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’s what my winters have 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: 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.|
1. Winter hiking in Texel
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.
2. Hiking in Veluwe
Veluwe National Park is a winter paradise. Here, you can see wild animals and as it gets colder and colder every day, fewer people will obstruct the views. It’s 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 specialities like kaaswafels and kaasbolltjes (savoury cheese waffles and cookies).
3. A trip through the Dunes
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.
4. 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 the 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-metre wooden footpath right through the swamp of ‘t Roegwold).
5. Dutch hiking: find trails in any small town
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.
6. Hike in your local park
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’ll be surprised by how much your local town has to offer!
7. Hiking a little further: Little Switzerland in Luxembourg
If you already walked all over 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 is just a few hours by car from the Netherlands. A fabulous trail is Mullerthal Trail, where you can find caves, waterfalls and lovely hills.
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 app 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? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: compuinfoto/Depositphotos
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2020, and was fully updated in November 2021 for your reading pleasure.