With summer rolling around the corner and hot weather here to stay, we all want to spend more time outside. Now is high time to go for a ride along one of the seven most scenic bike paths in the Netherlands.
It’s no secret that the Netherlands is known as the bicycle capital of the world — and cycling is a cherished part of the Dutch way of life.
From the sandy dunes of Scheveningen to the stunning views of Kinderdijk’s windmills, this remarkable flat country holds some of the world’s most beautiful bike paths.
1. Scheveningen dunes
Nothing beats being by the sea on your bike on a sunny day. There’s something indescribably fresh and invigorating about it. Lots of people hike in these dunes, but there are also lovely bike paths that can take you all the way from Kijkduin to Katwijk.
The most spectacular dunes are around the Zuiderstrand area — they really have an otherworldly feel to them. Plus, if you’re interested in getting some serious exercise, the constant up-and-down of biking in the dunes will definitely take care of that.
2. Vecht River
This route will take you from Weesp to Utrecht, though you can of course decide exactly how much of it you want to do yourself. Along the river, you’ll see mansions built by merchants from the Dutch Golden Age, lots of dairy farms, and in general, beautiful Dutch nature.
The biking route is very peaceful, and you end up biking the last leg by the Old Canal of Utrecht, which is frankly one of the most stunning places in the whole of the Netherlands.
3. Leiden – The Hague
Now, this might be a daily train commute for many of us, but biking it is an entirely different experience. Don’t take the shortest route — instead, take the one that brings you through Vlietland. Known as the Riviera of the Randstad, this is a stunning area filled with nature, lakes, and gorgeous quaint Dutch houses.
Plus, if the catering businesses open up again, it’s a really nice idea to reserve a table at a restaurant at one of our vegan hotspots in The Hague for a delicious meal after your arduous journey.
4. Texel National Park
Texel is an island in the very north of the Netherlands, and its coastline is absolutely beautiful. Biking around it will take you through Texel National Park and lots of beautiful dunes.
This is a really biologically diverse landscape that can be really well appreciated by bike. Plus, if you do want to take a longer bike ride and explore even more of the island, you can always head east from the dunes. This is a particularly lovely bike ride on a hot summer’s day, with the sea breeze keeping you cool.
If you’re looking for something in the Amsterdam area, the Waterland cycling path is one of the most scenic bike paths in that region. Again, we’re talking about really quaint Dutch architecture along this route — think colourful wooden houses.
But this scenic bike route also takes you to the seaside if you follow it through. You end up at Marken, a historic fishing village, which is only connected to the mainland by a road that was added in 1957.
6. Dyke Enkhuizen
A list of scenic bike paths in the Netherlands would not be complete without at least some dyke-and-dam content. This bike ride up in Lelystad will take you across the sea, in a way that is really mind-blowing for those of us new to living in a land created by dykes.
You cycle away from the main road for most of this path, which only increases the otherworldly sensation of cycling along a thin piece of land in the middle of the sea (well, not quite the middle, but you know what I mean).
7. Kinderdijk Windmills
Another Dutch cliché that we simply can’t resist recommending is the bike path by the Kinderdijk windmills. Tourists usually flock here every year, except this year, of course. That means this is the best time to bike slowly around this historic sight and drink it in, without worrying about running over some hapless tourist.
Honestly, the best recommendation I can give for this area is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. If you want to catch some old windmills in action, there is no better place (come at me Zaanse Schans).
So, those were our favourite scenic bike paths in the Netherlands, but we want to hear about yours! Where are your favourite spots to bike? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2020, and was fully updated in June 2022 for your reading pleasure.