Cycle & Stay: Holland’s Lake District - Friesland
6 days I Hotel to Hotel I Self-guided cycle tour
If you like the sound of discovering lakes great and small, set amidst the lush green and occasionally gently rolling homelands of beautiful black and white Frisian cows, then this cycle tour’s sure to be ‘moo-sic’ to your ears. Beyond the IJsselmeer, Friesland has much in common with the watery broadlands of England, owing the nature of its landscape to past generations who systematically dug out peat for fuel.
Pedal out from Holland’s oldest peat canal village, Heerenveen, through hauntingly beautiful meadowlands to the IJsselmeer port of Lemmer and take a look at the nearby steam-driven Wouda pumping station, not just the world’s largest, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. Pass curious ‘klifs’ on the Gaasterland coast en route to Oudemirdum and catch Friesland folktales at Stavoren, the province’s oldest town. Charming little places full of traditional crafts line up along the way to Harlingen on the Wadden See. Look out for Hindeloopen’s painted furniture and Makkum’s famous pottery and perhaps add an optional extra night on the coast to your tour, so you can sail across to Friesland’s wildly beautiful and wonderfully bike-friendly islands of Vlieland or Terschelling.
From the Wadden See coast, riverside paths lead to Leeuwarden, now Friesland’s ‘double’ capital, as the Province’s main city has been designated ‘European Capital for Culture for 2018’. There’s simply so much to see and do here, but the big skies and wide, open landscapes of the ‘Empty Centre’ and the wonderful watersports village of Grouw are calling. Find a lakeside café and treat yourself to one of Friesland’s deliciously sweet temptations as you reflect a while, before heading back homeward to Heerenveen.
Nice & Easy - Gentle touring by bike along flat cycle tracks and minor roads. Some small and short ascents only in areas where there are drainage dykes and bridges. Cycle map includes route options, so you have the flexibility to shorten or extend your bike tour as you wish.
* Heerenveen – Hollands’ oldest peat canal village * Lemmer – lock, port and Wouda steam-powered pumping station, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site * Gaasterland – Friesland’s lovely area of rolling hills * Stavoren – oldest city in Friesland * Hindeloopen – home of painted furniture crafts * Workum - Jopie Huisman Museum of Friesland painting * Makkum - Royal Tichelaar Makkum’s earthenware factory * Leeuwarden - 2018 European Capital of Culture, famous historic town with beautiful façades * Grouw - Nature Reserve de Alde Feanen * Akkrum – charming Friesland village.