It also has a stunning mix of heritage rich towns, beautiful coastline, picture postcard countryside and maritime history especially in north Holland where this tour takes place.
Amsterdam, Haarlem, Zaandam, Edam and Volendam are among our all time favourite cities – each unique and brimming with that typical old Dutch character. We have decided to combine them for the ultimate cultural bike holiday. Discover how rural and quiet the countryside can be where windmills, bulb flower fields (in spring!) and polders take the spotlight. More than half of this landscape has been reclaimed from the sea leaving a maze of dykes, locks and colourful waterways and bridges.The tour leads to the dunes on the North Sea coast and the islands and historic villages on the coast of the former Zuiderzee now Lake IJsselmeer. And then there's Amsterdam - a highlight in itself, but you will discover many more on this holiday.
Day to Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Haarlem.
Arrive in Haarlem and settle into the Lion D'Or Hotel - a 19th Century town house in the heart of the city. Check out your cycling equipment and then soak up the old Dutch charm of this achingly pretty city. The cobbled streets are lined with historic buildings and grand churches and museums with plenty of antiques shops and cafes to tempt you.
Day 2: Haarlem to Zaandam. 22 miles (35 km).
Your cycling today takes you through tulip fields, a riot of colour in April and May and through a National Park to the seaside with its dunes and beaches where you touch the coast and pause for a while. Crossing the North Sea Canal by ferry - just 10 minutes, you pedal north through a quiet landscape of windmills and meadows to arrive in Zaandam, a city with a historic centre. Your overnight stay is in Hotel de Vijf Broers on the banks of the Zaan river, overlooking the water meadows. What a view to relax with!
Day 3: Zaandam to Edam. 22 miles (35 km).
Pedal through Zaanse Schans and wonder at the beauty of the windmills and houses remaining here from the 17th Century when literally thousands of windmills powered saws in the vicinity of Zaandam. Typically green and of wood, they are a fine sight. Cycling on through a traditional polder landscape of narrow dykes and bridges you can stop enroute at a workshop to see clogs being made. Your overnight stay is in the utterly charming town of Edam. Brimming with half timbered houses, the town still hosts a colourful cheese market when large rounds of cheese are shunted around by locals.You stay in the wonderful boutique Dam Hotel a few yards from the central canal.
Day 4: Edam to Muiderberg. 22 miles (36 km).
Today is fun riding (again !) as you reach the shores of Lake Ijsselmeer, formerly the Zuider Zee and discover Volendam where ships wonderfully old and new tie up. Don't miss the notable and delicious delicacy of smoked eel and then head for the short ferry crossing to the former island of Marken. Now connected to the mainland by a causeway, the peninsula is well known for its traditional wooden houses. Further south along the coast you reach the small fishing village of Monnickendam and tiny Durgerdam and then there's a treat in store at Muiden with its well preserved castle dating back to the Middle Ages. Your overnight stay is not far away at Hotel het Rechthuis in Muiderberg.
Day 5: Muiderberg to Amsterdam. 13 or 22 miles (20 or 35 km).
There's a choice of routes to Amsterdam, with the longer ride taking in the Vecht and Amstel rivers. Either way, its an easy but fascinating pedal into the heart of this outstanding city whose 17th Century canals are World Heritage listed. Cycling is the best way to see the city and to mingle with the locals. Bike paths thread over and along the canals, through alleys, parks, and markets to the Royal Palace, Anne Frank's house and the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum - just two of the fifty museums on offer. Packed with history and yet full of contemporary flair, this is an exciting city to explore. Your hotel is The Arthur Frommer which is centrally located with a unique Dutch charm.
Day 6: Amsterdam to Haarlem. 19 miles (30 km).
Your last day of cycling leads you west out of Amsterdam through parks and gardens dotted with sculptures and fountains. Pass through a wetland area of floating canal houses at Lange Bretten, spot the falcons and listen to the silence, before arriving back in Haarlem. Your hotel is the Lion D'Or once again, where you are well placed to take a last stroll through typical old Dutch character.
Day 7: Depart Haarlem.
Enjoy Haarlem and depart at your leisure.
Supplemental Tour Information:
Start & finish: Starts daily from 1 April to 1 October and is circular from Haarlem. Haarlem is 40 minutes by direct bus from Amsterdam Schipol airport and just 15 minutes by very regular train from the centre of Amsterdam.
The tour has a very relaxed itinerary which coupled with its traffic free cycling makes it an ideal choice for families.
Accommodation: 4 star hotels in the heart of Haarlem and Zaandam and 3 star hotels in Edam, Muiderberg and Amsterdam. All the hotels are very individual and stylish and provide a continental breakfast. Dinner (3 courses) is included for 3 nights in Zaandam, Edam and Muiderberg.
Cycling mileage: 5 days of cycling 13 - 22 miles (20 - 36 km) per day . Bike hire is included.
Grade out of 5 based on distance and elevation: 1.
Traffic free: 95%.
Extend the tour with additional nights in Amsterdam or any of the stops enroute. £75 per person per night.
Car parking in Haarlem £60 per week.
Airfare is not included in the tour price.
Breakfast every day during the tour.
The services of our friendly hosts to coordinate your travel and brief you on your route.
Emergency support provided by your host.
Luggage transfers between hotels.
A tour brochure.
Safeguarding of your payment.
Travel to and from the tour start and finish points.
Entrances to attractions unless specified.
Meals pre and post the tour.
All prices are subject to change depending on accommodation availability.
About This Supplier
Joined InfoHub: Mar 2007
Authentic travels by bike and on foot in the UK, France, Italy, Holland, Austria, Greece, Spain and the Baltics. Gentle and not so gentle tours available from one day upwards - self led or guided. Hand picked accommodation and a very personal service. Classic tours have carefully chosen attractive inns, individual...
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