The Green Heart of Holland
- Destination: The green heart of Holland (Gouda, Schoonhoven, Oudewater and more)
- Duration: 8 days (7 nights)
- Difficulty trip:
- Inclusive: Seven 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 journey to the first hotel and return home, lunch and dinner, travel- and cancellation Insurance
- Dog: Not allowed
€ 639,- per person based on 2 people (Surcharge for 2 weekend days luggage transport € 40,-)
€ 995,- for 1 person (Surcharge for 2 weekend days luggage transport € 80,-)
If you are with more persons, please contact Hike in Holland for pricing
If you have no need for luggage transport there is a discount of € 65 when booking with 2 persons and € 130 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
Wandering on the grassdikes and along the meandering Dutch rivers. Enjoying everything that nature in Holland has to offer you. You can’t get it more typical Dutch than our tour in the Green Heart of Holland. Painted by our Dutch painters in the Golden Age.You’ll walk through some protected areas, like the wetland of Willeskop or the Loetbos. You pass through or sleep in picturesque villages like Oudewater, Schoonhoven, Montfoort or Linschoten. You’ll visit the city of Gouda, famous for its chees and syrupwaffles, and as pretty as old cities get, but above all, you’ll get to know the land the Dutch created centuries ago. Green embankments, countless canals, many a rare plant or flower, endearing cows, migratory and resident birds, windmills and rivers like the Vlist, the Oude Rijn, the Loet, the Lek or the Hollandse Ijssel. The thing you’ll encounter least of all is other people, and that’s a rare thing in this part of Holland surrounded by cities like Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Hague. So come and get to know us.
The green heart is a national landscape. And that is not without reason. This is as Holland as you can get. You’ll walk through the polders that are below sea level, between countless small canals and meandering rivers. You’ll visit som picturesque old towns in the area, and you’ll walk on grass paths, small roads, with many a cow staring at you, wondering why you’re not taking it easy. You’ll see where the Dutch masters got their inspiration from. The skies here are famous and different every day. On top of this you’ll visit the historical town of Gouda, famous for it’s cheese and syrup waffles. In short, if want to say you’ve seen Holland, this area is a must see.
One of the canals in Schoonhoven
Day 1 Arrival in Schoonhoven
You arrive at your hotel in the centre of the little town Schoonhoven, where you are able to park your car for free for the next days. Feel free to explore the little town after you have settled in at the hotel. You can visite for example the Silver museum, a museum about the art of Silver. Or you can stay at your hotel and enjoy the traffic on the river.
Hiking path between Schoonhoven en Lekkerkerk
Day 2 Schoonhoven – Lekkerkerk (20 km)
You’ll start your walkingtour in the silvertown Schoonhoven. If you arrive the night before, have a look around town or visit the silvermuseum. You’ll start your day along the river Lek, and then will descent from the dike into the polders. You’ll see the countless small canals, you’ll walk on small roads, grass paths, enjoy the green embankments and you get to see many birds, like pheasants, quail, egrets, herons and swallows. The perfect start for your week of walking.
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.
A typical hikingtrail in the Green Heart of Holland
Day 3 Lekkerkerk – Gouda (21 km)
The second day the walkingroute goes from the Lekkerkerk to the ancient city of Gouda. Shortly after leaving Lekkerkerk you’ll walk on the Paddenpad (Toad path), a corridor between two rivers, where every year more rare plants and butterflies are found. This path takes you to the Loetbos, one of the few woodland areas on the route. You’ll pass the village of Berkenwoude and after that a series of paths and small roads take you to the city of Gouda, where your hotel is in the city center. If you do have some time and energy, then take some time to have a look around town. The market square is just a few minutes from your hotel.
Wild flower along one of the paths
Day 4 Gouda – Oudewater (20 km)
You’ll walk out of Gouda along a few waterways, which will bring you to the Reeuwijkse Plassen, an area with 13 lakes, and narrow roads in between them. A lovely way to start you day. After leaving this area you’ll follow a part of the “Hollandse Waterlinie”, an area that could be flooded by the Dutch as a way to defend themselves. The two waterways, Enkele Wiericke and Dubbele Wiericke are part of this defense zone. After this you’ll arrive in the village of Hekendorp and the river Hollandse Ijssel. You’ll follow this river into Oudewater. Take some time to have a look around this old village and visit the Witches Weigh House, that is now a museum.
One of the beautiful houses in the green heart of Holland
Day 5 Oudewater – Harmelen (19 km)
After a short tour around Oudewater, we’ll arrive at the river Lange Linschoten. This is a meandering little river with many a weeping willow and typical old farms. Eventually this takes you into the village of Linschoten. After Linschoten you’ll follow waterways, walk along lakes, through the polder until you arrive at the river Oude Rijn. You’ll follow this for a while until it arrives in Harmelen.
Statue for the barge
Day 6 Harmelen – IJsselstein (18 km)
After leaving Harmelen through some new nature, you’ll walk towards the village of Montfoort. Here you’ll walk through the old village center, perfect for a break, and right through the castle. You’ll leave Montfoort on a grass path in between the polders, which will give you perfect views on the Green Heart. After this you’ll arrive at the Hollandse Ijssel again, and you’ll follow it on a grass path right into IJsselstein. IJsselstein looks like suburbia on the outside, but has a beautiful old city center, which is where your hotel is.
Lapwings gather for the great migration south
Day 7 IJsselstein – Schoonhoven (22 km)
The last hiking day of this tour gives you perhaps the best walk of the week. Soon after leaving IJsselstein, you’ll arrive on a grass path between the meadows and along some beautiful birdwatch areas. You’ll certainly meet far more birds than people here. The path end in the protected area Willeskop, where there is a nice viewing platform. After this you’ll walk through the typical village Polsbroekerdam. Then you’ll arrive at a Kerkepad (Church path), between the villages of Polsbroekerdam and Cabauw, which ends at the church of Cabauw. Eventually you’ll follow the waterway Lopiker Wetering into Schoonhoven. If you haven’t visited this town before the start of your first walk, you may do so now. Also there are many silversmiths in this silvertown, so there’s something for everyone.
Day 8 Home
After a last good night's sleep and a good breakfast you are leaving with hopeully some beautiful memories for home or an other destination.
This trip has room for extension in several places. The city of Gouda asks for an extra day if you want to visit all the sights. The towns of Schoonhoven, Oudewater and IJsselstein have a lovely old city center to relax a bit in, and there are museums to visit. In most places you can hire bycicles to visit the area further, or maybe take a boat tour (like in Oudewater). From Lekkerkerk it is possible to cross the river Lek and visit the Unesco heritage site of Kinderdijk with its famous windmills. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +31(0)6 10135509 for personal advice.
Price is per person per night and includes breakfast and tourism taxes.