Here we are, it’s been seven months since our first real trip and we have not tell you about our wandering yet. So here is our Netherlands in a Nutshell!
When you image a idyllic bike travel you certainly dream a combination of nature and cities linked by a network of cycle paths, add canals, cows, cinnamon aroma in the air and local people hospitality and you will have The Netherlands.
The great accommodations and the incredibly well-linked network of cycle paths, that facilitates traveling all over the country, make of this nation the ideal first bicycle trip destination.
In this post we will give you some generals advice based on our travel experience:
- From Amsterdam To Leiden;
- From Leiden to Rotterdam ( Via Den Haag and The Scheveningen);
- From Rotterdam to Utrecht (Via Gouda and its cheese);
- From Utrecht back to Amsterdam (Via Hilversum and the lovely Naarden).
Cycling in The Netherlands
We will never get tired to repeat how visiting The Netherlands will make you understand what really means to love bicycles.
The greatness of the bicycle infrastructure is unbelievable, they have more than 32000 km of cycle path: you can go everywhere you want!
The cycle path network is organized around crossroads called knoopunts, marked by signs for every direction, making it really hard to get lost! Also you WON’T HAVE TO WORRY about cars: drivers totally respect cyclists.
The only advice we really want to share with you is to respect the following simple rules:
- PAY ATTENTION to scooters! they are allowed to use the cycle lanes;
- If you have a faster cyclist behind your back LET HIM GO unless you like a symphonies of bells and yelling! 😀
- DO NOT walk on the cycle paths because it’s really dangerous. It’s like to walk on a highway!
Getting to The Netherlands by plane
“Amsterdam – Schipol” is the principle airport of the nation: The fourth for importance in Europe and the most relaxing.
Eindhoven Airport is a low cost alternative but it’s far away from Amsterdam (which is the best city in which start your trip).
SHOULD I BRING MY BIKE OR SHOULD I RENT IT?
In The Netherlands the territory is mostly flat. Rent a bike it’s not a bad idea.
We rented two bikes at “Mike’s bike” at a really good price (22€/each for 4 days) considering that it includes back bags and a theft insurance.
We suggest to rent a classic holland bike! It is the most used and perfect for medium distance (40-70km)
In alternative you could bring your own bike by plane but it gets more expensive (The cost is around €120).
Shops and Restaurant
The shops usually open at 9.00 and close at 18:00 while the kitchen of the restaurants usually close around 21:00/21:30. So, if you use to have dinner late, CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE ! 😀
Or, you know, Mc’Donalds will be your only choice left 😦
Don’t miss the Gouda cheese, Stroopwafel and the fabulous cinnamon biscuits, this goodies really deserves to became a world heritage!
Other typical dishes are soups and seafood like smoked herrings.
Where to Sleep
There are different types of accommodation for each budget:
You will be able to choose from camping, hostel, hotel or other kind of accommodation as AirBnb or Couchsurfing.
For those who don’t know AirBnb, thought this service you could stay in local people’s houses. It allows you to choose the best kind of accommodation for your needs. It is usually cheaper compared to a hotel.
Couchsurfing is almost the same thing but you don’t have to pay for every night but just an entrance fee at the subscription. However you will have to spend a little time with your hosts and usually it is required to do something for them such as cleaning, hanging out or cooking something. This are all good ways to make new friends and great opportunities for a full immersion in the culture of the Couchsurfing host country. How about that?
This was our first trip and we have chosen to stay in Hotels and Hostels.
Down below the list of our overnights:
- Leiden – Ibis hotel: really close to the city center;
- Rotterdam: Stay Ok Rotterdam – Design hostel near the city center (nice and cheap);
– Stay Ok Utrecht: nice hostel in the city centre, recommended for young people!
– Nh hotel: 1 km from the city center. Cozy rooms and very professional service;
- Naarden: Nh Hotel: 1,5 km from the city center. Cozy room and very professional services;
- Amsterdam – Atlantis hotel: clean and well positioned just outside the city center. It is based in De Pijp quartier that in our opinion it’s the most suggestive of the town.
The best period to visit The Netherlands goes from the second half of April – when the tulips discloses and fields will be shining and colored – to the first days of October.
This is the country of windmill so it could be rainy and windy.
We have been 2 times in The Netherlands but fortunately it rained only 2 days out of 10.
We do not recommend a winter time tour: temperatures could drop at 3°C and you won’t be able to enjoy the beautiful landscapes that otherwise you could enjoy during the other more sunny and colorful seasons.
If you want to know something more about our trip in The Netherlands all you have to do is select one of the following link:
- Chapter 1: Trembling Leiden
- Chapter 2: Storm is coming!
- Chapter 3: Here we are Utrecht!
- Chapter 4: Back to Amsterdam!
If you have any question or tips don’t hesitate to contact us!
Arthur & Bruno