45 km, 4 hours €30,- pp without bike hire €40,- pp including bike hire
A varied tour through the area north of Utrecht
Our tour starts in the historic heart of Utrecht. We cycle along the
Oude Gracht (Old Canal). The Oude Gracht connects the rivers Kromme
Rijn (crooked Rhine) in the south east and the Vecht in the north west
of Utrecht. In Roman times the Rhine flowed through Utrecht. The
location on the Rhine and later the canals are important reasons for
the foundation, prosperity and growth of Utrecht. Along the "Oude
gracht" below street level are many cafes and restaurants. Until the
end of the nineteenth century the quays and cellars were part of
The New Hollandic Waterline (Dutch: nieuwe Hollandse
waterlinie) was a defence line from the 19th century. With a complex
system of canals, locks and waterways large land areas could be
inundated. The waterworks and locks are very visible near two
picturesque windmills (Westbroekse molen and Buitenwegse Molen ) in Oud-Zuylen. Many areas around Utrecht are
too far above sea-level and cannot be flooded. For that reason these
areas were protected by forts and bunkers. Around Utrecht there are
fourteen forts each with its own character. Our tour takes us to two
of these forts. Fort aan de Klop (1821) is now home to a camp site and
cafe. Fort Blauwkapel (1818-1821) almost at the end of our tour was
built around the existing village Blauwkapel.
We cycle on the cobbled
streets through this fort and village. Due to its unique nature, the
Dutch government nominated the whole New Hollandic Waterline as an
UNESCO world heritage site.
The tour follows the river Vecht which
meanders through the landscape. Along the borders there are many
country estates and castles. Most date from the Dutch golden age (the
17th century) and were used as summer residences for rich merchants
Slot Zuylen (Zuylen Castle) dates from the early 16th
century. The beautiful building and surrounding gardens are now a
museum which is also in use as an official wedding location.
After passing windmill De Trouwe Waghter (the Faithful Guard) we enter an unique nature area.
De Tienhovense plassen (Tienhoven Lakes) consists of marshes,
lakes, wetlands, and peat mores. This area with its beautiful views is
an important habitat for meadow, water and swamp birds.
village Lage Vuursche is surrounded by woodlands of the Utrecht Hill
Ridge (Dutch: Utrechtse Heuvelrug). The Utrecht Hill Ridge is a 50 km
long ridge of low sand hills that stretches from southeast to
northwest over the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is the ideal place to
have a traditional Dutch pancake for lunch. A visitor wandering among
the 18th century houses feels as if time has stood still. The village
has a royal status thanks to Princess Beatrix (the former queen) who
lives in Drakenstein Castle.
Boerderij Eyckenstein is a biological cattle farm (optional visit). Jersey bulls are
small and slow growing. Usually, bull calves are killed and disposed
of. At this farm the bulls are raised with their mothers. They can
grow and graze in various nature areas in the Utrecht province. Cattle
keep their horns, which is very rare in the Netherlands!