Hotel Cycling Holiday: Duinhotel Burgh Haamstede in Zeeland
6 days / 5 nights
Discover Zeeland province on your bicycle using Duin Hotel near the village of Burgh- Haamstede as your home base. Duin Hotel is in a blissfully peaceful location: in the dunes, 30 minutes' walk from the beach. If what you are looking for is peace, then look no further. Zeeland province on the south-western coast of the Netherlands is a promise of wind, water, sunshine and solitude. Your home base is on a lovely island called Schouwen-Duiveland. A stupendous beach and windswept dunes dominate the western point whilst the rest of the island is rural with scattered villages and a delightful historical town called Zierikzee, a real treasure. If you are interested in the Netherlands' continuing battle against the water, you may like to know that our bike route takes you right across two of the sea barriers that make up the world-famous Delta Works.
Highlights: Castle Haamstede, sandy beaches of Zeeland, Oosterschelde Delta Works, Ouddorp, Old town Zierikzee
Day 1: Arrival in Burgh-Haamstede
Parking at the hotel is free and does not require a reservation. If you are travelling by public transport please note that the train will get you only as far as Rotterdam or Middelburg. There is a regular bus service to Burgh-Haamstede for the last leg of your journey. The "airport" in the vicinity of the hotel is used as a take-off runway for gliders. There's no noise nuisance, only a slight whirring sound.
Day 2: Noord-Beveland, Walcheren (Cycling 56 km / 35 miles)
Today you will cross the Oosterschelde sea-arm riding atop the Storm Surge Barrier. The sixty-two steel gates in the barrier are nearly always open, letting in seawater, but can be closed if a big storm is brewing to protect the hinterland from flooding. Designing and building this Storm Surge Barrier (1986) was an extraordinary feat of hydraulic engineering, the jewel in the crown of the thirteen Delta Works that have safeguarded Zeeland from deadly storms.
Catch a ferry to the isle of Walcheren. The picturesque village of Veere (1296) is a good place to have a fine lunch of locally caught seafood. Originally a fishing port, it soon started to prosper thanks to shipping and trade. For centuries there were close ties with Scotland: trading relations and even royal relations. Veere had sole rights to import and trade Scottish goods in the Netherlands. In return the Scots were granted all kinds of privileges in the town of Veere. Can you find their traces? If you have a sweet tooth, visit the traditional sweet shop to purchase Zeeuwse Babbelaars, typical for Zeeland.
Day 3: Schouwen-Duiveland (Cycling 45 km / 28 miles)
Today you will go on a tour of the isle of Schouwen-Duiveland. Your first stop is Slot Haamstede, which encompasses a moated (haunted!) castle, a country estate, woods and a nature reserve grazed by Shetland ponies. Then set course for Renesse, well-loved for its beautiful beaches. Sit down at one of the charming beach pavilions for a well-earned cup of coffee and a big piece of apple tart. Subsequently, a ride through tranquil countryside will lead to the Eastern Scheldt sea-arm.
Back in twin villages Burgh and Haamstede, there is yet more to see. Museum De Burghse Schoole, in an 1843 school building, is open most afternoons. One room has been turned back into an old-fashioned class room, perfect in every detail. In the other room there's a permanent exhibition explaining all about the origins of Burgh.
Day 4: Goeree-Overflakkee (Cycling 59 km / 37 miles)
Cross 6 km Brouwers Dam to the isle of Goeree-Overflakkee. The dam is part of the Delta Works and separates Lake Grevelingenmeer from the North Sea. There is no tide or current in the lake so the water is very clear. A sluice was built into the dam to let seawater into the lake ensuring the continuation of mussel and oyster farming. Ouddorp village attracts holiday makers and water sports enthusiasts. Sit down at one of the many pavement cafes and ask for "bolus", tender cinnamon pastry covered in sticky syrup, a Zeeland speciality. Some bakeries still sell "palingbroodje". It's like a sausage roll only it's filled with eel (fish) instead of sausage. It's a Zeeland speciality traditionally eaten warm, on special occasions, with a cup of tea. On Goeree attempts are being made to give parts of the land back to nature as you will see when you continue today's bicycle route.
Day 5: Schouwen – Zierikzee (Cycling 55 km / 34 miles)
If you like, you could dedicate this day to visiting Zierikzee, one of the cultural highlights of this holiday. Five hundred and sixty-eight lovingly restored monuments still stand today, for all to admire. Try one of the city walks and keep your camera at the ready. Maritiem Museum recounts stories of the town's seafaring and trading glory days. It is housed in the former prison. From mid-July to the end of August a ferry can take you from Zierikzee back to Burgh-Haamstede. Should you prefer, you could opt to use this last day to visit Delta Park Neeltje Jans, a top tourist attraction. At the centre of the park is the Delta Expo which explains everything you ever wanted to know about the Delta Works designed to prevent a repeat of the catastrophic 1953 floods. In Topshuis you can find an exhibition on Oosterschelde National Park. There's also a saltwater aquarium, a sea lion show, a playground, an amazing water slide and more. You will find Delta Park Neeltje Jans halfway across the Storm Surge Barrier Oosterscheldekering.
Day 6: After breakfast, it's time to leave the hotel.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.