Classic Lake IJssel Tour [8-04]

Most beloved Tour that will show you the great variaty of landscapes, towns and waters in the Netherlands. This route is partly the same as the Zuiderzee Tour. The difference is that this shorter semi Tour doesn’t go further north than the town of Stavoren. Instead of crossing the Afsluitdijk (Closure Dike), you will cross the lake by ferry. Ride your bike on the loveliest and quietest roads and bike tracks a cyclist could possibly hope for. The historical landscape around the former Zuiderzee, the many old fishing and trading towns on its shores all have a story to tell. The diverse and attractive scenery on this tour will never cease to surprise and delight you. As on all our carefree cycle tours, we provide luggage transfer and excellent accommodation.


Day 1 Arrival in Huizen
Day 2 Huizen – Amsterdam – 35 km
Day 3 Amsterdam – Hoorn – 56 km
Day 4 Hoorn – Oudemirdum – 63 km
Day 5 Oudemirdum – Zwartsluis – 61 km
Day 6 Zwartsluis – Harderwijk – 61 km
Day 7 Harderwijk – Huizen – 45 km
Day 8 Return Home

Day 1 Arrival in Huizen
Free parking at the hotel. If you are travelling by public transport, the journey from Amsterdam Airport should take under 90 minutes. The train will take you as far as Naarden-Bussum. From there, it’s a short bus ride into Huizen.

Day 2 Huizen – Amsterdam – 35 km
Hit the tracks and head for Muiden, Weesp and Naarden to Amsterdam. Pass through Het Gooi nature reserve where you can delight in woodland and heath. The town of Naarden is a good example of a star-shaped fortification (have a peek on google maps!). It’s very well preserved, complete with walls and a moat. Next up is the village of Muiden, at the mouth of the River Vecht. Although very picturesque in itself, it is best known for its small moated castle built around 1280 – well worth a visit! As the sun sets in Amsterdam, you could go for a leisurely stroll through the romantic canal district.

Day 3 Amsterdam – Hoorn – 56 km
There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam! Make sure you have an early start. Have you been to see the Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum after the make-over? Why not pop in for a quick visit before you hop back on your bike and plunge into peaceful countryside. Waterland awaits, with wet meadows, wooden bridges and windswept reeds and rushes. Waterlandsmuseum “De Speelklok” in the pretty village of Monnickendam explains (in English) the history of this extraordinary cultural landscape. Then cycle up the shore of Lake Markermeer to friendly Volendam. The quaint stone houses in the distinctive heart of the catholic fishing village seem to have been drawn up without an organized street plan. “De Dijk”, overlooking the harbour, is lined with souvenir shops, pavement cafes and restaurants. Just around the corner is the pretty village of Edam. For centuries, small, round, salty cheeses produced by dairy farmers in neighbouring polders were shipped out of Edam and exported all over Europe. For six weeks in summer a traditional Wednesday-morning cheese-market is put on for tourists (10.30 -12.30 hrs) by local volunteers. At the end of the day, you’ll reach the lovely, historical town of Hoorn. Like Enkhuizen (see day 4), it has a history in whaling, shipbuilding, fishery and of course shipping. Both towns housed branches (“chambers”) of the Dutch East India Company (along with Delft, Middelburg, Amsterdam and Rotterdam).

Day 4 Hoorn – Oudemirdum – 63 km
Continue up the shore of Lake IJsselmeer, atop the old sea dike, to the beautiful town of Enkhuizen. Opt to visit fun Zuiderzee Museum which tells the story of the days when ships from the Zuiderzee sailed the seven seas trading in bulbs and spices; the days when Holland dominated world trade and the Dutch East India Company was the first-ever multinational. This period is known as the Golden Age and roughly spans the 17th century. The museum also has also combined a collection of local historical architecture with demonstrations of traditional trades. Before you know it, it will be time to catch the ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren. It’s a trip of 1 ½ hours, crossing Lake IJsselmeer. The lake was created in 1932 when a closure dike cut off the Zuiderzee from the North Sea. This was necessary to stop the sea from flooding towns on the Zuiderzee. Once the dike was in place, the sea had become a lake. By 1940 the saltwater had been replaced by fresh water from the River IJssel. Except for the eel, none of the Zuiderzee fish survived. A new fresh water fish population replaced them. On the other side of the lake, you will find yourself in Friesland province. The people of Friesland have their own language (a proper language, not a dialect) closely related to English. When they say butter, bread and green cheese, it sounds like English and not like the Dutch “boter, brood en groene kaas”. The length of this daytrip includes the boat.

Day 5 Oudemirdum – Zwartsluis – 61 km
In the morning, you will cycle through Gaasterland, undulating and woody, to your first port of call, the picturesque town of Lemmer, a favourite with boaters in summer. Next, it’s full steam ahead to a World Heritage Site – if you are a steam enthusiast this is your lucky day… Wouda steam-driven pumping station has been operational since 1920 and was used to drain a lake. For centuries, windmills took care of water management in the Netherlands before steam engines took over. Nowadays most of our 1600 pumping stations are electrically powered. In the afternoon, nature lovers will bask in the beauty of Weerribben-Wieden National Park where water, reeds and rushes dominate the landscape. It is said to be the most valuable marshland of north-western Europe.

Day 6 Zwartsluis – Harderwijk – 61 km
After exploring Zwartsluis, popular with boaters and other water sports enthusiasts, you will set off atop the old Kamperzeedijken (Kampen sea dikes) to the marvellous town of Kampen. It has one of the best-preserved town centres in the country. Check out the town gates on the River IJssel side of town. Kampen was a member of the Hanseatic League, a northern European alliance of trading guilds in the 13th-17th centuries. Their main aim was to ensure safe passage for travelling merchants. They also helped each other with information, knowledge, contacts and privileges. This network generated income, allowing merchants to invest in culture and architecture. Perhaps this explains why Hansa towns, centuries on, are so attractive to tourists. The River IJssel, which emptied into Zuiderzee sea, counted several Hansa communities on its banks. In the afternoon, jump back on your bike and follow the fringes of Veluwe Forest down to Harderwijk.

Day 7 Harderwijk – Huizen – 45 km
Set those wheels in motion and pedal along the shores of Randmeren lakes. Arkemheen-Eemland is wide open, empty and a National Heritage Landscape. The area was surrounded by dikes in the year 1360 to stop cropfields from being flooded by the sea. Arkemheen polder is special because the original lots are still intact. The lots are divided by curvy creeks, remnants of Zuiderzee tidal streams. Some plant species still recall the influence of salt water. Part of the polder is being preserved as a bird habitat for “Natura 2000”. The visitors’ centre has more information. Should you have an abiding interest in the Age of Steam, you may like to visit steam-driven pumping station Hertog Reijnout. It controlled water levels in the low-lying polder from 1883 till 1983.

Day 8 Return Home
After breakfast in your hotel, you will return home.

Starting dates:
Daily from May 1 till September 23.

In case of staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturdays a surcharge applies of €17,50 per person in a double room

Prices 2019 p.p. Euro
Per person for a double room
7 nights’ accommodation, breakfast included      685,00
A supplement will be required p.p. for:           Euro
Single room      210,00
Dinner   210,00
Extra night (BB)   70,00
Bike rental   84,00
E-Bike rental   175,00
Emergency Call Out Service/Bike Breakdown Pass   19,25
GPS rental   10,00
Surcharge overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a double room 17,50
Surcharge overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a single room 35,00
Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam during the periods
​13 – 15 April
20 – 21 May
12 – 15 June
12 – 16 September
staying overnight in a double room
staying overnight in a single room

Starting point:  
Huizen or Amsterdam

Practical information:

7 nights Accommodation in *** or **** hotels
Breakfast (buffet)
If you book Half Board: an evening meal of at least three courses
In Amsterdam there are no half board possibilities
Parking, free at the Hotel
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Detailed route description and maps
On demand: Tour as GPS-file
Tourist information on all the places of interest
Saddlebags for carrying things you need on the road when having rental bikes
Seven days a week service-hotline
The possibility of renting our bikes(24 gears, bag and lock), e-bikes and trailers (at extra costs)
We adapt the bike to suit your wishes
Closest Trainstation, Naarden-Bussum

Accommodation in double room
Breakfast (buffet)
Tourist information on all the places of interest
Detailed route description and maps
Luggage transport to your next hotel (1 piece p.p. max 20 kg)

Not included:
Journey to the starting point of your cycle holiday
Journey from the finishing point of your cycling holiday back home
Cost of rental bikes and trailers
If you book Half Board: Drinks with your evening meal


During this tour you will stay in the following hotels:

Huizen – Fletcher Hotel Nautisch Kwartier***
Amsterdam – Westcord Art Hotel***
Hoorn – Hotel de Keizerskroon***
Oudemirdum – Hotel Boschlust***
Zwartsluis – Hotel Zwartewater****
Harderwijk – Best Western Hotel Baars****