Winter is finally in here, which means Netflix and sugar in any kind of form (yeah, we’re working on that winter body). To all my friends, see you again in March or when the warm weather starts.

Yeap, that was what my winter looked like for the past three years, but wait for a second – I promised myself this year was going to be different! No more wasted hours in front of the computer watching terrible Hallmark movies (well maybe a couple of those guilty pleasures.)

Instead, this year will be the year that I join those crazy people that go for a hike in winter. Yeah, I will be one of those insane individuals you see in the forest and on the streets. But “why?!” you say? Well, you cannot experience a country if you stay at home for one quarter of the year, and even in winter, there are so many wonderful things to see.

Think you can’t hike in the Netherlands? Think again.

hiking netherlands winter
Views like this are worth braving the cold. Image: Carmen Monge

7Winter hiking: Texel

An advantage to the flat landscape is seeing even further. Image: Carmen Monge

This island is the perfect winter getaway. The winter season is not very crowded and you can see seals on the beach. Seals!

When you’ve worked up an appetite from your hike you can try the local delicacies, such as slow-cooked lamb and a Texel Beer to wash it down. If you want some adventure and see some wild animals apart from cows, check out calm and nearby Texel.

6Hiking in the Netherlands: Veluwe

Image: Carmen Monge

Veluwe National Park is a winter paradise. Here you can also see wild animals, and as it is colder and colder every day, that means fewer people and quite an atmosphere. This is a place where the deer and mouflons get less shy and are ready to strike a pose.

If you get tired of walking there are free bikes available with your ticket into the park. Make sure to sample some regional specialties like kaaswafels and kaasbolltjes (savory cheese waffles and cookies).

5Dutch hiking: the Dunes

Image: Carmen Monge

The season doesn’t matter when it comes to visiting the Dunes, from Katwijk to Noordwijk, or from Scheveningen to Wassenaar you will find an oasis near home with wonderful ocean views.

A huge advantage of walking in the Dunes is the proximity to other towns and an effective public transport service between them. My favourite trail is from Noordwijk to Haarlem.

4Hiking the Netherlands: Groningen

You don’t want to fall in here in the winter. Image: Carmen Monge

If you have never visited the north, this could be the perfect reason to make your way there. I was surprised to see that this province is full of hiking trails, and many of them are surprisingly famous, such as the beginning of Pieter Pad or Pronkjewailpad.

This province has an interesting history and picturesque scenarios that it is a cultural most in the Netherlands. One unique part is ‘t Roegwold, a nature reserve where you can find Knuppelpad (a 750-meter wooden footpath right through the swamp of ‘t Roegwold).

3Dutch hiking: any small town

The very definition of quiant. Image: Carmen Monge

If you live in one of the big cities and have never visited those tiny points on Google Maps, now is your chance. It could be the perfect excuse to surprise you! I walked a lot last year and discovered some beautiful tiny towns between big cities.

Here are some of my favorites: Schoonhoven, Appingedam, Haastrecht, and Jisp.

2Hiking the Netherlands: your local park

Hiking in your own city – dreamy! Image: Carmen Monge

I have walked enough last year to find that in every city there is a huge park. So, check Google Maps for the green zones and start walking towards them. You will be surprised by how much your local town has to offer!

1Hiking a little further: Little Switzerland in Luxembourg

Just a few hours by car is enough to change the landscape dramatically. Image: Carmen Monge

If you already walked all the Netherlands or you just want something new, jump into your car or hop on a bus to Little Switzerland in Luxembourg. My first time there was in winter, it was just lovely and the whole forest was only for us.

Ready to start hiking the Netherlands?

What are you waiting for? Get your rain boots, a good sweater, and get out and keep discovering this amazing little country!

BONUS TIPS: Don’t know where to start walking? Try the wandelen.nl app, it’s handy on the go and it can give you some ideas about where to begin!

If you are going to Groningen, try the free apps Westerwolde or Groningen Routes. If you head to Veluwe, at the ticket office you can find a map for only two euros!

My bucket list for this winter includes Paal 29 in North Holland and repeat the golf course near Warmond (my local park). What’s on your winter wandelen bucket list? Happy hiking!

Feature Image: Carmen Monge

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