Groningen, the far north with endless views of swaying grain, potato fields, rows of thick clay and tree-lined farmhouses here and there. Viewed from afar, the seawall draws a perfectly straight line on the horizon. Stately villas and tiny workers' houses give a glimpse of the recent past, recalling hardships endured by locals. Part of your journey takes in Pieterburen and the seal centre, though seal-spotting will be even more fun from the boat on your way to fantastic Schiermonnikoog. But first, take time to enjoy the enormous diversity of birds and nature on the Lauwersmeer and Wadden Sea.
Arrive in Groningen, check in then take off to see the city. Rest and relax on a terrace at the Vismarkt or climb up Martini Tower for fab views of the city.
Roll out of the city toward Haren, riding at the edge of the Hoornse- and Paterswoldesemeer. Then turn east to Slochteren and the villa at Fraeylemaborg with its park, café and museum shop. The landscape here recalls Drenthe with a patchwork of small plots, hedgerows and groves of trees. From Leaning Klap you cycle the Termunterzijldiep and Hondshalstermeer with panoramic views of green polderland and a splendid feeling of calm. At the mouth of the Ems you find ‘Termunterziel’, as the Groningers call it, surrounded by nature reserves, polders and the sea. The 1725 ‘Boog van Ziel’ bridge crosses the old lock just minutes from your hotel.
Follow the Ems further north to the seaport at Delfzijl and take the LF Coastal Route, first inland then out toward the seawall. Spot the blue and white tower of St Mary’s in Uithuizermeeden from afar. Explore the real Hogeland and the villas at Rensumaborg and Menkemaborg, with a pleasant terrace. Next, the Wierden villages of Usquert and Warffum lead to Noordpolderzijl and views of the Wad. Then a short section takes you to Pieterburen for the night.
Jump back on your bike to visit the Verhildersum ‘borg’ in Leens or try the tea factory in Houwerzijl. Stop off in the former seaport of Zoutkamp, admire the colourful fishermen's houses and take to a terrace on the Reitdiep to watch the boats. Ride onward to Lauwersmeer National Park and stop for lunch at the fish market. Cycling out of Groningen at Clevering Locks, you pedal into the neighbouring province of Friesland to a warm welcome in Anjum.
Planning to take a day to cycle on Schiermonnikoog? Book an extra night here!
Roll out of Anjum with the open Lauwersmeer to your left, lush green meadows to your right and Scottish highland and Konik horses ahead. Then suddenly it’s all water, boats and white sails . . . and you find yourself in Friesland! Bordering Lauwersmeer National Park you zoom onward to Zoutkamp Harbour and the monumental mound village of Niehove, once voted the most beautiful village in the Netherlands by Elsevier Weekblad magazine. Pause for a meal at the renowned Piloersemaborg, then park your bike in Zuidhorn for the night.
This last route takes you through Westerkwartier, a miniature landscape sandwiched between Friesland and Drenthe with its very own personality. Small meadows line traditional wood canals and wetlands are dotted with raised moors. The villages of Leek and Peize sit higher up on sandy ridges running west to east. Glide through this intriguing ‘bocage’ landscape, a veritable patchwork of fields, passing Kop van Drenthe and Lake Paterswoldse on your way back into the city.
Sad to be back so soon? Book an extra night and take the train into Groningen for another great day in the city. Then celebrate with dinner there, or on the shores of Lake Paterswoldse.
Your cycling tour comes to an end after breakfast and you return home.
|Double room, breakfast||545.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Surcharge per person||€|
|Stay in Pieterburen on Friday||10.00|
|Stay in Pieterburen on Saturday||10.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 3.00 x 6||18.00|
|Child seat||€ 0.83 x 6||5.00|
|Tag-along bike||€ 6.00 x 6||36.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 6||105.00|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
6 overnights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
Breakfast included, half board optional
Detailed roadbook with maps and tourist information
Rental bikes are available
7-day service hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking available at the hotel
GPS tracks available