Wednesday, 11 July 2012 8:03 AM
Holland is an excellent option for a biking holiday as there is so much to see in the country and its terrain is predominantly flat. Regardless of how long you're staying for, there are cycling itineraries that can introduce you to its cities and countryside.
Many cycling breaks in Holland will either begin or end in Amsterdam, as the capital has so much to see and do, as well as being notoriously bike friendly. One popular option is to explore the area to the north of the city, where you can tour classic Dutch landscapes, the coast and picturesque villages as you pedal.
Here are just a few of the highlights you can enjoy if you decide to discover this part of the country on two wheels.
Sand dunes and the seaside
Start your cycling break in Schagen and you'll be ideally placed to explore one of the most spectacular stretches of the Dutch coastline. The sand dunes near Schoorl, which is located south of Schagen, are the tallest and widest in the country. Even if you don't cycle this far down, you'll still be able to enjoy views across vast stretches of sand that are met by the North Sea as you cycle.
There are numerous quaint villages dotted all over this region of Holland, but if you want to gain a real insight into the country's rural history, make time to stop off in Zaanse Schans. This is an open-air conservation area and museum, where the buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries and traditional crafts are still practised. Watch a clog-making demonstration, visit the cheese and dairy farm and climb to the top of one of the many windmills before you continue on your way.
Another town you'll spend time in during a cycling break in Holland is Edam, which is, of course, famous for its cheese. There are many pretty buildings in the town but it is the production of this popular dairy product that truly takes centre stage, particularly when the Cheese Market is held during July and August. You can also visit the old cheese warehouses that were constructed alongside the Edam canal in the 18th century.
Feats of engineering
If you have time on your bike tour of Holland, it's well worth heading to the coast from Edam to visit Marken. This village is located on what was once an island that was cut off from the rest of Holland during a storm in the 13th century. The locals led a relatively isolated existence as a fishing community until 1957 when a dike was constructed, linking it once again to the mainland.
You can travel to Marken using the local ferry service and then hop on your bike again to explore the marshes of Ijmeer en route to Durgerdam. The area is a haven for birds, so keep your eyes open for ducks, geese, ospreys and bitterns.
Your holiday will conclude in Amsterdam, where you'll have plenty of time to explore the city and its many attractions. There is too much to see here in just one day, but among the highlights are Anne Frank House, the Royal Palace, the Amsterdam Dungeon and the Keukenhof Gardens.
The canals are a famous feature of the Amsterdam landscape, so you may want to ditch your bike for an hour or two and take a boat ride to see the city from a different perspective.