Hiking in Holland
Take one of our regular overnight ferries from Newcastle to Amsterdam, complete with en-suite cabin, and ensure you’re refreshed and ready to start your Dutch hiking holiday from day one. Alternatively sail from Dover to Dunkirk or Calais and drive to Holland via Belgium.
Holland is one of the easiest, yet no less rewarding, places to hike in Europe. But what it lacks in majesty it certainly makes up for in charm. Many of its trails cut winding paths through quiet beech forests or onto low hills overlooking the canals, lakes and waterways that break-up the rolling land.
The Dutch countryside is a patchwork of beautiful meadowland, dike-protected farmsteads and broad areas of natural beauty possessing banks of willow trees, babbling creeks and vast wetlands. Combine all this with the level landscape and you’ve got the perfect destination for a relaxed hiking holiday.
Tips for hiking in Holland
When hiking around the Dutch countryside you’re sure to come across dikes. These man-made barriers are used to keep rivers at bay, creating farm and pastureland below sea-level.
In summer, water levels in the rivers are low, but in winter the levels can reach near the top of the dikes. In years with particularly high rainfall, the rivers have overflowed the dikes and flooded surrounding farms and homes.
Generally, this flooding only happens a few times a decade, but if you’re travelling to Holland in the winter, it’s always worth checking ahead of time to avoid any dangerous or disappointing situations.
Land kept dry by the many dikes is regularly used for nature reserves. To keep grass in check and prevent trees growing on this precious pastureland, Dutch nature organisations use wild cows and horses. When hiking in these areas, make sure to stay aware of these wild animals and make sure never to approach them.
Popular hiking destinations in Holland
The Green Heart
The Green Heart, or Groene Hart, is a sparsely populated area sitting in the centre of the Ranstad, a ring of Dutch cities which includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden and Utrecht.
From the picturesque town of Schoonhoven, hiking holidaymakers can enjoy a typically Dutch landscape sprinkled with windmills, winding rivers and traditional farmhouses, all within a verdant natural setting.
It might seem odd to suggest a hiking holiday through The Ranstad megalopolis. However, in the quieter areas within the rim of modern and sprawling cities that make up the north of Holland, there is beauty, tranquillity and adventure to be found.
Hikers often start in the city of Delft, and via The Hague pass through sand dunes, forests, historical sites and open meadows, which are especially beautiful in the spring. This trail provides a refreshing combination of historical and contemporary urban settings and the best in natural Dutch landscapes.
The city of Rotterdam
The nature and culture of the modern city of Rotterdam are at their most vivid when experienced by foot.
The trail from the ancient city of Delft to Rotterdam is surprising in its natural beauty, and Rotterdam itself holds many charms for those happy to do their hiking in a more urban environment.
Once in Rotterdam, a hiking adventurer can hotfoot it to one of the many museums, take a tour of the enormous modern harbour, and ride the elevator to the top of the Euromast observation tower, where there are incredible views of the city from above.
Bordered on the three sides by rivers and streams, Krimpenerwaard provides stunning surroundings and tasty local cuisine for hiking holidaymakers.
What’s more, Krimpenerwaard gives you access to a number of holiday parks, many of which offer walking tours of the area so you can hike in plentiful company through the iconic Dutch landscape.
Image credit: Bert Knottenbeld
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