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.
Amsterdam is famous for its cyclists and with this guidebook you can truly be one of them. Explore the routes the locals love themselves. Travel via and beyond Dutch icons like clogs, windmills and tulip fields. Explore the Netherlands with its coastal sand dune reserves, splendid inland waterway routes, unspoiled countryside and pretty old towns.
Whether you are on your first cycling holiday with children or want to do some serious mileage, this third and fully revised edition (2023) caters for all!
What you’ll see
Five 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. All these destinations can be easily reached when using our day routes from Amsterdam Central Station. These five routes together provide 192 kms (118 miles) of cycling fun,
Do you prefer cycle touring (cycling from one accommodation to the next)? Then cycle our 372 km (230 miles) ‘Holland Highlights’ circular route; a great itinerary for a week of great cycling! A highlight 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 ‘Holland Highlights’ route can be further extended with three more cycle touring routes. Heading north, you can cycle along the coast of Lake IJsselmeer to idyllic Marken, Volendam, Edam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen. Heading east, you can enter the forests of Utrecht Ridge National Park, taking you to the River Rhine and into the hills, even crossing the Dutch border to the German town of Kleve. Heading south, you’ll cycle the largest flood barriers of the world and great coastal sand dune reserves with more fine beaches. These routes can also be combined into one, adding another 375 km (231 miles) to your cycling holiday.
How you could do it
The guidebook features 925 kms (725 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 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 ‘Holland Highlights’ route also starts and ends in Amsterdam and it 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 additional longer distance routes north, east and south all link with the Holland Highlights route (and thus with Amsterdam).
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, see www.ns.nl.
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!
To avoid disappointments, we recommend making reservations at least 24 hours in advance for all accommodation, even for campsites! For some campsites, this is now compulsory. Please refer to the terms and conditions of the provider in advance and adhere to the rules of the provider!
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 2015 edition (sold out). There are no updates available yet for the 2023 edition.