Of all countries, Holland offers the most fabulous gentle cycling for it is wonderfully flat and has an astonishing network of well signed & tarmaced bike paths with traffic lights for cyclists. It also has a stunning mix of heritage rich towns, beautiful coastline, picture postcard countryside and maritime history, especially in north & south Holland where this tour takes place.
Leiden, Haarlem, Alkmaar and Amsterdam are among our all time favourite cities – each unique and brimming with that typical old Dutch character. We have decided to combine them for the ultimate cultural bike holiday. Discover how rural and quiet the countryside can be where windmills, bulb flower fields (in spring!) and polders take the spotlight. More than half of this landscape has been reclaimed from the sea leaving a maze of dykes, locks and colourful waterways and bridges. The tour leads to the dunes on the North Sea coast and the islands and historic villages on the coast of the former Zuiderzee now Lake Ijsselmeer. And then there's Amsterdam - a highlight in itself to be sure, but you will discover many more on this holiday.
The tour has a very relaxed itinerary which coupled with its traffic free and flat cycling makes it an ideal choice for families.
from £1,180 per person
Based on two people sharing a room
GPS route directions. See what’s included as standard
Start & Finish
Starts daily from 1 April to 1 October from Leiden, finishes Amsterdam. From Amsterdam Schipol airport, Leiden is 20 minutes and Amsterdam 15 minutes by very regular direct train
Very individual and stylish 3 and 4 star hotels providing a continental breakfast everyday
This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own. If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide
Gentle cycling (1) More info...
5 days of cycling 13 - 22 miles (20 - 36 km) per day
OptionsExtend the tour with additional nights in Amsterdam or any of the stops en route. Amsterdam £95 per person per night
We saw some great countryside - everything was well organized and the Dutch bike routes were outstanding
Brenda and Brian
1. Day one
Arrive in Leiden and settle into the stylish boutique hotel ‘Huys van Leyden’. Leiden has often been called the most beautiful city in the Netherlands. This isn’t surprising, considering its rich history that’s still visible everywhere in the charming city centre.
2. Day two
Leiden to Haarlem
After breakfast you meet with your local host. They will brief you on your trip and explain your route notes and tour package. Your host will have your cycling equipment to hand and will ensure all is fitted correctly for you. During April and the first half of May your first day will be a riot of colour as you ride through the fabulous flower fields and the famous ‘Keukenhof’ flower garden. After mid-May the ride will take you through the coastal area and the lovely villages of Katwijk aan Zee and Noordwijk aan Zee. Your overnight stay will be in the hotel ‘Lion D’Or’, a 19th Century town house in the heart of the city of Haarlem. Check out the old Dutch charm of this achingly pretty city. The cobbled streets are lined with historic buildings and grand churches and museums with plenty of antiques shops and cafes to tempt you.
26 miles (42 km)
3. Day three
Haarlem to Zaandam
Your cycling today takes you through a National Park with its dunes, forest areas and mansions. Crossing the North Sea Canal by ferry - just 10 minutes, you pedal north through a quiet landscape of windmills and meadows to arrive in Zaandam, a city with a historic centre. Your overnight stay is Heerlijck Slaapen on the banks of the Zaan river, overlooking the water meadows.
21 miles (33 km)
4. Day four
Zaandam to Alkmaar
Pedal through Zaanse Schans and wonder at the beauty of the windmills and houses remaining here from the 17th Century when literally thousands of windmills powered saws in the vicinity of Zaandam. Typically green and of wood, they are a fine sight. Cycling on through a traditional polder landscape along the ‘UItgeester’ and ‘Alkmaarder’ lake you reach the city of Alkmaar. Well known for its traditional cheese market (every Friday morning April to September) the town is also a popular cultural destination. The monumental Grand Hotel where you stay the night is situated in the historic city centre.
20 miles (31 km)
5. Day five
Alkmaar to Edam
The northern peninsula of the ‘Noord Holland’ province was originally a swampy peat bog that was not suitable for permanent habitation. Step by step the Dutch have reclaimed the land. On today’s ride you will see this process by passing both older and more recently reclaimed polders. At the end of the day you will reach the shores of Lake Ijsselmeer, the former ‘Zuiderzee’ (sea). Your overnight stay is in the utterly charming town of Edam. Brimming with half-timbered houses, the town still hosts a colourful cheese market when large rounds of cheese are shunted around by locals. You stay in the wonderful boutique ‘Dam Hotel’ a few yards from the central canal.
24 miles (39 km)
6. Day six
Edam to Amsterdam
Today is fun riding (again!) as you will discover Volendam where ships wonderfully old and new tie up. Don't miss the notable and delicious delicacy of smoked eel and then head for the short ferry crossing to the former island of Marken. Now connected to the mainland by a causeway, the peninsula is well known for its traditional wooden houses. Further south along the coast you reach the small fishing village of Monnickendam and tiny Broek in Waterland. The final stretch will be a ride along a cosy canal entering the capital of Holland, Amsterdam. A ferry hop takes you to heart of the city centre and then it’s just a short ride to your final hotel, Residence Le Coin, just a few hundred yards from the central Dam square.
23 miles (37 km)
7. Day seven
Enjoy Amsterdam and depart at your leisure.