My family has just booked flights to Amsterdam in late August. We are traveling with our 3 teenagers and we are interested in biking from Amsterdam to Brugge and returning by train. I was hoping someone on this forum had done something similar and can recommend places to stay and share any other tips.
I've done it ages and ages ago. The nicest route is along the coast (roughly: Haarlem, Leiden, Delft, Maassluis, Brielle, Zierikzee, Middelburg, Vlissingen for the ferry). The alternative is have the first part through the so-called Green Heart: Woerden, Gouda, Schoonhoven, Kinderdijk, Dordrecht, Bergen op Zoom, and then to Middelburg etc.). You should avoid Antwerpen. Nice city, but busy traffic.
The Netherlands wouldn't be the Netherlands if there wasn't an extensive network of bicycle routes. It has been perfected in a system with numbered routes. This gives an overview (Dutch only, I'm afraid). A paper map (such as Michelin) is the most practical on the road.
Someone else should advise you on the possibilities of renting bikes for a week. And you'll need saddle bags for your luggage.
The regular Intercity Brussels-Amsterdam allows for bicycles (at EUR 12). It would be best to pick up that train in Mechelen as having the easiest station to handle them.
Ton is right, avoid Antwerpen. From Zierikzee you can cycle over the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier or the Zeelandbrug to Middelburg, but don’t mis very charming Veere. If you want to see large ships passing by the old harbour of Vlissingen is the best place to spot. In Domburg is a Stayokay in a medieval castle, however private rooms are not directly a bargain. With high season arriving the place will be fully booked very soon.
Last part from the ferry port in Breskens to Brugge - If you like you can cycle on top of the dunes almost all the way to the Belgian border. Nice is a route through the country side “polders” with villages like Groede, Nieuwvliet, Zuidzande and Sluis. From there follow the old canal to Damme and Brugge. Sint Anna ter Muiden and Oostkerk are worth considering a detour.
Thank you for your replies!
We have reserved the StayOK in Rotterdam. The StayOK in Domburg looks simply amazing!
Cycling on top of the dunes is possible. Just bear in mind that it can be very, very windy over there. So check the wind forecast the 1-2 days before, and if there is stong winds forecast near the coast, take some of the inland bike paths (there are many of them) in order to avoid the worst effects of constant winds slowing you down and throwing sand in your face.