Bikepacking Holland: Explore the Netherlands by Bike
Looking to explore the Netherlands by bike? Bikepacking Holland is a new and amazing initiative geared towards making cycling a more accessible way to travel!
You’ve definitely heard of mochila, but what do you know about bikepacking? If your guess is that it’s the same as backpacking, but with a bike, then you’d be correct! While it’s not the fastest, there’s no denying it’s a cool and innovative way to travel. And while Europe as a whole has a reputation for being bike friendly, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Netherlands. Holland is well connected by bike paths, and thanks to its flat landscape, it’s one of the easiest places to cycle. So even if you’re not an Olympic cyclist, bikepacking in Holland is a great way to travel and see the country!
Bikepacking Holland is a network of 15 independent hostels ready to host those travelling by bicycle. Want to know more about this travel trend? Keep reading to see where you can go and what makes each destination so unique. We promise this will be an adventure you won’t soon forget!
The events of 2020 shook the travel industry in many ways. International travel became a thing of the past, so people started to look at ways to explore their own backyards. And they also looked at ways they could travel without the crowds. Hence, bikepacking seemed to be the best option for those looking to explore the Netherlands safely.
But why should you try Bikepacking in Holland? Well, for starters, it’s the greenest way to travel. In a world where everyone is concerned about their carbon footprint, bikepacking lets you travel with a neutral carbon footprint.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Since the Netherlands has a huge cycling culture, there are tons of cafes, restaurants, and other amenities along bike paths so you always have a comfy place to make a pit stop.
Additionally, bikepacking is a fantastic way to see a different side of the country. You know all those idyllic scenes you spot from the bus or train? You can actually stop and admire them while bikepacking! It’s a sure way to see lots of spots ‘off the beaten path’.
And finally, bikepacking is a great way to keep up your health while enjoying the best destinations in Holland. We’re all a little guilty of indulging while travelling, so this is a great way to balance out all the drinks and food you’re bound to enjoy!
How Can I Plan my Bikepacking in Holland Adventure?
Planning and packing is usually the hardest part of any adventure, especially if it’s your first time. But doing this for a bikepacking adventure in Holland is a whole different ball game. For those who don’t quite know where to start, check out our guide on what to pack for your bikepacking adventure!
Where Can I Stay?
The Netherlands is your oyster! From one side of the country to the other, there are tons of amazing destinations to choose from. Pick whatever route you’re comfortable with, whether it’s a city to city adventure, or something that will let you connect with nature. For more on individual routes, click here!
As for the hostels, you can expect nothing but the best! All hostels in the Bikepacking Holland network offer ready made beds upon arrival, a delicious breakfast, great facilities, and safe storage for your bike. And the hostels themselves couldn’t be more unique. You can sleep in a former prison, a container hostel, an eco-friendly hostel, or in a hostel near the beach! We weren’t exaggerating when we said these hostels were unique!
And the best part? By bikepacking in Holland, you’ll get to experience a new environment every single day. One day you’ll be cycling through amazing tulip fields, and the next you’ll be cycling through a buzzing city. It never gets old bikepacking in Holland!
So, we’ve told you there are 15 destinations within the Bikepacking Holland network, and we’ll break them down for you below! Whether you visit all 15, or just a select few, we’re certain you’ll love these destinations.
Roterdão – Hostel ROOM
This is one of two founding hostels of Bikepacking Holland, and a proud member of Europe’s Famous Hostels. So what makes Roterdão so special? It’s the only city in the Netherlands with a skyline, and an impressive one at that! Famous landmarks in Rotterdam include Erasmus Bridge, Markthal, and the Yellow Cube Houses, all of which are easily accessible on bike.
Where to Go from Rotterdam: Our recommendation is to head to Utrecht after Rotterdam! The journey is just over 62 kms, and takes roughly 3 and a half hours. And if you want to make a pit stop, Gouda is about halfway!
Tilburg – Hostel Roots
Hostel Roots is the second founding member hostel of Bikepacking Holland, and their energy is undeniable. Tilburg is a student city, so there’s always something going on, and it’s never too expensive! Top sights include Spoorpark, the town centre, and Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park. Tilburg is also known to host tons of events, so we recommend doing your research before arriving.
Where to Go from Tilburg: If you’re looking to continue your urban adventure, then head to Rotterdam! But if you’d rather spend a few days in nature, then we recommend cycling to Valkenswaard. The journey from Tilburg to Valkenswaard takes just over two hours!
Giethoorn – The Black Sheep Hostel
Giethoorn is probably one of the most popular villages in the Netherlands, and a visit here will quickly make you understand why. The tiny village is characterised by beautiful canals and quaint bridges – 176 to be exact! One of the coolest things about this place is that all local transportation is done via the canals. So you’ll certainly experience something different in Giethoorn!
Where to Go from Giethoorn: We recommend heading to Zwolle from Giethoorn! The journey is an easy 90 mins and takes you through some adorable small towns and picturesque landscape along the way.
Alkmaar – King’s Inn
Located north of Amsterdam, Alkmaar is a famous destination thanks to its cheese and proximity to the coast. Famous sites and landmarks include the cheese market, Grote Sint Laurenskerk (it dominates Alkmaar’s skyline), and its 33 beautiful windmills! And if you want to spend a day at the beach, you can get there in roughly 30 mins by bike.
Where to Go from Alkmaar: There are tons of great destinations within reach from Alkmaar, but we recommend cycling to Haarlem. The journey takes just over two hours, and is easy thanks to the flat landscape. You’ll even get to go on a ferry for part of the journey!
Groningen – Rebel Rebel Hostel
If you find yourself in the north of the Netherlands, then Groningen should be on your destination list! Known for its great museums, cultural events, and nightlife, you’ll never get bored in Groningen. Famous landmarks include Martini Tower, Noorderplantsoen, Grote Markt, and Martinus Brewery. And the coolest thing about Rebel Rebel? It’s actually a container hostel, and the first in Groningen!
Where to Go from Groningen: In just over 3 hours, you can cycle to Leeuwarden. The journey takes you through lots of countryside, so you’ll be able to admire some gorgeous Dutch nature!
Valkenswaard – Harba Lorifa
For those looking for some time away from the city, Valkenswaard is a great place to visit! Located near the Limburg Hills, it’s a hot spot in the Netherlands for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those bikepacking in Holland. While the village itself is small, you can spend your days exploring the farmlands, rivers, and windmills nearby. It’s a great destination to recharge and connect with nature.
Where to Go from Valkenswaard: If you’re looking for an urban adventure after some time in the nature, then we recommend cycling to Tilburg in only 2 hours. Alternatively, you can head to Maastricht, which is a 4 hour cycle ride away!
Utrecht – Hotel em strowis
This is one of the best kept urban secrets in the Netherlands. And Utrecht is home to the largest bike parking garage in the world! It has 12, 500 bike parking spaces over three floors, and is truly a cool thing to see. Aside from the countless museums, famous landmarks include De Haar Castle, The Dom Tower, and Oudegracht.
Where to Go from Utrecht: From one city to the next, we recommend heading to either Rotterdam or Amsterdam from Utrecht! Both cities are popular urban hot spots, and are both only a few hours away.
Noordwijk – Flying Pig Beach Hostel
If you’re up for some time in a cute coastal town, then Noordwijk is where you want to be! Characterised by sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and a beautiful small town, it’s the perfect mix of urban and beach life. While it’s preferable to visit in summer, there’s lots of great cafes, restaurants, and cultural sites to spend your time in.
Where to Go from Noordwijk: You have tons of options to continue your bikepacking in Holland adventure from Noordwijk! Head north to Haarlem, or head south to The Hague, both of which are an easy journey of only 90 minutes.
Maastricht – The Green Elephant Hostel
This is the southernmost city in the Netherlands, and is also situated near Belgium and Germany. Maastricht is a popular student town, and thanks to its location, it’s also quite international. Famous landmarks include Vrijthof, The Lichtenberg Castle ruins, and the Dominicanen Bookshop, which is located inside an old church!
Where to Go from Maastricht: Due to its location, bikepacking to other urban spots in Holland will take some time. However, if you want to break the trip up and stay in some nature, we recommend cycling to Valkenswaard.
Haarlem – Hello I’m Local
For those looking for a smaller city experience, Haarlem is where it’s at. Whether you’re looking to spend a weekend here, or just a day, Haarlem is a great destination for bikepacking in Holland. Famous landmarks include the historic city centre, Molen De Adriaan, or head outside the city to see the tulip fields!
Where to Go from Haarlem: Because Haarlem is so centrally located, you have tons of options to continue your bikepacking adventure in Holland. Want to spend some time on the beach? Cycle to Noordwijk! Or maybe you want to visit more urban hot spots? Then head to either Delft or The Hague!
Leeuwarden – Alibi Hostel
If you’re looking for a spot with history, it’s Leeuwarden. Considered one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, it’s a great place for an urban getaway without all the crowds. Located in the Friesland area of the Netherlands, it’s a popular spot for cyclists, and the hostel itself is ultra cool. It’s located in a former prison! Famous landmarks include Fries Museum, De Binnenstad, and De Oldehove, which is actually more crooked than Italy’s Tower of Pisa!
Where to Go from Leeuwarden: Cycle south and within 3 and a half hours, you’ll reach the tiny town of Giethoorn. Arguably the cutest destination in the entire country and another popular spot for bikepacking in Holland.
The Hague – King Kool Hostel
There’s tons of things to see and do in The Hague, and it couldn’t be better located for cycling enthusiasts. Wether you want to spend a day exploring the city, or a day lounging on the beach, The Hague has it all. Famous landmarks include The Binnenhof, The Hague Tower, and Mauritshuis Museum.
Where to Go from The Hague: Thanks to The Hague being so centrally located, you can choose a number of destinations to explore from here! Head north and you’ll arrive in Haarlem in just under 3 hours. Or if you want to enjoy a quicker cycle, head to Delft and you’ll arrive in roughly 30 minutes! Alternatively, you can make Delft a pit stop on your way to Rotterdam, which is just over an hour away. No wonder it’s such a popular destination for bikepacking in Holland.
Delft – Hostel Delft
Sitting less than kilometres outside The Hague is the inviting smaller city of Delft. Known as the birthplace of the famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, it’s a tiny destination packed with things to do. Perfect for a day trip, or a few easy days away, Delft is a must visit. Famous landmarks include Nieuwe Kerk, Oude Kerk, and Delft City Hall.
Where to Go from Delft: You have tons of great options to continue your journey from Delft! You can cycle to The Hague in just 30 mins, or head to Rotterdam in just under an hour. Or if you want to spend some time at the beach, head to Noordwijk!
Vlissingen – City Hostel Vlissingen
It’s all about taking it easy in Vlissingen, located in the western province of Zeeland. This is the least populous area in the Netherlands, but it’s hot spot for tourists who want to get closer to nature and away from urban life. Vlissingen is a small town in the Zeeland province, and it’s the perfect spot to call home while you spend some time here. There are tons of great water sports, bike paths, beaches, and more in Zeeland
Where to Go from Vlissingen: Vlissingen is a bit far from the rest of the destinations in the Bikepacking Holland network. However, you can reach Rotterdam in 5 and a half hours, or Tilburg in just under 7 hours.
Zwolle – Hostel De Basis
There’s something unique about Zwolle that sets it apart from other cities like Rotterdam. While most medieval old towns are ringed in by ordinary canals, the ones in Zwolle are star-shaped! And if you visit in summer, you can rent a kayak or small boat and enjoy the canals. Famous landmarks include Grote Kerk, Zwolle Town Hall, and Sassenpoort.
Where to Go from Zwolle: From Zwolle, head south and cycle towards Utrecht! The journey takes just over 5 hours, and you’ll cycle through Amersfoort, which is a great place to take a break and grab lunch.
Bikepacking Holland: Explore the Netherlands by Bike
So now that you’re well informed, it’s time to start your own bikepacking adventure in Holland. We’re confident that no matter what route you decide to take, you’ll come away with incredible memories. And we hope it inspires you to plan more bikepacking adventures in the future!
If you need more information to help you plan your adventure, click aqui for a range of helpful tips, city guides, food guides, and more. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube. And don’t forget to follow Bikepacking Holland on Instagram for all the latest!