Westmünsterland and Holland
Castles and moors in the green border region
8 days / 7 nights | Self-guided cycling tours
The fascinating border region of Münsterland, Twente and the County of Bentheim are characterised by their diverse landscape featuring heather, hedgerows, forests and moors. You cycle through the riverscapes of Dinkel and Vechte as well as along historical smuggling routes, now transformed into delightful cycling routes that guide you through green natural surroundings. Gaze in awe at some of the most beautiful castles and palaces in Münsterland such as Bentheim Castle, House Welbergen or the Ahaus moated palace. In Ootmarsum, you will discover the charm of a Dutch artists‘ village. Flamingos can be spotted in the Zwillbrocker Venn ecological area up until July; when late summer arrives, the heather landscape then erupts in vibrant colour. You‘ll also encounter unique gardens and parks like the Steinfurter Bagno and the delightful Kreislehrgarten along the way. At the end of the tour, you will climb the gentle Baumberge hills. Your bike ride begins in Münster, home to the „Peace of Westphalia“ where the Netherlands gained its independence. Alternatively, you can start in Enschede, the green university city. The bike and hotel trip combines relaxing cycling tours through nature and the landscape with plenty of stops at exciting places where you can discover the region‘s natural treasures, culture and history.
Day 1: Arrival in Münster
Check-in at the hotel and option to visit the nearby city centre. At Prinzipalmarket with its gabled houses, the village square, and on the green Promenadenring you will get your first glance of this charming city.
Day 2: Münster – Steinfurt: Park landscape and horticultural art (Cycling 43 km / 27 miles)
Along the Dortmund-Ems Canal, you reach the Rieselfelder European bird sanctuary with ponds, sedge fields and open meadows for Heck cattle. You then continue on through delightful forests and green meadows to Nordwalde. Along the way, you‘ll reach Bispinghof, a farmstead from the 12th century and former official court of the Bishop of Münster. A Baroque organ that is over 2000 years old awaits in the St. Dionysius Church. Then it‘s on the Borghorst district. Take some time to visit the Bagno park with the historical concert hall and the unique beauty of the Kreislehrgarten. Or walk to the castle grounds in the old town.
Day 3: Steinfurt – Schüttorf: Manor houses and castles (Cycling 44 km / 28 miles)
Today, the tour will take you past the Steinfurt moated palace, the House Welbergen moated castle and Bentheim castle all the way to Schüttorf. Today, you start at the Bagno Buchenberg and then winder through the park landscape to the picturesque castle and garden grounds of Haus Welbergen in the woods by Ochtrup. The pottery
museum in Ochtrup, which is located in a historical farmer‘s townhouse, charts the tradition of the pottery trade. After a short climb, you can reach Castle Bentheim in the town of Bad Bentheim. The castle is considered one of the largest and most beautiful castle complexes in Northwest Germany and is a so-called ‚hill castles‘. The last leg is a relaxing downhill ride to Schüttorf.
Day 4: Schüttdorf– Oldenzaal: Vechtetal (Cycling 58 km / 36 miles)
Today, you start by cycling from the hotel through the valley of the winding Vechte to the German-Dutch border by Denekamp. The route takes you to Ootmarsum, a charming artists‘ village with cafés, cobble stone roads, beautiful gardens, and galleries. Art lovers can visit the Ton Scholten Museum. You will cycle on to Hulsbeek Park where your hotel is located. After checking in, it is worth the short ride to Oldenzaal, viewing the St.-Plechelmus Basilica and enjoying a relaxing end to an eventful day.
Day 5: Oldenzaal – Across and along the border – Enschede (Cycling 58 km / 36 miles)
First you‘ll cycle through the town of Oldenzaal to the Lutterzand, a delightful protected ecological area. The light woodland extends through the rugged valley of the Dinkel river, which still retains its natural meandering course. You then continue on along the border on old smuggling trails towards the once flourishing textile town of Gronau. From Gronau, you cycle through the green properties of the Hooge Boekel manor towards Enschede, a university town with plenty of possibilities for shopping, not to mention a vibrant night-life.
Day 6: Enschede – Witte, Haaksberger and Zwillbrocker Veen: Mysterious moors – Ahaus (Cycling 60 km / 37 miles)
Today, you start by cycling through the Witte Veen, a sprawling moor and heather area extending across the border with charming border stones made of Bentheim sandstone from the 18th century. You then continue south to Haaksberger Veen, one of the most beautiful moor areas in the Netherlands. You then bike across the border to „Zwillbrocker Venn“, which is known for its flamingo colony and herds of moor sheep. The Biological Station informs visitors about nature conservation and the rich biodiversity of this one-of-a-kind landscape. After experiencing nature to its fullest, you will reach your hotel in the charming town of Ahaus.
Day 7: Ahaus – Münster (Cycling 67 km / 42 miles)
(short 46 km / 29 miles or 34 km / 21 miles)
The first leg, the Ahauser Aa, takes you through the farming villages to the moated castle of Engelborg by Legden. Part of the down town of Legden features old half-timbered buildings of the former Asbeck monastery. Then it‘s on through the forest and fields past Palace Valar to Billerbeck. The Berkel river will guide you to the historical old town. Delightful half-timbered buildings alongside historical craftsman‘s buildings are grouped in Billerbeck around the St. Johanniskirche (church). In Billerbeck, you can take the train back to Münster shortening the trip by 30 kilometres. The Longinus Tower awaits behind Billerbeck offering a spectacular view of the Münsterland and your milestone Münster. In Havixbeck, you once again have the chance to shorten your trip. If you decide to continue riding, three highlights await: Castle Hülshoff, House Rüschhaus and Münster Castle. The green Promenadenring takes take you back to the Hotel in Münster.
Day 8: Münster
End of the tour after breakfast