4 Hikes to explore The Netherlands

The Netherlands isn’t only a country where you can ride your bike, but The Netherlands is also a good country for hiking. After hiking 200 kilometers of the Pelgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostella in Spain last year, it is time to explore some special hikes in The Netherlands.

Unconsciously we walk a lot in busy cities and forests in The Netherlands. Honeyguide Yalou will tell you about 4 beautiful hikes in The Netherlands. So take some time of the next few weekends to explore some of these beautiful hikes. Will you join Yalou on her hikes?

ALONG CASTLES AND FORTRAGES

1.De Hollandse Waterlinie Route

As soon as I heard of the hike along ‘De Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie’ I was excited. This long distance hike is 185 kilometers long. It starts in Muiden and finishes in The Biesbosch. During your hike you will walk along the old defense lines of The Netherlands. Along these route you will find castles and fortrages. This hike is definitely a must see, as it is even on the World heritage site Stelling van Amsterdam.

WITH YOUR FEET IN THE MUD

2. Barefoottrails in The Netherlands

There is nothing that compares to walking on your feet in the garden during summer time. The only downside is that I come home with dirty feet. Or do you know that amazing feeling of sand in between your toes? You can also experience this feeling on one of the barefoot trails in The Netherlands.

During a hike on a barefoot trail, you will walk on al sorts of materials. This varies from soft sand to grass, wooden branches or even wooden wood chips. Barefoot trails are getting more and more popular these days. Groningen is one of the places where you can experience a barefoot trail, it is called ‘Opende’ and a little bit more to the south you will find the barefoot trail of ‘Hof van Twello’, which is a farm with a barefoot trail. Do you live closer to Bergen op Zoom in Brabant? Then you are in luck, because here you will find a barefoot trail at ‘Landgoed Lievensberg’!

CROSSING THE SEA

3. Wad Walk

Something that can’t be forgotten on a hiking list of every Dutchman is hiking along the mudflats. I have been wanting to visit the island of Vlieland for a long time and I would like to combine a visit to the island with hiking on these unique piece of nature. Because hiking along the mudflats is only possible if everything lines up. Which also makes it so special. You can hike from the mainland to one of the islands and learn from a guide more about the beautiful ecosystem of the mudflats. Are you looking for a more activa tour? Or would you prefer a more educational tour? The choice is up to you!

TOWARD THE RIVER ‘DE LEK’

4.      GELUKKIGERWIJSPAD

The Gelukkigerwijspad, which translates to the happy wisdom path. The name itself makes you want to experience this trail. This trail is 125 kilometers long and start in the pelgrims city of Amersfoort through the forest where you will end up on the Utrechse Heuvelrug. The trail winds along the river ‘De Lek’ close to the city of Rhenen, towards Wijk Bij Duurstede and Utrecht back to the start in the city of Amersfoort. Back in the fifteenth century Amersfoort was a place of pilgrimage, where miracles happened and pilgrims came for every corner. Are you coming to test your luck?

This guestblog was written by the editorial staff of Honeyguide, the Dutch inspirational platform of concious and special traveling. On the website http://www.heyhoneyguide.com they collect the most beautiful hidden gems and expierinces in The Netherlands. This is how Honeyguide insprires you to go beyond the beaten track and to enrich your spare time with the most beautiful adventures around the corner.

Hiking in Saeftinghe, Zeeland

The sunken land of Saeftinghe is a nature reserve situated on the border of Belgium and The Netherlands. It is the place where the river the Scheldt meets the sea the Western Scheldt. That is why the water in Saeftinghe is brackish. It is the biggest brackish husky in Europe. Due to the constant change of the tide, Saeftinghe is an ever changing nature reserve.

You can visit Saeftinghe on your own or your can book a guided tour at the visitor centre located in Emmadorp. Which have started up their tours again as of the 17th of May 2021.

The hiking routes which you can visit on your own also start from the visitor centre in Emmadorp, where you can also park your car for free.

There are two walking routes, “het ruige laarzen pad” and the “plankierpad”. On “het ruige laarzen pad” you will need rain boots. On the “plankierpad” they aren’t required, but I would wear them anyways, since it is really muddy. They are both short trails, 1 and 2 km long, but you can combine them for a longer hike. If you want to hike longer then just this short hike, you can also walk along the Dyke or along the backroads.

Plankierspad
I have hiked both, but this time I am concentrating on the Plankierspad.
Starting at the parking lot at the visitor centre in Emmadorp, located at Emmaweg 4, Nieuw-Namen. The trail is about 2 kilometers long. You will walk over footbridges and through the mud.

First you cross the dyke, where you will find a map of Saeftinghe. Because of the elevation of the Dyke it is a good viewing point, where you can oversee the nature reserve. On the right side you will see the cooling towers of Doel and the port of Antwerp in the distance. In front of you, you will see the Western Scheldt, where you can see the boats pass by on their way to the port of Antwerp.

From there you hike down to the gate to enter Saeftinghe. Immediately when entering you will find a sign indicating both trails.

At the sign you will go right, where you enter the trail. It is an easy to follow trail as there is only one to follow. There are little wooden signs along the way with assignments for the kids. You can get a booklet with the assignments for the kids in the visitor centre. If you pay attention, you might spot some birds that live in Saefthinge.


How to get to Saeftinghe?

You can park your car at the visitor centre in Emmadorp.
Emmaweg 4, Nieuw-Namen
There is a big parking lot in front of the visitor centre. You just have to cross the dyke to enter Saeftinghe.

Let me know in the comments if you have visited Saeftinghe.

A night at the Forest, Belgium

I am always looking for unique places to stay close to home. I have been following The Forest for a while now on Instagram and this winter I could snatch up a last minute night at this beautiful cabin.

A private domain

The cabin is situated on a private domain, which is completely fenced off. You arrive along a beautiful tree lane from which you can already spot the cabin. The cabin is next to a small pond, where a kingfisher has taken up his residence. While we were staying at the cabin, we watched him fly his rounds along the pond from the bed in the morning. A beautiful sight.

A forest getaway
Since the cabin is situated on a private domain, it feels like you are in the middle of the forest. On the other side of the main road you can hike in the Troostembergbos. Which makes this cabin the ideal getaway for forest lovers like me.

The cabin
The cabin is equipped for two people. Keep in mind though that there isn’t a shower in the cabin, only a bath tub.

You do have the possibility of using their barbecue or grill on an open fire in the fire pits that are provided at the cabin.

One of the things I loved the most about this cabin is the canoe that is available for your use the entire stay. Even though it was freezing when we stayed there, I took the canoe out for a little tour of the pond.

Afterwards I could warm up next to the cozy fire place, which heats up the cabin in winter. The owners will start the fire place before your arrival, so the cabin is nice and toasty when you get there.

A day hike at Paleis het Loo, the Netherlands

Our travel plans have changed majorly due to Covid this year. So instead of venturing out to the mountains for a trip we decided to stay a bit closer to home. To be precise we decided to visit the beautiful Veluwe again. In my opinion one of the most beautiful areas of the Netherlands. I have been here multiple times in the past couple of years, since it is an easy weekend getaway.

With a longer stay it was time to explore some new places. One of them was Paleis het Loo. At the moment the national museum at the palace is closed due to maintenance. It is scheduled to reopen in 2021. So instead of visiting the palace we did a day hike around the palaces gardens which measure 650 hectare.

At the palace you have two parking lots. I opted for the one further away from the main area, due to the Covid 19 restrictions and the palace being closed. Coming out of the direction of Apeldoorn you just drive past the main entrance and a couple of hundred meters down the road you will pass another small sign indicating that you can enter the gardens. This is Parking lot Bosloo.

The entrance fee to the garden is 2 euros per person. Which you can pay at the entrance of the park at the parking lot. There is a cash and a card option at the machine. There is no parking fee.

One of the first things I noticed while entering the gardens was the differsity of the trees and the plants growing there. There are so many varieties I had never seen in the Netherlands before.


You will also find heather along the trail. Which at the end of July already started to bloom. I loved those purple flowers, unfortunately they only bloom for such a short time.
Besides heather you will also find blue berries along the trail, as well as many other plants.

Ourneverendingwanderlust Paleis het Loo 3We decided to hike the red route, which is a 7 kilometer long trail that will lead you away from the palace. You will find multiple trails in the gardens. Varying in length from 2 kilometers to 14 kilometers, as well as wheelchair accessible routes. So there should be a trail for everyone.

The red route is an easy hike with some rolling hills. It almost feels like you aren’t even in the Netherlands at all. Since the Netherlands are normally really flat. It adds to the feel of being on vacation. Even though you are close to home.

The route is well marked with wooden posts painted with the color of your route. Along bends they also placed multiple posts to make sure you won’t end up on another trail.

Our neverending wanderlust Paleis het Loo-1700

Along the trail you can take a little detour to the wildlife lookout. Where I spotted some wild boars in the middle of the day, as well as a red deer. Which I had never encountered before. It made for a great memory of this trip.

After finishing this trail you can also hike to the palace from this parking lot. Here you will find a map with all the hiking trails in the park.

I definitly want to go back to hike some other trails here.

Have you ever visited Paleis het Loo in the Netherlands?
If yes, did you hike in the gardens?

Our neverending wanderlust Day Hike at Paleis het Loo

 

A day hike in Westerschouwen Zeeland

During summer I always stay close to home. One of the places I love to visit then is the forest in Westerschouwen, Zeeland. 

Westerschouwen is the biggest forest in Zeeland and is located right in the dunes of Westerschouwen. So you can easily combine your hike with a beachday. What about hiking early in the morning and ending the day on the beach?

The forest isn’t a natural forest, the area used to be all sand, but in 1920 they planted pine trees and marram grass. When the area became more touristic they expanded the forest with broad leave trees. Nowdays it is a protected forest.

There are multiple ways to explore the forest at Westerschouwen. There are hiking trails, mountainbike trails, bike trails and horse trails. So there is a trail for everyone. There are also paved trails for people in wheelchairs.

The trail
We did the yellow hike, which is 8 km long, and takes you through the forest, by the lakes and the lookout all the way to the beach. The path starts at the Kraaijensteijnweg, Westenschouwen. There is a big parking lot at the end of the street. The path is clearly marked with yellow signs. Just pay attention at the end that you go off the trail onto the paved path back to the excursion barn. Otherwise you will keep hiking in circles.

Since the trail is in the dunes, there are a lot of paths that are just mulled sand. Besides the sand you will also hike up and down the dunes. Which can make it a challenging hike.

My favorite part of this hike are the lakes. Next time I will bring a picknick and have lunch here and hang out and hike back out at the end of the day.

I also loved the lookout, where you can see for miles. Make sure not to walk by it as it looks like a no entry zone, but the lookout is open for everyone.

Our neverending Wanderlust Westerschouwen-9844

You can also combine the hike with a beachday, because from the parking lot it is only a 5 minute walk to the beach.

Oh and when you go early, there is a really big chance you will get to see deer in this forest.

Have you ever been to Westerschouwen?

Our neverending Wanderlust day hike Westerschouwen

Castle Eltz and Geierlay

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in so long. We have been extremely busy with work, our home and traveling as much as possible.

So last fall has been all about new adventures. These adventures came in the form of day trips. One of the day trips I took was to Castle Eltz. The castle has been famous due to instagram. I am sure you have seen one of the many pictures of Castle Eltz, while scrolling through your feed.

our neverending wanderlust eltz castle-1So on the last Friday of October I took a daytrip to Castle Eltz with one of my friends. For me it was a very long drive, but it was defenitly worth it. We had planned this trip months in advance, but we were lucky that it wasn’t raining.

So we parked our car at the parking at the top, where you have to pay two euros. Yes, even before opening hours. From there you can either take the pendle bus down or hike down. It is only a short hike, about 1 kilometer. So we hiked down where the pendle bus goes down. Half way down you will find a platform with a birds eye view over Castle Eltz.

our neverending wanderlust eltz castle-5164When you get to the castle it is open for visits. It costs 10 euros for an adult to get in. You will also find a restaurant in Castle Eltz.

We decided to not go in, but we wandered around the castle grounds. All the way down to the river. There are numerous hiking trails passing along the castle and you can even hike from here to Castle Pyrmont.

After wandering around for a while we took the foot path through the forest back to the car. From the footh path you will also find some amazing views over the Castle.

After our visit to Castle Eltz we decided we wanted to see one of the other big tourist attractions around here, which is the bridge at Geierlay. It is one of the longest suspencion bridges in Europe. It is 360 meters long and 100 meters high.

Since it is such a big attraction you will find multiple parking lots in the town of Morsdorf. Don’t forget to bring cash though, cause you can’t pay with a card. It is about a half an hour hike to the bridge depending on where you park your car. We did a circular route which took us about an hour.

When we were there it was quite busy, which meant you had to pass people on the bridge. It was also quite windy, so a lot of movement of the bridge. But here the fall colors were just amazing. It was an amazing experience to see and hike the Geierlay suspension bridge.

Have you ever visited Castle Eltz or the Geierlay bridge?

A day hike in Nisramont, Belgium

The Belgium Ardennes had been on my list to visit for ages. And even though it is close by (about a 2/3 hour drive) for some reason we have never made it out there. So I thought it was time to finally explore this beautiful region of Belgium. So I invited one of my friends to go on a day hike.

We headed out early in the morning, around 4 am, because we wanted to make it in time for the sunrise. Unfortunately it took us longer then we expected to reach our final destination, so we missed out on the sunrise.

Our final destination was Nisramont. There the river the Ourthe passes through the forest and it is the start of a 13 km hiking trail.

We parked our car at the big parking lot near the little restaurant which is situated at the head of the trail. After a quick coffee we headed out onto the trail.

You can enter the trail by walking past the restaurant on the left side, where you will find the sign of the start of the trail. You will follow the red markers along the trail. The trail is marker really well, so a map isn’t quite nescessary. We hiked about 5 hours, but we did make lots of stops to shoot. Especially the first couple of kilometers.

Our never ending Wanderlust Nisramont-8882Along the trail there are a couple of look outs, which will give you an incredible overview over the river the Ourthe and the surrounding forest. Beside the lookouts there are several places where you can sit and enjoy the river. Which is incredible especially on summer days.

If you hike this trail in the fall make sure to bring a hiking stick, because this trail can become really slippery. There are two steep climbs at the end of the trail, which will be quite challenging in wet conditions.

We did the hike during the heat of summer, so when we ended our hike we took a dive into the river. Which was incredible. There are a lot of spots at the river where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the river. You can also rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards at the restaurant to explore the river from the water.

For me the best moment of this hike was jumping in the lake after finishing our hike, because it had become 36 degrees by the time we finished the trail.

I can’t wait to come back to the Ardennes in the fall and explore more of this beautiful region.

Have you visited the Ardennes in Belgium before? What is your go to hike?

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The Veluwe

I can’t believe October has come to an end already and I haven’t posted all month. So it is time to catch up. The last weekend of september we spend the weekend at the Veluwe, a national park in the Netherlands. And to be a bit more specific in the beautiful area of the Speulderbos. Sorry for all the Dutch names of the places, but there is never a good way to translate.

We stayed in a hotel for the weekend, just something different for a change. And I took a photography workshop there, which I will tell you more about in my next blog.

We have been to the Veluwe last year for the first time. Last year we stayed in the beautiful village Otterlo, which is situated right next to one of the entrances of the National Park. So we could just walk to the Park from our hotel.

The Veluwe is the biggest National Park based in the Netherlands, and it has a big variety of landscapes. It is also one of the places you will find deer among other animals.

Angelique van Waarde-0791

One thing the national park is famous for is the white bikes, which you will find at all three entrances and scattered throughout the park. You can just pick one up and use it all day, or just to get you from one pick up point to the next and continue by foot.

Last year we did a tour of the park by bike, because we were only there for a day. We wanted to see as much of the Veluwe as possible, so we rode the bikes. Lucky for us we had the place practicly to ourselves since we were there on a monday and summer break was already over.

Angelique van Waarde-0829

We rode past areas of sand, forests, heather. Around every corner the landscape was even more beautiful then the one before. The Veluwe truly amased me with all its differsity.

On the Veluwe you will also find the Kroller-Muller musuem, when we were there it was closed so we didn’t go in, but we did admire the sculptures outside.

We did however visit the Museonder, which is situated in the central area of the parc where you will also find a place to eat. The Museonder will tell you about how the Veluwe came to be and will tell you more about the nature and wildlife you can find in the park. It is a free interactive museum and a great place to take your kids.

You can easily spend an entire day here or even multiple days if you want to hike in the Park. There is something from everyone, art, museum, bike paths, hiking routes, and ofcourse some amazing nature.

If you visit the Netherlands you can’t skip this place. In my next blog I will tell you more about our adventures in the Speulderbos!

Angelique van Waarde-0927