Cycling, sailing and camping – From Schiphol to Vlissingen
Our cycling trip started at Schiphol where I picked up Tanya from the airport. We rented OV-bikes (public transport rental bikes) and cycled to the Kaag, to sail.
We slept on the sailing boat two nights and from there we followed the dutch coastline from Noordwijk to Vlissingen. The rest of the trip we camped in a small tent. It was awesome though our asses hurt… a lot, and we were passed by many old people on electric bikes and occasionally also by old people on normal bikes.
music Cello Octet Amsterdam link
Some friends might recognize it as we did a project about it in architecture school: the white house is Villa Allegonda in Katwijk. A famous house from 1927 designed by J.J.P. Oud – a Dutch Modernist architect. To my architect-nerd excitement they just finished a major restoration to make it look much more like the original, which was like seeing our school assignment come to reality.
We ended our trip going back from Vlissingen to Amsterdam by train, then renting OV-bikes there again, to continue a few days city trip – see the video 30 seconds of Amsterdam below.
Fun facts of this trip with further explanation in the pics below:
- All our clothes got wet after our tent was flooded in the middle of the night
- Apart from that night we didn’t see any rain
- We used cold beer to sooth Tanya’s sore eyes
- My sister and her boyfriend organized a BBQ on the water, and a tour through the center of Amsterdam in their little steel boat
- Albert Heijn for tourists: they have free wifi and free coffee…
- The North Sea Route is amazing and very diverse: heath, dunes, ocean, dikes, forest, city (the Hague), countryside, you’ll see some of all types of scenery
Are you thinking of doing a similar trip in the Netherlands? Find the practical info below the pictures.
We used OV- bikes, and most people don’t know that you can take them for longer than 3 days, but there is only a surcharge of 5€ per day after 3 days.
rent 5 days @ 3,85€ per day = 19,25 €
extra cost 2 days @ 5€ per day = 10 €
extra cost for returning the bike at a different location = 10 €
so a total of 39,25 € rent per bike, not bad since we took them in Amsterdam and dropped them off in Vlissingen.
You do need to have an OV-kaart with OV-fiets activated. Just follow the steps on the website
I compared a few different places, that offer more or less the same deal. I decided to get the sailing boat from Hoogenboom in Kaag, and we were happy with the boat and the service they provided website
You can make a reservation online, and it’s easy to find all the pricings on the website. They have sloepen (motor boats) and sailing boats. For the sailing boats you will need to know how to sail. They have valken (Falcon) and 16m2, I learned sailing on a 16 m2, and although they are a bit smaller they have a nice wooden deck, so we went for that one.
For two days, it will cost around 120€ (low season price) including a sail that you can drape over the boom to turn your boat into a tent for the night (10€ per night). We didn’t take the clip on motor with tank because we weren’t planning on going on narrow canals, or making a trip to Leiden, that’s when that would be useful. We were fine just sailing and there are some paddles on-board if there’d be the need to drop the sails on water and get back to the shore.
There is plenty of space to overnight on the lake (with anchor) or in a small bay in the field with the cows, this is free during off season, otherwise around 10 € per boat.
We started with some bad luck.. All the OV-bikes were gone at Schiphol. There is no bike garage like in the major train stations in the Netherlands, but normally you should be able to get a bike from automated boxes that will dispense your OV-bike. Since there were none at the moment we arrived, we took a train to Amsterdam Zuid, where there’s a bigger bike garage with OV-bikes.
There’s some good information online about cycling routes in the Netherlands. We based our route on the Noordzee Route (coded by dutch cycling association as LF1). We didn’t have a dutch simcard with internet access, so we relied mostly on the road signs and on a really good free app: maps.me Before we started our trip, I downloaded the offline map of the Netherlands, which includes bicycle and walking trails. We downloaded the gps coordinates of the entire route, and opened it in our maps.me, so we didn’t rely only on the road signs for the route LF1-a . You can look at the route and download the gps route on this website
If you do have internet whilst cycling you can use the free app Fietsknoop (you can download it from google play). With this app you can also find and adjust the LF1 route, and you can find points of interest along the route, like where to get a coffee.
Another useful free app if you go cycling in the rainy Netherlands is buienradar (Google Play or just go to the website). You will get very accurate information to the minute of when the rain will come and go. I wish this app was available all over the world!!
Here more or less the route we did, please note it took us a lot more than ten hours!
We camped on campsites that we found using the free ANWB app ANWB Camping. You can use it offline, with GPS, to find campsites near where you are in the Netherlands. Especially in Zeeland, there were hundreds of cheap farm campsites, that we could easily find with this app, then make a reservation just before arriving. The cost of these campsites is only around 15 € per night for one tent and two people. This doesn’t include electricity on your pitch, and often you had to buy coins to shower or go on wifi, but we thought it was still cheap. Also since we got our wifi and free coffee from the Albert Heijn haha.
Please let me know if any of the links are not working, or if there’s some information you think is missing. Have a good trip!