Great cycling in France, Belgium and the Netherlands over 12 days as you bike from Paris to Amsterdam.
There is no better way to experience the Netherlands’ beautiful flat landscape, complete with blooming tulips, delightful centuries-old windmills, pretty streams, and rolling fields than on a bike. After all, this is the country boasts more bikes than people and more than 32,000 kilometers (19, 884 mi) of cycling routes. Throw in the edgy capital Amsterdam, innovative and green architecture, wonderful artists, plus sociable locals and you have everything you need.
Naturally, Amsterdam will be your first port of call and its blend of history and modernity weaved between hundreds of canals and thousands of bridges will have you peddling away to your heart’s content. Every turn can reveal a new gem, be it a flower stall, cute music venue, a curious independent shop or even a gin distillery. Fancy some culture and history? Just drop into the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum or Anne Frank’s House. Switch it up with a visit to the famous Red Light District and then round it off in the famous brown cafes - wonderful pubs that emanate coziness and offer excellent beers and snacks. Perfection!
If you crave something a little more peaceful then ride into the Green Heart of Netherlands. This natural area lies between Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht and is the kind of oasis you think of when you envision this beautiful country. Small villages, lakes, meadows, rivers, marshes, woods and, of course, windmills and church spires that rise out of the flat landscape make this the perfect cycling territory. You can also enjoy a warm slice of Dutch-style apple tart and syrup waffles as just reward for your cycling power.
Further along, you will reach the enigmatic city of Gouda - yes, it is famous for that cheese. Time your visit here for a Thursday so you can appreciate the wonderful cheese market, while also enjoying the Gothic town hall and cute canals that make this a wonderful place to stop off.
Back in the Green Heart it is well worth riding to the pretty village of Kinderdijk, which is best known for its 19 iconic 18th century windmills. Collectively they are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the surrounding area, much like the rest of the Green Heart, provides pure idyllic cycling conditions.
Elsewhere, it is worth cycling into the wonderful province of Zeeland where islands, bridges, picture-book towns, cobbled streets, rolling dunes and sand flats await. It is an idyllic area and a particular highlight are the delightful streets of Zierikzee, where the fresh sea air rolls right through and enlivens your soul.
And that pure feeling of peacefulness is what the Netherlands does best, particularly when it comes to exploring on two wheels. Gorgeous landscapes, excellent bike conditions, lovely food and an overwhelming sense of warmth make this the ultimate cycling location.