In this Collection, I take you along one of the most important rivers in the Netherlands – the Meuse. The LF Maasroute is an iconic long-distance cycle route (LF-route) that follows the river’s contours as it flows through the South of the Netherlands and into the North Sea. Two old routes, the LF3 and LF12, were merged and improved to make this cycle route. Your journey begins from the heart of Maastricht. 480 kilometres (298 miles) and eight stages later, you finish in another Maas city – Rotterdam. The route also traces the well-known EuroVelo 19.
The river springs in France on the Plateau of Langres before flowing through the French and Belgian Ardennes. Near the village of Vise, which is close to Maastricht, the Meuse flows into Dutch territory. The LF Maasroute takes you through pretty fortified towns, the most beautiful national parks and, of course, along the wonderful Meuse deltas. With such good infrastructure, it’s impossible not to have fun cycling here. If you are up for an even bigger adventure, you can extend the route by following the EuroVelo 19. This is the international version of the LF Maasroute, covering 1,170 kilometres (727 miles) to the origin of the Meuse River.
It’s easy to reach the start point in Maastricht and return home from Rotterdam with public transport. You can also cycle the route in the opposite direction, upstream, if you prefer too. The gradients are gentle and you ride along wonderful cycle paths. Each stage covers around 65 kilometres (40 miles), so you may want to do some training before you set off. Each day, you finish in a place where you can easily find a hot meal and a comfy bed. Camping fans will also be happy as there’s always a campsite nearby. The route is signposted the whole way, just follow the green signs and you’ll find your way – have fun!
The stage between Maastricht and Ohé en Laak takes you straight through the South Limburg river landscape that is formed by the Maas. Along the way you pass stream channels and floodplains.The route starts on the Sint Servaasbrug in the heart of Maastricht. Not only is this the oldest bridge in the Netherlands - built in the 13th century, the stone arch bridge is also a national monument. From the bridge you have a beautiful view over the Maas. The river that forms the red thread of the route until the finish in Rotterdam.After just seven kilometers you cycle through the green floodplains near Borgharen. In the past, people tried to tame the Maas by constructing dikes and all kinds of other flood defenses. Today, preference is given to the space for the river. And thus to nature!Large parts of the route go through a dynamic area of water and greenery. In addition, you will pass some beautiful sights along the way. After approximately 16 kilometers you will drive past Castle Geulle. After approximately 30 kilometers - near Urmond - you will arrive at the Schippershuis. The former function of this monument is unclear, but the building is in any case beautiful.The route continues to follow the contours of the Maas. All the way to the final destination Ohé en Laak. You can spend the night at a campsite a bit outside the center. If you prefer to sleep in a hotel, you can check in at one of the hotels just north of Ohé en Laak.
In this stage between Ohé and Laak and Venlo, you will cycle along one of the Netherlands' largest contiguous wetlands. You will pass an interesting fortified town and an impressive lock complex.Shortly after you jump on your bike, you will soon ride past two beautiful highlights. Het Geudje Castle is a building in late Gothic style with some elements reminiscent of the Renaissance here and there. About four kilometers away you cycle along the highest tower mill in South Limburg: the Hompesche mill.The water is also clearly visible here. In some places on the route you are completely surrounded by water. Many of the Maasplassen were created by excavating sand. And as if there isn't enough water yet, the ponds are squeezed by the Maas and the Juliana Canal.The Juliana Canal is an important link for shipping between the Netherlands, Belgium and France. You will find impressive lock complexes at both Maasbracht and Linne. The locks have a drop of twelve meters. The greatest decline in the Netherlands.The cycle path on the remaining part of the route changes the Maas bank a number of times. From the bridges, such as the Bicycle Bridge over Maasarm and Louis Raemaekers Brug, you have a beautiful view over the Maas. At Kessel and Baarlo you cross the Maas twice in a different way, namely by ferry.The finish is next to the Stadshaven of Venlo. Here you will find many hotels for a comfortable night's sleep.
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The route between Venlo and Boxmeer takes you through the border area between South Limburg and North Brabant. The decor is formed by the beautiful river dunes area of De Maasduinen National Park.After breakfast it is time to leave. First check the tire pressure and go. You leave Venlo on the west side and set course for Boxmeer. The route winds through the Limburg countryside and even takes you almost to Germany. Close to the German border there are some beautiful unpaved cycle paths through the woods.After approximately 15 kilometers you can choose to make a small detour. A part of the route are the Ravenvennen. This beautiful area consists of dunes covered with coniferous and deciduous trees and high drifting dunes with white sand. This is the perfect place to get out your thermos of coffee and take a short break.Cycling is also possible of course. This way you arrive earlier at the National Park de Maasduinen. Anyone who thought that dunes only occur on the coast is wrong. In the past, the Maas and tributaries caused deep channels in the landscape. This created terraces of sand on which the wind had free rein. The hilly landscape with forests, moors, fens and dunes is a feast for the eyes.In the vicinity of Ooijen you cycle a little closer along the banks of the Maas. You no longer lose sight of the remaining kilometers. The ferry connection Vierlingsbeek - Bergen takes you from one province to another, namely from South Limburg to North Brabant.When you cycle here, you know that the final destination is in sight. You will find both campsites and hotels around Boxmeer.
The stage between Boxmeer and Maasbommel takes you through the cultural landscapes of North Brabant. You cycle through floodplains and meadows. You can even cycle through the Rhine Delta along the way.First pack the panniers and then it is time to leave. You cycle along the green part between Boxmeer and Gennep. At Gennep you cycle into the province of South Limburg via the Maas bridge. This is a striking place on the route. From here the direction of the Maas bends to the west.For a good ten kilometers you are again on Limburg territory. But at Cuijk a ferry brings you back to North Brabant. Not much later you will cycle along the Kraaijenbergse Plassen. These pools were created as a result of the extraction of sand and clay. The lakes are a great place for a short break. Sit down on one of the benches and enjoy the surroundings. In good weather you can even take a refreshing dip.The cycle path continues to run right along the Maas. Only at Velp en Wegen does the Maas get out of sight for a while. The route here runs a little further inland, straight through the Brabant countryside. Here you will find the characteristic block patterns of meadows.Do not forget to make a short stop in Grave, Ravenstein and Megen along the way. You can catch your breath in these traditional fortified towns with cobblestone streets. The finish is in Maasbommel. You will find a number of sleeping accommodations just outside Maasbommel.
This ride from Maasbommel to Aalst follows the contours of the Maas, up to Heusden, where the river officially ends. The remainder of the route follows the contours of the Afgedamde Maas and beyond.The route winds parallel to the Maas in the direction of 's-Hertogenbosch. Near Maren-Kessel you can almost reach another large river. Only a few kilometers to the north is the Waal, which originates in another major river: the Rhine.Both the Maas and the cycle path run north of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Just before the village of Heusden is an important place on the route. According to Rijkswaterstaat, this is the place where the Maas officially ends. The remainder has been dammed, relocated and some parts have even been newly dug.You cycle more towards the north from here. The castle of the same name is located on the bank of a bend in the Maas near Nederhemert. Before you arrive at the final destination, follow the Afgedamde Maas for a while. This old branch of the Maas forms the connection with the Bergsche Maas.Close to the final destination Aalst there are not many facilities to spend the night. So plan your route carefully. If you have a tent with you, it is somewhat easy to find a place to sleep. The castle campsite Nederhemert is recommended.
This ride between Aalst and Dordrecht is all about water. Deltas, tidal areas, rivers: you will find it all today. There is a unique point on the route near Woudrichem. You cycle from here below sea level.From Aalst you continue your way along the Afgedamde Maas. The beautiful Loevenstein Castle was built between 1357 and 1368 on the spot where this river joins the Waal. This castle has an illustrious history. The medieval building served as a state prison and was part of the Dutch Waterline.You will find another beautiful photo stop not much later: the fortified town of Woudrichem. In the picturesque center you will find historic streets and buildings. The old cannons are even still standing on top of the city wall. And you probably won't notice it while cycling, but you have just cycled into the Dutch lowlands. The remainder of the route is largely covered by sea level.What you may not have known is that the LF Maas route does not run all the way along the Maas. As far as Dordrecht you cycle along the continuation of the Waal: the Boven-Merwede. But before you arrive in Dordt, you pass the beautiful National Park De Biesbosch. This water-rich paradise is one of the few freshwater tidal areas in the world.Dordrecht has many sleeping accommodations in all kinds, from luxurious hotels to hostels. Numerous campsites can be found on the edge of the center and in De Biesbosch.
During the stage between Dordrecht and Oostvoorne you will be amazed by the beautiful nature "under the smoke of Rotterdam". The cycle path follows the original course of the Maas, which we now know as the Oude Maas.It is time to leave Dordrecht's many monuments, historic inland ports and cozy atmosphere behind. You cycle south out of the center. Keep your eyes peeled, because Dordrecht is bursting with beautiful monumental buildings.Dordrecht is completely wedged by rivers and water. The only option on your way to continue towards Oostvoorne is by passing the Kiltunnel. When you exit the tunnel you will find yourself in the green of the Hoeksche Waard again. In the green strip between Barendrecht and Rhoon there are endless rows of pollard willows. If you see traces of gnawing on a willow tree, keep your eyes extra open. This is the proof of beavers.The section up to Hoogvliet is entirely on separate cycle paths. This makes it wonderful to cycle and you have plenty of opportunity to take in the surroundings. Via the Spijkenisserbrug you cycle to the other bank and follow the Hartel Canal. Don't skip a visit to Brielle! Brielle is a fortified city with a pleasant center. Many monuments, restaurants and shops can be found within the ramparts.From Brielle it is only ten kilometers to the final destination. There is no shortage of sleeping accommodations in Oostvoorne. A campsite or hotel, the choice is yours.
The stage between Oostvoorne and Rotterdam passes through the port area of Rotterdam. This may not sound too impressive, but seals, delta works and an impressive skyline certainly do. And more good news: today you will finish the LF Maas route.Immediately after the start you cycle along the north side of the Oostvoornse Meer. This is a popular place for water sports enthusiasts. Diving and surfing are especially popular activities here. You will find a bird watching screen on the north bank. Here you look out over the many muddy fields with grasslands and many geese and ducks.You cycle to the Fast Ferry via a road straight through the Tweede Maasvlakte. Maasvlakte 2 is a part of the port of Rotterdam that originated from scratch. Land has been reclaimed here and the port was suddenly 20% larger. It seems like you are cycling through a film set. To the left and right you look out over smoking chimneys and mega container terminals.The Fast Ferry ferry service takes you to Hoek van Holland. If you are lucky you will see seals here and there on one of the sandbanks. Just outside Hoek van Holland is a special piece of engineering. The Maeslantkering is a delta work that offers protection against high water. The Delta Works can handle a tidal wave of five meters. Do cycle to the viewpoint if you still have some energy left. The view from above is beautiful.Rotterdam is not far anymore. You drive to Schiedam along the edges of Maassluis and Vlaardingen. Here you can almost touch Rotterdam. The skyline is therefore becoming increasingly visible. From the end point on the Willemskade you have a beautiful view of perhaps the most iconic part of Rotterdam: the Holland-America Quay and the Erasmus Bridge, located on the Nieuwe Maas.