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Stichting Take Over Vereniging van Kleinschalige Reisorganisaties
Kohlkopfschmetterling The river Lek On the road to Schoonhoven Pfad im grünen Herzen On the way to Schoonhoven Tiendweg bij Schoonhoven Windmills of Kinderdijk Spring flower Grass path Green Heart Dutch skies Canal in Green Heart Graspad groene Hart Reeuwijkse Plassen

Polders and rivers

  • Destination: Gouda and the Green Heart of Holland
  • Kind of trip: Self-guided walking trip between three cities
  • Duration: 5 days (4 nights)
  • Difficulty trip:
  • Inclusive: Four overnight stays in comfortable 3 star hotels including breakfast, luggage transport, maps and English route directions, GPS track, free parking, VAT, tourist taxes, Guarantee Foundation and a contribution to the Foundation for Zuid-Holland's landscape (www.zuidhollandslandschap.nl)
  • Exclusive: The outward and homeward journey, lunch, dinner and travel and cancellation insurance
  • Dog: Not allowed
  • Price:
    • € 399,- per person based on 2 people (Weekend surcharge of € 40,- for luggage transport for 2 days)
    • € 599,- for 1 person (Weekend surcharge of € 80,- for luggage transport)
    • Are there more of you please contact Hike in Holland for pricing
    • If you have no need for luggage transport there is a discount of € 35,- when booking with 2 persons and € 80,- with a booking for 1 person. In that case you will be carrying your own luggage.
    • Extra day walk to Kinderdijk (with an extra night) € 65,- per person based on 2 people and € 100,- when booking alone
Location:
Description:

The perfect place for a short break from everything! With three magnificent walks this trip takes you through the southern part of the Green Heart, a tranquil area in the middle of Holland’s big cities. The walks take you along the rivers Vlist, Hollandsche Ijssel and Lek, They take you through Gouda, a city with a lot of history and monumental buildings. You’ll walk on country roads, gravel and grass paths and cycle paths. Birdwatchers can spot many a meadow bird here in areas like the Loetbos, the Hooge Boezem achter Haastrecht and the Krimpenerwaard. You’ll pass through or stay in picturesque old villages like Haastrecht or Schoonhoven.

Unique:

The green heart of Holland is a national landscape. An area with exceptional scenery and cultural history. This is the landscape that makes Holland special. It is living evidence of our struggle with the water. Almost all of the land here was reclaimed from marshy areas or lakes and is well below the sea level. It is the landscape that you can see in the paintings of the Dutch Masters. With endless long canals that divide the landscape in small strips. Small meandering rivers and beautiful farmhouses and some lovely old towns tell you the story of the farmer and the merchant. You’ll here frogs everywhere and cows will be staring at you wondering what you’re doing walking around. As a bonus on this trip there is the historical city of Gouda

Day to Day

Schoonhoven

Canal in Schoonhoven

Day 1 Arrival in Schoonhoven

You’ll arrive in your hotel, situated on the river Lek, and in the center of Schoonhoven. You can park your car here for the next days. If there’s time, take a stroll around Schoonhoven. Enjoy the monumental buildings, especially the unique water tower. Of course you can visit the silvermuseum (www.zilvermuseum.com). Schoonhoven is the silver town. From the 17th century on there were well known silversmiths here, and there is still a silverschool here. Of course you can also sit on the terrace of the hotel and watch the ships go by on the river
The Green Heart

Water on the way to Lekkerkerk

Day 2 Schoonhoven – Lekkerkerk (20 km)

Today you’ll start by following the river for a few kilometers. After this we go down into the polders where you’ll walk between the countless canals and the endless meadows. The walk passes on old taxroads, where landlord had farmers pay 10% of their crop for maintenance of the roads. You can see many a bird. All kinds of egrets and herons, pheasants, swallows, and storks are regular guests here. You’ll end your day in the village of Lekkerkerk (Church on the river Lek).
Kinderdijk

Some of the windmills of Kinderdijk

Optional extra day walk to Kinderdijk (21 km)

We advise you to extend this trip with an extra day in Lekkerkerk. Close to Lekkerkerk is the famous Unesco world heritage site of Kinderdijk, with its many, many windmills. We've designed a wonderful walk to and around these windmills. The walk starts on the dike along the river Lek, where you can make a stop by a pond which they used to catch ducks in earlier times and is now a place where many waterbirds come to rest and nest. On the dike you can already see the first windmills on the other side of the water. With a ferry you cross the river. After that you'll make a tour around and along the windmills. The windmills are in the typical polder landscape of this area, and there are two windmills that are open for visitors as well (https://www.kinderdijk.com). After visiting the windmills you take the ferry back across the river and take a different route back to your hotel in Lekkerkerk.
Curious Calfs

Curious young cows

Day 3 Lekkerkerk – Gouda (21 km)

On day three, you’ll walk from Lekkerkerk to Gouda. You’ll leave Lekkerkerk, continuing on the tax road. Then you’ll take a grass path towards the Loetbos, an area of nature around the small river the Loet. You’ll pass through the village of Berkenwoude and then you’ll go through the polders on grass paths and country roads, until you end up in the ancient town of Gouda, where your hotel is in the city center. If you have some energy and time, it’s certainly worth your while to stroll to the center of Gouda.
Typischer Bauernhof in das Grüne Herz

A typical farmhouse for this Dutch region

Day 4 Gouda – Schoonhoven (21 km)

On the last day, you’ll walk back to Schoonhoven. You’l leave Gouda along the water. The walk will then take you through the Reeuwijkse Plassen, an area with 13 lakes, divided by small roads. After rounding one of the lakes, you’ll make your way to Haastrecht, a village with a wonderful old city hall and a nice drawbridge. After Haastrecht you’ll walk through a birdwatching area (Hooge Boezem achter Haastrecht), after which you’ll arrive at the river Vlist. We’ll follow this meandering river for a considerable distance until we arrive back in Schoonhoven, where you can find your luggage at your hotel.

Day 5 Journey Home

After a last good night's sleep and an quiet delicious breakfast, your going home or leave for an other destination.

Advice for extension

Both in Schoonhoven and especially Gouda there’s room for extending this trip. Gouda is a historical city with many monuments and museums. It’s not just about chees and syrup waffles in Gouda. We can supply you with a walking tour of Gouda, but there’s also other ways to move around in Gouda, like hiring a step-bike. Schoonhoven is also an ancient town, famous for its silverware. You can visit the silver museum here or just have a stroll around town and enjoy all the ships coming by. Finally from Lekkerkerk you might hire a bycicly and take a ferry across the river Lek to visit the Unesco site of Kinderdijk with its may windmills. So plenty of options to extend your trip. Please contact us if you need more information.

Prices extension:
Town 2 persons 1 person
Schoonhoven €65,- €95,-
Lekkerkerk €65,- €100,-
Gouda €70,- €110,-

Price is per person per night and includes breakfast and tourist taxes.

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