Please note: this tour begins on a cycling day. The tour operator recommends arriving a day early and booking an evening in Amsterdam.
Day 1: Zaandam – Egmond aan Zee (27 miles/44km)
The tour starts this morning at the Zaandam central train station (about 10 minutes by train from Amsterdam).
Zaandam is a town in the Zaanstreek, well known for the windmills at the Zaanse Schans, the chocolate and cookie factories, and the green wooden houses. The Zaanse Schans has a chocolate / cookie museum, cheese factory, clog production factory, and a lot of windmills, so this is a great area for families to visit! Afterwards you'll ride through lowlands, crossing waterways on a few small ferries (one even to be operated manually yourself).
The route passes the picturesque village of De Rijp with many lovely restaurants and bars, a perfect stop for a drink or a lunch. After De Rijp the route leaves the lowlands, and you will enter the coastal areas with some forest and sand dunes. Arrive to your hotel in the coastal village of Egmond aan Zee.
Overnight in Egmond aan Zee
Day 2: Egmond aan Zee – Alkmaar (17 miles/28km)
A relatively short ride gives you time to visit the beach today as long as weather conditions are fine. The first part of the ride is on the quiet coastal bike lane along the beach and by forest and sand dunes, arriving shortly to Bergen aan Zee. By forest areas the bike ride continues to the lovely village of Schoorl. Here you'll discover plenty of nice restaurants and the climbing dune. This unique sand dune is a wonderful playing area for children! The final part of today's route is by the chic village of Bergen to the historic town of Alkmaar. Alkmaar is a really beautiful, historic town with an impressive historic center.
Overnight in Alkmaar
Day 3: Alkmaar – Enkhuizen (31 miles/50km, with option to shorten by train)*
Today is a relatively long day, but not without some options. First, in Alkmaar each Friday morning, the weekly cheese market is interesting to see. From Alkmaar, you have a direct ride along lovely canals with a few windmills on the way to historic Hoorn (25km). Hoorn is a great town to stroll around. (*If you wish to shorten the day's distance, you could take a train from Alkmaar to Hoorn, approximately 25 minutes.)
For the second part of the day, you have 2 options. Option 1: bike on along the shores of Lake IJsselmeer to the harbor town of Enkhuizen (25km). Enkhuizen has a very interesting children's museum (Zuiderzee museum). The focus of this outdoor museum is the history of Holland and the struggle against the water. You can spend a whole day if you want!
Option 2: Before leaving Hoorn, you may visit the steam train museum. From Hoorn, take the historic steam train to Medemblik (you may take all bikes except tandems on the train). The train ride lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. Departure is at 10:40am (during summer, there may be additional departures). Upon arrival to Medemblik, a lovely, historic harbor village situated along the shores of Lake IJsselmeer, you'll also find a castle. The historic steam train from Hoorn to Medemblik is possible all days except Monday, so you may wish to plan your itinerary around this.
From Medemblik you'll enjoy a 22km bike ride along the shores of Lake IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen (same experience as direct bike ride Hoorn Enkhuizen).
Overnight in Enkhuizen
*We recommend booking an extra night in Enkhuizen for a rest day! Enkhuizen is a fishermen’s village with a rich history. Beautiful situated on the former Zuiderzee, now lake Ijsselmeer, with many beautiful monumental buildings and fortifications. If you stroll around the city center and harbor you will still breathe the atmosphere of the Golden Age. Spend a day with the family in the open-air museum "Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen," where you will find stories of the people living around the Zuiderzee alive. Zuiderzeemuseum Enkhuizen, located in more than a hundred and thirty authentic houses, shops and workshops, shows the history and culture of this unique region. Much attention is given to the past, present and future of the area in relation to such themes as water, traditional crafts and communities.
Day 4: Enkhuizen – Lemmer (21-26 miles/34-42km)
The tour crosses Lake IJsselmeer by ferry (1.5 hours). You will arrive in the quaint village of Stavoren in the Friesland province, a lovely province with lakes, canals, some forests, small villages and a lot of wildlife. Again, you have 2 options for the ride. The long ride, which passes lovely Sloten, is 42km, but you might appreciate a shortcut for only 34km. Your final destination is the fisherman village of Lemmer. In Lemmer, you have the largest still-operational steam-powered pumping station in the world, an UNESCO monument.
Overnight in Lemmer
Day 5: Lemmer – Giethoorn (27 miles/43km)
Today's ride goes from Lemmer to the nature reserve of the Wieden and Weerribben. This is a unique cane and swamp area with quiet bike lanes, unique nature, boat or canoe rentals, a visitor center, and the picturesque villages of Blokzijl and Dwarsgracht. Your destination for the day is Giethoorn, also known as the Dutch Venice. This is a must-see destination and a good spot for boating (guided boat options are possible).
Overnight in Giethoorn
Day 6: Giethoorn – Kampen (22 miles/35km)
Today is your final biking day. You'll cycle by the nature reserve, once again passing an enormous number of waterways, bridges, and lovely sites such as the village of Belt Schutsloot. Some of the lakes offer great swim locations. Leaving the park, it's just a small ride to the historic Hanseatic town of Kampen, a beautiful town along the IJssel river with a very nice center to stroll around.
Overnight in Kampen
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast, check out and return to Amsterdam by train (approximately 1.5 hours).