Magnificent palaces in picturesque gardens, impressive castles and fortresses surrounded by protective water. Large country estates, historic country houses, imposing mansions in the midst of extensive meadows—and mile after mile of dense forest.
Dive into the history of Holland through its magnificent castles and country houses. You'll find no less than 700 still-standing monuments to years gone by scattered across the country, from historic fortresses to stately homes. And with numerous properties being the one-time home of the Dutch royal family, you can trace the roots of this mighty lineage back through their many homes—and experience their connection to the other powerful families of Europe.
If the Dutch royal lineage doesn't interest you, however, you can simply admire the architecture. In the Golden Age, wealthy merchants would construct hundreds of luxurious country houses, complete with stylistically designed gardens and intricate interiors—inspiring numerous architectural and design trends over the years. And best of all: Many of these Dutch castles and country houses are now open to the public, whether as museums, family-friendly attractions, hotels, youth hostels or excellent restaurants.
In this Collection, we present six bike rides and two hikes that'll take you to the most beautiful Dutch castles and country houses.
The Keukenhof is especially known to friends of tulips. During the tulip blossom, many flower fans make their pilgrimage to the Keukenhof and the tulip farms. But the Keukenhof offers even more interesting. In addition to the castle, the newly opened Lisser Art Museum is a highlight.During your approximately 35 kilometer long and flat tour, you drive past tulip fields to the castle ruins Teylingen. The next castle on your tour is the Kasteel Oud-Poelgeest, which is surrounded by beautiful gardens. You can visit the castle and the gardens or have a coffee break in the local restaurant.Continue in the direction of Leiden. A detour to the lively, medieval old town is well worth it. The pretty city center is surrounded by several canals. The way back to Keukenhof takes you through a beautiful nature reserve, the Kagerplassen. On bike paths and a total of three ferries you will experience the unique polder landscape around Kaag. Shortly afterwards you are back in Lisse and at the Keukenhof.
The imperial tour takes you to various castles and estates around the Utrechtse Heuvelrug region. But even if that translates to "Utrecht Hill Ridge", the approximately 40-kilometer tour is flat and easy to drive.It starts with a small sightseeing tour in the idyllic town of Amerongen, whose old windmill was recently restored and is now fully operational again. On the southern outskirts is the castle of the same name, Kasteel Amerongen. The last German Emperor, Wilhelm II., Spent a year and a half on Amerongen and signed his abdication, which contributed to the end of the First World War.Then you start your cycle tour along the Lower Rhine to Wijk, where the imposing castle ruin Duurstede awaits you. In the further course of the route you drive past other castles and estates, including Sandenburg, Lunenburg and Ridderhofstadt Hindersteyn. Finally you reach your starting point Amerongen again.
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The bike tour starting from Duivenvoorde Castle is part of the rural castle route. On your way are many castles, palaces and mansions. The area has been treasured for centuries by nobles and wealthy merchants because of their proximity to the coast.Your 33-kilometer tour starts at Duivenvoorde Castle, which houses an art collection and is surrounded by an English landscaped garden. The route will take you through residential areas and beautifully landscaped parks.An impressive experience is the drive through the Haagse Bos. In the park, which extends into the center of The Hague, stands the dwelling house of the Dutch royal family. The gate to the garden is often open, but cycling is not recommended. Back to Duivenvoorde you follow the river Trekvliet of Zuidvliet.
The nearly 40-kilometer cycle tour starts on the outskirts of Vaassen at the Kasteel Cannenburch. The first few kilometers will introduce you to the landscape of the Veluwe, where nature is characterized by forests and heathland. In between, you have the opportunity to jump into a lake. Then you drive on a natural trail slightly uphill through the forest.After a gentle descent you reach the "Kroondomein Het Loo", the largest contiguous estate in the Netherlands. The huge park is a beautiful destination with avenues, ponds, gardens and much more. The centerpiece is the Paleis het Loo, a baroque brick palace, the Wilhelm III. served as a pleasure palace.On a former railway line you drive back to Vaassen, where the Kasteel Cannenburch awaits you. The pretty moated castle is surrounded by a beautifully landscaped park.
Your approximately 40 kilometers long and completely level bike ride starts at the largest castle in the Netherlands, the Kasteel de Haar. Like a fairy tale, the huge moat-like complex rises in the landscape. After several destructions it was rebuilt about 100 years ago.The bike route takes you from de Haar through small, tranquil villages and along canals. Again and again you cross a canal on a typical Dutch bascule bridge. On your way are several castles, manor houses and windmills.After about 25 kilometers you reach Utrecht. The old town is an insider tip and less crowded alternative to the capital Amsterdam. In addition, Utrecht is a very exemplary bicycle city. Before you head back to Haar, you can fortify yourself in one of the many cafes and restaurants or stroll through the old town streets.
The more than 50 kilometers long tour starts at the castle Loevenstein, at the confluence of the Maas and Waal. The best way to reach your starting point from Gorinchem is by ferry. Loevenstein Castle was built in the 14th century and was converted into a prison in the 17th century. Here was one of the most spectacular prison outbreaks in Dutch history. Today, the castle houses a great medieval museum.The first stage takes you through the Rivierenland - as the Dutch call the Rhine delta - along the Waal. Passing small harbor towns and beaches you reach the Kasteel Ammersoyen in Ammerzoden. The castle is considered one of the best preserved medieval water castles in the Netherlands.Back to the castle Loevenstein you drive along the Maas. If you have some spare time, get on the ferry and visit the fortress town Woudrichem on the other side of the Maasai.
This bike tour takes you to the publicly accessible castles and estates in Wassenaar, Voorschoten and Voorburg. The whole region around The Hague has been popular with the owners of castles and country estates for centuries as it is very close to the sea.In addition, the route leads past no fewer than three top-class museums: Duivenvoorde Castle, Voorlinden Museum and Huygens' Hofwijck. By far, cyclists will also pass the royal estate De Eikenhorst, where King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima live with their daughters Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.If you want to have lunch royally on the way, you can reserve the restaurant Central Park on the estate Vreugd en Rust. Start and finish of the circuit is Castle Duivenvoorde, where the brand new Visitor Pavilion "Hof van Dunivoorde" is perfect for coffee, cake or lunch.
This unsigned hike leads from the impressive Amerongen Castle, through the picturesque village of Amerongen, to the magnificent Amerongse Berg recreation area. Outside the closed village you soon reach the woods, where the paved roads stop. The Amerongse Berg has been part of the Heuvelrug National Park since 2003 as an independent forester. Since time immemorial, the area has belonged to the country estate Schloss Amerongen. The varied forest is one of the oldest on the entire ridge, rising southeast of Utrecht.The ascent to the 69-meter-high summit takes its course at the Restaurant 't Berghuis over a wide path in a wide arc. In the vicinity you can discover the remains of burial mounds from the Middle and Late Bronze Age. Afterwards, you will first descend in a wide loop before you take the second ascent to the "Lonely Oak" on the eastern tip. The tree was planted as early as 1792 and it is located right in the middle of a circle, on the eight ways to run.Through the river landscape of the Amerongse Bovenpolder you return to the castle Amerongen. You walk along a magnificent path through the dike foreland of a Rhein arm, where the water can freely determine its course. A real recommendation.
The largest privately owned Dutch estate is the protagonist of this unmarked circular walk over Twickel. The estate covers a good 4000 hectares and is located near Delden in Twente, a region in the east of the country. Twickel Castle is the center of a country estate that includes landscapes as varied as forests, heaths, valleys and farms with fields and pastures. All 160 farms can be recognized by the black and white window hatches.The route runs partly along the banks of the Twickelervaart, an eleven-kilometer-long canal created in the 18th century for the transport of textile products and oak. The goods were shipped across the rivers Regge, Vecht and Zwarte Water to the then Zuiderzee. The construction of better transport routes in the 20th century meant the end for this form of shipping. The last part of the route finally leads through the Deldeneresch.
This cycling route takes you from Amsterdam to Muiderslot and back. Muiderslot is one of the most picturesque medieval castles in the Netherlands. On the way there, you will be driving along the shores of the IJ and IJmeer virtually uninterrupted.It starts at the Centraal Station, where once the Amstel flowed into the river IJ. On the way, on the 12th century Diemerzee dike, you gain interesting insights into the tireless struggle that the Dutch lead with the water. At the same time you can observe how the people used the water for defense purposes. Numerous forts remind to this day. Last but not least, you will pass through some (former) ports, which in turn will allow you to look back on the history of transport and locomotion. Above all, the route is a magnificent excursion, at the turning point of which as a cherry on the icing of the cake Muiderslot Castle waits.As well as the way out, the way back leads almost continuously along the water. It starts at the centuries-old Vecht and Gaasp rivers, followed by the Amsterdam Rhine Canal and the Weespertrekvaart from the 17th century, before finally reaching the river Amstel, which gave Amsterdam its name. This will take you exactly the route from Muiderslot to Amsterdam, which served to transport goods hundreds of years ago.
This route takes you through the eastern part of the Veluwezoom and through the municipalities of Rheden and Rozendaal. The varied landscape is one of the reasons for the high attractiveness of this region.The route leads along the IJssel and through the dyke foreland, but also through unique and wonderful heath landscapes in the National Park Veluwezoom. The most impressive castles and estates on your route are privately owned and inhabited Veljo Castle Biljoen, Middachten Manor in De Steeg and Park and Castle Rosendael in Rozendaal.These castles and estates are surrounded by beautiful gardens that invite for walks during the summer months. Do not miss the famous water games (Bedriegertjes) at Park Rosendael, but be careful not to get wet. In addition, on some days you can visit the castles themselves, whose interior clearly shows how people used to live.
The Veluwezoom is often referred to as the "Gelding Arcadia" due to its landscape and its vast estates, castles and mansions. Here you will find, among others, the estate Middachten, Park and Castle Rosendael, House Zypendaal, Castle Doorwerth and the Villa Sanoer.The hilly landscape has always been an attractive place to live and relax for wealthy families who built their mansions here and created wonderful parks and gardens. With the rise of the railways in the 19th century, more and more rich people gradually came to the moneyed Arcadia to enjoy the unique nature and relax on their estates. These estates you can admire today and give you an insight into the life of yesteryear and today.
Diepenheim's Six Castles cycle route is one of Twente's most popular cycling routes. This digital version navigates you along the route and informs you about the castles, their inhabitants and the remarkable things. On the way there are enough nice terraces to rest.
The year is 1765 and the bumpy country roads along the Vechte are busy. In great hustle and bustle "country seats" are built, one more beautiful than the other. The owners are in the course of the VOC wealthy Amsterdam, who want to escape the city in the summer. The pleasure gardens should serve the recovery, but also impress! Now, almost four centuries later, the stately country estates with the gardens, round tea pavilions and gazebos are still imposing.The cycle route leads along the water on former towpaths on which horses pulled the boats centuries ago. The path leads over old bascule bridges and through stylish little towns. Take your time and take a short break at a bridge or lock. There is so much to see and to experience.