Tulips, more sunshine than at any other time of year, and many exciting events: a spring trip to Amsterdam is simply the best. So it’s no wonder that the canal metropolis gets particularly crowded. But what if you need a breather from the hustle and bustle of the big city?
One of our favorite quick escapes is to go cycling through the Waterland nature reserve north of Amsterdam. Let yourself be surprised by the city’s idyllic hinterland; where green meadows, cows and farms are so much closer than you think. Sounds good? Here are five great reasons to jump on a bike and take a tour of Waterland!
1. Villages from a picture book
Make sure your camera or phone has enough free memory for photos. The villages in Waterland are so idyllic that you probably won’t be able to resist taking pictures! Literally every street corner presents a new picture book panorama.
In Durgerdam, historic wooden houses line up like a string of pearls along the edge of the IJsselmeer. In villages like Ransdorp, Broek in Waterland and Holysloot, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
2. Cycling on the Uitdammerdijk
Do you know that uplifting feeling you get when looking out across a landscape? That’s how it feels to cycle along the Uitdammerdijk between Marken and Durgerdam. On this elevated boulevard you enjoy a royal view cycling a few meters above the rest of the landscape. On one side you can survey the wide, green polder lowlands; and on the other, watch sailing ships gliding past on the Ijsselmeer. For us this is one of the most beautiful cycling routes around Amsterdam!
If you haven’t experienced it you can hardly believe it: one minute you’re standing in the middle of Amsterdam, surrounded by a frenzy of pedestrians and tourists. Barely 15 minutes later, once you pass under the A10 ring road, you’re suddenly in the midst of greenery: with pastures, moats and farms as far as the eye can see. The well-planned bike paths run right through meadows, often avoiding regular roads so there’s no need to share with cars.
This typically Dutch polder landscape is particularly beautiful during spring. Yellow and purple irises bloom on the many “slootjes”, or drainage ditches. Millions of birds breed on these wetlands, including shelducks, Egyptian geese, black-tailed godwits, Northern lapwings and oystercatchers. So it’s worth packing your binoculars!
4. The farmsteads
The farms of Waterland have long since adapted to the many recreational cyclists who pass them every day. On one farm a vending machine pours you a glass of fresh milk for 20 cents, on another a store sells products from the region. One farmer provides a playground and you can feed the pigs and pat the lambs, the other has a small tea garden under fruit trees. Let yourself be surprised and take a break from time to time!
5. A walk in Marken
Strolling through the alleys of the former fishing village of Marken feels like visiting an open-air museum. The green wooden houses standing on their stilts have hardly changed in centuries – it’s almost too picturesque to be true! But Marken is real.
Once a separate island, Marken was connected to the mainland in the 1950s. Despite this, the island’s unique culture has remained the same to this day. Even if the island’s famous traditional costumes are no longer worn, you can still buy the iconic striped and floral fabrics. Marken’s tourist heart beats in the old fishing port. Here you will find souvenir shops, cafés with terraces and the ferry to Volendam. Many visitors combine a visit to the two fishing villages. The crossing over the IJsselmeer takes 45 minutes.
See Waterland with Boat Bike Tours
Since we know how beautiful and varied cycling through Waterland can be, we want to show you the many sides of this region on our tours.
Many of our cycling cruises through the Netherlands therefore take you to experience the natural landscape between Amsterdam and the IJsselmeer. Discover our range of tours that visit Waterland:
• Best of Holland Premium
• 8 Day Tulips and History
• 5 Day Tulip Tour and 5 days Tulip Tour Premium
• Sail & Bike Ijsselmeer and Sail & Bike IJsselmeer guided
• Northern tour of Holland