Where is it?
On the map below you find South-Holland in the western region of the country.
At coast there are beautiful sand beaches. Immediately after the beach you find the dune area. Especially in the southern part you will recognize the river delta landscape. Near the North Sea the river landscapes gets a very industrial look, as you approach the harbours of Rotterdam. Just to the east of the harbor area at the beautiful polder area Alblasserwaard, you find the famous windmill park "Kinderdijk". (See Windmills).The western part east of the dunes is mainly an urban area. But, there is a hidden treasure, called the Green Heart. The Green Heart is an area with polders, lakes agriculture, willow trees. It is a very quiet area and therefore valued by the Dutch. Also the south-east area is a polder area, between the towns Gouda and Utrecht. This is as beautiful as the Green Heart. You will get a nice view on both the Green Heart and this area (called Lopikerwaard) if you travel by train between Gouda and Utrecht.
Large cities are Rotterdam and The Hague (Den Haag). For hikers smaller towns may be more interesting to visit. My recommendations:
- Delft: an old town with a few canals and rich 16th century history.
- Gouda: a small friendly town, nice town hall and market.
- Schoonhoven: The silver town, with a lot of jewelers. An old town on the river Lek. Take the ferry here to visit the Alblasserwaard.
- Haastrecht: a small but nice town It has a regional museum and a Gemaal you may visit.
- Schiedam: Also a hidden treasure. Old but very poor town, now surrounded by the Rotterdam urban area. Has a large numer of wind mills inside the town.
- Maassluis: a small harbour town, nice, with characteristic old Dutch houses, village like atmosphere, harbour.
Starting just south of the Hague and all the way North, you will find a nice sand beach. Good in summer for enjoying the sun or in winter for a long walk along the coast.
Along the coast you will find a number of bathing towns. The towns are not really interesting, but the form the centers of the beach life. If you like morre quiet places, walk a away 1 or 2 km fro the center.
- Hoek van Holland: entrance of the port of Rotterdam. If you like to watch large ships, this is the place to go.
- Kijkduin: just at the south side of the Hage, small not very crowded.
- Scheveningen: harbour, casino, many restaurants, crowded and a relatively small beach.
- Wassenaar: wide beach, one of the most beatiful dune areas just behind the beach. Especiaaly Meyendel is a wonderful nature reserve.
- Katwijk: fishing town, noting interesting
- Noordwijk: bit larger than Katwijk, many hotels and conference centers.
You can reach all towns mentioned quite well by public transport.
Starts in Vlaardingen, ends in Maassluis
Length 12-16 km
This is a very nice route. You see lots of water, polders and it ends in Maassluis, a small cozy town you will appreciate very much. The route is seriously threatened by plans to create a new highway through it, so hurry if you still like to walk this one!
Starts in Delft, ends in Pijnacker or Zoetermeer
Length 7-12 km
This route starts in the old town of Delft, famous for the Delft Blue china works. You walk out of the city, you go through wet lands, park areas and a brand new forest, which is still a quite open landscape. The route ends in Zoetermeer at the railway station. At some points there is a very rich bird life to see.
Starts in The Hague (Central Railway Station), ends in Voorschoten
Length 19 km
I never walked this one, but I know the region well. I think this is a nice one, maybe a bit noisy because of nearby roads. It's flat, meadows, woods. The centre of Voorschoten is nice, but nothing special. It's at some distance behind the railway station there.
Starts in The Hague (Central railway station), ends in Wassenaar (bus stop)
Length 12 km
This is a very nice route. It starts through the parks in The Hague, then you come in one of the most beautiful Dutch dune parks, called Meijendel. A good alternative is at sightseeing point 6 on the map, to go in the direction of the beach ("strand" in Dutch). At the beach walk south, till you come back in town near the Pier head of Scheveningen. There you find many restaurants. You can use tram no 9 to go back to the railway station. This makes the route a bit longer.
Starts in Dordrecht ends in Dordrecht Stadspolder railway station
Length 16 km
This route does not start at the railway station, you need bus no 5 or 7 to Sterrenburg. Leave the bus at the end point of the line. Users comment that the route is not marked very well, so you really will need the map. Somewhere halfway a bridge is missing. You have to go left there, about 50 m, where you find a dam that allows crossing the creek.
The route is nice, but does not provide wide views. It's a typical wetland route with lots of water. The last part is over a dike and cycle road to the railway station. There is a shortcut that allows to avoid the real wet stuff. You will miss a lot then...
Starts in Gorinchem, ends in Leerdam
Length 21 km
Gorinchem is a nice town. One of the top attractions is the ferry to Loevestein. You cannot combine it very well with this walk, but I can recommend that trip. You go over the river Merwede (one of the Rhine delta branches) to a small old town called Woudrichem. A bit east of Woudrichem you can visit the mediaeval castle Loevestein. Loevestein is famous because the Dutch law scientist Hugo de Groot (Hugo Grotius) was kept there in prison. he escaped by hiding himself into a large book chest and was smuggled out of the castle. Half way the route is a bus stop, but you must phone them at least one hour before, to be picked up there.
De Kleine Rug Dordrecht
Phone: +31 78 616 35 55 or +31 174 52 86 90
Address; Loswalweg 1, Dordrecht.
No access for cars or caravans.
This camping is on a island near the town of Dordrecht in the immediate neighbourhood of the ultimate Rhine delta area, called "Biesbosch". Biesbosch is a wetland area hardy accessible in any other way than by boat. Also nearby is the Alblasserwaard polder, into my opinion the most beautiful polder of Holland. In this polder you will find the famous row of mills in Kinderdijk.
The camping can be reached only with a motor boat. Phone +31 78 61 63 555 Bicycle route: follow the "Wantijdijk" from the centre of Dordrecht. At the old "gemaal" (water mill, or pump station to keep the land dry) turn eft to the harbour. There phone for the ferry.
Phone: +31 345 623 600 or +31 6 5350 39 33
Recht van Ter Leede 25, Leerdam
Camping about 2 km west of the town Leerdam. in a typical river delta area. You can reach the camping from Leerdam by following the road called "Recht ter Leede" direction Leerbroek. Between house numbers 25 and 29 turn left on the small track. After 300m you reach the camping site. Bicyle nodes 59 and 61
De Ruigenhoek Noordwijk
Phone +31 252 37 50 02
Vogelaardreef 31 Noordwijk
A large site (90 places) in the dunes. On bike, follow the route to "langevelderslag" form Noordwijk or Zandvoort. At Langevelderslag follow the bicycle path direction Lisse. After the airstrip for gliders turn right after 250m. During the summer season you probably need to make a reservation. Not suitable for caravans longer than 6.5m.
De Grutto Schipluiden
Phone +31 6 20 67 85 41 or +31 6 48 86 89 11
Abtswoude 27a, Schipluiden
Schipluiden is very near Delft. Between nodes 59 and 63 south of Delft you can find the camping.
Phone +31 186 660 238
Tiengemeten is a small island int he Dutch Rhine delta. Till a few years ago 10 farmers were living at the island. Now it's a nature reserve. You can access the island by ferry every hour. On the island there is only nature, so do not forget to bring enough food and drinks. Only accessible on foot or with your bike. No cars, no caravans.