Start: Leeuwarden Finish: Leeuwarden
Your Frisian adventure kicks off in Leeuwarden, the vibrant capital of Friesland province. If the spoken language sounds different to you here, you are absolutely right. The Frisian language differs from Dutch and is an important aspect of local culture.
We have three of the eleven towns lined up for you today. Bolsward is a lovely historical Hanseatic town that captures the hearts of many tourists. IJlst (pronounced a bit like ail-st) is perhaps the prettiest of the eleven towns. One of its characteristics is the front gardens that line the banks of the canal in the centre of town. The tiny gardens belong to the houses that stand back from the water across the road and were used as bleach fields for the washing. It’s such a picturesque scene that it has even featured in movies. You will stay the night in the lively town of Sneek, popular with water sports enthusiasts and daytrippers. Everybody loves the canals that adorn the centre. Waterpoort (1613) is the town’s pride and joy. It’s a water gate. Way back when the town was surrounded by a defensive wall, this was one of the town gates through which boats were permitted to enter and leave town. If you have a sweet tooth, try to get hold of the local brittle buckwheat cookies: “drabbelkoeken”. Why not crown your evening in one of the many bars and cafes that liven up the town?
Challenge: 59 km
Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Sneek, you will dive into the peace and quiet of the Frisian Lake District. Comprising nearly thirty inland lakes, it is said to be the largest lake district in western Europe. With water all around, experience a feeling of calm and forget about time for a while. Further on, you will reach a geologically interesting wooded area called Gaasterland that is suddenly not so typical of the Netherlands. You will find meandering creeks, slightly rolling terrain and deciduous woods directly on the coast of what used to be Zuiderzee. Even more unexpectedly, a wall of boulder clay called Rode Klif rises up from Lake IJsselmeer, offering endless views. This leg of the cycle tour ends in Stavoren, best known for its picturesque harbour and the legend surrounding the statue of the “Lady of Stavoren”. Find out all about it!
Challenge: 55 km
There’s more Frisian cultural heritage in store for you today. In Hindeloopen, wooden bridges, houses with characteristic façades, narrow streets and even an ice skating museum hold great appeal. But there’s more. You may have heard of Hindelooper painted furniture and traditional fabrics used for the local costume. The people of this town had a style all of their own, influenced by trading connections with Scandinavia and the Baltic. Feast your eyes on fantastic floral patterns and find out about the town’s history and traditions at Atelier Glashouwer or Museum Hindeloopen. Next up is Workum which was once a town of potters famed for their grooved ceramics (clay is readily available around here). At Koch’s workshop you can still see them at work. At the town hall get a glimpse of the town’s rich history. Inside, visitors can see an original wooden prison cell where tramps, drunkards and criminals were locked up in times of old. Round off the day in historical Makkum, famous for producing Frisian pottery. The Tichelaar factory of tiles and ceramics has been going strong since 1594. To see Frisian pottery we recommend the ceramics museums in Harlingen and Leeuwarden.
Challenge: 45 km
We will pass Bolsward once again on the way to the next of our eleven towns. After a wonderful cycling trip of 35 kilometers, smell the briny sea air as you approach the friendly harbour town of Harlingen. As you amble up and down the Wadden Promenade on the sea front, consider what a special place the shallow Wadden Sea is. It is even listed as Unesco World Heritage. At low tide the mudflats and tidal creeks are revealed and shore birds arrive to forage. During a walk through the centre of town you will discover a great number of monumental warehouses, buildings of architectural or historical interest and picturesque canals. From Harlingen it’s only a very short ride to Franeker, a small but impressive town. It houses not only the Netherlands’ second oldest university, the oldest student bar “Bogt van Guné” but also the country’s oldest working planetarium: Eisinga Planetarium.
Challenge: 45 km
Set off along the coast, with vast polders to your right, and consider how the people of Friesland might have might have kept their feet dry in a flood before sea dikes were invented. In fact, they built “terps”, or raised dwelling mounds, and their churches and (farm)houses perched on top. At Hegebeintum, your first stop of the day, you can see one that has been partly preserved. At nearly nine meters it’s the highest terp in Friesland. Today’s journey ends in Dokkum. Once upon a time the town was orientated towards the sea to which it had an open connection. It became strategically important and was fortified with defensive earthworks and moats in 1582, the outlines of which can clearly be seen to this day. Later the harbour silted up and the town became land orientated. It has long attracted pilgrims who come to pay homage to St. Boniface, a missionary from England who came to convert pagan Frisians to Christianity. He was murdered here in Dokkum in the year 754. Outside the chapel, there’s a well that Boniface was said to have discovered and blessed. The clear water has healing properties or so some say.
Challenge: 60 km
Today’s scenery is the typically Frisian open, green landscape with water, meadows and cows. The Dokkumer Ee canal (which features prominently in the skating marathon) leads the way to the capital of Friesland. The unassuming bridge at Bartlehiem is most famous perhaps for surviving the crowds of supporters jumping up and down and cheering the skaters on. From here it’s only a short stretch to Leeuwarden. Only a total of 26 km for you today, leaving plenty of time to look around this gem of the north. Feel like going shopping for a souvenir? Kleine Kerkstraat is one of the best-loved shopping streets in the country. The town has over six hundred monuments and boasts charming harbours. If it’s action you want, climb the Frisian tower of Pisa called Oldenhove. The bronze statue “Us Mem” (meaning Our Mother) is a good place to start exploring.
Challenge: 25 km
Villages along the way: Bartlehiem & Leeuwarden
|Single room, breakfast||875.00|
|Double room, breakfast||665.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 2.75 x 7||19.25|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 7||35.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 7||21.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 7||42.00|
|Theft insurance premium bike||€ 6.00 x 7||42.00|
|Extra luggage||€ 5.00 x 7||35.00|
|Add on bike||€ 6.00 x 7||42.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 7||122.50|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
|Boat tickets||per piece||95.00
All hotels of this trip are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
You can find the standard hotels of this trip. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.
This hotel is situated in front of the central station of Leeuwarden since 1879.
The Amicitia hotel is only ten minutes biking from the centre of Sneek. The hotel has nice, big rooms and even offers theme rooms, if requested.
Hotel and Restaurant Jans is located in the Rijsterbos, with views overlooking the incredible nature of Rijs. These natural surroundings make you feel calm and free.
Hotel de Waag is situated in a characteristic building in the heart of Makkum. This family owned hotel has a warm feel to it.
This hotel has its own terrace on the waterside of the North canal. In the restaurant you can find traditional dishes with a French twist.
In the heart of the historical centre of Dokkum you find Hotel de Posthoorn. The hotel is 425 years old and offers service like no other.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between 1st April and 23rd September.
The closest airport you can fly into is Amsterdam Schipol (AMS).
You take the train from station Amsterdam Schiphol to Leeuwarden. Your first accommodation is close to the train station.
If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our touring bikes are 24-speed gear. You will receive your rental bike at the start of your holiday and return it before you go home. All bikes are provided with chain locks.
Bike -24 gears Child bike
Fun-Trailer/add on bike Child trailer Child seat
You can also rent an electric bike (Trek o Giant)
GPS tracks are available on request.