Thinking about visiting and cycling in Holland? Go for it! Holland, known as the cycling capital of Europe, can be your ultimate vacation or holiday spot.
Cycling in Holland is a joy due to a dedicated cycle paths, which are always clearly signposted, superbly maintained and designed to be safe, easy and enjoyable.
Holland is one of the most scenic countries in the world and cycling is heavily ingrained in its culture. The country features more than 25,000 miles of cycling routes that feature no motor traffic.
There are over 16 million bicycles in Holland (a little more than one for every citizen) and 1.3 million new bicycles are sold each year. This culture has helped create one of the most bicycle friendly countries in the world where cyclists are taken into account during urban planning and major infrastructure projects.
It is really interesting to note that cycling is encouraged at a very early age and plenty of children cycle to school. The safety factor is further enhanced by the fact that many towns have been designed to provide limited access to cars, which in turn makes cycling more attractive.
Some of My Other Bicycle Tours
Take a look at some of my bicycle tours in Europe:
Cycling in Holland – Why Do It?
Cycling in Holland has become a local pastime for a few obvious reasons. Here are some of them:
Did you know...?
Did you know that there are guarded bicycle parks in Holland?
That's how seriously the Dutch take cycling! For fees as low as 1 euro, you can park your bike in a secure location manned by security personnel.
By using these bike parks, you can stop and see the sights with full confidence that your bicycle will still be there waiting for you when you're done.
- It is flat - The country features mostly flat terrain, which makes it easy to cover long distances and is perfect for both novices and advanced cyclists.
- Small country - East to west the distance is 200 Km and north to south the distance is 350 Km. Therefore, it is certainly possible to explore the entire country in a short holiday (about 2-3 weeks).
- Variety - From stunning cities and ancient towns to some of the most breath-taking natural splendours of Europe, cycling in Holland is a magical experience.
- Language - English is a well spoken language in Holland, which makes it very easy to travel and explore different areas.
- Safety - Holland has the fourth safest roads in the world and dedicated safeguards to help provide cyclists with the safest journey possible.
Where to Go
There are a number of cycling options, which can take you through a number of different places. Day rides can easily be arranged and it is even possible to hire a bike at a railway station for a day or two.
If you looking for more information visit the Dutch Railway Website, or download ANWB (the Dutch Auto-mobile Association) routes, which are compatible with Google Maps. Of course, you can also use dedicated websites to provide you with additional cycling routes.
Holland has a very interesting network of cycling routes called knooppuntroutes. Each node in the network has a unique number. This system also allows cyclists to plan their trips ahead with a simple online route planner.
Long distance routes are known as LF-routes (landelijke fietsroutes) are highly recommended and allow cyclists to continue cycling all the way to Belgium or Germany, but not before allowing them to enjoy some of the most breath-taking sights in the countryside has to offer.
Top Three Cycling Spots in Holland
Here are three of Holland's prime locations for cyclists on vacation. If you're having trouble planning out an itinerary, these three areas are the best place to start.
- One of the best reasons to cycle in Amsterdam is the high chance of making new friends among the city's many bike-riding enthusiasts. A stunning 68 percent of all trips in the city are made by bicycle.
- Amsterdam is one of Europe's most charming cities, with colorful houses and winding alleyways that transport you back in history to a more carefree and simpler time.
- Amsterdam is not an easy place to get around by car. Many of the more interesting paths and alleyways are too narrow to accommodate an average automobile, so touring Holland's capital city on bicycle will ensure you get the most out of your vacation.
- If you are into hills and slopes, this is the perfect spot for you. This is the only area where you can find hills and steep slopes while cycling in Holland, which will surely appeal to the extreme rider in you. The southernmost part of the province is the most hilly of all.
- Here's a bit of trivia that will appeal to all cycling fans - the UCI Road Cycling World Championships have been held in Limburg six times. This is a testament to the province's long and illustrious cycling heritage and its superb biking terrain.
- No cycling vacation in Holland could ever be complete without seeing the famous windmills and if windmills are what you're after, is the place for you.
- Zuid Holland boasts a total of three world-renowned bicycle trails where cyclists can view some of Holland's oldest and most beautiful windmills.
- The most popular cycling route runs between Alblasserwaard and Kinderdijk. The latter has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its 19 windmills, each nearly three centuries old, and is a must-see for any tourist cycling in Holland.
- The best time to visit the area in late spring or summer when the flowers are in full bloom and the weather is perfect for outdoor activity.
Orgenized Cycling in Holland
Bicycling tours are ideal when cycling in Holland. For those who are meeting up with friends or family in Holland, vacationing without a professional tour guide is a perfectly viable option. However if you will be riding by yourself or in a small group, you may just end up getting stressed out. Dutch is one of the world's most difficult languages to pick up and the country's size means it is very easy for foreign cyclists to get lost. The best thing to do is to look for bike tours, where you and your friends will be part of a highly organized bike tour around specific areas in Holland. You can also find tours that include food and lodging.
Mike's Bicycle Tours
- Mike's Bicycle Tours is one of the most highly regarded tour companies in Holland.
- The company is best-known for its brilliant tours of Amsterdam. If this is the first time you're cycling in Holland, Mike's Amsterdam City Tour will familiarize you with the capital city, from the red-light district to the city's best-kept secrets (canals, house boats and draw bridges).
- The Mini-City Tour is perfect for cyclists tight on time, taking you on a whirlwind tour of the city's main highlights.
- Cycle Tours is one of Europe's best-known cycling tour operators. Their Holland bike tours are competitively priced and comprehensive.
- It's not easy to find cycling tours that take you to Holland's countryside, so you should definitely give Cycle Tours' Southern Tour some serious thought. The tour takes you through some of Holland's prettiest medieval villages. What's more, the package includes accommodation and transport by barge and ferry!
Cycling in Holland - Things to Take Note Of
You need to brush up on Dutch traffic rules and road conditions before cycling in Holland. Your trip will not be fun if you get into accidents or end up breaking the law.
- Ride In the Right Lane - In Holland, you need to ride on the right side of the road. There are also specific bike lanes which are usually brown in coolor, so be sure to stay within the area to avoid getting into trouble or any accidents.
- Hand Signals Are Your Friend - As there are many cyclists in Holland, bike paths may be a little more crowded than you're used to, so it's very important to take safety precautions. The Dutch are very strict about cycling etiquette and safety, so make sure you always signal your intentions on the road so that you won't compromise the safety of other cyclists.
- Secure Your Bike - Bike theft is one of Holland's most common crimes and should be a primary concern for anyone cycling in Holland. You need to buy a very sturdy bicycle lock. As bike theft is an especially pressing concern in Amsterdam, you may also want to consider paying to park your bike in a guarded bicycle park, known in Dutch as a Fietsanstalling.
- When cycling in Holland always obey the traffic lights and rules that are specifically designed for cyclists.
- Ride on the left hand side of the road
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians and scooters who occasionally stray into cycle lanes. Some cycle lanes have pedestrian crossings.
- If you are brining your own bike, make sure that it meets the country's requirements. Importantly, every bike must have a bell and use lights after dark.
- Use a secure lock because Holland has quite a number of bicycle thefts.
- Remember that you can always take your bike on a train (except during peak hours) or a ferry but buses generally do not carry bikes.
- There are not many public toilets along the cycling routes so make sure you take full advantage of the restrooms during stops for food and supplies.
- Always park your bike on a dedicated bike stand or parking lot. Bikes that are parked on the sidewalk are removed and cyclists are can be charged a small reclamation fee.
- Make good use of national or route maps. These days it is possible to get GPS versions of the maps on Google Maps and then access it via a smartphone.
Tip: Visit Kinderdijk
Ask any Dutch tour guide to compile a list of the top ten destinations to visit on a cycling tour of Holland and Kinderdijk would definitely be on that list.
It's the best place to view Holland's famous windmills with 19 picturesque windmills located in the area. These towering windmills, against the gorgeous backdrop of the Lek and Noord rivers, will be the highlight of your bicycle tour.
- Holland Tourism - Cycling.
- Amsterdam Cycle Routes.
- Interactive Route Map
- Dutch Railway - Cycling Routes.
- ANWB Routes.
- Suggested Maps
Selected User Comments
"If you are cycling in Holland you have to ride through Holland's bulb fields, stunning medieval towns and the coastal areas. I found cycling here the easiest and it is so bicycle friendly that sometimes you think that this is a bicycle-only country."
"As a Brit cycling in Holland was a really amazing experience. The Dutch have far more advanced cycling systems than the UK and the laws are very clear and advantageous for cyclists. The only problem I have with the bicycle obsession is that when it rains or the weather gets lousy, you have no way to avoid getting drenched, especially when you are exploring the country on the bicycle only lanes."
"By far the best European country for cyclists! It's like I've died and gone to bicycle heaven."
In Holland, cycling is not just a hobby. It's a way of life. All year round, even during the coldest of days, you will see riders cycling their way around the cities, joining tours and tournaments. It is also one of the most popular destinations for cyclists. Now that you know the hows and whys of biking in Holland, it's time to plan your cycling tour!