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When you think of a cycling/boating holiday through South Holland, you might think of Johannes Vermeer’s Delft, the cheese market in Gouda or the famous windmills of Kinderdijk. And you’d be right: we see all of that. But that’s not all. Tour leader Mariëlle Nagelkerke is happy to open up about some hidden gems our guests see during this astonishing journey. “During the route through South Holland you see a lot of the Netherlands. At the same time as being physically active, we get to see a lot of lesser-known things. People love that.” Here are Marielle’s top 5:

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1. The Loosdrechtse Plassen near Vreeland

“After we leave the city, on day 2 we cycle through the lovely village of Vreeland. That’s where the really beautiful part begins: first a part of the polder – agricultural land reclaimed from the sea – from the North Sea Canal, then Vreeland. It’s a picturesque village with old buildings and beautiful houses. Then we turn and we’re suddenly surrounded by water. It seems as if we’re cycling right through it, which is really special. The cycling and walking path has water on both sides, called the Loosdrechtse Plassen. We cycle along a fairly narrow stretch. Then further on, we get a view over the water and cycle past very large houses on the banks of the water. Beautiful.”

2. Schiedam gin windmills and an ancient view in Midden-Delfland

“On day 3 we cycle by the tall grain windmills in Schiedam, originally used in the gin (jenever) industry. You’ll be amazed at the sight: so tall! I thought, who would come up with something like that? A very high stone wall and up on top of that, a windmill. That is seriously very special, absolutely. After a fantastic cycle route along the Vlaardingervaart canal, we arrive at Brasserie Vlietzicht in the Midden-Delfland countryside. They have a patio on the water where we can have a cup of coffee. This is really fun to see; the water is quite high, with narrow paths through it. The owner told me that if you sit here on the terrace you have the same view as it’s been for hundreds of years. It has never changed, and it’s a very beautiful piece of nature.”

3. The idyllic towns of Bonrepas and Vlist

“Between Schoonhoven and Gouda are the villages of Bonrepas and Vlist, through which we will pass on day 4. Bonrepas is a hamlet in the polder of the same name and has 50 inhabitants. It’s wonderful to cycle along the river Vlist, with such beautiful houses. It’s really idyllic. A winding river, with the farms along it, well maintained with large gardens that are also located along the waters. Lovely. Then we arrive in Vlist, which has very special farms with windows in a different place than what you’re used to on a farm. It’s a different architectural style. We cycle more along the Vlist and everything looks perfect and is very well kept. A beautiful area.”

4. Delfshaven in Rotterdam

“On day 5 we arrive in Delfshaven, a separate part of Rotterdam. Rotterdam is actually a very modern city, especially compared to Amsterdam. But Delfshaven is much older; it used to be a separated village. You have old buildings and warehouses with real atmosphere, a windmill, canals and bridges and the historic Pilgrim Fathers Church. That makes it a beautiful and special part of Rotterdam. It feels unlike Rotterdam: rather than a big city, it’s a cute little village.”

5. Broek in Waterland and Durgerdam

“The last day of cycling takes us through a beautiful area just a stone’s throw from Amsterdam. We pass through Broek in Waterland, a village close to the big city. It’s like a dollhouse village, with cute wooden houses and a small lake. It is fantastic, historical and very beautiful. I think it’s really special when you cycle there: you see the skyline of Amsterdam in the distance, but then come all these small villages and all that greenery. I think that’s very Dutch: as soon as you leave the city, you’re in the countryside. Then Durgerdam follows: it’s lovely too, right on the water’s edge with Amsterdam on the other side. A very special part of the Netherlands with those wooden houses. It’s a village around a dike with a small marina in front of it that overlooks Amsterdam, but you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s peaceful. On the longer route, we cycle all the way through it.”

Have we convinced you?

Yes? Great, then we would be delighted to welcome you aboard one of our ships. Contact us today and join us on this versatile cycling and sailing holiday through South Holland.

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