The LF3 Hanseatic Route takes you through authentic trading towns as you ride from Millingen aan de Rijn to Kampen in the Netherlands. LF-Routes are long-distance cycling routes that cross through the Netherlands. The LF3 focuses on the Ijssel River and a number of cities dotted along its banks. Connecting the German hinterland to the open sea, the river was used to trade for hundreds of years. This former wealth and splendour are clearly visible in some of the so-called Hanseatic cities. What is a Hanseatic city? I hear you thinking. A Hanseatic city simply belongs to the Hanseatic League, a cooperation between trading cities to protect and expand their trade.
At 150 kilometres (93 miles) in length, the Hanseatic Route is relatively short. You cycle past no less than five Hanseatic towns, each with its own impressive sights. In these historic medieval cities, you find the beautiful remains of ports, warehouses and defences. You also pass green forelands and water-rich landscapes around the River Rhine. Cycle paths take you over dikes and wide-open polders. Every part of the route offers beautiful nature and history.
The route begins in the town of Millingen aan de Rijn in the east of the Netherlands. The start point is easiest to reach by car. If you prefer to travel by public transport, then take the train to Nijmegen instead. I have chosen to cycle the route from south to north in three stages. But of course, you can freely adjust the Hanseatic Route to your wishes. You can change the direction as well as the number of stages. In my chosen stage destinations, you find at least some options of places to spend the night. Once you have arrived at the finish line, you can easily travel home by train. Have fun cycling through some of the most beautiful Hanseatic cities in the Netherlands.
The first stage of the LF3 Hanseatic Route starts from Millingen aan de Rijn. This village in the province of Gelderland is close to the border of the Netherlands and Germany. After a few kilometers you cross the Bijlandsch Kanaal by ferry. Just below Pannerden the canal has its source in the Waal and the Nederrijn. The Rhine was an important connection for trade in the Hanseatic cities.The route takes you over winding dyke paths and separate cycle paths along the contours of, in my opinion, the Netherlands' most beautiful river. At Westervoort, the route turns east. After approximately 26 kilometers, the Gieseplas comes into view. This recreational lake is a nice place for a short break. Especially the beach at Giesbeek.Shortly after the interruption you will cycle on a beautiful cycle path along the IJssel. The church tower of Doesburg looms in the distance. While inland vessels slowly chug by, the very first Hanseatic city approaches. Doesburg is a beautiful old Hanseatic city full of historical wealth and sights such as the Martini Church, De Roode Toren or the Kruiden Doesburg. For a long time this city was one of the most important fortified cities in the Netherlands. A short walk through the center with the medieval street pattern is highly recommended.The final destination is about 15 kilometers away. Via the green buffer zone with fragrant grasslands along the winding IJssel you cycle towards the small village of Bronkhorst. Today's second ferry will take you to the left bank. You can already see the final destination from the quay. In Brummen you will find a number of hotels. Camping enthusiasts can find a farm campsite on the west side of the village.Millingen aan de Rijn is a bit difficult to reach by public transport. The nearest station is Nijmegen Center. From here you cycle to the starting location in approximately 17 km. The route takes you past the beautiful German nature reserve Düffel-Kellener Altrhein und Flußmarschen with sweeping views and characteristic farmhouses on mounds.
In the second stage of the LF3 Hanseatic Route, no fewer than two Hanseatic cities are on the program. Via the Cortenoeverseweg you set course in the direction of Zutphen. The Cortenoeversebrug takes you across the IJssel. The clinker cycle path along the water leads to the port of Zutphen.In the 14th century, a lot of money was made in Zutphen thanks to the trade over water. Grain, hides, wool and herbs were traded by means of so-called cog ships (old cargo ships). Zutphen grew into a prosperous city with impressive merchant houses and warehouses. The historic center with its many towers is the perfect place for a cup of coffee in one of the many restaurants.Shortly after departure you will make another jump to the other bank of the IJssel. The cycle path through the floodplains leads you past the historic remains of De Nijenbeek castle. The route follows the course of the IJssel. The view is different after every turn. Branches and foothills provide interesting landscapes with reed beds, floodplains and forests.After approximately 27 kilometers, the route makes a short detour. And not without reason, because the route takes a bit through the historic heart of Deventer. Today's second Hanseatic city. Deventer is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. During the Middle Ages Deventer was a most important trading city. The beautiful buildings are a reminder of prosperity. Do not forget to visit De Waag, perhaps the most beautiful building in Deventer.For the first time on this route, you will leave the course of the IJssel behind. The remainder of the route continues "inland". The final vote Olst is not far away. In Olst you will only find one hotel and one campsite. It is therefore advisable to book ahead!
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The third stage between Olst and Kampen takes you further north. Along the way you pass some beautiful highlights, including the Hanseatic city of Zwolle and end in Kampen. Immediately after leaving Olst you make a loop through the floodplains near Den Nul. This area is also called the Duursche Waarden. Here you will find beautiful channels, banks and forest between the flood plains.In the neighborhood of Wijhe you will cycle along the Rijksstraatweg for a while. But it doesn't take long before the route bends and the road gives way to a beautiful cycle path over a dike. From the higher situated cycle path you have a beautiful view of the wide surroundings.The contours of a large city become visible about halfway through the stage. On the outskirts of this city you will find Het Engels Werk, a city park in romantic English style. This is also the point where the route turns right. A few kilometers straight ahead is the Hanseatic city of Zwolle. Zwolle was an important trading city between the 12th and 16th centuries. But it was not until 1448 that Zwolle joined the Hanseatic League.After you've finished sniffing some culture in the historic center, continue the route. Be sure to take a look at the Sassenpoort and the Herman Brood museum. The last part of the route follows the course of the IJssel in the direction of the IJsselmeer, where the river flows. However, the finish location is a bit closer: in Kampen. This city has been bustling with activity since the 13th century. This nautical city on the shores of the former Zuiderzee was bursting with craftsmen, fishermen and merchants.Now the city is the end of your cycling adventure along the LF3 Hanseatic Route. Here you can take the train home. You can of course also choose to stay in Kampen for a night. There is plenty to see, such as the old town hall and harbor.