The Tulip Route by bike in North Holland
This fascinating journey along the Tulip Route is best planned from April to mid-May, the ideal time to admire the tulip fields in full bloom (although the precise date of spring's arrival remains unpredictable). The timing of your visit to the renowned Keukenhof park fluctuates from year to year, but generally falls within this time window.
Don't forget to take a look at our exclusive Tulips in North Holland itinerary.
Tour highlights :
- Tulip fields
- Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden
- Keukenhof Park
- Canals and the Dutch countryside
Day 1: Arrival and tour of Amsterdam
Your cycling tour begins in Amsterdam, often referred to as Europe's jewel par excellence. There couldn't be a more vibrant start to your vacation, with a multitude of attractions and sites to explore. Ideally, you should arrive early in Amsterdam to enjoy your first stroll through this welcoming city center.
The mere sight of the magnificent mansions and canals dating back to the 17th century (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) can occupy an entire day.
If you have the time and energy, explore the famous "Red Light District", an area that attracts millions of tourists every year, or admire the many street artists on Rembrandtplein.
Amsterdam offers an exciting start to your cycling holiday.
Day 2: Amsterdam to Haarlem - 53 km
It might be tempting to extend your cycling trip in Amsterdam, but today marks the start of your first tulip fields!
Set off early to leave the hustle and bustle of the capital behind, and plunge into the South Kennemerland region.
Start by heading for Cruquius, a steam-powered pumping station offering a fascinating lesson in Dutch water management.
The Cruquius Steam Mill, located in Haarlem, is a Dutch National Monument, recognized for its history linked to the steam engine, and is also an anchor point on the ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
It is believed to be the largest steam engine, and certainly the largest beam engine, ever built. The drainage of the Haarlemmermeer by steam marked the beginning of the industrial revolution in the Netherlands. From Cruquius, you'll loop around Haarlem, and just past the village of Bennebroek, you'll catch a brief glimpse of the first tulip fields.
Finish your day exploring Haarlem's charming city center, from the impressive Grote Markt square to the white drawbridge over the Spaarne river.
The idyllic inner courtyards, known as "hofjes", will capture your heart. Haarlem is home to the oldest hofje, dating back to 1395.
Day 3: Haarlem to Leiden - 38 km
Discover the hidden "hofjes" in Haarlem. Dating back to the Dutch Golden Age, the Frans Hals Museum exhibits works by Haarlem painter Frans Hals, as well as his contemporaries Jacob Ruysdael (landscapes and seascapes) and Pieter Saenredam (church interiors).
In the afternoon, get ready for a colorful bike tour of the dunes and bulbs region.
If possible, plan your trip before mid-May to enjoy the full splendor of the tulip, crocus, daffodil and hyacinth fields.
If you're planning a day trip to the famous Keukenhof Flower Show (www.keukenhof.nl), we recommend booking an extra night in Leiden.
Leiden, the oldest university town, offers a welcoming city center with canals, monuments, windmills and museums. The historic botanical gardens are also well worth a visit.
On the way back to Amsterdam, you'll cross several lakes, the "green heart" of the countryside, and follow the Amstel River.
The banks of the Amstel are lined with charming villages and grand country houses, offering one of the greenest routes back to Amsterdam and your hotel.
Day 4: Leiden to Amsterdam - 63 km
The road back to Amsterdam passes several lakes, crosses the "green heart" of the countryside and leads to the Amstel River. Along the banks of this charming river, you'll come across pretty villages and grand country houses. It's one of the greenest itineraries you'll find, taking you straight back to Amsterdam and your hotel.
As you may have guessed, the city is named after the river. In the 13th century, Amsterdam began as a fishing village near a dam at the mouth of the river. The oldest part of Amsterdam is around the Oude Kerk (Old Church). Known as Amsterdam's living room, it is the city's oldest building.
Day 5: End of Dutch cycling tour
The tour ends after breakfast.