Netherlands Skating Adventure

July 8 - 14, 2019

“Since life is short and the world is wide, the sooner you start exploring it, the better.” Simon Raven

Welcome to the land of windmills, wooden clogs, and tulips! But to inline skaters, The Netherlands is more well known for its incredible network of paved, flat paths that drove us to create our first inline skating tour there in 1997.

The Netherlands literally means “low country”, inspired by its low, flat terrain – 26% of the country is lower than sea level and 50% is lower than three feet in elevation. The country is protected by dikes and laced with canals. The trails we skate on are incredibly flat and connect every single town in the provinces of North Holland and Friesland, our tour location.

We skate from picturesque village to picturesque village, allowing plenty of time throughout the day to visit the many museums, snap photos of windmills and 15th-century churches, or sample the rich cheeses (such as the creamy Gouda!) of the area.

We have been running inline skating tours in The Netherlands for 21 years but have not run a tour there since 2011. For this tour, we sent Zephyr’s owner, Allan, back to Friesland to re-examine the paths, towns, and hotels. He came back with some major changes – simplified routes with better surfaces, lower daily mileages, and upgraded hotels from prior tours, so even if you have done this trip before, consider joining us again!

Private Tour Info

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Trip Favorite Moments & Reviews

“Skating past the farmlands and beautiful homes in the Netherlands countryside….. just gorgeous…..”

Karen C.

“You know, I have loved all my trips with Zephyr. I think this most recent trip to the Netherlands is up there at the top of the list.”

Laurie R.

Details

  • Dates: July 8 - 14, 2019
  • Cost Per Person: $3,100
  • Optional Single Supplement: $700
  • Private Tour Minimum: 10
  • Activities: Skating
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Guides: Irene de Ruijter

Other Info: This tour can accommodate a limited number of bicyclists who plan to bicycle the entire week. We are not able to rent bikes for skaters on an as-needed basis as we don't have the ability to transport bikes in our vehicles.

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Trip Highlights

  • A land crisscrossed by paths in this biking-crazy land, perfect for inline skating
  • Remarkably flat and beautiful terrain memorialized by famous Dutch painters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh
  • Skating paths through dozens of charming and tidy Dutch towns, many with seaside views
  • The warm and open culture and people of the mostly bilingual (Dutch and English) country
Day 1

We meet after lunch in Enkuizen, which is an easy train ride from Amsterdam. We will skate from our hotel on a small road designated for pedestrian traffic that runs the entire way to the town of Hoorn along the IJselmeer, an inland sea that separates North Holland from Friesland. You'll see bicyclists galore on the path and an active waterfowl and boating population on the sea. This evening, we'll explore the cute port town of Enkuizen (with an optional visit to the fantastic Zuiderzee Museum, which revives the stories of people who once lived on the shores of the Zuiderzee - a shallow bay of the North Sea) and eat in a small local restaurant near the main street of town. Distances: Out and back as far as you wish up to 25 miles

Day 2

Today we skate from our hotel in the other direction to the town of Medemblik. Our skate route is primarily along a paved path on top of a long dike that runs along the Ijsselmeer. Medemblik is a cute small town that is a perfect stop for lunch - you'll definitely want to try the local fish and fries with mayonnaise! Don't forget a visit to the tiny "bakery museum" (more like a shop) where you can buy the delicious local almond cookies. We make time tonight for a historical walking tour prior to dinner. Distances: 13 or 25 miles

Day 3

We sail across the IJsselmeer together this morning to the Stavoren harbor in Friesland, where we don our skates and skate to Sneek (pronounced Snake). This section of the country is absolutely beautiful, with huge tracts of farmland, a maze of interconnected canals, and bike paths that lead us from village to village. Sneek is probably the liveliest town we visit on this tour (although still small at 34,000 residents) and we'll have plenty to do tonight delicious Indonesian dinner if we have the energy! (The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia - consequently, there are now many Dutch citizens of Indonesian descent). Distances: 13, 21, or 27 miles

Day 4

We spend another night in Sneek tonight and so have a loop route from Sneek to Bolsward and back. Much of the skating is on smooth paths and minor roads that were recently repaved. Bolsward is a small market town that is ideal as a lunch stop - and we'll still make it back to Sneek for some afternoon shopping (a very walkable shopping distrcit is right around the corner from our hotel) or a pint of beer in our hotel's "beer bar." Distances: 11 or 20 miles

Day 5

Our routes today take us from Sneek to Harlingen, the only town we visit on the tour that is actually on the North Sea. Because of this, Harlingen has a much different feel as a real port city, with hundreds of pleasure and fishing boats arriving and departing each day. Tonight we enjoy the signature dish of the area, pannekoeken, which is like a large thin pancake with pizza (or dessert) toppings. Distances: 16, 26, or 28 miles

Day 6

We skate today from Harlingen to the town of Makkum, famous since the late 1500s for its flowery pottery. On our way there, we'll pass through a number of small towns and, once in Makkum, you'll have the opportunity to shop and eat lunch. Back in Harlingen, we'll celebrate the final night of our tour with a delicious dinner. Being so far north means that daylight lasts forever, so after dinner we like to walk along the harbor promenade and take silly photos with a statue of The Little Dutch boy, who saved the day by putting his finger in a dike (remember Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates?). Distances: 8, 14, or 28 miles

Day 7

After a wonderful morning skate through the countryside near Harlingen, we say our farewells. We will drop you off at the local train station where you can catch a train to Amsterdam or directly to the airport. Distances: 8 or 16 miles

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHTS 1 & 2 >> HOTEL DE KOEPOORT / ENKHUIZEN

"De Koepoort" is the previous town gate whose entrance now leads you to an unique stay at a historical hotel. We will spend our first two nights here, taking in the history and beauty of the area.

NIGHTS 3 & 4 >> HOTEL 3B/ SNEEK

We spend our next two nights in another incredible historic hotel right in the center of town. Each room has a vintage/industrial vibe with comfortable and cozy accommodations.

NIGHTS 5 & 6 >> HOTEL ANNA CASPARII / HARLINGEN

Our final two nights of the tour are spent in one of the most beautiful seaports of the Netherlands in a hotel that is a certified monument dating back to 1730. The rooms are modern and well-appointed making our last nights of the tour relaxing and enjoyable.

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Arrival & Departure

We will meet you in the town of Enkhuizen after lunch on the first day of the tour. You can take a direct train from Amsterdam to Enkhuizen in under an hour; from the airport it is about 90 minutes with one change. There are many direct flight options from various U.S. cities to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), which is third largest airport in Europe.

The tour ends in Harlingen. We'll shuttle you to the local train station, where you can catch a train for the 2.5 hour trip back to Amsterdam. Because many flights leave in the morning back to the US, you'll likely want to spend one night in Amsterdam before departing the following day.

What's Included
  • Two Zephyr guides accompany each trip, with a third added as necessary.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
  • All of your dinners and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All group activities are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED Bike rental (if needed), beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
Weather

The average high temperature in our tour area in July is a pleasant 66 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. At night, temperatures average around 55 degrees. We may experience some rain during our trip so you'll want to make sure to bring light rain resistant layers.

Route Directions

This tour uses a variety of paths and roads and each day’s route involves a high number of turns. We provide you with detailed route directions to follow instead of maps, so you need to be able to navigate these by yourself or stay with someone who enjoys reading route directions. Anyone can do this with a little practice!

Trail Conditions

Though there will be plenty of smooth trails, we will sometimes skate on imperfect surfaces and bricked streets in the small towns we encounter so you should be comfortable skating over obstacles.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” on the right side column will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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