There is no happier cyclist than a Dutch cyclist. This is not only because The Netherlands is mainly flat, but also because the Dutch enjoy the most extensive cycle network in the world. Whether you are a novice cyclist, want to give children a safe and fun cycling experience, want to do some serious mileage or want to embark on a study trip to experience the Dutch cycling infrastructure, our book will cater for you!
The guidebook features six rides in and around Amsterdam; a great first introduction to cycling in The Netherlands. These routes, with a variety of route lengths to cater for all abilities, are designed to take you away from the overcrowded Amsterdam “tourist trap” and main traffic corridors, showing the great Dutch capital at its best.
If you are ready for some cycle touring (cycling from one accommodation to the next), join us on our Randstad Circle route, taking you to many Holland Highlights. The Randstad is Holland’s central urban zone with an amazing route variety. With the Green Heart at its centre, urban and rural are never far away.
The Netherlands is so much more than just Amsterdam and Holland. Our guidebook treats the true cycling explorer on three more fantastic routes, heading north, east and south, treating you with a further variety of landscapes and attractions.
300 listed facilities include bike rentals, bike shops, B&Bs, hotels, hostels and campsites. Additional chapters about the history of the Dutch cycling culture and the unique Dutch cycle route system make this book a must for anyone who loves cycling!
What you’ll see (Netherlands)
The Amsterdam routes take you on the best cycle routes in the World Heritage historic canal belt and explore the flow of the River Amstel, Vondelpark and the Amsterdam Forest. Landmark icons such as the Rijksmuseum cycle tunnel, the traditional trading ship ‘Amsterdam’, Anne Frank House and the Olympic Stadium can all be found on the routes. Leaving the city boundaries, you can explore Amstelland and Waterland via its patchwork of scenic waterways, superb Muiderslot Castle, World Heritage Sea Fort Pampus and Zaanse Schans windmill reserve.
A main feature of the circular Randstad ‘Holland Highlights’ route is the tarmac cycling highway through the sand dune reserves of the Dutch coast, providing continuous access to Holland’s sandy beaches. An intriguing waterway is the sleepy Vecht River, where the merchants of the Dutch Golden Age built their country estates. Haarlem, Utrecht, Gouda and Delft all have lovely medieval town/city centres, with scenic canals and great shopping opportunities. The city of The Hague features world-class museums. Of course, you’ll also see the tulip fields and the Unesco Kinderdijk windmills.
The Randstad ‘Holland Highlights’ route can be further extended with three more cycle touring routes. Heading north, you can cycle across Lake IJsselmeer to Flevoland, the largest reclaimed island of the world. Heading east, you can enter the forests of Utrecht Ridge National Park, taking you to the River Rhine and into the hills close to the German border. Heading south, you’ll cycle the largest flood barriers of the world and great coastal sand dune reserves with more fine beaches.
How you could do it (Netherlands)
The guidebook features 1,064 kms (656 miles) of routes, so you can truly have up to three weeks of cycling fun, all within one holiday or spread out over three memorable week trips! The routes in the book have full connectivity with all main Dutch ferry ports, Amsterdam Airport and many major railway stations. This allows you to start cycling straight away, whether you arrive by plane, ferry or train.
All Amsterdam routes start and end at Amsterdam Central Station, allowing you to make easy day trips from one base. These six routes have various lengths with individual sections to be combined as you please. One of the routes also takes you from/to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The Amsterdam routes combined provide 232 kms (143 miles) of cycling fun.
Our 337 kms (208 miles) circular Randstad ‘Holland Highlights’ route also starts and ends in Amsterdam and it also links with all ferry ports to/from the United Kingdom, so you can also start/end the circle there. If you wish to stay in Amsterdam only, you can also cycle route sections by taking bikes on trains for the day. This circle can normally easily be cycled in a week or so, with about three hours of relaxed cycling per day.
The addidional longer distance routes north, east and south all link with the Randstad Circle route (and thus with Amsterdam). Away from one transfer by train, these routes could form a continuous route from Amsterdam to Hook of Holland, with a total length of 428 kms (264 miles). An experienced cycle tourer happy to cycle 5-6 hours per day would normally need four days to complete this full itinerary.
So whether you’d like to cycle in and around Amsterdam for a few days, whether you’d like to experience the best of Holland with a cycling touring holiday of a week or so or want to enjoy a longer truly exploring holiday of two weeks or more, the guidebook caters for all these wishes. There are plenty of concepts and ideas in the book to do all this with your own or rented bikes and all types of accommodation budget.
Route updates and more
Travelling to The Netherlands – by plane: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the main hub for international travel in The Netherlands. Bringing a bicycle on a plane requires you to take off the pedals, to turn the handle bars and to pack the bicycle in a cardboard box. Our guidebook includes a route from/to the terminal to our route network in Amsterdam. For your return journey home, it will be good to know that bicyce boxes are available for sale at the airport.
Travelling to The Netherlands – by ferry: When travelling from the United Kingdom, you’ll find the ferries from Harwich, Hull and Newcaste all connecting to the routes in our guidebook. Taking a bicycle on the ferry is much cheaper as taking a car, so truly consider leaving your car at the UK ferry port.
Travelling to The Netherlands – by train: International trains such as Eurostar (London-Brussels-Amsterdam), Thalys (Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam), ICE (Frankfurt-Cologne-Amsterdam) have very limited spaces for bicycles, so check with the operators whether you can bring your own bike or not. The Berlin-Hannover-Amsterdam train has a great carriage featuring seating for yourself and your bicycle, reservations are mandatory. International train stations directly on our route are Amsterdam Central, The Hague Central, Utrecht Central and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. There are also some local international train services from Belgium and Germany to The Netherlands, such as Antwerp-Roosendaal, Liège-Maastricht, Düsseldorf-Venlo and Leer-Groningen. These do not connect to our routes, so you’ll need an additional local service to get to our routes. Dutch trains take bicycles for an extra fee and reservations are compulsory, see www.ns.nl.
Facility Listings: For your choice of accommodation on the way, please use our facility listings featuring hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, hostels, bunkhouses, campsites and bike repair shops. We did a lot of research to provide you with the best choices relevant for the route. Only local businesses with professional standards are listed. All facilities are either directly on or close to the route. We have omitted venues that require membership (YHA excepted) or a stay of minimum two nights. Also, campsites not allowing tents are naturally not listed!
Route updates: Things do change; routes do get improved or are shut down! Venues come and go as well and our eyes can’t be anywhere. When cycling the route, have your eyes out for changes and report these to us. We keep a PDF available for you to download prior to cycling the route. You can here download the updates for this route: Download Route Updates Amsterdam and The Netherlands.
From 2017 until 2021 we didn’t feature a guest book on our website. Be the first to add a new review in 2022!
Tom, UK (imported from guest book 2016) –
We have recently returned from a family cycling holiday in the Netherlands, following the circular route in your guidebook, and my wife and I wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you, and commend you, on such an excellent book. We caught the overnight ferry from Newcastle to IJmuiden, and took two weeks tootling around the route, with a few rest days thrown in, along with our 8 year old son, and 6 year old daughter (on a tag-a-long). The Netherlands is such a wonderful place for cycling, and everyone we bumped into was so friendly. We used “Vrienden Op De Fiets” a few nights, and they were all excellent. The route you have chosen was superb – beautiful quiet lanes and villages, but also the large cities. The directions were so easy to follow, and the additional points of interest of great use. Thank you again – it’s a holiday that we’ll all remember forever.
Jane, Edinburgh, UK (imported from guest book 2016) –
Our son Jonah is going to be studying in Rotterdam so I was searching the web for cycling ideas when we visit. Found your web site and have just ordered the guide, can’t wait for it to arrive. We have done a little bit of cycling in Holland before round the Delta project but I am looking forward to more adventures. Many thanks for your hard work putting it together.
David, UK (imported from guest book 2015) –
Having just returned from a cycling holiday in Holland mainly following the route described in your guidebook I just wanted to let you know I found the instructions and accompanying maps very precise and easy to follow and an excellent introduction to cycling in Holland. Thank you!
David, Stourbridge, UK (imported from guest book 2015) –
Many thanks for sending your book so quickly. I am very impressed with the content, structure and design and I very much look forward to cycling the suggested main route.
Pete, Nottinghamshire, UK (imported from guest book 2015) –
I just want to thank you for a fantastic route. The book is great and the GPS tracks took the worry out of navigation allowing us to focus on sight seeing. I used your GPS tracks as a basis for mapping my own tracks so that in my Garmin they were saved as ‘Day 1’, ‘Day 2’ etc, which matched our itinerary. I took my 77 year old father and it’s the first time we’ve been cycle touring carrying all our gear. We stayed mainly in hostels (‘Stayokay’) which are very good value for money and had 7 days of cycling. We did the main circular route (starting and finishing at Europoort [Hull ferry], the circular route around Amsterdam (beautiful on a sunny Sunday morning) and the northern spur to Enkhuizen (catching the train back to Amsterdam – a gale force head wind all the way made that a tough day!). We were blown away by just how fantastic the cycling infrastructure is and how courteous drivers are to cyclists. We thoroughly enjoyed it, helped by great weather, and would recommend it to anyone. Once again thanks for a great route.
Dominic, UK (imported from guest book 2015) –
Thanks for the book came real quick, I had a bit of a flick through and looks great look forward to sitting down on the weekend and having a better look at it, all the best!
Dave, Suffolk, UK (imported from guest book 2015) –
Just returned from a Dutch trip with 3 cycle touring newcomers. Completed the route from the Hook – Haarlem-Amsterdam- Utrecht-Gouda-Hook. A varied, enjoyable and interesting route all the way. The book and GPS tracks worked faultlessly especially on the exit from Utrecht through the new development where my maps showed only green fields. Had I absorbed the route updates better we would have saved a bit of head scratching around Delft Railway station and the N213/N220 junction. Although both of these are now passable, the latter by a huge temporary cycle flyover with diversion signs in place. The book and GPS made my life easier and took us to places I would not of thought of going to, everybody enjoyed the trip and are keen to do another one. Thanks and regards.
David, Seattle, USA (imported from guest book 2015) –
Just wanted to let you know I received the book you sent to my hotel in Amsterdam a few weeks ago. We did the entire Amsterdam trip, and loved it! Your suggestions for a route that largely avoids trafficked streets made a tremendous difference for my son, who was apprehensive about riding in the city. Thanks again!
Ted, Dorset, UK (imported from guest book 2014) –
I ordered your book on Tuesday. It arrived Thursday morning. I finished it by mid-afternoon. The format, the graphics, the maps, the information and the general tone of the book are all absolutely excellent. Fantastic value for money. The only downside is that it is so detailed, I can’t spend half the winter researching and planning my holiday – you’ve done it for me! One question: do Dutch trains carry tandems? Thanks again for a great guidebook!
Ann, The Netherlands (imported from guest book 2014) –
Many thanks for the quick dispatch, as well as the additional materials! I was excited to stumble across your site and resources, not only for my dad in the USA, but also for myself as I live in the Netherlands.
Richard, Leeds, UK (imported from guest book 2014) –
Just back from completing the circular route from Cycling in the Netherlands, it was a fantastic trip. The book was excellent the instructions were very good and combined with a Garmin cycle satnav we had no real problems. Whats a cycle tour anyway if you don’t get yourself lost sometime! The Dutch are so friendly and helpful if you at a map or are stopped looking at signs someone will stop and ask if you want help. One guy cycled several kilometers out of his way to make sure we found the right way. There is currently a major diversion in Delft to Hook of Holland. We want to go back and complete some of the other routes. We are converts to Dutch cycling!
Tim, Milton Keynes, UK (imported from guest book 2014) –
Just a quick note to congratulate you on the Netherlands cycling guide that I bought form you. Everything about it was first class, from the format, to the routes. I hope to get some of these rides under my belt in the coming months/years. I had a great ride with one of my daughters, from Amsterdam to Marken island and back. Certainly have the bug for Dutch cycling now. Thanks again.
Kent, Surrey, UK (imported from guest book 2013) –
I’m not an infrequent visitor to Holland, but your advice about riding here is spot on for visiting cyclists. I bought your guide and have already followed a number of routes. We like the Amstel River to Amsterdamse Bos to Central Station loop. We are looking forward to more!
Jane, UK (imported from guest book 2013) –
I like the fact that there are directions from the 3 ports so you can get off the ferry, get on your bike and begin your holiday. Also the author gives a plug to the little known (in the UK anyway) Vrienden op the Fiets (Friends of the Bicycle), an excellent organisation which has provided us with B+Bs on our recent cycling holiday in the Netherlands. The book has certainly inspired me to go cycling in the Netherlands again.
Joe, Cambridge, UK (imported from guest book 2013) –
Just back from Holland, having following a fair portion of the Randstad circular route. We ended up leaving it for a few days (seeing friends in Dordrecht) but really enjoyed the sections we did – athough it took about a day to get used to the direction, we got very lost in the Hague! Great book!
Krista, Aberdeen, UK (imported from guest book 2013) –
We are just back from cycling around The Hague area and enjoyed it very much. We used your book as a guide and it was very helpful to give us an idea of what to expect with regard to the cycling culture in Netherlands. From your book we understood about the use of the bike lanes (fietspad) and the various signs and routes. Despite the weather not being great (same as back in the UK) we encountered very friendly helpful people and ate many delicious meals. The level of customer service could not be faulted.
Sara, Wirral, UK (imported from guest book 2013) –
We have just returned from 6 days cycling in the Netherlands, following the Randstad Circular route in this book (350km from Hoek van Holland up the coast to Haarlem, round to Amsterdam via some nature reserves, south along canals to Utrecht and then west via Gouda and Delft back to the ferry). Each day we cycled about half the day and went sight-seeing the other half. This book does not contain much sight-seeing information – we took another book for that. We found it fairly easy to follow the route, and only got slightly lost once, but in the towns we did have to stop and study the maps quite often. The route was beautiful most of the way – beside the coast, along canals, rivers and dykes and much of it was traffic free. Without this book I do not think we would have found such quiet cycle lanes. The general information at the beginning was very helpful too, especially on Dutch traffic rules.
Daniel, Quebec, Canada (imported from guest book 2013) –
Thank you very much. Beautiful book just received. 5 day bike route in preparation.
Shannon, Thalwill, Switzerland (imported from guest book 2013) –
We have received the book and are excited to plan our trip. Many thanks for writing this fantastic resource!
Tim, Merseyside, UK (imported from guest book 2012) –
We used this book for a mini break and cycled from Amsterdam to Nijmegen over 2 days. We really enjoyed the Vecht River route and the forests of Utrecht. We stayed in the Stay Okay of Soest. Also the route to Nijmegen was great. Just good stuff; directions in the book are clear and the varied routes took us to special places we could never have found ourselves.
Rebecca, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada (imported from guest book 2012) –
This guidebook is really good if you want to do cycling in Holland. We had a great week, bringing our own pannier bags on the plane and hiring bikes from the Amsterdam rental. Dutch sight seeing is fantastic by bike! The book took us to great places and the suggested accommodations worked well too. Many thanks!