Endless beaches with seductively white sand that roll in the beautiful blue sea; an extensive dune-like landscape with free-living animals and a diverse flora: Welcome to part 5 of the North Sea Coast Cycle Route. This time, you'll bike through dreamy, dense forest, past long green dikes, colorful flower fields, branched canals and dead straight dams.
This part of the North Sea Coast Cycle Route runs for about 400 miles (650 kilometers) through the Netherlands and Belgium on beautifully smooth cycleway, perfect for a smooth ride. A mere tenth of the full 3,750-mile (6,000-kilometer) long cycle path, the full route takes you through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Great Britain. In eight stages, we introduce you to the Dutch and Belgian portion of the ride, which takes you from Bad Nieuweschans in the Netherlands to De Panne in Belgium.
As Belgium and the Netherlands are both incredibly bike-friendly nations, you can expect immaculate cycling infrastructure on your visit. On your ride, you'll find numerous places to stay, great cycle paths, relaxed beach bars and beautiful cafes. Arrival and departure is also very easy: There is a train station both at the starting point in Bad Nieuweschans and at the destination of the ride in De Panne, so you can simply take the train home again or back to the airport if you're flying.
If you have more than eight days or if the individual stages are too long for you, you can simply customize the length of each stage to your own preferences. In fact, due to the abundance of towns, villages and campsites along the route that you can use as starting points/destinations, you can customize this route to your heart's content, safe in the knowledge that you'll always find a place to recharge after a day in the saddle. Of course, you can also combine this part of the North Sea Coast Cycle Route with other segments of the full trail, and turn this 8-day bike ride into a full-on, multinational adventure.
The other portions of the North Sea Coast Cycle Route can be found here:
In the town of Bad Nieuweschans the bike tour starts on the North Sea Cycle Route. The place is located in the Netherlands on the border with Germany and is easily accessible by train. In addition, the last stage of the German North Sea Cycle Route ends in Bad Nieuweschans, so you can continue here.From there it goes on 72 flat kilometers to the northwest. First you cycle through rural areas to the coast, where the Ems flows into the North Sea. Here are green dykes waiting for you, some of which are populated by grazing sheep. The sweet balls of wool also like to criss-cross the bike path, so slow, careful driving is recommended.About some canals then it goes to Delfzijl, which is about halfway. The place is a good place to rest. In addition to restaurants that provide for the physical well-being, you can visit in Delfzijl, for example, the windmill Adam, which not only impressed from the outside, but also houses an art museum.Strengthened, we continue along the coast to the north, until you turn west and head past green meadows and colorful blooming fields of flowers on today's stage Warffum.
Even today, it remains flat on the way from Warffum to Ferwert, which is why the 69-kilometer route is quite uncomplicated to drive.Shortly after Warffum you come through the small town Pieterburen, where there is a seal breeding station. A visit to the cute howlers is a real highlight and will definitely open your heart. After enjoying the cute seals and saying goodbye to them, you continue past impressive fields and through small villages to the west, where you come to the National Park Lauwersmeer. Here you cross the bay on the dam completed in 1969. You have a wonderful view of the water on both sides, where, with enough wind, a few sailors are on the way.Afterwards, the trail leads you directly along the North Sea coast. Often you cycle on the beautiful dikes, from which you have a great view of the surrounding flat land and can discover again and again small, charming fishing villages, which are on the way to the stage destination Ferwert.
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87 kilometers lead you today on completely flat terrain from Ferwert to Den Oever. The cycle path meanders through the rural area near the coast, past the typical canals, the wide fields, which stretch flat to the horizon, and tranquil villages on the way.Then the cycle path meets the North Sea coast again, where it leads along the water and takes you through the beautiful coastal town of Harlingen. Here is a cozy rest, because the place enchants with its beautiful old town and invites you to linger with beautiful cafes.From Harlingen you will then drive along the coast for a while until you reach the 32-kilometer-long dike. On both sides of the dyke, which is actually a dam, there is water. This makes the long tour on the narrow artificial plot unique and exciting. Around the middle there is a gas station and a campsite if you want to take a break.At the end of the dike is today's stage destination Den Oever, where you can end the day comfortably at the atmospheric harbor.
After the last three stages were completely flat, you can look forward to a few small climbs on the 86 kilometer tour from Den Oever to Wijk aan Zee, which will lead you through beautiful dunes.First you drive from Den Oever on the still flat section to the southwest, until you hit the west coast of the Netherlands. You also cycle along the banks of the Amstelmeer in a beautiful arc.On the west coast, you will then be able to enjoy beautiful sandy beaches that stretch for miles along the North Sea coast and a unique dune landscape, which is natural and originally beautiful. A small or large break in one of the relaxed beach bars with breathtaking views of the sea, the white beach and the sound of the surf as background music, is an absolute dream, with the really holiday feeling come up.Through the nature reserve Dunes reserve North Holland, where you can see wild Scottish highland cattle and horses, you then cycle comfortably to the stage destination Wijk aan Zee.
Today, a particularly beautiful stage awaits you, which will take you 80 kilometers from Wijk aan Zee to the town with the unusual name of Monster. Most of the way you drive through fascinating dune landscape again.From Wijk aan Zee you first cycle through a small conurbation that spreads around the harbor and therefore exudes some industrial flair. Here you also cross the North Sea Canal. Then it goes directly to the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland with its beautiful and especially wild landscape, which is composed of dunes, forests and lakes. With a bit of luck, you can also spot big wildlife like horses as you cycle through the unique dune pastures.Through the beautiful resort Zandvoort it goes directly to the beach and from there continue south along the North Sea coast. The well-developed cycle path leads you here through beautiful dunes, which extend along the entire coast to The Hague. After cycling through the foothills of the Dutch government seat, you head for the small - and, despite its name, harmless - coastal Monster, the current stage destination.From where the city Monster has its name, is still not very clear. However, it is speculated that the word monster was derived from the Latin word monasterium. In the past, Monster was a popular place of pilgrimage with its church and monastery.
From Monster it goes today on 83 miles across several dams to Burgh-Haamstede. The route is pleasantly flat, but there is plenty of variety on the way and a lot to see.From Monster it goes to the Rhine-Maas-Delta, where you meet the port of Rotterdam. Here you can enjoy a ferry ride a bit through the harbor. Afterwards, you'll cycle through the impressive industrial setting until you finally leave the harbor area behind and dive into a beautiful dune landscape.On the Haringvlietdam you then cross another branch of the Rhine-Maas-Delta, which will take you straight to the other side on five kilometers, where small towns and countless canals await you on the way to the next dam. The Brouwersdam spoils you in the middle with a huge sandy beach that invites you to take a break. Here you can lie comfortably in the soft sand and watch kitesurfers or refresh yourself while bathing.Behind the dam, on the last few kilometers of the stage, you ride comfortably along the North Sea coast and have several more opportunities to stop on beautiful sandy beaches, which are behind beautiful dunes, and to enjoy the breathtaking nature and the special holiday atmosphere. The stage destination Burgh-Haamstede is only a short distance away from these dream beaches, so you can end the evening with a romantic sunset there.
Today, the last stage in the Netherlands and the border crossing to Belgium are already on the agenda. From Burgh-Haamstede you cycle 97 kilometers to Knokke in Belgium.On the way along the North Sea coast, you will once again be able to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful nature of the Netherlands. Right at the beginning you will cycle through a large forest in the immediate vicinity of the coast. Listening to the sound of the surf among the trees is a unique experience. Then you drive over the Pijlerdam, where you have a magnificent view of the water on both sides.Afterwards you will cycle along the coast. Here beautiful viewpoints with spectacular views of the beautiful beaches and idyllic sections through quaint forests await you.In the coastal town of Visslingen, you can take a little rest before you take the ferry to Breskens and tackle the final part of the day's leg. It leads you in some loops towards Belgium and finally across the border, where shortly after today's stage finish Knokke is waiting for you.
The final stage of the bike tour through the Netherlands and Belgium takes you 75 kilometers from Knokke to De Panne along the Belgian North Sea coast. It goes past beautiful beaches, glamorous promenades and pretty coastal towns.Right at the beginning you will pass the beautiful beach of Knokke-Heist. Here you can watch kitesurfers or simply enjoy the huge sandy beach. A few kilometers further you pass the port of Zeebrugge, one of the most modern ports in Europe. In the following sections, you can enjoy one or the other passage through the beautiful dunes of Belgium between the coastal towns.About halfway through the largest city of this stage you come: Ostend. On the large beach promenade of the seaside resort you can relax and let the hustle and bustle act on you, because not only the large beach invite you to linger, but also the many cozy street cafes and restaurants.From Ostend it then follows a few miles straight along the North Sea coast, until you drive a little dangling to Nieuwpoort. From there, the bike path winds its way to the stage destination De Panne, which lies on the border with France. After enjoying the rest of the day on the beach, you can take the train home from the station or, of course, continue your journey towards England, where the North Sea Coast Cycle Path continues.