Visiting The Dutch Countryside

Travelblog about The Netherlands | Exploring The Netherlands beyond the crowds

Explore The Lake District With Islands In The Netherlands & Holland: Discover The Hollandse Plassen And Dutch Nature

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Are you searching for dream destinations in The Netherlands that come directly out of a fairy-tale, then you need to visit this lake district in The Netherlands!

The Netherlands lake district is your next place for your Dutch bucket list. Whether you’re looking to visit the islands in the Loosdrecht lake or to travel to Scheendijk village. Or maybe you are searching for some of the best lakes to visit in The Netherlands and places to stay in nature. Or you could be looking for things to do in the Hollands Plassen region or the secret places in the Holland area.

Whatever you might be looking for, if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation spot in nature in The Netherlands, then any of these incredible Dutch lake regions are great for you to visit. You will discover The Netherlands and some of its natural wonders, as well as be mesmerised by one of the scenic places in The Netherlands.

What to do in the lake district in Holland & The Netherlands

Several areas have a lake district in The Netherlands, but the Hollands Plassengebied is one of the most special and stretches through several Dutch provinces. The Dutch word ‘plassen’ means two things: To pee and lakes. In this case, I obviously am talking about an area with lakes in The Netherlands. But if you need to pee, since I mentioned it, go ahead.  

The reason why this region is so unique is beautiful you will find houses on small Dutch islands in the middle of lakes in The Netherlands here. You might are familiar with the hamlet of Scheendijk, or the Loosdrecht lakes. That’s precisely one of the areas that will be talked about in this article.

This travel guide is specially made for anyone who wants to explore the magical region of lakes with small islands in The Netherlands. It looks spectacular on the photos, but honestly, it’s so much better in real life. Wake up on one of the accommodations on these small Dutch islands and listen to the birds and the sound of cobbling water. It’s genuinely paradise in The Netherlands.

Whether you’re looking for things to do in The Netherlands in spring, summer, autumn or winter, these areas are a must-visit in my beautiful country.

If you are planning on taking your dog with you to these areas, you have to know that your dog is often (not always) allowed in your boat, but not much on the land (even when people are allowed on land, dogs are usually not). So, be careful about that.

When you want to rent a boat, canoe or something else in The Netherlands, it’s very common to ask for both a deposit and an id (both will be given back after you return the items). So, don’t be weirded out by this practice, because it’s very typical here. Even when I want to rent ice skates at an ice rink, they usually ask for an id which will be given back after.

Always have a translation app on your phone, because when you’re on a boat or something else exploring these lakes in The Netherlands, then there are signs that you need to follow. Some areas are nature parks and cannot be visited by motorboats and only by canoe, or can’t be visited at all. These signs often have either signals, or text, or both. The text is of course in Dutch, so to enjoy the lake district in The Netherlands, while also respecting rules and nature, please download an app like that, so that you will be respectful.

I also want to note that most of the islands that have houses on them, are owned by people, meaning: you’re not allowed to enter them nor can spend the night there. There are only a few places where you can spend the night on these small islands in lakes in The Netherlands, such as here in Loosdrecht.

Often when you rent a boat, these are only available between April and October. So, make sure to check or ask the company whether they have boat rental available if you are visiting beyond those months.

Last but not least, when you are renting a boat in one of these lakes in The Netherlands, then you need to follow the rules when it comes to speed. There are usually select areas in these lakes that are for fast boats (which you need to have a sailing license for and a waiver) and most of the regions are for boats that are going slow (often only 6km/hr or 12km/hr). Keep that in mind, when you are renting a boat with faster motor speed.

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Table of Contents

Nieuwkoopse plassen

Province

Zuid- Holland

History & facts about the Nieuwkoopse plassen

The Nieuwkoopse plassen, or lakes, are found around the villages of Nieuwkoop, Noorden, Woerdense Verlaat and De Meije. The area is 1400 hectares big, and it’s a perfect region to explore some of the natural beauty The Netherlands has to offer. Did you know that many painters from the Haagse School, such as Roelofs and Weissenbruch came to the lakes of Nieuwkoop for inspiration? And honestly, I can’t blame them.

The Nieuwkoop islands have developed here due to peat forming in this region since the 16th century. When the peat was extracted, the water took its place, and that’s when you get something like this. Nowadays, the Nieuwkoopse Plassen is a protected natural area in The Netherlands, so not every site is open to visitors due to rare birds or plants. It’s even part of the Natura 2000 areas in The Netherlands, Nieuwkoopse Plassen & De Haeck (2078 hectares), which means it’s protected under EU law.

The bigger lakes (Noordeinderplas & Zuideinderplas) in the Nieuwkoopse plassen can be visited by boats, the little creeks and smaller lakes can only be visited by rowing boat or canoe. I can definitely recommend you to go canoeing in this part of the lake district in The Netherlands.

Not only can you find many lakes and small waterways in this nature reserve in the province of Zuid- Holland, but you can also find a lot of reed banks. The reed industry is still quite prominent in this region in The Netherlands, which is great because this way you will keep old crafts alive and at the same time offer people jobs. Often a reed cutter is also a roofer, and you can see the cutters often in the reed banks. These reed banks are also the reason why you will see quite a lot of houses with thatched roofs in this part of The Netherlands.

What to do at the lakes of Nieuwkoop

If you’re looking for activities to do at the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, then this is for you. You can rent a canoe, sup board or electric (quiet) boat at the Nieuwkoopse Plassen at Kanoverhuur Nikano, which is found in the small village of Noorden. With the quiet boat or whisper boat as we call them, you can actually visit some of the areas that standard motorboats aren’t allowed to enter.

At Tijstermanboten in the village of Nieuwkoop, you can rent an electro boat, sailing boat, rowing boat, sup board and canoes. At Sloepverhuur Nieuwkoop you can also rent an electro boat.

When you’re exploring the Nieuwkoopse Plassen lakes by boat, then you can also walk the ‘Pimmetjespad’, which is a small walking route that’s only accessible by boat.

Near the small village of Noorden, you can find a region that can only be visited by canoes and rowing boats. But there are several other exclusive areas in this lake district in The Netherlands.

You are also allowed to swim in these lakes, as the water quality is usually excellent. Do remind yourself to ask local people if you’re allowed to swim on the day you visit the Nieuwkoopse Plassen. Especially since the water quality can change a lot after a few scorching days and then algae can grow, which isn’t safe for people or animals.

During a severe winter, people are ice sailing and ice-skating on these small lakes in The Netherlands.

Things to do in the surroundings of the Nieuwkoopse Plassen

Visit estate, or Buitenplaats, De Haeck

Here you can go on a beautiful walk along the Nieuwkoopse Plassen. This used to be a private fishing and hunting ground of a wealthy man, but nowadays everyone can enjoy the area. Starting points of beautiful walks at this estate in Zuid- Holland is Hollandsekade 23 in Woerdense Verlaat.

Go back in time and explore the Archeon Museum

The Archeon Museum is fantastic to visit if you want to see how The Netherlands evolved. From hunters and gatherers to the Roman Empire and from exploring a 14th-century town to visiting the Roman museum (and seeing archaeological findings from the Zuid/ South- Holland province). This museum in Zuid (South)- Holland is a must-see for any history lover.

Discover the things to do in the town of Woerden

The Nieuwkoopse lakes are only around a 40-minute bike ride from the city of Woerden, which makes it a great day trip. If you want to explore Woerden itself, which I recommend you to do, then there are quite some things to do. From visiting the only authentic cheese market in The Netherlands to the Stadsmuseum of Woerden to exploring endless cheeses. Visiting Woerden is a great thing to do.

Cycle in the surroundings of the Nieuwkoopse Plassen

At Kampeerhoeve Koole in the village of Noorden, you can rent bicycles. If you want to rent a bike, then I would recommend you to reserve it via the contact form. The surroundings of the hamlet of Noorden will show you the Dutch countryside of Zuid (South)- Holland that you’ve dreamed of seeing. You’re welcome.

Whether you want to cycle around these small lakes in The Netherlands and through them via the Meijepad, or along the small Oude Meije river, whichever bike ride you’ll choose in this Dutch region, I’m sure that you will love the experience.

Where to stay at the Nieuwkoop lakes

If you’re looking for great accommodation in the village of Nieuwkoop, The Netherlands, and its surroundings, then you’ve come to the right place. From great hotels at the lake of Nieuwkoop to a cabin. These vacation homes are perfect for your The Netherlands summer holiday.

Restaurant-Hotel de Watergeus: check rates & availability on Booking.com

ZoetWater: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Dobberhuisje: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Nieuwkoop

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Nieuwkoop.

From Amsterdam: To get to the lakes of Nieuwkoop from Amsterdam, you’d have to transfer twice, but there are plenty of ways to get here. It will take you between 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1,5 hour to get from Amsterdam to the lakes and islands of Nieuwkoop.

From Utrecht: To go on a day trip from the city of Utrecht to the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, I would recommend you to take a train from Utrecht Centraal to Alphen aan den Rijn. From here, take the bus in the direction of Uithoorn. Get out of the bus at one of the stops in the hamlet of Nieuwkoop. It will take you around 50 minutes to arrive in Nieuwkoop from Utrecht city.

From Rotterdam: To visit Nieuwkoop from Rotterdam, you need to take a train to the city of Gouda. From Gouda train station you need to transfer to a train in the direction of Alphen aan den Rijn. From there you’d need to take a bus in the direction of Uithoorn and get out at one of the stops in Nieuwkoop you want. It takes you around 1 hour and 10 minutes to get from Rotterdam to the lakes of Nieuwkoop.

Langeraarse plassen

Province

Zuid- Holland

History & facts about the Langeraarse Plassen

The Langeraarse Plassen is a stunning area that is famous with its peat-bog lakes and is found between the hamlets of Langeraar, Papenveer and Nieuwveen. It’s an area that is around 175 hectares big and exists out of three lakes that are separated from each other by old peat dykes. The Langeraarse lakes exist due to peat extractions in the 16th century. But, in most other similar regions, the water was completely drained, and luckily this didn’t happen to this area. People suspect that it is because it’s a relatively smaller peat area.

What is interesting to know about this area with lakes in The Netherlands is that a big part of it borders the village of Langeraar directly, as well as a greenhouse horticulture area near Papenveer. These lakes are the Zuidplas and Noordplas. The Geerplas is found in an open agricultural area and connects a natural area with plenty of meadow birds. At the Geerplas you can see remains of the islands, forests and swamps, but in the Noordplas and Zuidplas wind and waves washed most of the remains away.

Most of this part of the lake district in The Netherlands is open water, with an average of 190 centimetres deep. But, what I especially like is that you can also find swamp forests here, which is very rare for The Netherlands. These swamps also attract plenty of visitors, such as owls, bats, stoats and more.

Until 2024, a big part of this area will be reshaped so it will become a better place for fish and other animals to flourish. Plus, the water quality in this lake district is currently not the best, so with these constructions, the water flow will change, and ultimately the quality of the water will become a lot better.

Due to the water quality, fish-eating birds and fish species such as the bream, are thriving currently here. So, we’ll see how it’s going to be after the works are finished. It can simply only get better.

Most lake regions are connected to other passable connections to other rivers or lakes. However, the Langeraarse places only come into contact with smaller creeks, so you can’t continue a boat trip from other areas to here.

What to do in Langeraarse Plassen

The Langeraarse Plassen isn’t very touristy, and there is only one location where you can rent canoes and rowing boats. You can do that at Het Haventje, which can be reached via Instagram. I would definitely recommend you to do this, so you can see the best parts of the Langeraarse Plassen and will be able to enjoy this natural beauty.

During harsh winter, a lot of ice skating tours are being held, and that’s pretty darn cool.

I would currently not recommend you to swim in these lakes, because the water quality isn’t the best, but hopefully in a few years from now. It’s still perfectly safe to go rowing or canoeing here, so visiting is still very much worth it.

Things to do in the surroundings of the Langeraarse Plassen

Visit the Braassemermeer

When you’re visiting the Langeraarse lakes, then you cannot miss the Braassemermeer. This big lake is also part of the Hollands Plassengebied, or the Holland lake district (as these lakes and little islands are almost only found in the Holland region). Go for a swim, or explore the lake itself. There’s plenty to do here.

Explore the Archeon museum

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of human inhabitation in The Netherlands, then the Archeon Museum is fantastic to visit. It will show you everything from hunters and gatherers to the Roman Empire to exploring a 14th-century town. Don’t forget to visit their Roman museum either.

Cycling in the surroundings of Lageraar

You can rent bikes in the village of Ter Aar at Jan Wim Kroon Fietsen; I would recommend you to use the contact form if you want to rent a bike so that you can reserve them in advance. You can cycle to several areas of this lake district in The Netherlands, such as the Braassemermeer and the Westeinderplassen. It will be a beautiful bike ride in the countryside of Zuid (South)- Holland.

Where to stay at the Langeraarse Plassen

There’s one accommodation in Langeraar, The Netherlands, that I would recommend you to stay at. You won’t find any cabins on islands in the middle of a Dutch lake in this part of The Netherlands, but the Langeraar lake is still worth visiting on your vacation to Holland region.

Apartement De Vosseburch: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Langeraarse Plassen

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Langeraar.

From Amsterdam: To get to the lakes of Langeraar from Amsterdam, you’d have to transfer twice and set your destination to Ter Aar, from Ter Aar you’d need to bike or walk to Langeraar. There are many different ways to travel from Amsterdam to Ter Aar by public transport, but it can take you anywhere from 50 minutes to 1,5 hour.

From Utrecht: To reach the village of Ter Aar from Utrecht, you’d need to take a train from Utrecht Centraal train station. There are two ways to visit Ter Aar from Utrecht, but I would recommend you to choose the shortest route, which means that it takes around 50 minutes from Utrecht city to Ter Aar. From there you’d need to bike or walk to Langeraar.

From Rotterdam: There are several ways to reach the town of Ter Aar from Rotterdam Centraal train station, with sometimes transferring once or twice. It takes you around 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel to Ter Aar from Rotterdam and from there you need to walk or bike to Langeraar.

Braassemermeer

Province

Zuid- Holland

History & facts about the Braassemermeer

The Braassemermeer is a prominent Dutch lake in the province of Zuid- Holland of 425 hectares. Locally it’s also known as the Braassem, and on the western part of the lake, you can find the town of Roelofarendsveen, east Rijnsaterwoude and south a nature reserve called De Hemmen. It has existed for hundreds of years, as a letter called it ‘die Mere van Rinsaterwald’ on the 1st of April 1296. It’s found in the municipality of Kaag en Braassem.

In the surroundings of this Dutch lake, you can find a lot of land that is used for agricultural purposes. It first started with growing vegetables but eventually evolved into a more focused industry on cut flowers.

The Braassemer lake is connected to other rivers and smaller Dutch lakes, such as Wijde Aa and Woudwetering, via Paddegat. An old sailing route goes from the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine river) to the Ringvaart through the lake of Braassem.

Nowadays the lake is mainly used for recreational purposes, such as canoeing and sailing. Plus during the harsh Dutch winters (that are unfortunately very rare nowadays), the Braassemermeer is a popular location for ice sailing. So, if the winter in The Netherlands is harsh, then one of the things you need to do is ice sailing on the Braassemeer lake. The local ice sailing club is even the oldest in the world.

What to do at the Braassemermeer

There are so many things to do at the Braassemerlake and its surroundings like Roelofarendsveen. The first thing that you need to do is to rent a boat. There are tons of options for boat rental places, such as here in Roelofarendsveen. You can also rent boats at the Braasemermeer at this location, but keep in mind that you can only reserve by phone at this company.

Then you also have the following company where you can both rent boats, plus go on a wakeboard or waterski lesson at the Braassemermeer.

In Roelofarendsveen you can rent bikes at plenty of different locations, De Veense Bukker is one of them. You can book your bike rental online, or sent them an email if you have any questions. Roelofarendsveen is located in a perfect area for cycling, so no matter where you end up going, it’ll be amazing. But, many people cycle from the Braassemermeer to the Westeinderplassen, from there to the Langeraarse Plassen to the south part of the Braassemermeer, Woubrugge, Hoogmade, etc. This way, you will discover the perfect nature and area in Zuid (South)- Holland.

At this location, they also have whisper boat rental, which is perfect for sailing the tulip route in this part of The Netherlands. They are only available for rent from the 1st of April until the 15th of October.

If you want to sail the tulip route, then I would recommend you to ask the people there for some extra information and do know that it’s best to sail this route between mid- April and the end of April. And when you’ve explored that area, you can go through the historic sluice that you need to operate yourself, to enter the Braassemermeer. And, you can also rent canoes and sup boards at this rental location in Roelofarendsveen.

The water quality in the Braassemermeer is generally very good, so swimming here is definitely one of the things you need to do in this big lake in the province of Zuid (South)- Holland. If you want to explore the area by foot, then simply walking around the Braassemer lake is a great idea.

The last thing you need to do in the Braassemermeer is to explore a nature reserve called De Hemmen. It’s an area that exists out of six islands, which have been created due to a dyke breaking in 1790. The dyke wasn’t reconstructed, but an entirely new dyke was built at a different location. Because of that, these islands have grown into a beautiful area. Only two of the islands can be visited, and you can only reach them by boat.

Things to do in the surroundings of Braassemermeer

Travel to other parts of the Dutch lake district

One of the great things about the location of the Braassemermeer is that this Dutch lake is found in the middle of The Netherlands lake district. From here you can easily make your way to other areas that are both part, and not part of this lake area, such as to the Wijde Aa, Langeraarse Plassen, Kagerplassen, Westeinderplassen and the Zegerplas.

Visit the city of Leiden

The fortified town of Leiden is one of The Netherlands most charming places to visit. It has the historical touch that many people are looking for, but at the same time is full of life and incredible things to do. So, if you’ve found yourself in the surroundings of Leiden, I would recommend you to travel to Leiden for sure.

Where to stay at the Braassemermeer

There are some great places to stay near the Braassem lake in The Netherlands, especially in Roelofarendsveen. You can find the best hotels and more at the big lake of Braassem below.

Houseboat Linquenda: check rates & availability on Booking.com

als het golft: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to the Braassemermeer

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Roelofarendsveen.

From Amsterdam: To reach the town of Roelofarendsveen from Amsterdam you’d need to take a train to either Leiden or Schiphol and transfer to a bus from there. It will take you around 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes to get from Amsterdam Centraal to Roelofarendsveen.

From Utrecht: To visit the Braassemermeer from Utrecht, you’d have to take a train to Schiphol. From Schiphol, you can take a bus in the direction of Leiden Centraal. Get out at any of the stops you prefer in Roelofarendsveen. It will take you between 1 hour and 1 hour and 20 minutes to get from Utrecht to Roelofarendsveen.

From Rotterdam: To travel to Roelofarendsveen from Rotterdam, you need to take a train to Schiphol or Leiden. From there you can take a bus that will take you to the town of Roelofarendsveen. It will take you between 1 hour and 1 hour and 20 minutes to get from Rotterdam to Roelofarendsveen.

Photo by Jpmm/ Flickr

Kagerplassen

Province

Zuid- Holland

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History & facts about the Kagerplassen

The Kager lakes are truly a spectacular place in The Netherlands and one of its secrets you need to discover. This lake area is found centrally in the Randstad area, right between Amsterdam and Leiden. To be precise, the Kagerplassen are found between Warmond, Oud Ade, Haarlemmermeer and Sassenheim, which means it’s mostly located in the municipality of Teylingen. These lakes in The Netherlands are a bit more than 250 hectares big. The lake of Zweiland is the biggest in the Kagerplassen.

And what’s even more special is that from the Kagerplassen, the watersport was developed further in The Netherlands. During beautiful summer days, it was already busy here in the 1930s. The Kagerplassen is famous for the beautiful Dutch island of Kaag, which is found in these Dutch lakes, and for its endless things to do. During high season you’ll see many sailing races on the Kagerplassen.

The Kagerplassen is essentially a network of small creeks, islands, Dutch polders and bigger rivers all fit into one big lake. You will see plenty of islands, with a Dutch windmill on them, as those were and still can be used to keep the island dry. Fun fact: The Kagerplassen and the Braassemermeer are found in the area with the most traditional Dutch windmills in The Netherlands. Only Aderpolder, Buurterpolder, Kagereiland and Zwanburgerpolder are islands in the Kagerplassen that are permanently inhabited.

The lakes of Kaag are essential within this region in The Netherlands to take in a lot of water and to push that through to other areas. After the peat was removed, the lakes slowly became more significant due to erosion. Generally, they are around 3,4 metres deep, but the biggest lake (Zweiland) is at some places 12-13 metres deep due to sand extraction in the 1960s.

‘t Joppe, which is the only non-natural lake in the Kagerplassen, was created due to sand extraction. Farms and grounds were bought up by the municipality of Leiden (without many people knowing). ‘t Joppe is actually found in an area that used to be a polder and three islands you can see there were actually not islands before sand extractions started. Those islands are called ‘Zwanburgerpolder’, ‘Koudenhoorn’ and ‘De Strengen’. Nowadays, sand extraction still takes place in ‘t Joppe, which is the reason why the depth of this lake averages at 13 metres, with a maximum depth of around 39-42 metres. Because it’s so deep, the water volume of ‘t Joppe is as much as all the other lakes of the Kagerplassen combined: 12 million m3.

The water quality is a bit low in the Kagerplassen, simply because it’s constantly flowing and the water only stays for a little while in the lakes, before continuing its journey onwards. The nutrients don’t have the chance actually to remain in the area. The last couple of years, the municipalities and government services have started to create nature-friendly shores so that more water plants and flora along the river banks can thrive.

What to do at the Kagerplassen

If you want to visit the village of Kaag, on its island, you can take a ferry from Buitenkaag to the island. This ferry runs 24/7, and you can cross by car, bike or as a pedestrian. I can recommend you to not go by car, as it’s such a small Dutch island in Zuid (South)- Holland, that it’s pretty useless to go with a car here unless you live there.

There are also a few other small ferries in the Kagerplassen area, but many often only run during the spring and summer months, so I would recommend you to ask to those at Hotel Orion in Kaag (they are sort of a little tourist office here) or other locals.

At Koudenhoorn, De Strengen (connected with a bike bridge to the mainland) and Kiekpoel you can find recreational beaches, which I would definitely take advantage of if I were you.

One of the things you need to do in Kaag and its surroundings is to rent a boat. You can explore the lakes and/or head to the Westeinderplassen or Braassemermeer. The Kager lakes are perfect for exploring by boat, and there are quite a few places where you can rent a boat at the Kager Plassen. In the town of Warmond, you can rent a boat here. At Jachthaven ‘t Fissertje you can rent boats, sailboats and sup boards to explore the Kagerplassen. You can visit De Kaag for flyboarding, sailboats, wakeboarding and waterskiing.

At some parts of the Kagerplassen you cannot go there with a motorboat, but only with a canoe, sup board or whisper boat, such as Hanepoel and some of the surrounding creeks.

One of the other things I would recommend you to do if you’re on the island of Kaag is to walk the ‘Laarzenpad’. This walking path can be walked outside the breeding season (approximately from March until July) and is around five kilometres long. It will show you the beautiful polder area of the island of Kaag and starts from Stal op Kaag. It’s called ‘Laarzenpad’ as boots (laarzen are the Dutch word for boots or wellies) can sometimes be useful when walking there.

Last but not least, I would recommend you to visit De Kaagse Boer for the best local and fresh cheeses. This cheese farm on the Kager island doesn’t only sell some of the best local Dutch cheeses, but also homemade butter, other dairy products, eggs, fun souvenirs and during summer they sell amazing homemade ice cream.

Things to do in the surroundings of Kaag

Explore the city of Leiden

Leiden is one of my all-time favourite cities in The Netherlands, and that says a lot as I’ve seen plenty of them. Somehow the town of Leiden simply has it all. From incredible museums to endless picture-perfect streets. And from cool Dutch brown bars to visit to enjoying some fantastic food at one of the amazing restaurants.

Visit the tulip fields near the Keukenhof

Many people travel every year to The Netherlands for tulip season. Now, you can find many tulip fields all over The Netherlands, but most people decide to visit the Keukenhof region for tulip fields. Not only can you see some large Dutch tulip fields in the area of the Keukenhof, but you are also able to visit one of the worlds most significant flower gardens in The Netherlands. It’s pretty magical.

Enjoy a Dutch beach at Noordwijk aan Zee

Travelling to beaches in The Netherlands is always a good idea. Surprisingly enough, not many people are aware of the beautiful Dutch coast that is filled with stunning sandy beaches. So, one tip from me to you: Visit Dutch beaches. Noordwijk aan Zee is the closest beach to Kaag, so that’s why I’m recommending this specific beach.

Travel to the Braassemermeer

The Braassemermeer is one of the biggest lakes in the Dutch lake district, and when you’re in its surroundings, it’s definitely fun to check this place out as well. You can see how diverse this part of Dutch nature is and get to enjoy more parts of this beautiful area in The Netherlands.

Where to stay at the Kagerplassen

Near the lakes of Kaag, The Netherlands, you can find plenty of places to stay. From staying in a hotel on one of the islands of Kaag to staying in its surroundings. The best accommodation in the Kaag lake for a perfect vacation can be found below.

Spacious Holiday Home in Kaag on Island on Dutch Coast: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Refreshing Holiday Home in Kaag with Terrace: check rates & availability on Booking.com

B&B De Kaagse Boer: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Hotel Orion: check rates & availability on Booking.com

 

Villa Pura Vida: check rates & availability on Booking.com

WATERFRONT Apartments: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Kaag Resort: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to the Kagerplassen

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Kaag.

From Amsterdam: It’s pretty tricky to reach the town of Kaag by public transport, as you have to reserve a special bus by app or phone from the train station of Nieuw-Vennep in advance (9292 app can tell you more about the specific route and app). Kaag can be reached by public transport from Amsterdam (2 trains, 1 bus and 1 short ferry ride in the direction of Kaag: The ferry ride costs around 1 euro cash as a pedestrian), so if you want to go on a little adventure, then please do so. Especially since Kaag is located in the middle of these lakes. If you want to have an easier route, then I would simply recommend you to head and stay in the town of Warmond (some of the accommodation recommendations are found there as well). It will take you approximately 1,5 hour to get from Amsterdam to Kaag by public transport.

From Utrecht: To get to the town of Kaag on the Dutch island in the middle of the lake district in The Netherlands can be quite tricky. But you need to reach the train station of Nieuw- Vennep and reserve the same bus in advance as I explained a bit more above. And when you’ve reached ‘Bushalte Buitenkaag, Buitenkaag’, then you’ve reached your stop. From there you need to get on the ferry in the direction of Kaag. It will take you around 1 hour and 40 minutes to get from Utrecht to Kaag. But again, if you want an easier route, then simply visit Warmond.

From Rotterdam: To get to Kaag from Rotterdam, you need to take a train to either Schiphol or Leiden. From there you need to change trains to a train that will take you to Nieuw- Vennep. From there you need to reserve the bus I’ve told you about. From ‘Bushalte Buitenkaag, Buitenkaag’ you need to get on the little ferry to Kaag. It will take you between 1 hour and 40 minutes and 2 hours to reach Kaag from Rotterdam.

Tip about using the OV Flex app: You need to make an account first, in order to use it. Then click on the region which you think you will travel the most: in this case, ‘Buitenkaag/Abbens’, select ‘selecteer’. Then you need to list your first name. After that your last name, then your email address. Then your phone number, which bus drivers can use when they cannot find you, as you obviously reserved a spot for the bus. Then make a password. Later you get a popup which says you need to verify your email address with a code. Search for AML Flex in your inbox, fill in the code, and you can choose your ‘vertrekhalte’, which means what stop is your departure spot, and next you need to ‘bevestig’, or confirm that. Then select your final destination, confirm it again, set a time, and you’re settled.

If you don’t want to go through this adventure, then you can also rent bikes near the train station of Nieuw- Vennep! From there you can cycle to the ferry of Kaag, bring the bike to the island and then make your way to your accommodation.

Photo by Patrick Rasenberg/ Flickr

Westeinderplassen

Province

Noord- Holland

History & facts about the Westeinderplassen

The Westeinder lakes in the town of Aalsmeer have been created due to the extraction of peat before the 17th century. There used to be six more big Dutch lakes in this region in Noord (North)- Holland, but due to the harvest of peat, people needed more space to live. So, Dutch people being Dutch started to create land on those lakes. First, the Stommeer was dried in 1650, then the Hornmeer in 1674. In 1852, the Haarlemmermeer (where Schiphol is located) was drained, and the final three lakes were also created into land, with the Westeinderplassen being the only area left.

The Westeinderplassen are around 10 square kilometres big and exists out of a big lake, and several smaller ones. These are all connected by beautiful creeks and islands. In and around the Westeinder lakes, there are much fish, birds and rare plants to be found. There are quite a few small Dutch islands located in these lakes in The Netherlands, but most are privately owned. Some islands are used for agricultural purposes and others for recreation. There are a few islands that can be visited by everyone who has a boat, canoe, etc.

These stunning lakes are part of the Holland- Utrechtse plassengebied, or lake region. And together with the Oosteinderplas, the Westeinderplassen form a truly beautiful natural area near Amsterdam.

What to do in the Westeinderplassen

There are plenty of things to do in the Westeinder lakes in Aalsmeer. Whether you want to go sailing, surfing or swimming, Aalsmeer has it all. At Zeilschool Aalsmeer they rent out sailboats, motorboats, sup boards and canoes. If you click on ‘reserveer deze boot’, you will be able to rent an item and see whether it’s available at a specific time. At ‘Of kies direct een andere boot’, you can change your item to a sup board, canoe or something else like renting a windsurf set. Windsurfing at the Westeinderplassen can best be done from the ‘Surfeiland’ part of this lake region near Amsterdam.

You can also rent boats in Aalsmeer at Sloepverhuur Aalsmeer. Plus if you’re looking for more places to rent a canoe and/or a boat, then Bootje van Kootje is an excellent option. At this boat rental place in Aalsmeer, you can even reserve via What’s App. Then you also have Huur een Sloepje, for boat rental in Aalsmeer.

There’s also a canal tour in Aalsmeer that starts at the beautiful historical garden, which shows you the history of horticulture in Aalsmeer from the 1700s until now. The boat tour in Aalsmeer takes around one hour and shows you the best of Aalsmeer and its surroundings. It sails between the 1st of May and 1st of October from Tuesday until Friday (11:00, 13:30 and 15:00) and on Saturday & Sunday 13:30 and 15:00.

Another thing you need to do at the lake of Aalsmeer is to rent a canoe. One of the best canoeing routes that you can follow in The Netherlands is found here and will guide you along beautiful marshes, forests and old agricultural lands. It takes you back to centuries ago. It’s called the ‘Bovenlanden’ canoe route. When you rent a canoe in Aalsmeer, I would recommend you to ask the rental places the exact way, because you can find the route here (start means start, eind means finish), but it can be a bit tricky.

And you can also not leave the lakes in Aalsmeer without doing some supping. You can rent a sup board at Supventure; this link sends you to their contact page so you can send them an email if you wish to rent a sup board in Aalsmeer. It costs around 25 euros for the first 1,5 hours or approximately 75 euros for 6 hours. They do ask a deposit of 100 euros, which you can get back after, and an id (very common when renting things in The Netherlands).

There are plenty of islands to be found in these lakes in Aalsmeer, but as I’ve already told you before, you’re usually not allowed to visit them. There are four islands that you can visit; those are Ravensteinakker, Kleine Poelakker, Starteiland and Kleine Brug.

Of course, when you’re in Aalsmeer, you cannot forget to explore the town and a bit of the region. And what is a perfect way than to do that by foot or by bike? You can find bike rental locations in Aalsmeer here.

Things to do in the surroundings of Aalsmeer

Visit the flower auction in Aalsmeer

The Bloemenveiling, or flower auction of Aalsmeer is the largest flower auction in the world. This auction site in The Netherlands can be visited, and honestly, a tour through this Dutch flower auction needs to be on your travel bucket list.

Enjoy the Amsterdam forest

The Amsterdam forest, or Amsterdamse Bos, is the biggest ‘park’ that you can find in Amsterdam. Although, technically it’s located in the town of Amstelveen. Both cities have grown so much that they are now connected. Anyway, random Amsterdam facts aside, the Amsterdamse Bos is lovely to visit during any season in The Netherlands. You can find cherry blossoms in this park in The Netherlands during the end of March/beginning of April, and it’s a great place to go for a picnic.

Where to stay at the lake of Aalsmeer

There are many great accommodation options to be found in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands. You won’t find any cabin on islands in the lake of Aalsmeer, but it comes pretty darn close. These hotels, B&B’s and vacation homes in Aalsmeer will create an ultimate dream stay in The Netherlands.

AquaLiving: check rates & availability on Booking.com

bbwesteinder vof: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Holiday home at the water near Amsterdam: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Camping Recreatiepark Aalsmeer: check rates & availability on Booking.com

The Boathouse with boat: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Aalsmeer

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Aalsmeer.

From Amsterdam: To get from Amsterdam to Aalsmeer you need to take a train that will take you to Hoofddorp, from there you need to take a bus that will take you to Aalsmeer. If you stop at ‘Driekolommenplein, Aalsmeer’, then you’ve found yourself in the middle of the centre of the town of Aalsmeer. It will take you around 50 minutes to reach Aalsmeer from Amsterdam.

From Utrecht: You have several ways to get from Utrecht to Aalsmeer. In general, you’d need to transfer a couple of times, but you need to make sure that you will reach the train station of Hoofddorp. From there you need to take the bus that will take you to Aalsmeer. Get out at ‘Driekolommenplein, Aalsmeer’, and you’re in the centre of Aalsmeer. It will take you around 1 hour to get from Utrecht to Aalsmeer.

From Rotterdam: There are tons of different ways to reach Aalsmeer from Rotterdam. Some buses to Aalsmeer go from Schiphol, Haarlem, Hoofddorp, etc. Just make sure to use 9292.nl/en and get out at ‘Driekolommenplein, Aalsmeer’, and you’ve reached your spot. It takes you anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach Aalsmeer.

Vinkeveense plassen

Province

Utrecht

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History & facts about the Vinkeveense Plassen

The lakes of Vinkeveen are a beautiful nature and watersport area northeast of the village of Vinkeveen. If you’re driving on the A2 highway in The Netherlands, you can see it as it’s found next to that road. Plus, the N201 road runs through the Vinkeveen lakes.

These Vinkeveen lakes are connected to the Amstel river and formed during the Dutch Golden Age, due to the extraction of peat to be used as fuel for the city of Amsterdam. After the peat was removed, lakes were all that remained together with the small strips of land. Later, the sandy layer on the bottom was also removed at some places in the Vinkeveense Plassen and used to create the A2 highway and the south-east of Amsterdam. That’s also the reason why these lakes in The Netherlands are very deep, with depths until 50 metres.

The nature in- and outside the Vinkeveense Plassen is genuinely stunning. The lakes are divided into three smaller lakes: Kleine Plas, Zuidplas and Noordplas. The Noordplas is the most significant part of the Vinkeveense Plassen, and this is also the area that is very deep with up to 50 metres at some locations. These depths were created due to the extraction of sand in the 1960s and 70s.

Because the Noordplas is so deep, the waves are often pretty high and rough for a lake area. To protect the remaining islands at the Vinkeveen lakes, twelve sand islands were created to break the waves as well as a recreational location.

What to do in Vinkeveen

There are so many things to do in the lakes of Vinkeveen. If you’re a diving enthusiast, then you can find one of the best diving spots in The Netherlands in Vinkeveen. VIP dive school in Vinkeveen has excellent lessons that you can follow. If you’re already great at diving and simply want to rent diving gear in The Netherlands, then Airdiving is the place to be.

Another thing that cannot miss on your to-do list when you visit the lakes of Vinkeveen is to rent a boat (and other things). Luckily for you, there are tons of boat rental places in Vinkeveen. First, you have Vinkeveen Haven, where you can not only rent a boat but if you love to sail, then you can also rent sailboats at the lakes of Vinkeveen at this location. And that’s not all that they offer. Because if you want to rent a canoe, kayak, pedola or sup board, this is also a great location in Vinkeveen to rent them. Lastly, this is also a location where you can rent bikes in Vinkeveen.

At Winkeloord in Vinkeveen, you can rent boats, canoes, kayaks, sup boards and sailboats. At Jachthaven Borger you can rent boats, as well as bikes. Then at VVP verhuur, you can also rent a boat in Vinkeveen.

When you’re looking to go canoeing in Vinkeveen, The Netherlands, I would certainly recommend you to visit De Botshol nature reserve. It can only be visited by canoe (or by foot) outside the breeding season, which lasts in The Netherlands roughly from March until July. 

If you want to get a bit more adventurous and active in The Netherlands, then I would recommend you to go wakeboarding, waterskiing or water surfing at the lakes of Vinkeveen. Via Wakeboard School Vinkeveen you can reserve a spot.

You can also visit one of the twelve sandy islands that can be found in the Vinkeveen lakes. Only four Dutch islands in the province of Utrecht can also be visited from the mainland (1,2,4 & 5). The others can only be reached via the water.

Things to do in the surroundings of Vinkeveen

Visit the small town of Loenersloot

The Dutch village of Loenersloot is found really near the Vinkeveense Plassen and is a great place to visit. Though it’s definitely the definition of small, Loenersloot has a beautiful castle and gardens that you can visit at Kasteel Loenersloot. The gardens can be visited from April- September 08:00- 20:00 and from October- March 08:00-17:00. The castle of Loenersloot can be visited from the inside from April until October on Friday and Saturday at 11:30 and 13:30 with guided tours.

These tours last around 1,5 hours and a spot have to be reserved in advance. However, this can only be paid by iDeal, which is for Dutch bank accounts. So, if you want to see beautifully styled rooms in a Medieval Castle in The Netherlands, explore the tower and its dungeons, then ask your hotel to reserve a spot for you. It’s worth it.

Explore the Loosdrechtse Plassen

The Loosdrechtse Plassen is very near the Vinkeveense Plassen and is even bigger. If you want to explore even a bigger part of this lake district with small islands in The Netherlands, then I can definitely recommend you to visit the Loosdrechtse Plassen.

Cycle along the Vecht river

The Vecht river is one of The Netherlands most beautiful rivers to walk and cycle along, and of course, sail on. During a trip along the Vecht river in the Utrecht region, you will see old Dutch castles, tons of manor houses and a lot of spectacular Dutch villages that date back to centuries ago.

Where to stay at the lakes of Vinkeveen

Here you will find the best accommodation in Vinkeveen and its lake surroundings. Vinkeveen, The Netherlands, is a magical destination in The Netherlands. And what’s a better way to enjoy the area, than by spending a night here. Discover the hamlet of Vinkeveen, and other small Dutch villages in the Utrecht region. These hotels, B&B’s and even holiday homes and cabins on an island in the lake of Vinkeveen are perfect for you.

Lakeside Amsterdam Getaway: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Hotel Suites Wilma J: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Vinkeveen Chalet eiland: check rates & availability on Booking.com

 

Houseboat Vinkeveen: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Apollo Hotel Vinkeveen Amsterdam: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Waar geluk ligt: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Vinkeveen

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Vinkeveen.

From Amsterdam: To get from Amsterdam to the town of Vinkeveen, you have endless options to choose from. In general, you need to transfer at least once (from train to bus). It will take you around 50 minutes to get to the Vinkeveen lakes from Amsterdam.

From Utrecht: To get from Utrecht Centraal train station to Vinkeveen, I would recommend you to take the train in the direction of Uitgeest or Breukelen. Get out at the train station of Breukelen. From here you need to transfer to a bus that will take you to Vinkeveen. It will take you around 30 minutes to reach Vinkeveen from the city of Utrecht, which makes it a great summer day trip.

From Rotterdam: To reach Vinkeveen from Rotterdam you either need to take a train in the direction of Uitgeest and get out at Breukelen, or a train to Utrecht Centraal and transfer to a train that will take you to Breukelen. From Breukelen train station you need to take a bus to Vinkeveen. It will take you approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel from Rotterdam to Vinkeveen.

Loosdrechtse plassen

Province

The most significant part is located in Noord- Holland, another small part in the Utrecht region.

History & facts about the Loosdrechtse Plassen

The lakes of Loosdrecht are a big lake area between Amsterdam and Utrecht. It’s named the Loosdrechtse Plassen due to its location in the former municipality of Loosdrecht. Almost the entire part of the lakes of Loosdrecht are found in the province of Noord (North)- Holland, except for the Kievitsbuurten area and a small part of the North West, as those parts of the lake district are in the province of Utrecht. The Loosdrecht lakes are part of a Natura 2000 area that is named ‘Oostelijke Vechtplassen’. 

These areas have also been formed due to the extraction of peat, but before the peat was removed and used, the water of the region was led to the Utrechtse Vecht river so that it could be used as a meadow. Then from the 16th until the 18th century, peat was extracted at Loosdrecht. Due to stormy weather and the fact that not everyone abides the rules, the lake area of Loosdrecht has been shaped into today’s form with not as much strips of land as it used to (as it was made up entirely out of those little islands). At the Kievitsbuurt area, for instance, you can see plenty of examples of the islands that were used to dry peat on. 

Parts of the Loosdrechtse Plassen were used for sand extraction and for the production of drinking water (some of them are still in use for the latter). The region of the lakes of Loosdrecht exists out of (officially) five smaller lakes that are separated from each other by dykes and/or islands. 

In the South-Western part of the Loosdrechtse Plassen, you can find the Kievitsbuurten, where you can find many islands (cannot be visited by motorboat). These neighbourhoods in the Loosdrechtse Plassen are separated from the lakes by the ‘Kalverstraat’, which is one of the busiest and most important waterways in the Loosdrechtse Lakes. 

Those little islands are very vulnerable, and maintenance is costly. Barriers that surround the islands are necessary because otherwise these islands will be swept away by waves, wind and other weather influences. Several islands that were privately owned, as well as some that were owned by the protective body of these Dutch lakes, have been destroyed. Because some islands disappear, it gets harder and harder to protect the other strips of land. Strong is in being in numbers, and it’s the same here. 

What to do in Loosdrechtse Plassen

One of the best things to do in the lakes of Loosdrecht is to rent a boat. There are tons of companies and harbours in Loosdrecht that have boat rental services, so I’m going to list quite a few here (especially since Loosdrecht is one of the most popular areas in The Netherlands lake district):

If you want to learn how to wakeboard in the Loosdrechtse Plassen, then you can reserve a lesson at Wakeboard School Loosdrecht.

With sup boards (as well as canoes) you can discover the hidden parts of Loosdrecht that motorised traffic cannot reach (boats, etc.). You can rent sup boards at the lakes of Loosdrecht at Ik Sup Loosdrecht. You can visit the Kievitsbuurt, De Ster (partly) and follow the so-called Vuntus route. I would recommend you to ask at your rental place for more tips and directions.

If you want to hang out at one of the beaches in Loosdrecht, then visiting the recreation area called ‘De Strook’ near the village of Breukeleveen is a great spot. It’s free to visit and is a perfect location to go swimming at the Loosdrecht lakes.

Swimming is great to do in the lakes of Loosdrecht (but of course, only if you can swim). You are generally allowed to swim within 100 metres of shore, on the Vuntusplas, Stille Plas, as well as the 5e Plas (except for the waterskiing area). Keep in mind that swimming is forbidden in places where boats can go fast.

One of the most famous Dutch villages in the Loosdrechtse Plassen is the hamlet of Scheendijk. Essentially, the village of Scheendijk is one of the many villages that are found in and around the lakes of Loosdrecht. It can be visited mainly by canoe and sup board. Things to do in Scheendijk are the same as for the rest of the Loosdrechtse Plassen area. It’s not more special here than in other places. 

Things to do in the surroundings of Loosdrecht

Walk in the area of the Loosdrechtse lakes

Many fantastic walking paths in this region of The Netherlands shows the perfect Dutch countryside. If you visit the tourist office of the Loosdrechtse Plassen region, which can be found at Watersportcentrum Ottenhome, they will happily help you with searching out the best routes for you.

If you want to explore a long-distance hiking path in The Netherlands, then you must know the E11 hiking route passes the lakes of Loosdrecht at the southern part. This part of the route is named the Marskramerpad and is one of the most spectacular long-distance walking paths that you can find in The Netherlands.

Explore Castle Sypesteyn

Castle or Kasteel Sypesteyn was built between 1912 and 1927, which you wouldn’t expect when you see it, as it looks like it’s centuries old. Discover why this 19th- century Dutch castle was built, explore incredibly styled rooms and stunning collections in a young Dutch castle.

Their castle garden can be visited on your own and photographed, but the interior of this Dutch castle in Noord (North)- Holland cannot be photographed. This castle museum in The Netherlands can be visited (Saturday & Sunday 12:30- 16:30) with an audio tour and is not opened for guided tours. The historical castle garden in The Netherlands and the museum shop can be visited Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 11:00- 17:00.

Visit Landgoed Gunterstein

You can visit the beautiful gardens of Estate Gunterstein in the town of Breukelen, and I would recommend you to do that. Although the building itself cannot be visited, as people live here, you can explore a 34-hectare estate which is more than worth it. Do remember that you need to use the second entrance from when you walk or cycle from Breukelen to Landgoed Gunterstein, as the first entrance is for the people who live here.

Enjoy the Vinkeveense Plassen

The Vinkeveense lakes are found near the Loosdrechtse Plassen and are also great for recreation purposes. Admire the region of Vinkeveen by boat, go swimming or simply sit down at one of the great restaurants and bars that surrounds the area. Be prepared to return as a calmer you.

Explore the town of Maarssen

The province of Utrecht is filled with destinations to visit and places to see. And one of those towns to visit in the Utrecht region in Maarssen. The city of Maarssen is precisely the kind of place that you’d want to see on your The Netherlands holiday. Admire the authentic, cobblestoned streets and enjoy the quietness.

Discover small Dutch towns in the Utrecht region

One thing the Utrecht region is famous for within The Netherlands is its small and picturesque towns and villages. And that’s exactly what you can discover around the Loosdrechtse Plassen, as it’s located in the perfect Dutch area. Visit towns such as Loenen aan de Vecht, Vreeland and others, and I can guarantee you that you will have the time of your life.

Cycle along the Dutch Vecht river

If you want to admire the most magical Dutch river in The Netherlands, then you need to cycle (or walk) along the Vecht river. Along the edges of this river, you will see tons of manor houses (from wealthy men from Amsterdam built during the Dutch Golden Age), Dutch castles and incredible towns. You can rent bikes in Loosdrecht here. Something else that is pretty cool is to use the cycling boat on the Vecht river.

Go to the Ankeveense Plassen

If you want to explore another lake area that is almost literally connected to the Loosdrechtse Plassen, then visiting the Ankeveense Plassen is a good idea. Although there isn’t much recreation here, for a good reason, the things that you can do here are worth bringing a visit to the Ankeveense lakes.

Where to stay at the lakes of Loosdrecht

The lakes of Loosdrecht, The Netherlands, are stunning and a perfect holiday location. And you need to take full advantage of that. That’s why you can find the best places to stay (B&B’s, hotels and even your private island) at the Loosdrecht lakes here. Enjoy spending the night in Loosdrecht in a cabin on an island and experience the magical powers of this Dutch region. 

Fletcher Hotel Restaurant Loosdrecht-Amsterdam: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Najade Resort: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Hotel Café Restaurant Heineke: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Tiny Loft Boat Loosdrecht: check rates & availability on Booking.com

 

Holiday Home De Zuwe – Loosdrecht: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Scenic Lakeside Holiday Home in Kortenhoef: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Villa Braas: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Camper-boot: check rates & availability on Booking.com

This unique accommodation on an island in Loosdrecht can also be reserved (website is in Dutch only).

How to get to Loosdrecht

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Loosdrecht.

From Amsterdam: There are many ways to get to the lakes of Loosdrecht from Amsterdam Centraal train station. The time depends on the location of your stay, and where you want to go or rent a boat etc. But in general, it takes you anywhere from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes to go on a day trip from Amsterdam to Loosdrechtse Plassen.

From Utrecht: To get to the Loosdrechtse Plassen from the old city of Utrecht, you have many options. In general, you have to transfer at least once, and it will take you between 50 minutes to 1 hour to get from Utrecht to the Dutch nature in Loosdrecht.

From Rotterdam: To get from Rotterdam Centraal to the Loosdrecht lakes, you’d have to transfer anywhere between two and four times. In general, it will take you anywhere from 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours and 10 minutes to reach the town of Loosdrecht from Rotterdam.

A view on the islands of the Loosdrechtse plassen: which are small islands and is a nature reserve in The Netherlands. You see a small river in the middle of two islands.

Vlietland

 

Province

Zuid- Holland

History & facts about Vlietland

Vlietland is one of the largest recreational watersport and nature reserves in The Netherlands. It’s made up of three lakes that are surrounded by creeks, forest and more beautiful surroundings. The area was used as a sand extraction site in the 1970s, but nowadays it’s one of the most popular watersport areas in the province of Zuid (South)- Holland with more than a million yearly visitors. This doesn’t mean that it’s way too crowded here, as there’s simply a lot of space to be shared. 

What to do in Vlietland

At Watersport Centrum Vlietland you can rent boats, canoes, sailboats, pedalos and rowing boats. You can visit the reception of this watersport centre in Vlietland and decide what you want to rent when you visit, or you can reserve one of the modes of transportation via the contact form of WSCV. Make sure to choose ‘bootverhuur’; this means boat rental. And from there you need to decide what you want to rent, such as a ‘roeiboot’ which is a rowing boat, ‘motorboot’ is a motorboat, etc. Place the date and time that you want to reserve, etc. in the ‘bericht’ part.

There are tons of beaches at the Vlietland that you can visit and one of them is meant for naturist recreation. Plus, there are also plenty of walking and cycling paths from where you can discover the surroundings of Vlietland. You can cycle here from cities such as Leiden and The Hague where you can find plenty of bike rental options.

Things to do in the surroundings of Vlietland

Bring a visit to Kasteel Duivenvoorde

Castle Duivenvoorde dates back to 1226, which makes it one of the oldest castles in the Zuid (South)- Holland province and this Dutch castle is still inhabited. The museum in this castle in The Netherlands is opened only several months a year, but the castle gardens can be visited year-round.

See the windmills of Leidschendam

You cannot visit The Netherlands without seeing any traditional, old Dutch windmills. Not the modern ones that are used for electricity, but the wooden windmills. And a great location to see Dutch windmills is found near The Hague and the Vlietland area. There is a row of several Dutch windmills to be located just outside the town of Leidschendam in the Dutch countryside.

You can find the windmills at the countryside of Leidschendam here: Stompwijkseweg 28, 2266 GE Leidschendam.

Travel to the city of The Hague

The Hague is a city that is famous for many things: It’s the city that houses the Dutch parliament at the Binnenhof, Mauritshuis museum is one of the most famous museums to visit, and the Haagse Markt is one of Europe’s biggest open-air markets. Besides that, in The Hague, you’re just a tram ride away from the Dutch coastline. The Hague has a lot to offer, and I can’t wait for you to explore the city.

Visit the fortified city of Leiden

When you’re thinking of visiting a Dutch town that is basically Amsterdam, but in a smaller and authentic way, then visit Leiden. Leiden is filled with things to do, and it’s slowly starting to make a name for itself, which makes more than sense. The city of Leiden cannot miss on your The Netherlands itinerary. So explore the former castle in Leiden, the endless historic streets and incredible museums. And don’t forget to sit down at one of the terraces or inside one of the many great cafes to slow down and take it all in.

Discover Museum Voorlinden

If you’re looking for incredible contemporary and modern art museums in The Netherlands than Museum Voorlinden cannot miss on your to-do list. It’s one of those Dutch museums in Zuid (South)- Holland that is even better than you thought of beforehand.

Where to stay in Vlietland

Vlietland, The Netherlands, is a great area to visit. Whether you’re looking for great hotels in its surroundings, such as in Voorschoten, or for romantic places to stay in The Netherlands, I’ve got your back.

Van der Valk Hotel Den Haag – Voorschoten: check rates & availability on Booking.com

La Casita bed and breakfast: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Genesis Voorschoten: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Silver Moon Bed & Breakfast: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Vlietland

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Vlietland.

From Amsterdam: I would recommend you to travel to the town of Voorschoten, as most accommodation near Vlietland is found here. There are several ways to get to Voorschoten, but it’s essential to know that it has a train station, which makes it easier to reach. From Amsterdam to the small town of Voorschoten you can take several trains. From there all that’s left is walk a little to Vlietland or your accommodation. It’ll take you around 50 minutes to get to Voorschoten from Amsterdam.

From Utrecht: To reach the town of Voorschoten from the city of Utrecht, you have endless ways to get there. You do have to transfer at least once, as there are no direct trains from Utrecht to Voorschoten. To go from Utrecht to Voorschoten takes you around 50 minutes.

From Rotterdam: To get to Voorschoten as a day trip from Rotterdam, you have to take a train from Rotterdam Centraal Station. There are tons of options you have, but in general, you’d have to transfer at least once, and it’ll take your around 40 minutes to go from Rotterdam to Voorschoten.

Photo by Tijs B / Flickr

Reeuwijkse Plassen

Province

Zuid- Holland

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History & facts about the Reeuwijkse Plassen

The lakes of Reeuwijk are thirteen lakes found between the town of Bodegraven and the city of Gouda and east of the village of Reeuwijk (so that explains the name). They are separated from each other by little roads and what’s interesting is that these Dutch lakes in Zuid- Holland are all shaped in a rectangle. This is a perfect place to see the allotment when people were harvesting peat. The area surface is around 735 hectares. 

All but two lakes were created after the extraction of peat; only Broekvelden/ Vettenbroek weren’t found this way. In the 19th century, there were plans to drain all these Dutch lakes, but luckily the provincial council voted against this decision, so it never happened. The Broekvelden/ Vettenbroek lakes were created due to sand extraction for the A12 highway and Bloemendaal neighbourhood in Gouda. 

Nowadays tons of water recreation happens in these Dutch lakes. The Sloene, Broekvelden, Klein Elfhoeven and Ravensberg lakes are forbidden for motorised traffic, on the other lakes they are allowed with a speed of maximum 6 kilometres an hour. 

The lakes of Reeuwijk are also a great location in The Netherlands to do some birdwatching. Both during the winter and summer period, you can see many birds here. At the beginning of spring, you can see a lot of meadow birds along the Twaalfmorgen road in Reeuwijk. And during winter you can see a lot of geese here.

What to do at the lakes of Reeuwijk

One of the first things you need to do is to walk. Simply walk around and through this lake area near Gouda and enjoy the magical surroundings. It’s a perfect location to see a typical Dutch polder landscape in The Netherlands. Swimming is also a fantastic idea at the lakes of Reeuwijk.

Then I would also certainly recommend you to rent bikes in Reeuwijk. Explore the Groene Hart region or cycle to the city of Gouda; there are endless opportunities. You can rent bikes at several locations in Reeuwijk. At Bike Totaal Nomen, they rent out bikes, but not a lot of them so reserve them in advance via their email: This bike shop in Reeuwijk can be contacted through their website

Then at Sup & Watershop they rent out e-choppers, bikes, boats, canoes, water bikes and sup boards. 

Things to do in the surroundings of Reeuwijk

Explore the city of Gouda

Most people know about Gouda because of its famous Gouda cheese, not pronounced as Goo-dah by the way, but the city has more to offer than that. While the Gouda cheese experience and the Dutch cheese market are two of the things you simply cannot miss out on in this city in Zuid (South)- Holland, the city of Gouda is filled with hidden corners. And it would be a waste of your time if you didn’t explore them.

Visit the town of Haastrecht

The small town of Haastrecht is a perfect, quick day trip from Gouda. Wander through its small streets and enjoy one of the coolest, historical museums in The Netherlands. This place in Zuid (South)- Holland is not visited often by tourists, so I would definitely recommend you to visit.

Discover the village of Oudewater

In the stunning town of Oudewater, you cannot only see the beautiful surroundings of the Dutch countryside but can also visit a museum with a real witch scale. This scale was used to determine whether someone was a witch or not. And you can imagine what happened to witches… The town itself is truly stunning, and Oudewater is more than worth a visit.

Where to stay at the lakes of Reeuwijk

Reeuwijk, The Netherlands, is found in one of the most spectacular lake regions in the country. There are great hotels and other places to stay in Reeuwijk and its surroundings. So if you were looking for special accommodation for your vacation in The Netherlands, then you cannot miss out on these locations.

The Outpost – nice Lakehouse at Reeuwijkse Plas: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Reeuwijkse Plassen: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Stylish Bungalow in Reeuwijk with Private Garden: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Reeuwijk

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Reeuwijk.

From Amsterdam: To get to Reeuwijk from Amsterdam there are several options of taking a train and then a bus. In general, you’d have to transfer at least once (from train to bus). You can take a train to Gouda or Bodegraven, and from there you need to take a bus to Reeuwijk. It will take you around 1 hour and 20 minutes to get from Amsterdam to the Reeuwijk lakes.

From Utrecht: To reach Reeuwijk from Utrecht city, you either need to take a train to Gouda or Bodegraven. From those train stations in The Netherlands, you’d need to transfer to a bus that will take you to one of the stops in Reeuwijk. It will take you around 40 minutes to travel from the city of Utrecht to Reeuwijk.

From Rotterdam: To get to the town of Reeuwijk from Rotterdam Centraal station, you’d need to take a train to Gouda. From Gouda train station you’d need to transfer to a bus in the direction of Bodegraven. Get out at any of the stops in Reeuwijk that are closest to your accommodation, or the lakes if you’re visiting Reeuwijk as a day trip. It will take you around 40 minutes to get from Rotterdam to Reeuwijk.

Photo by Dennis Burger/ Flickr

Bonus: Ankeveense Plassen & Spiegelplas

Province

Utrecht

History & facts about the Ankeveense Plassen & Spiegelplas

Officially these lakes aren’t a part of the lake district, but I think it should be. Especially since the Loosdrechtse and Vinkeveense Plassen are a part of the region and found really close to this part of The Netherlands. However, I guess the reason it’s not part of The Netherlands lake district is because there isn’t a whole lot of recreation at the Ankeveense Plassen. 

The area was formed due to the extraction of peat from the 16th until the 18th century. Nowadays it’s a spectacular Dutch landscape with marshes and small islands that were used to dry the peat on. During the entire year, you can find distinctive sorts of water- and marsh birds in this area, as well as rare water plants. 

Interesting to know is that the lakes of Ankeveen are found around 1,35 metres below NAP (normal Amsterdam level), which is 35 centimetres higher than the Spiegelplas and that it’s being taken care of by a non-profit organisation that protects nature. 

The Spiegelplas is a Dutch nature reserve found west of the Ankeveense Plassen and is around 280 hectares big. It was also created due to the extraction of peat, as well as sand extraction which stopped in the 1980s. On some locations, this Dutch lake is 45 metres deep. 

It’s also one of the clearest lakes in The Netherlands, which means it’s often used as a diving location (you’d have to rent gear somewhere else though, one of the closest would be in Vinkeveen which you can read in that part of the article). 

If you want to visit the Spiegelplas by boat from its surrounding areas, you can only enter via the sluice called De Zanderijsluis from the Vecht river. You cannot go by boat from the Ankeveense Plassen to the Spiegelplas, or the other way around.

What to do in Ankeveen & Spiegelplas

There isn’t much recreation at the Ankeveen lakes, mainly because it’s a unique nature reserve and protected more than the other Dutch lakes that are also reserves. Through the lake area of Ankeveen, there are quite a few walking and cycling paths that start at the visitor’s centre, Bezoekerscentrum, Gooi en Vechtstreek. 

Besides going on special excursions, ice-skating tournaments during winter, cycling & walking routes and visiting the naturist area (which is opened from April until October on Eiland De Molen) you are not allowed to go swimming at random locations nor go on a boat ride.

At the Spiegelplas there is a lot more recreation possible than at the lake of Ankeveen. You are allowed to go swimming but can also rent a boat at the Spiegelplas

Things to do in the surroundings of Ankeveen & Spiegelplas

Visit the bastion fortified city of Naarden

The town of Naarden is one of those exciting places you can visit in The Netherlands. Not only is it a fantastic fortress city to visit in Noord- Holland, but its surroundings are also incredible. Climb the church tower for a stunning view and sit down at one of the terraces to enjoy the magical atmosphere of Naarden.

Explore Nederhorst Den Berg and its castle

The village of Nederhorst Den Berg is small, but nice to visit, especially when you’re already in the area. Walking through this Dutch village and its countryside near the lakes of Ankeveen is a great idea. The gardens and estate of castle Nederhorst can be visited during the day seven days a week, but you won’t be able to visit this Dutch caste in the Utrecht region from the inside.

Discover small Dutch villages

One of my favourite things about this region in The Netherlands is that it’s filled with beautiful Dutch villages. You can cycle, or walk, from one Dutch hamlet to the next and explore the stunning surroundings on the way. I would certainly recommend you to see places such as Nigtevecht.

Travel to beautiful moorlands in The Netherlands

One of The Netherlands best places to visit if you want to admire heather fields is at the Bussummerheide. This nature reserve in The Netherlands is very famous for its beautiful, purple moorlands. Visit during August/September, and you will love your trip to this piece of Dutch nature.

Get to know the history of media in The Netherlands

The Beeld en Geluid museum in the city of Hilversum is a great museum to visit in The Netherlands, especially if you’re interested in learning a lot about how the media operates in this country and how the history has shaped the current forms.

Enjoy the Loosdrechtse Plassen

As you know, the Ankeveense Plassen are located very near the Loosdrechtse Plassen. So, if you wanted to explore a large lake area in The Netherlands, where you have more options of activities to do and a larger area to discover, then visiting the Loosdrechtse Plassen is one of the best things you can do in The Netherlands.

Go on a day trip to the town of Weesp

A great destination to visit in the province of Noord (North)- Holland is the city of Weesp. It dates back to hundreds of years ago and is filled with historic, Dutch buildings. Besides enjoying a walk through Weesp, I can also recommend you to visit the local museum inside the old city hall.

Where to stay in Ankeveen & near Spiegelplas

Ankeveen and the Spiegelplas surroundings are a beautiful area in The Netherlands, and it would be a shame if you didn’t enjoy it in the best possible way. Spending a night, or weekend, in this lake region in The Netherlands is a fantastic idea. Below you can find the best places to stay in Ankeveen and its surroundings.

Studio Lakeside Spiegelplas: check rates & availability on Booking.com

C’est la Vie Houseboat: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Aan de Vecht: check rates & availability on Booking.com

Vecht & Weide Weesp: check rates & availability on Booking.com

How to get to Ankeveen & Spiegelplas

I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to the area of Ankeveen.

From Amsterdam: To get to this part of the lake region I would recommend you to go to Nederhorst Den Berg, as that is also where most of the accommodation is located. From Amsterdam, you need to take a train to the train station in Weesp. At Weesp you need to transfer to a bus that will take you to ‘Bushalte Centrum, Nederhorst Den Berg’. To go on a day trip from Amsterdam to these lakes takes you around 40 minutes.

From Utrecht: To go on a day trip from the city of Utrecht to a beautiful piece of Dutch nature, I would recommend you to take a direct train to Weesp. From Weesp you need to take the bus to ‘Bushalte Centrum, Nederhorst Den Berg’. From Utrecht train station to Nederhorst Den Berg takes you around one hour and ten minutes.

From Rotterdam: From Rotterdam Centraal, you need to take a train to Schiphol airport. At Schiphol, you need to transfer to a train that will take you to Weesp. From Weesp you need to take the bus to ‘Bushalte Centrum, Nederhorst Den Berg’. It will take you a little less than 1,5 hours to reach Nederhorst Den Berg from Rotterdam.

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Other The Netherlands travel blogs and guides you’ll love

One week itinerary to the south of The Netherlands

Facts about The Netherlands 

Where to see & find tulip fields without tourists in The Netherlands

Best Dutch Christmas markets in The Netherlands

Spring road trip to tulip fields in The Netherlands

Christmas market winter road trip in The Netherlands

I hope this post has shown you The Netherlands natural beauty and its stunning scenery that can be found here. In my, oh so humble, opinion I would argue that this lake district in The Netherlands and Holland are part of some of the best places to see and visit in The Netherlands.

Whether you’re thinking of visiting the lake of Loosdrecht, Vinkeveen, Reeuwijk, or any other on the list, for one day or a weekend, it will be great. I genuinely hope you will enjoy one of the beautiful places that can be found in The Netherlands, plus that you’ve learned a lot about how this region has formed and why this is one of the interesting places you can find in The Netherlands.

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