run every half-hour. From the train station in Nunspeet you can walk (5 minutes) to the first hotel. You will receive detailed directions after full payment.

Meals

Daily Breakfast is included.

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar under “Self-Guided Tours”

Tour Length

8 days/7 nights

Included
      – Accommodations in very nice 3 and 4-star hotels; all rooms with private facilities; swimming pool in Zwartsluis hotel
      – 7-speed bikes with cycle bags, pump, lock, and repair kit
      – Daily breakfast
      – Daily luggage transportation (Luggage transportation is limited to one suitcase or bag per person not heavier than 20 kilos.)
      – Detailed route descriptions and maps
      – Emergency phone number 7 days a week
    *Please Note: A local tourist tax of 2 euros per person per night will have to be paid in each individual hotel on departure!
Bicycles

Included in the tour price are hybrid 7-speed bikes in excellent condition and sufficient for the terrain. They include cycle bags, pump, lock, and repair kit.

Level of Difficulty

Daily cycling distances are 23-41 miles on flat terrain and on mostly separate bike paths. Level of Difficulty is easy.

Excluded

– Airfare
– Ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren (about 15 euros)
– Alcoholic and bar beverages
– Lunches, dinners

Weather

Holland is close to the North Sea and has a moderate sea climate. Average daytime temperatures in April range from 55-65F, in May it starts to get a little warmer. From June-September, temperatures range from 55-70. Rainfall is about 10 days per month.

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