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People sometimes say that the Dutch are born on their bikes! Fact is, Holland is a perfect country for cycling, and counts more bicycles than people. More than 20,000 kilometers of cycle paths are waiting for you throughout the country, and in the rare spots that lack cycle paths, drivers are very aware of cyclists. The mandatory cycle paths are indicated by a blue sign with a white bike.
The Dutch like a variety of bikes, ranging from regular men’s and women’s bikes to carrier bikes and reclining bikes.
The flatness of the country, the mild climate, the short distances and the wonderful infrastructure make biking in Holland not just practical, but great fun indeed!
Bunnik – Amsterdam (approx. 27,5 miles)
Idyllic scenery as you cycle to Amsterdam on the banks of the lovely River Vecht. Characteristic for this area are the many stately homes and summerhouses built by rich Amsterdam merchants in the 17th and 18th Centuries. You will arrive in Amsterdam at the end of the day. You will find many reasons for loving this remarkable city!
Amsterdam – Zandvoort (approx. 25 miles)
When biking from Amsterdam to Zandvoort you will visit the lovely city centre of Haarlem, voted best city for shopping. Remember to look up at the façades of historical buildings and see if you can spot the pretty stepped gables. The bike route continues through Zuid-Kennemerland, a colorful area rich in natural beauty. At the end of the day you will arrive in Zandvoort where you can enjoy the fresh wind at the sea.
Scheveningen – Gouda (approx. 30 miles)
The Hague, home to the government and the Queen will be the first city to visit. The city is brimming with things to do and see. You might like to take the opportunity to see Vermeer’s famous painting “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” in Mauritshuis Museum. After looking around The Hague, ride through open grassland to pretty “cheese town” Gouda, also known for its syrup waffles and candles. If possible, plan your holiday so you can see the Thursday morning traditional cheese market at the start of
South of Veluwe route (approx. 20 miles)
This beautiful bike route will take you through the colorful forests in the south of the Veluwe. The route passes byh the cities of Ede, Wageningen, Renkum and Bennekom. You can enjoy your lunch at one of the famous pancake restaurants and visit the Celtic Fields.
Winterswijk Woold route (approx. 18 miles)
This bike route takes you to the county side of Winterswijk. You will pass the old oil mill and a water mill, which were used for oil and grain production. You will go through the Bekendelle forest later the day and will finally visit beautiful lakes and charming old castles in the area.
Hunebedden route (approx. 27 miles)
This route will start in Ruinen, you will pass the grain mill ‘de Zaandplatte’ into the country side. You will bike through the national park ‘the Dwingelderveld’ which is the largest wet mooi of Europe. This route provides many sightseeing, and at the end of the day you will arrive in Havelte where the hunebeds are on view.
In Flanders, cycling is a religion.
People in Flanders have a fundamental respect for Flandriens. Flandriens denote tenacious riders, with enormous strength. They are always on the offensive, with no hiding or cowardice. Anyone who has ever ridden a bike in heavy weather can identify with them. Flandriens have an authenticity about them.
Eddy Merckx is the archetypal Flandrien. He was known as 'The Cannibal'. Cycling fans consider him to be the most successful cyclist in history, with 525 competitions to his name. In 2000, the French magazine Vélo called him the ‘greatest cyclist ever’ and many sports journalist refer to him as the cycling god. He won the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia five time each, has won all of the top events except for the Paris-Tours, has won the Vuelta a España, has won the world championship as both a professional and as an amateur, and has broken the world hour record.
Of course, the recreational cyclist doesn't quite need to take it that far. There are plenty leisurely routes to explore taking you through polders, orchards, woodland and past picturesque villages and stunning historical towns.
Around Leuven: The Brewery Route (20, 40 or 62 miles)
You start at the old station building in Steenhuffel that has been renovated into a cosy café. The bike route takes you past 7 authentic breweries of this region. At cafés along the routes, cyclists are invited to take a break and sample the delicious local beers. Must-sees are the breweries of Palm, Duvel, Karmeliet and Mort Subite. At Palm you can also visit the farm where the beer’s famous logo, the Belgian Draft Horse or ‘Brabant’, is bred.
Around Antwerp: The Architecture Route (20 miles)
What better way to start and end this loop than at Antwerp’s glorious City Hall? This route takes you along stunning Antwerp architecture throughout the centuries, from gothic palaces to state-of-the-art designs such as the new city museum MAS. The architectural landmarks provide a glimpse of Antwerp’s rich history. Along the routes are 11 extra tips for stops that allow you to quickly visit points of interest such as the Saint-Felix warehouse or the open-air Modern Art Sculpture Museum in the Middelheim Park.
Around Bruges: Dikes and canals (30 miles)
The reason why Bruges has been so marvelously preserved – some would say it’s frozen in time - is that in the 12th century the sea silted up, stripping Bruges of its strategic position as a trade centre for its florishing cloth industry. This route runs past the old harbor villages of Damme, Sluis, Aardenburg and Maldegem. You cycle through an area that used to be marshland in medieval times, and was later dammed off with dikes and canals. The many fortresses and walled villages along the way are witnesses of the illustrous past of this region.
Cycling from Bruges to Ghent (30 miles)
This route takes in two of Flander’s most picturesque cities. The starting point of this route is Damme, situated just north of Bruges. While cycling over the ramparts of the medieval town of Bruges (a Unesco World Heritage Site) you can admire the famous wooden windmills and the historic gates. After leaving Bruges, the route follows the canal Bruges-Ghent, through a rural landscape that is so typical of this region. You arrive in the lively cultural city of Ghent, which will no doubt charm you with its mix of old architecture and friendly locals.
The Pop Route: Biking behind the front (20 miles)
This bike route revisits the site of World War I (1914-1918). Poperinge (or Pop as it was called by the foreign troups) and the surrounding villages were the location of the war that was to be ‘the war to end all wars’. This is where British, French, American and Canadian soldiers fought alongside the Belgian army. The route takes you past numerous military cemeteries, that unto this day serve as a reminder of the great sacrifices that were made during The Great War. Cycling along the route where so many fought and died will undoubtedly leave a big impression on any visitor.