Seven breathtaking places to hike around the Netherlands this winter

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.

Yep, that was what my winter looked like for the past three years, but hang on 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 forests.

Coronavirus update: Much like everyone else, we are trying to keep up with corona restrictions, some of these areas may now be inaccessible under the latest measures. If not, make sure to maintain a 1.5-meter distance from other walkers. You can find all you need to know about coronavirus in the Netherlands and the latest restrictions on our website.

 

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

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

Winter hiking in Texel

hiking netherlands winter
An advantage to the flat landscape is seeing even further. Image: Carmen Monge/Supplied.

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 (usually) try the local delicacies, such as slow-cooked lamb and a Texel Beer to wash it down. If you want some adventure and to see some wild animals apart from cows, check out calm and accessible Texel.

Hiking in Veluwe

hiking netherlands winter
Looking for some well-needed time alone? Look no further. 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, which is good because it 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 (savoury cheese waffles and cookies).

A trip through the Dunes

hiking netherlands winter
Dutch dunes are something else. Image: Carmen Monge/Supplied.

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.

Hiking the Netherlands: a trip up to Groningen

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

This province has an interesting history and picturesque scenes that are a cultural must 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).

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

Dutch hiking: find trails in any small town

hiking netherlands winter
The very definition of quaint. Image: Carmen Monge/Supplied.

If you live in one of the big cities and have never visited those tiny points on Google Maps, now is your chance. 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.

Hike in your local park

hiking netherlands winter park
Hiking in your own city – dreamy! Image: Carmen Monge/Supplied.

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!

Hiking a little further: Little Switzerland in Luxembourg

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

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 (only if you can of course.) My first time there was in winter, it was just lovely and the whole forest was only for us.

This little country has so much to offer and it just a few hours by car from the Netherlands. A fabulous trail is Mullerthal Trail, where you can find caves, waterfalls and lovely hills.[td_smart_list_end]

Ready to start hiking the Netherlands?

What are you waiting for? Now is the time to get acquainted with the Dutch winterscape. Grab your rain boots, a good sweater, 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 a repeat of the golf course near Warmond (my local park). What’s on your winter wandelen bucket list?

Feature Image: Carmen Monge
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2020, and was fully updated in January 2021 for your reading pleasure. 

Carmen Monge
After moving 5 times between continents, this Costa Rican blogger ended up falling in love with Dutch life. She is ready to share her passion for everything eatable, walkable and enjoyable between canals and windmills. She spends her days reading reviews, missing tropical weather, mastering travel budges and marking spots on google maps. She tries to experience how the locals live by eating local food and hiking around.

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