For those daring enough to use public transport, it takes around three hours to Burgh Haamsteade from Amsterdam Airport or Hook of Holland Harbour. Dutch rail services do not travel to Burgh Haamstede, so you will need to catch a bus or the metro from Rotterdam. If you’re bringing your own bikes, a speedier route would be to make the town of Brielle your starting point.
Today you will cycle along the stunning coastline of Schouwen-Duiveland with views of beaches and sand dunes. You will see The Delta Works, a series of sea barriers, sluices and dams along the coast of Zeeland, originally constructed to prevent flooding. Two parts of The Delta Works, Brouwers Dam and Haringvliet Dam will travel through islands as part of the route, with views of the sea on one side and lakes on the other. Your day will finish in the fortified town of Brielle. The restored star shaped forts include moats and canals, whilst the buildings have been persevered enhancing the ambience of the town.
Cycling across the island of Voorne Putten you will see less of the coast and more of picture book Holland, in the form of lakes, polders and woods. Hoeksche Waard island includes idyllic fields with orchards around rows of houses. There are twelve remaining windmills of those used to drain the polders. You will then cycle across Volkerak Dam to reach the charming town of Willemstad.
Cross the isle of Goeree Overflakkee with a view of polders, dunes and flat sands. Grevelingenmeer Lake can be crossed via a bridge. Back on the isle of Schouwen, explore the mussel town Bruinisse, “the Gateway to Zeeland” which contains a harbour and marina. Next, cycle to Zierikzee, a medieval town filled with historical buildings and a marina. To further understand the towns history, take a trip to the Maritime Museum. The Zeeland delicacy “Zeeuwse bolus” (pastry filled with syrup and cinnamon) and “Schouws palingbroodje” (bread stuffed with smoked eel) are both worth a try!
Zierikzee/ Noordgouwe to Burgh Haamstede Oosterschelde National Park is filled with openings to the sea. Mudflats are concealed by seawater during high tide, then reveal themselves covered in food for birds during low tide. The mudflats are also a habitat for seals. You will cycle through the Oosterschelde on Zeeelandburg Bridge, to reach the isle of Noord-Beveland. This may be the highlight of your trip – a truly unique place, visited by few tourists. You can expect to cycle through fields and small villages before reaching the renowned Oosterscheldekering. The Storm Surge Barrier is nine km long and is the largest and most innovative of the Delta Works. The barrier connects Noord-Beveland to Schouwen-Duiveland and was supposed to be a closed dam. However, after being pressured by environmentalists, over sixty sliding sluice gates were installed, protecting Oosterschelde’s ecosystem.
When sea levels are predicted to reach higher than three metres, the gates close, otherwise they stay open. The barrier includes a man-made island, which hosts Delta Park “Neeltje Jans” Zeeland’s biggest tourist hot spot. The attraction gives an understanding to the reasons behind building the Delta Works, what they do and how they conserve the coastline and environment. Additionally, Delta Park includes sea lion shows, an aquarium and even a water park! After all the excitement it will be time for a contrast in scenery and you will see the fairy tale woods of “Kop van Schouwen” nature reserve. You will finish the day at the same hotel you stayed at the first night of your trip.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before departing for your homeward travel.
It’s not called the lowlands for nothing with half the country being less than a metre above sea level. You can be assured of almost entirely flat riding from place to place and the experience of crossing the Dutch polders, land reclaimed from the sea which helps provide the Netherlands with such fertile land.