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Lake Ijsselmeer 7-day Cycling Tour Level 1
IJsselmeer is the name of the large lake created when the Dutch cut the Zuiderzee off from the North Sea with a closure dike. This step was taken to put a stop to the sea flooding towns on the Zuiderzee. Once the dike was in place (1932), the sea had become a lake. Fresh water from the River IJssel gradually replaced the seawater. Because there was a shortage of arable land, it was decided to create four polders in the south eastern part of IJsselmeer. The third polder was finished in 1968 but the fourth, in Lake Markermeer, was never drained after protests from the environmental movement and water sports enthusiasts.
Your hotels for this tour have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will try to request a comparable alternative if possible.
Departures any day
If you would like to rent a bike (72 EUR) or e-bike (150 EUR) please contact our office when booking: [email protected]
Slow Tours offers a number of other Cycling Tours in Europe
Arrival in Huizen
Settle into your hotel
Huizen - Amsterdam 35 km
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.
Amsterdam - Volendam 37 km
There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam. Have you seen the new and improved Rijksmuseum? The Maritime Museum, Van Gogh, Anne Frank…? Pick and choose and then hop back on your bike and plunge into peaceful countryside: Waterland awaits, with wet meadows, wooden bridges and windswept reeds and rushes. Via the isle of Marken you'll boat / cycle up to 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.
Volendam - Enkhuizen 50 km
Today’s peaceful route, past farmhouses and windmills, continues up the coast to Edam, Hoorn and then Enkhuizen. Beautiful buildings are reminders of the prosperous 17th century Golden Age when they were affluent harbour towns, focussed on trade and shipbuilding. 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). If you’re into cheese, opt to plan your trip around this Edam spectacle. In Zuiderzee Museum, in Enkhuizen, learn all about the days when ships from villages on the Zuiderzee sailed the seven seas trading in bulbs and spices. The biggest attraction is a re-created Zuiderzee village of old, boasting adorable local architecture. Inquisitive minds can spend a whole day here, so if history is your thing, consider booking an extra night.
Enkhuizen - Harderwijk 61 km
A 32-km dike will take you across the waters to the town of Lelystad in the Flevo Polder. This is the newest part of the Netherlands, reclaimed in 1968! Lelystad is named after the engineer of the Zuiderzee Works, Cornelis Lely. The Zuiderzee Works started with the building of the great closure dam (1932) that cut off Zuiderzee sea from the North Sea. It turned a choppy sea into a harmless lake and put a stop to regular floods. Subsequently, polders were created in the lake because there was a great need for more farmland. Museum Nieuwland tells the story of why and how the Flevo Polder came to be and how it affected the people who used to live by and off the sea. Our bicycle route continues on the new land, through woods and cropfields, while we try to imagine how much fun spatial planners and urban planners must have had designing this whole place from scratch. At the end of the day you will reach Harderwijk. Once upon a time it was a bustling Hansa town and a thriving fishing port by the sea - but now it’s on a lake overlooking a polder!
Harderwijk - Huizen 49 km
Set those wheels in motion and pedal along the shores of Randmeren lakes. Arkemheen-Eemland is a National Heritage Landscape. The area was surrounded by dikes in the year 1360 to stop cropfields from being flooded. Arkemheen polder is so special because the original lots are still intact. The lots are divided by creeks, remainders 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.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will return home.
If you would like to drive yourself before or after your tour, ask us for a quote on any brand new Renault, Peugeot or Citroen vehicle for driving in Europe.
Pick up your vehicle from most capital cities in Europe and return it to your drop off destination. Top insurance cover. Email [email protected] for a competitive quote