The province Utrecht, small in size, on the edge of above and below sea level.
Where is it?
On the map below, you can see where to find Utrecht. On the south side the river Lek forms a natural border. On the north it touches the IJsselmeer and the woods and moors that characterise the South-East part of the province North-Holland.
There is a division from North-West to South east. It goes about through the capital Utrecht of the province Utrecht. South and West of this line the polder landscape of the Green Heart continues the similar landscape you find in South-Holland. The other side of the line consists of meadows, woods and moors. You will find some remainders of the Ice Age here in the hills of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. These hills were formed by the glaciers of the Ice Age, pushing sand and stones southward.
This makes Utrecht on the very edge of land and sea. Half way the province, stretching from West to East you may notice another old border, the border of the Roman Empire, which touches towns like Nijmegen, Utrecht, Woerden and Leiden.
Utrecht has a lot of water. The important Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal connects Amsterdam with the river Rhine. On the South the river Lek is one of the branches that form the Rhine delta area. Several smaller rivers and canals cross the region as well.
The province has two large cities. The city of Utrecht is very old and nice to visit. You cannot miss it, because it also the most important railway node of the country. Utrecht is an old city, with canals, many small shops and teraces. You may climb the Dom tower, which is the highest church tower of the country. For kids the National Railway Museum and the Museum From Musical Clock tot Street Organ (Museum Van Speelklok tot Pierement), with guided tours in English are very nice to visit. You also can take a tour by boat over the canals.
- Amersfoort is the second large city. By train only 10 minutes from Utrecht and also the second largest railway node. It is a nice town to visit but has not many specific attractions.
- Oudewater is small town in the South West. It is well-known because of the Heksenwaag. here you still can obtain a certificate that you are not a witch. It is nice for a short stop and to drink or eat something.
- IJsselstein is recognisable from a long distance because of the 340 metre high television tower. It is a nice small town, close to Utrecht.
Starts in Woerden, ends in Breukelen
Length 17 km
The first part of the route goes along the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine), which is one of the many Rhine delta branches. Later on you move north through the polders and grass land. Woerden and Breukelen are not really worth visiting, but Woerden has a nice railway station.
Starts in Baarn, ends in Hilversum
Length 15 km
The first part is not so nice, while you walk through the town Baarn. Groeneveld is a large English style park. After the park you go through some woods and over the moors near Hilversum. We saw several deer on the moor, so this was really nice. After you cross the highway (before the moor) take care not to follow the railway too long. We did and ended at a completely wrong spot. One of the signs was missing. It's worth doing this one. Hilversum is not very exciting.
Starts in Driebergen-Zeist, ends in Maarn
Length 14 km
We did this one some years ago. Driebergen railway station is a bit outside town, so don't expect a town near the station. You go straight into the woods. The woods are very open here, with lots of large old trees. The top attraction is the Austerlitz Pyramid, founded by French troops in the 18th century. Not really exciting, but all Dutch have heard about it at school. Maarn is not much of a town and station. So essentially its woods, woods and woods...
Starts in Bilthoven, ends in Utrecht Central Station
Length 14 km
We walked part of this route on another occasion. It's a very urban area, but surprisingly green. In Utrecht you can choose between the green walls around the centre or go right through the old centre of the town. Utrecht is a very nice city, but crowded.
Starts in Baarn, ends in Hollandsche Rading (train stop between Utrecht and Hilversum)
Length 13 km
GPS description (ZIP)
People say the first part is great, the second a bit too much asphalt and bicycle roads. Baarn is not very interesting, Holladsche Rading is a small village. There is one change in the description half way page 4. You should read, after 700 m near "Koninklijke Marechassee"cross the busy road and go to the right a stone paved road.
Starts in Rhenen, ends in Veenendaal-West
Length 18 km
Starts and ends in Amersfoort
Length 17 km
Note: in Amersfoort you use bus no 80 to Veenendaal. Leave the bus in Woudenberg at the stop "Pothbrug" The bus leaves at Amersfoort at 18 or 48, on Sunday at 10 each hour. You can take the same bus from Rhenen or Veenendaal station.
This route follows a small brook in the direction of its source in the centre of Amersfoort. You start the walk along a canal that is created to keep the area dry. After Woudenberg you arrive at the point where the brook ends in the canal. The route covers agricultural areas, a large estate area, swamps, moors and end is the centre of Amersfoort. On your way, there will be no restaurants, so bring your own lunch and drinks. The route is well-marked.
Starts in Amersfoort, ends in Soest-Zuid or Hollandse Rading
Length 10 or 22 km
This is a relatively long route, but a lot of opportunities to make it shorter or divide it into parts. Lots of woods and sand dunes. The first part till Soest is interesting, once you left the town of Amersfoort. It's nice to combine it with a visit to Amersfoort.
Snelrewaard "De oude Boomgaard"
Phone +31 348 561 415
The camping is between node 69 and 94. It's more near Oudewater than Woerden. If you follow the bike route from Oudewater, cross a bridge after you left Oudewater. Then proceed on the other side(right side) of the water. On you right hand you will find the camping site.
It's a private camping in a former orchard belonging to a farm. Toilets and showers do not look very good, they just have concrete walls and floors. This may have improved. When I visited the site they were just transforming from an old caravan park to a nature camping site. It's a nice place to stay an few days. Oudewater is an awfully nice old town, with pubs restaurants and old houses. One of the top attractions is the "Waag". A Waag is a weighting facility. Here it is intended to find out whether you are a witch. So eat well before trying. You may want to visit the Lopikerwaard, a very nice polder area. Also a town like Montfoort is nice to see. Shops are in Oudewater (2 km).
Phone +31 172408080 (till 17:00h)
From Mijdrecht follow the route direction "Woerdens Verlaat" (bike nodes 57-58-24). From "Woerdens Verlaat" it's easy to use the bike node network, route 24-58-57. It's just along the road.
This is a really very nice camping. It is part of a farm that employs mentally handicapped people. There is a tea garden, mini zoo, playground for the kids and a very relaxed atmosphere. You may need some patience, but the people are very kind. It has a common freeze where you can keep your beer cold and the absolute top attraction: it is allowed to make camp fire. You can buy some wood and borrow a mobile fire place. Also you can rent canoes or just swim in the nearby river. Surroundings are nice with several nice towns and the famous Dutch Green Heart landscape, One disadvantage: noisy because of the nearby Schiphol Airport. Recommended for children. Nearest Supermarket is in Mijdrecht (4 km).