Tips for countryside cycling in Holland

Going for a bike ride in the Netherlands is a piece of cake.  Is it really? Countryside cycling in Holland can be quite an adventure. Fortunately there are ways to make your cycling experience in Dutch rural areas more pleasant. Just keep these tips for cycling off the beaten path in the back of your head when you explore rural Holland by bike.

 

Yes, our flat country has great cycling routes and infrastructure.  Then again, once you get adventurous and go countryside cycling in Holland, you could be in a for a surprise. As a traveler countryside cycling in Holland is an adventure. Many visitors to Holland use their stay in Amsterdam to make a daytrip and explore rural Holland by bike. Cycling through beautiful and diverse landscapes is a true unique experience as long as you plan your bike tour to the Dutch countryside well.

Stop cycling

The first tip for a pleasant bike ride in the Dutch countryside has to do with planning your bike trip. With the app Fietsknoop you can create any bicycle route in the Netherlands. It also shows nice places to stop for coffee or a bite. I would definitely advise to make a cycling schedule and include these stops. This will come in handy at the time weather suddenly changes. I always include stops in my countryside bike tours in the Netherlands and know some great places to shelter in case it starts raining.

Dutch elements

Secondly, make different routes. If you have not cycled in the countryside in the Netherlands before, it is good to plan some small cycling routes first. Keep longer routes at hand so that nothing can stop you if you want to keep going. In the famous Dutch polders with their green meadows and long canals there is less protection from wind or rain. The wind can be strong and the weather unpredictable. Even in spring and summer, which are the best months to cycle in the Netherlands, rain & sun can play all day. When it comes to countryside cycling in Holland it mainly is the wind that’s tricky. Although there are no mountains in the Netherlands, the wind can make you feel as if you’re climbing a hill. Distances can seem longer.

Cycling countryside Holland tips Verita's Visit
Cycling through Dutch polder landscape near Gouda

Countryside cycling wear

The third tip is mentioned in a previous article about cycling in Dutch winter. Regardless of the season, wear different layers or make sure you carry different layers. Sunglasses as well as rain wear and gloves are useful as well.

Always take the weather with you

As said, weather and wind are important factors to make your bike ride through rural Netherlands pleasant. The fourth tip is to check the weather. Weeronline is my favorite website, the Buienalarm app keeps me updated enroute.

Your bike to go countryside cycling in Holland

Of course you need a bicycle to explore Holland by bike. You can rent bikes of different heights, different number of gears, pedal or hand brakes in the Netherlands. Rental prices are between €4.00 for a very simple, pedal brakes bike and €35.00 for an electric bike. The last tip is to get the appropriate rental bike that serves your goal. I definitely recommend an e-bike as it takes you much further and you don’t have to think about the wind anymore. Check the bike seat, the type of brakes and make sure you’re comfortable on the rental bike by adjusting the height.  Are you cycling in the Netherlands in autumn, winter, spring? Days are short, make sure the light on your bike is working!


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The Village Feeling of a Dutch City

Cycle tour Amsterdam beach & dunes

Family Bike Tour Delft Countryside


Venues in nature & outdoor team events in the Netherlands

The region of Utrecht is known for its castles and estates, located in the middle of nature. It is a great area to explore by bike when you’re on holiday in the Netherlands, but did you know Utrecht also offers plenty of options for business meetings in green surroundings & outdoor team events in the Netherlands?

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fietstocht Delft blauw

Family Bike Tour Delft Countryside

It was a warm and sunny Friday afternoon. I was waiting for my participants at Delft station. We would do a family bike tour Delft and surroundings. I looked at the big digital clock on the busplatform. They were late.

From Europe trip to daytrip Delft

The family of four was on a Europe trip and was staying in Amsterdam for five days. Dad wanted to make a daytrip to Delft, where he had studied when he was young.  Back then he mostly stayed in Delft so he thought it would be a nice idea to explore the surroundings of Delft a bit. Besides, they had already been in the city for some time so a day outdoors would be nice. Mum and dad were quite looking forward to doing something which was relaxing and active at the same time. Their girls were excited, it was one big adventure for them.

"Sorry we're late, I was just amazed by the interior of Delft station. So much has changed here in Delft!"

The family bike tour Delft went downhill

"Sorry we're late, I was just amazed by the interior of Delft station. So much has changed here in Delft!" Dad said with a broad smile on his face. While he was still taking in all the changes, we walked over to the bikes. It took a while to get started; the girls felt a bit uncomfortable on bikes which were not their own. As soon as they were used to them and got a good cycling speed we were flying! Especially downhill.  We get to that later ;)

hand operated bridge tour Delft Verita's Visit ophaalbrug
Family watching hand operated bridge

 

Holland bridges & windmills

We reached Schipluiden right in time to see the draw bridge being opened. Manually. The whole family was impressed and even I have to say I was quite surprised that this bridge is still drawn manually. Mum quickly slipped into a shop selling only local products. Her interest inspired me to show the big greenhouse behind restaurant Indigo.  Everything produced here is used in their dishes.

We went through the Schipluiden village. Through the 'ohs' and the 'ahs' I could make out the family bike tour Delft & surroundings was a success. Mum was clearly enjoying the houses, the water and the girls happily pointed out all the flowers and young  birds. When we reached the river Gaag I told them the story of the flour mill De Korpershoek. The train bridge once used for transporting fruit & vegetable is now part of the cycle route. The 10-year old threw her legs in the air when she went downhill. This train bridge is a big hit!

 

Family time bike tour Delft playground stop Verita's Visit familie uitje

 

I promised the girls a farmers' ice-cream which they rapidly finished. When mum saw the special swing on the playground she gets the whole family together. That swing is quite an attraction every time I have a family on tour in Delft.

DIY bike ferry Delft Verita's Visit

The famous Delft bike ferry

We continued out family bike tour Delft area with polders on one side, the water on the other.  When we reached my favourite bike ferry the girls look a tad bit scared. "Do we have to cross with that, mum?", they ask.  Dad took the lead, giving the wheel with the chain a good swing. We jumped onto the ferry and mum, dad and the girls had a good exercise bringing us across. - I always take the pictures of the whole activity which in itself needs a lot of concentration :P -

After drinks & bites on the terrace boats with view on the wetlands & sailing boats at restaurant Vlietzicht it was time to head back and end our family bike tour Delft.


What the family said:

We had such a nice time with you. Thank you for a fun day!


Related posts:

Cycle Tour Delft Countryside

Tandem Bike tour Delft Countryside


Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour : Family Outing

It's a 40 km bike ride, around 24 miles and a great mix of different typical dutch landscapes. the Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour is definitely worth it and a great idea for a family outing as well. See for yourself.

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Affordable rental bike in the Netherlands

As an expat you never know how long you will stay in the same place. Two of my expat friends, an American couple, moved to Amsterdam a few years ago. They thought they would just stay in the Netherlands for one year. So, they travelled. Everywhere. Each weekend they visited another European capital. The year flew by. Then her contract was extended for another year. They asked me for tips on daytrips from Amsterdam. I suggested visiting the Waterland area, Zaandam, Haarlem, Veluwe and since they loved cycling I told them about the OV fiets, an affordable rental bike in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam alone there over 10 rental locations for the OV fiets.

Amsterdam OV fiets rental locations
Amsterdam OV fiets rental locations

Personal Public Transport Card

In the Netherlands, as a resident, or if you are registered on an address in Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg and tend to make use of Dutch public transport quite often, you could opt for the personal OV-chip card. OV stand for Openbaar Vervoer, public transport.  You can add different subscriptions which give you discounts on your travels with public transport.

OV Fiets: Affordable Rental Bike in the Netherlands

An affordable rental bike you can use all through the Netherlands
An affordable rental bike you can use all through the Netherlands

One of the subscriptions  I would definitely recommend adding is an OV fiets subscription. The subscription costs €0,01 per year. This is to verify your personal and bank account details. You can rent a OV fiets at more than 278 locations. All the rental locations can be found on the website of OV fiets.  This bike scheme is an initiative of the NS, the Dutch rail company. In the past these bikes were just rented out at the station.  The idea was and is that you take the train, from there change to a bike to get to your appointment or work. Now you can find the OV fiets at central points in the city centre, at tourist sites, hotels. An OV fiets is just over 3 Euros per 24 hours, making it an affordable rental bike in the Netherlands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OV fiets pros

  • You can use 1 OV card for 2 OV fietsen, so bring a friend along when you go for a bike ride!
  • Per 24 hours you pay €3,95 per bike ( rate on 01/12/2021). After 72 hours you are charged a €5,00 extra per day.
  • The OV fietsen are easy to use, they are 'ladies' bikes with back pedal brakes and don't have gears. 
  • No cash is needed, payment goes automatically through direct debit. Note that you do need a Dutch bank account. 

 

OV fiets cons

  • There are manned and unmanned rental locations. At stations of bigger cities, such as Amsterdam you usually rent the OV fiets at a manned bike parking facility. Nevertheless, at small stations there are lockers. These work the same as bike sharing schemes in other countries. You swipe your card and the one of the lockers opens. At times there is a technical problem or there are no Of fietsen left at the unmanned station. NS does not yet provide the possibility to check if there is a bike left at the unmanned station or if there is a technical problem at that station. 
  • You have to be registered as a resident in the Netherlands to get a personalised NS Card. 
  • The OV fiets is an affordable rental bike in the Netherlands, but it needs to be brought back at the same place where you rent it from. Bring it back at another location and you'll be charged €10,- extra. 
  • Enroute no service is provided when you get a flat tire, or have any other problems with your bike.
  • You can't reserve an OV fiets, first comes, first served.
  • OV fiets doesn't come in kids version ( or size).

For the actual rates of the OV fiets and all the terms & conditions, check OV-fiets.nl. Coming on a bike ride with me? Rent an OV-bike or contact me for other  bike rental options.


Recommended tours that are easy to do with OV fiets

https://veritasvisit.nl/en/uitje/bike-tour-leiden-lake-windmills/

https://veritasvisit.nl/en/uitje/bike-tour-the-hague-sea-the-city/


7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit King's Day

My 7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands

A fresh start of spring in Holland. Outside it's still rather cold and...where's the sun?  When it comes to the temperature spring really has to warm up, but nature is ready for it. Just take a look outside and see the new born lambs curiously looking at the young tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The start of the season brings excitement, some people even get a bit stressed when they see spring has come. Here are my 7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands.

Note: In case the Corona measures still apply, please use this post as a source of information for a future trip.

Tip 1: Easter 2022 on the Dutch Beach

Easter is one of these spring events in the Netherlands I wouldn't want to miss out on. There are lots of activities being organised. When I'm not on a bike showing you and your friends how amazing the Dutch countryside is, I enjoy my Easter brunch on the beach. The real tourist season starts in the Easter weekend,  15- 18 April 2022 Weeks before Easter the beach is inspected and levelled. The beach boulevards are full of trucks offloading material. Right after the beach is prepared, the beach restaurant owners can set up their restaurants. In the Netherlands cafes and restaurants can only be found on the beach between March and October. This means that every year before Easter the owners have to set up their beach restaurants again. Just to be able to welcome me & you for an Easter brunch. Isn't that great?

witte bloesem -veritasvisit
Beautiful blossom of fruit trees in spring


Tip 2: Blossoming Fruit Trees, Asparagus and Bike Races

Another part of the food sector depends on good weather. Every year the fruit and vegetable farmers anxiously wait for the results of the season. Apple-, cherry-, peartrees are not only useful for their fruits, but also for their blossom. Walking trails take you through picturesque fields full of fresh, scented flowers. But, besides walking there is another option. Known all over the world, a typical Dutch activity is cycling. As spring is also the start of the cycling season, many regions in the Netherlands offer arrangements, excursions or routes for the cyclist. Cycling routes go through areas full of blossoming trees, or later in the season through fields of fruit, where farmers give you the opportunity to pick your own fruit or make an arrangement so you can take a picknickbasket and have a picknick in the garden.

Strawberries and cherries in Holland-veritasvisit
Strawberries and cherries are sold in spring in Holland

Next to the fruit farmers I mentioned the vegetable farmers. Which vegetable am I talking about? The asparagus! Strawberries, the delicious fruit of the season are often linked with the "white gold". Asparagus are mainly cultivated in the region Limburg, the region in the south of the Netherlands. Here they can also prepare these tasty vegetables in many different ways and a meal doesn't even have to cost much. And, while you're at it, try some of the Limburgian wine ( yes, Limburg also cultivates its own grapes).

For the cycling fanatics, it is also the season in which bike races start. Limburg, with its Dutch mountains is also the ideal place for bike races such as the Amstel Gold Race. It is nice to see the cyclist pass by, with the thousand of spectator standing at the sidelines yelling and admiring. Of course,  right after the race you can create your own track and set a new record.

Amazing tulips Keukenhof-veritasvisit
Keukenhof displays a beautiful range of tulips from mid March till mid May

Tip 3: Keukenhof and Flower Parade

When you think of spring in Holland, you think of mesmerizing tulip fields, enchanting daffodil fields and hyacinth fields filling the air with their spring perfume.  Keukenhof is a must see when you are in the Netherlands around Easter. The park is dedicated to the tulip and other spring flowers.  It is a beautiful park where you even get to shoot some good pictures of all that the Netherlands has to offer: a field of tulips in front of a windmill where a girl dressed in Dutch folklore clothes  sells cheese.

A very popular spring festival is the flower parade, in Dutch we call it Bloemencorso. These parades are in the bulb flower region, that means in the area of Leiden, Lisse en Haarlem. It's a great parade to see the beautiful spring flowers and the creativity of the locals, who work on the floats for months.

Both Keukenhof and the Flower Parade are big attractions and they welcome thousands of visitors from every part of the world. If you don't want to be in a traffic jam of tourist buses for hours or are curious about the many other festivals & activities in the area, just take a look at Flower Festival Lisse for some original ideas. Cycling through the spring flower fields is -of course- one of my favourite ways to pass time and I would definitely recommend you to add it to your visit to the Netherlands in spring.

Gouda cheese market group tour groepsreis Verita's Visit

Tip 4: Cheese Markets

Enough about flowers, let's talk about cheese. The cheese market season also starts in April. It's one of those spectacular spring events in the Netherlands that is not to be missed when you come and visit. There are markets in Gouda, Alkmaar, Edam, Hoorn and Woerden. Cheese farmers and traders meet on the market square to negotiate the price of the cheese, Dutch cheese girls offer tastings of different cheeses and there are many special activities. It's a great outing for the whole family.

Flea Market King's Day-veritasvisit
A flea market on King's Day. These can be found everywhere, but those in the smaller districts of cities or in villages are the best.

To see where and how the Dutch -Gouda- cheese is made, I would really recommend you to add a visit to a cheese farm and a historical cheese warehouse.

Tip 5: King's Day

King's day is on the 27th of April and Dutch love to celebrate this on the streets. Amsterdam is an orange heaven and should be visited on this dat, but be aware: on the 27th itself everything is fully packed, trains are full, roads are full, streets in Amsterdam are full. If you really want to be in Amsterdam on the 27th go to the city a couple of days before and make sure you have your accomodation booked long before, because Amsterdam will be crowded.

I have been in Amsterdam once on King's Day and I have to say I didn't really like it. To get there it takes a lot of patience and walking around in the city is a real pain: it's just too busy for my liking. I prefer other cities such as Utrecht or The Hague, where every neighbourhood has their own flea market and you can play old Dutch games. Nevertheless, if you want to have an authentic King's Day experience try celebrating it in a small city or even a village. It's much easier to get connected with the locals and the celebration is much more intense as it's much smaller and intimate.

Now King's Day doesn't start on the 27th of April, but the evening before. On the 26th in the late afternoon I would suggest you to go to The Hague to celebrate the Life I Live festival. Bands are playing everywhere, special theatre shows are organised and there are lots of things to do and see. It is one of the few nights this very special atmosphere can be sensed in The Hague, people are just having fun and there's a common vibe everyone can feel.

Tip 6: Liberation Day

Shortly after King's Day Day the Dutch commemorate the people who died in World War II, during peace operations or in war situations. The day after, the 5th of May it is Liberation Day, the day that we celebrate the end of World War II and think about the meaning of freedom. For this we have special Liberation Festivals in different cities in the Netherlands, where bands and known Dutch artists perform. This website gives you more information about who is performing where and what other activities are planned.

Tip 7: Museumweekend

Spring in the Netherlands means being outdoors. But, if the weather is bad, you can always enjoy the musea. In april Dutch musea organise special activities in a weekend that is cleverly called Museumweekend. Entrance in the musea is for free or you pay very little.

Verita's Visit Special spring Events in the Netherlands

 


Prepare-for-cycling-in-Dutch-winter Verita's Visit

Tips for Cycling in Dutch Winter

Tips for Cycling in Dutch Winter

Although it can get cold and windy sometimes, Holland is not a country where temperatures get so extreme you can’t cycle anymore.  Locals ánd international fans of the Low Lands commute from home to work nearly every working day by bicycle. Even in winter.  If you also want to stay in shape in winter and do what the local does here are some cycling tips Dutch winter.

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