IJsselmeer Grand Tour [10-00]

Now here’s a challenge for you: Cycle 439 km all the way around Lake IJsselmeer! On the way, take in the beautiful scenery and learn a big lesson in Dutch history. This is a route along 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. This tour is marked by diverse and attractive scenery. 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 – Medemblik – 43 km
Day 5 Medemblik – Makkum – 59 km
Day 6 Makkum – Oudemirdum – 46 km
Day 7 Oudemirdum – Zwartsluis – 61 km
Day 8 Zwartsluis – Harderwijk – 61 km
Day 9 Harderwijk – Huizen – 45 km
Day 10 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
Get an early start so you will have plenty of time to visit Amsterdam. Your first stop today is at the fortified medieval town of Naarden, built in a star shape fort to enable better use of cannons, the moat and walls have been very well preserved. Further down the route you will arrive at the town of Muiden, situated at the mouth of the River Vecht. Home to the most visited castle in the Netherlands, Muiden Castle was built on a moat in 1280 by Count Floris V of Holland to collect a toll from passing ships on the River Vecht. With the interior restored to how it looked in the 17th century it is certainly worth a visit. Then Amsterdam awaits you.

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 since 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 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 by local volunteers (10.30 -12.30 hrs). 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 – most importantly – shipping and trade. Both towns housed branches (“chambers”) of the Dutch East India Company.

Day 4 Hoorn – Medemblik – 43 km
Continue up the shore of Lake IJsselmeer, atop the old sea dike, to the beautiful town of Enkhuizen. Don’t miss 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 has also combined a collection of historical architecture with demonstrations of traditional trades. On the second stretch of today’s lake-side route, you’ll see more cropfields, orchards and windmills before you reach Medemblik. It’s an old town, with a marina, a bakery museum and a steam engine museum.

Day 5 Medemblik – Makkum – 59 km
Today is the day you cross the Afsluitdijk! Cycle through Wieringermeer Polder (created 1927 -1934) to the starting point of the dam at Den Oever. The closure dam is 34 km long and was completed in 1932. It 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 closure dam, you will find yourself in Friesland province in the town of Makkum.

Day 6 Makkum – Oudemirdum – 46 km
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 in Frisian, it sounds like English and not like Dutch “boter, brood en groene kaas”. You will find bi-lingual road signs and local Frisian specialties such as “Fryske Dumkes” (hazelnut biscuits). Drift south along a string of interesting old villages of which Hindeloopen is a favourite. It is famous for its colourful traditional costumes and painted furniture. At the village of Workum, stop to consider for a minute that for 250 years, up until the Second World War, fishermen from this town caught eel only to sell it… in England. They even had their own mooring places on the Thames. Today, like Makkum, the place is better known for its pottery.

Day 7 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: 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 8 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, pick up the route again and follow the fringes of Veluwe Forest down to Harderwijk. Just think, this was once a bustling fishing town on the Zuiderzee and now it stands on a lake overlooking a polder…

Day 9 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, taking over from a windmill with the same name.

Day 10 Return Home

After breakfast, it’s time to go home.

Starting dates:     
Daily from April 1 till September 21.

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 in a double room
9 nights’ accommodation, breakfast included 835,00
A supplement will be required p.p. for:         Euro
Single room 270,00
Dinner 270,00
Extra night (BB) 70,00
Bike rental 108,00
E-bike rental 225,00
Emergency Call Out Service/Bike Breakdown Pass 24,75
GPS rental 10,00
Surcharge staying overnight in Amsterdam on Saturday in a double room 17,50
Surcharge staying 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:

9 nights Accommodation in *** or **** hotels
Breakfast (buffet)
If you book Half Board: an evening meal of at least three courses
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
Tourist taxes per person per day € 1,00 – € 2,50
Ticket Ferry Enkhuizen – Stavoren per person € 16,- (incl. bike)


During this tour you will stay in the following hotels:

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