Tulip Tour North Holland
Alkmaar, beach and polderland
5 days / 4 nights | April and May | Star tour | Individual cycling tours
Not far from Amsterdam, behind the dunes, the tulip fields blossoming in the spring spread all around the village of Castricum. Discover this gently wavy dune landscape along the wide sandy beach of the North Sea, and visit the city of Alkmaar where you can experience the traditional ceremony of the cheese trade. The cycling tour through the picturesque village of De Rijp is a small journey back in time to the economic heydays of the Netherlands. Dikes and canals, windmills and water birds dominate the view in this green polder landscape.
Staying the the 4**** hotel Koningsbosch, you will stay in a quiet location in the heart of a green landscape, and yet, you are only 4 kilometres away from the sea. The hotel boasts tastefully furnished rooms and a beautiful garden terrace. The hotel’s restaurant is known beyond Castricum for its excellent French-international cuisine.
Highlights of this bike trip
✔ blooming tulip fields in all colours
✔ Dune landscape and North Sea coast
✔ Alkmaar: traditional ceremony of the cheese trade
✔ historic town of De Rijp
✔ dikes, canals and windmills
✔ Polder landscapes De Beemster and De Schermer: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Level 1 (On a scale of 1 to 5)
The routes of this tour are almost always asphalted or fixed. The region is flat, slightly wavy in the dune, but there are no steeper inclines. The junction-point system of the route can easily be extended or shortened.
Day 1: Making your way to Castricum
Arrival from 15.00 at the hotel, check in. Collect rental bikes if booked. You can explore the village on two wheels, enjoy the café terrace in the garden of the hotel or you can go on an initial exploratory tour of the dune area lined by old pines. At the De Hoep visitor centre in Bakkum, you will learn everything about the varied nature of this region.
Day 2: Tulip fields and sea | Cycling tour 57 km / 36 miles
You will be cycling all around Castricum today, through the unique tulip landscape and past Heemskerk up to Egmond aan Zee. The large tulip field let this landscape shine in bright colours. On your bike, you can enjoy this stunningly beautiful view first hand. After this, you will be cycling through the magical dune landscape on excellent cycling routes parallel to the sea and up to the seaside resort of Egmond aan Zee. North Holland’s dune reserve is one of the largest nature reserves in the Netherlands. Beautiful picnic spots and access to the sea make for great opportunities for stops.
Day 3: Alkmaar – Cheese market & old town | Cycling tour 37 km / 23 miles
The destination for today‘s tour is the old Dutch city of Alkmaar. If you are going on this tour on a Friday, a special highlight will be waiting for you: At the traditional cheese market, (Fridays from 10 am – 1 pm) the tradition of cheese trade dating back to the 17th / 18th century will be shown. The actors inspect, taste, weigh, and load the huge cheese loafs under the eyes of the countless visitors gathered on Waagplein (Scales Square). Besides the historical market, the narrow streets along the canals, the cheese museum or the De Boom beer museum in Alkmaar are also worth a visit. On a canal cruise, you can explore the city from the water, and you can browse the shop and go shopping the both historical and hip narrow streets of the D’Oude Stad neighbourhood.
On the way back, you will also go through the small flower village of Limmen. Here, at Hortum Bulborum, a type of botanical museum, thousands of historical tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils blossom.
Day 4: The Golden Century – De Rijd | Cycling tour approx. 53 km / 33 miles
(shortened to 46 km / 29 miles or extended to 60 km / 37 miles)
Today’s cycling tour will lead you through the polder landscape with its old dikes, windmills, canals, and water-rich natural areas. The route to the UNESCO World Heritage region Schermer and Beemster runs along the northern shore of the Alkmaardermeer, a masterpiece of reclaiming land from a lake in the 17th century. Today it is a magical landscape 3.5 metres below sea level. The cycling routes across the protective dikes offer you a great view of the geometrically arranged waterways. A tour of the city of De Rijp will also take you back to the 17th century. Houses with stunning gables dominate the face of this historical city. You should definitely see the city hall built in 1630. A number of pretty cafés and restaurants with a view of the old drawing bridge offer you everything for an interim stop.
On the rest of the route, you will pass Fort Spijkerboor, a part of the ring of forts around Amsterdam. In Spijkerboor, a small pedestrian and bike ferry (€ 1.– per person) will take you to the other side, and you will almost always cycle along the water, via Uitgeest and back to Castricum.
Day 5: Departure after breakfast
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.