Between dunes, tulips and De Beemster
7 days / 6 nights | Round trips with individual bike rides
Discover North Holland and the island of Texel. Many of Holland’s highlights await on this cycling and hotel excursion: Dunes, windmills along the way, fields of tulips and the wonderful island of Texel. The old historical town of Alkmaar with the traditional cheese market takes you back to the golden age of the Netherlands. At the end of your tour, the “De Beemster“ polder landscape awaits you: with well-maintained windmills, the geometric network of paths and canals, delightful cycling routes on old dykes and richly decorated 17th century farmsteads. De Beemster has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. We recommend booking an extra night in Volendam so you can spend another day in Amsterdam. Overnight stays in 3***-4**** hotels
Level 1 (On a scale of 1 to 5)
Easy tour on flat cycle tracks and minor roads. The only ascents are small and short and are found only in the area of the dykes and bridges. Based on the cycling map you can shorten or extend the tours as you wish.
Day 1: Making your way to Volendam
Arrival from 2:00 p.m. at the hotel. You still have time to explore the surroundings by foot or bike, savour the view at one of the cafés in the harbour and then eat a delicious meal in one of the inviting restaurants.
Day 2: Volendam – Castricum | Cycling tour 47 km / 29 miles
After breakfast, you set off towards Volendam and encounter the first historical wind mill after only a few metres. You then pass through Volendam and cycle along the canal through the polder landscape to the gates of Pumerend. Soon, you have a sweeping view of the De Beemster polder landscape, one of the first drainage projects in the Netherlands. This polder is a prime example of how large parts of the expansive water areas were drained in the 17th century to create fertile grazing and arable land. The difference in height between the old and new land can be seen well from the dyke cycling routes. The landscape changes again to the Uitgeestermeer as you cycle directly along the sea. Via Uitgeest, you reach your hotel near the dunes. In the months of April and May, you can plunder the vibrant fields of tulips around Castricum.
Day 3: Castricum – Den Helder | Cycling tour 60 km / 37 miles
Today’s leg will take you parallel to the North Sea beach to the tip of North Holland by Den Helder. Continuing northward, you wind through a dune landscape through the bathing resorts Bergen an Zee, Callant and Petten. Beach cafés invite you to take a break with a view of the sea. You can dip your feet in the cool water, go for a swim or recharge your batteries with a delicious matie. Just before the tip of North Holland, you leave the dunes behind you and cycle to the town of Den Helder.
Tag 4: Den Helder – Den Helder. Texel | Cycling tour 67 km / 42 miles or 40 km / 25 miles
Today, you have the whole day to explore the island of Texel. From the hotel, you will ride to the ferry port by bike and then cross over to the island. You can determine the length of your bike trip on your own: For a longer tour, head through the forest south of the bathing resort De Koog, the varied dune landscapes and nature reserves up to the lighthouse or the equally spectacular and well- marked Thijsse route extending nearly 40 km through the dunes and the national park of Texel. The idyllic villages of Den Horn, De Waal or Oosterend take you back to a time when the island inhabitants lived from whaling and fishing. After the bike ride, it’s back to the Texel ferry harbour. Together with your bike, you cross over to the mainland. The old marine harbour In Den Helder is also worth a visit. In 2015, it was converted to a venue for art, culture and handicrafts, but is still home to a number of shipyards big and small. Overnight stay in Den Helder.
Tag 5 Den Helder – Alkmaar | Cycling tour 62 km / 39 miles
Now you head inland again. The North Holland Canal accompanies you for the first few kilometres until you cycle through the ponderland and old Dutch villages to Alkmaar. A variety of canals, meadows and windmills shape the landscape. Besides the historical market, the narrow streets along the canals, the cheese museum or the De Boom beer museum in Alkmaar are also worth a visit. On a canal cruise, you can explore the city from the water, and you can browse the shop and go shopping the both historical and hip narrow streets of the D’Oude Stad neighbourhood.
Day 6 Alkmaar – Volendam | Cycling tour 51 km / 32 miles
If you stay in Alkmaar from Thursday to Friday, a special highlight awaits you in the morning: At the traditional cheese market, (Fridays from 10 am – 1 pm) the tradition of cheese trade dating Back to the 17th / 18th century will be shown. The actors inspect, taste, weigh, and load the huge cheese loaves before the eyes of the countless visitors gathered on Waagplein (Scales Square).
On the Nord Holland Canal, you cycle out of Alkmaar to the Alkmaarmeer and into the „De Schermer“ polder landscape, which, together with „De Beemster“, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stop in the old town of De Rijp is also worthwhile. Charming wooden gables, the historical train bridge and stately town hall take you back to the 17th century. Just before arriving at this leg‘s destination, you reach the historical town of Edam boasting old Dutch architecture, a cheese market and beautiful gardens. Just a few kilometres further and you are back in Volendam.
Day 7: Departure after breakfast
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.