The northern route in the Netherlands on the Anna Antal
Discover the typical landscapes of the Dutch countryside by bike.
The northern route follows circuits in the famous Dutch polders, then in the most beautiful region of dunes in the Netherlands: from Bergen to Schoorl. Also discover the island of Texel, charming Dutch villages and of course the very beautiful city of Amsterdam on this exceptional cycling trip.
The highlights of the stay:
- The fishing villages of Volendam and Enkhuizen
- Texel Island
- Beemster Polder, UNESCO World Heritage List
- Windmills at Zaanse Schans
Day 1 - Amsterdam, boarding at 4 p.m. / 15-20 km
Once on board the boat, boarding between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., you can store your luggage in your cabin. Meet the guide, skipper, his crew and other passengers. Then, you can take your bike in hand for a short ride north of Amsterdam. The schedule for the next day and the week will be explained to you at dinner time.
Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, was in the 12th century a simple village on the banks of the Amstel river which had an open connection with the sea. The marshes and the sea around Amsterdam are now polders. The Zuiderzee (the south sea) became the IJsselmeer (the lake of IJssel).
Day 2 - Amsterdam - Hoorn 46 km
You cycle through the rural area of Waterland where roads and houses are almost at the same level as the water!
Then you visit Marken. Until the middle of the 20th century Marken was an island. You can only visit Marken on foot or by bicycle. Car traffic is prohibited there, except for residents.
After Marken you continue to the historic town of Volendam, once a small fishing village. Now it is an important tourist center, where part of the inhabitants still wear the traditional costume.
You then sail to Hoorn, also an important port town in the 17th century where you can admire old facades, canals and bridges.
Day 3 - Hoorn - Enkhuizen 30 km
The road to Enkhuizen follows the dike with a magnificent view of the Markermeer on your right and the small Dutch villages on your left. The Enkhuizen dike in Lelystad was built recently (1976), to create a new large polder: the Markerwaard. But the project did not come to fruition. The environment and the supply of fresh water have become a priority.
The stage ends in Enkhuizen. There you can visit the Zuiderzee Museum which shows you everyday life on the Zuiderzee seaside, life before the construction of the Afsluitdijk. This dike transformed in 1932 the Zuiderzee (a sea in open connection with the North Sea) into IJsselmeer (a lake in fresh water).
Day 4 - Enkhuizen - Medemblik, then navigation to Texel 34 km
Before crossing a nature reserve, you follow the IJsselmeer dike and then continue your way through typical villages of the region. In Medemblik, whose Radboud Castle is a testament to a glorious past, you embark to sail the IJsselmeer and the Waddenzee (the Wadden Sea) to the island of Texel. The Waddenzee is known as the world's largest uninterrupted system of mudflats and sandbanks. There is a multitude of habitats there: tidal channels, sandbanks, seagrass meadows, mussels, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes. The place is home to many species of plants and animals, including marine mammals such as seals.
Day 5 - Texel, round trip 35/48 or 62 km
The island of Texel is the largest Dutch island with an average length of 20 km and a width of 8 km. Texel is very popular with bird watchers. There are no less than 300 different species of birds. The dune ridge presents a hilly expanse of flowers and wild grasses. The beaches are wide. The wheat fields alternate with the meadows colonized by cows. A visit to this island with its many cycle paths is definitely worth it. You can choose between 35, 48 or 62 km loops.
Day 6 - Texel - Alkmaar 58 km
The boat takes you back to the mainland and you disembark at Den Helder, the main port of the Netherlands Navy. Once on the bike, you cross the dunes. Zwanenwater (swan water) is an impressive nature reserve, with its lakes and marshes. Further on, on the dike of Hondsbossche Zeewering, you have a beautiful view of the North Sea. Towards Schoorl you contemplate the highest dunes in the country. Over the past century, many pine trees have been planted there, so these dunes are covered with dense forest.
The stage ends in Alkmaar, a historic city with 400 monuments classified as national monuments. One of the best known is the Grote Kerk (large church) which dates from the 15th century. Alkmaar is known as the 'city of cheese'. In the past, cheese was weighed and sold à la Waag (an old word for ‘balance’). This public scale is housed in a 16th century building. Every Friday the famous cheese market takes place in front of the Waag.
Day 7 - Alkmaar - Amsterdam 55 km
After a possible visit to the cheese market, you cross some remarkable polders. In the 17th century, two lakes were drained and turned into farmland. The Beemster Polder is an exceptional example of land taken from water. It has preserved its landscape of fields, roads, canals, dikes and developed villages.
On the way to Amsterdam you can visit Zaansche Schans, with its traditional wooden houses, warehouses and windmills. You can visit a cheese factory, a clog factory and a traditional bakery.
Back in Amsterdam, it's time to say goodbye to your bike. Perhaps you want to enjoy the city again or take a canal boat trip? It will be possible during this last evening.
Day 8 - Amsterdam, end of stay after breakfast before 10am.
Due to the navigation plan, the route may be reversed or modified.