6 multi-day cycling trips in the Netherlands
Organised multi-day cycling events are a traditional pastime in the Netherlands. Here are some you can join!
Cycling trips and holidays
To most people living in the Netherlands, cycling is a daily exercise that comes almost as naturally as walking.
Normal though it may be, the fun and other merits of riding a bike are rarely dismissed, and cycling trips and holidays are a common pastime on the flat roads of charming Dutch regions.
Various cycling routes exist that can be followed at any time, by bikers who ride for sports and recreational riders alike.
For those who appreciate an extra bit of organisation and company, the "Cycling Four-Day" (Fietsvierdaagse) could be a real treat.
For four select days, often during spring or summer, groups of recreational cyclists can follow different routes around the Dutch countryside or nature reserves.
The lengths of the routes differ, and one can often choose between trips from 20 to 60km. Although reaching the finish line is a definite goal, simply taking in the surrounding views is one of the events’ main incentives.
A lot of the routes lead past special cycling lanes that avoid sharing with car lanes as much as possible. Along the way, cyclists will find various check points where they have to collect a stamp or other proof of their having been there.
At the end of the four day run, those who have visited all the check points have completed the challenge and often receive an award, like a medal.
Most cycling Four-Days are organised by local initiatives, often started to optimise the "cycling tourism" of interesting nature areas.
Four day cycling events
Here is a list of popular Cycling Four-Days, that are popular in the Netherlands:
› Veluwe Fiets4daagse
- Date: July 3-7
- Route options: 25, 40 and 60
- Starting point: Otterlo
Discover the largest nature reserve in the Netherlands, rich with hills, heaths and moors. Starting from the beautiful village Otterlo, the Veluwe Fiets4daagse has various routes that lead past these famous nature sights and rustic cultural landscapes.
› LAURA Day
- Date: July 4-7
- Route options: 40, 60 and 100km
- Starting point: various
LAURA stands for Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Alphen aan den Rijn.
This cycling event, which is having its 70th edition this year, aims to reacquaint participants with the Green Heart of the urban regions of the Netherlands, around the cities.
Besides the routes, which will lead you to hidden spots of beauty just outside of everyday life, attention is paid to making fun connections, and taking the opportunity to get off your bike here and there, to appreciate the local sights.
There is also a LAURA Night edition in June.
› Fiets4daagse De Peel
- Date: July 18-21
- Route options: 30, 45 and 60km
- Starting points: Meijel, Weers, Stiphout and Deurne
On the border lands between North Brabant and Limburg, a grand 10.000 people show up every year to participate in Fiets4daagse De Peel.
This event leads cyclists through a unique peat area of swamps and woodlands, filled with history, interesting marshes and all kinds of birds.
This Four-Day was the first multi-day cycling event to be awarded three stars by the NFTU (Dutch Tour Cycling Union). It consists of great views, adventurous tracks, and special entertainment for young and old.
› Fietsvierdaagse Venray
- Date: July 25-28
- Route options: 18, 30, 45 and 60km
- Starting point: De Witte Hoeve, Venray
Fietsvierdaagse Venray is a unique set of tours through local church towns and varied landscapes, from Meuse Delta to peat marshes. 47 villages in Limburg and North Brabant get visited, depending on the selected route length.
The organisation puts great focus on the health benefits of exercise through cycling, encouraging everyone to join and combat stress, weight issues and general wellbeing.
The Venray routes get updated every year, with a new starting point and new sights. This event too, has been awarded three stars by the NTFU.
› Fiets4daagse Nijmegen
- Date: August 24-27
- Route options: 30 and 90km
- Starting point: De Vasim
Fiets4daagse Nijmegen is an extension of the 100-year old "Wandelvierdaagse" (Walking Four-Day).
Starting and finishing in the historical and green former Limos barracks, this event’s routes will lead you past the beautiful Betuwe, and even through Germany. Central is the setting of Nijmegen region.
Highlights on the route include the Van Wijchen Castle, Park Bredelaar and the Lage Hof farm.
› Elfsteden Fietsvijfdaagse
- Date: August 28 - September 1
- Route options: 280km total
- Starting point: Leeuwarden, Rottevalle, Oudega, Morkwerum and Harlingen
The Elfsteden Fietsvijfdaagse is different from the other Four-Days in two main ways. First of all, it is in fact a five-day.
Second of all, rather than offering a variety of routes, this event follows one route in Friesland, just like the official Elfstedentocht.
The Elfstedentocht is a classic ice-skating route through 11 cities, which can only take place when the rivers freeze over enough. Although it hasn’t been possible to have it for years, the Elfstedentocht is still a beloved Frisian tradition.
This 280km route shows participants a variety of Frisian landscapes, leading through nature reserves, historical hot-spots and meadow views.
Would you like to participate in a cycling Four-Day event? All ages are welcome, and the activities are certainly not limited to hardcore sportspeople. There is usually a sign up fee of around 10 euros.
What is your favourite cycling event? Let us know in the comments below!