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biking and lodging in Noord Holland in October

Hello we will be biking for seven days (Oct 6-13) this year. We will start in Landsmeer where we reserved an Airbnb for two days and where we will store our luggage for the time we will be on bikes. We would like to do 10-20 miles maximum/day and end up back in Landsmeer on the 14th as we return to Paris on the 15th (October 2019) I am a Servas (like Couch Surfing but been around longer and requires a yearly fee and an interview) and I am looking for hosts that way. I also am in Warm Showers but can't seem to figure out how to request hosts that way. I'd love to write to someone who can suggest how to plan the trip; i.e. good places to visit and whether it is necessary to reserve everything in advance depending upon how far we ride. Is October a busy month for hotels? Will we be able to find a small hotel at the last minute? What places would someone suggest we go to? We are tentatively looking at: Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Haarlem, Hilversum, Naarden, Wesp, Diemen, Amstelveen, Volendam, Maarken, Alkmaar, Heiloo, Castricum Zandam, Oostzaam, I don't think we can get to all these places. We have a biking map of this area of the Netherlands and are trying to see how far it is to each place and what is feasible . We are 69 (me, Tina) and (66, Steve) We are in good shape for our age, I guess and able to cycle and hike and go the gym regularly. We do not want to do tons of kilometers and just want to enjoy scenery, some biking and getting away from Los Angeles traffic. Thanks in advance for any advice (names of places, hotels, sites, ) that you can give us. Tina Schaefer

Posted by
2487 posts

Both the areas north and south of Amsterdam are perfect for cycling, taking the smallest roads you can find. You can easily have a taste of both by taking yourself and the bicycles on the train to skip the urban area of Amsterdam. (On weekdays only after 09:00; bicycle ticket costs some EUR 6.)
A tentative route for the northern part within your daily limit, not considering accommodation, could be: 1. Landsmeer to De Rijp via Westzaan (traditional wooden architecture); 2. De Rijp to Hoorn via Schermerhorn (mid-17th century windmill complex for one of the famous land reclamations); 3. Hoorn to Monnickendam via Edam. (Nearest train station is in disappointing Purmerend.)
For the southern part: 1. Breukelen (railway station) to Naarden via the river Vecht with - among others - the wonderful village of Vreeland; 2. Naarden to Abcoude via Muiderberg (17th century Jewish cemetery), Muiden (castle) and Weesp (nice town); 3. Abcoude to Ouderkerk via a detour along some of the meandering small streams in this area. Being used to Dutch cycling by now, you can go back to Landsmeer via Amsterdam following the river Amstel, which gave the big city its name, right to the very centre.

Posted by
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Thank you. I’m going to look on the map and see if we can book places to stay in the towns you suggest. Do we take the train from last northern place down to first southern place ? I’ll read the message again carefully and write everything down. You are kind to give us the itinerary. Tina Schaefer.

Posted by
2487 posts

There are dozens of nice trips to be made in both areas. The past few years I've done a lot of walking here, and every time I'm surprised to see how lovely it all can be: you're in the midst of a most densely urbanised region and you feel yourself timewarped in another century. It's difficult to go wrong as long as you stick to small villages and country roads.
In your list the following places are less than attractive: Hilversum (boring, except for 's-Graveland, to the west, which is a row of historical country estates; it would make a good route from Vreeland to Naarden, for which I couldn't find a solution), Diemen (suburbia), Amstelveen (suburbia). Enkhuizen is an absolute beauty, but somewhat of a dead end and difficult to fit in a route. Volendam is totally ruined by overtourism, but it's only 10 mins from Edam and on the way to Monnickendam; Marken is the same plus difficult to fit in a route. Alkmaar is, of course, a good historical city, but I couldn't get it within your 20-mile zone. Zaandam has its nice parts along the river Zaan. but a lot is bland.
Purmerend (to which history hasn't been too friendly) to Breukelen (nice centre) is by train: runs every half hour, change in Zaandam on the same platform.
Come back if you have more questions.