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In every season, nature surprises us here in Holland with its colors: in spring, a rainbow of flowers pop up everywhere. In fall, the leaves of the trees glow in orange, red and yellow. And summer has its own special color too: purple! In August and September the heather blooms in radiant violet and lends the landscape a certain magic.

Do you want to witness this spectacle with your own eyes? Then read on, as our guide José has some great tips on enjoying the heather fields in bloom.

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Where can you find the most beautiful fields of heather in the Netherlands?

For José there is no doubt: “The most beautiful heather landscapes in the Netherlands can be found in the Hoge Veluwe.” This national park is located in the eastern half of the country and consists mainly of a mix of forests and heathland. “But I’m in love with this area anyway, so I’m a bit biased,” laughs José and adds, “You cycle along narrow cycle paths in the middle of nature, through the forest and fields of heather. Because the landscape is so hilly, you always have beautiful views, especially when the heather is in bloom and the sun is shining. It really is a huge area of heather fields.”

When is the best time to see the heather in full bloom?

Exactly when the heather starts to bloom can vary from year to year. In particularly warm and sunny summers, the heather blooms earlier than in a cool, rainy summer season. Often in early August, the heather begins to cast a purple veil across the landscape. “If you want to be sure to see it, you should plan your trip between mid-August and mid-September,” says José.

What can you experience on a bike tour through flowering heathland?

“Most of the guests are incredibly enthusiastic. A lot of people tell me that they didn’t think the landscape would be so beautiful,” says José. “The sight is just really spectacular!” Each bike ride through the Veluwe is an adventure in itself and José never gets bored. “Every time we get a different surprise. We often see the imposing Scottish Highland cattle grazing, or we have to make our way through a flock of sheep. And once, we even stood in the middle of a herd of wild horses! Almost like in a fairytale.”

Do Boat Bike Tours also go through other heathlands?

The Veluwe is by no means the only heathland in the Netherlands, as José knows. “On Boat Bike Tours trips you can also experience the heather fields in bloom in the dunes near Schoorl and on the island of Texel, for example. And I was quite surprised by the beautiful route through forest and heather near Blaricum. It’s very close to Amsterdam!”

Male red deer (Cervus elaphus) guarding his flock of deer in heathland during mating season on the Hoge Veluwe, Netherlands

Which tour would you recommend to people who want to experience the heather fields?

“Definitely the Hanseatic route,” she responds without hesitation. This tour doesn’t just lead through the middle of the largest heather area in the Netherlands. It also has many other charms, in José’s view: “This trip offers a great combination. I just love the variety of lots of nature, plus beautiful historic towns. During the day, you cycle through very varied natural landscapes. After dinner I still go for a stroll through the pretty little towns where our ship docks overnight. For example, through Zutphen, Kampen or Zwolle. I’m not the only one who thinks this, by the way. It’s why the Hanseatic Tour is the favorite tour of many of our tour guides!”

Experience the Dutch heathland on these trips by Boat Bike Tours:


Would you like to experience the heather in bloom too? Our travel experts would be happy to help you book your dream tour. Just contact us online or call us at +31 20 72 35 400 so that we can help you!

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