The road trip through the Netherlands is divided into fourteen stages and starts in Friesland. Prefer to start nearby? No problem, because the route makes a round. So you can start in Goes or at Lopik, whatever you want. In principle, you do one stage a day, but depending on your attention span at the sights, it is best to cram two or three stages in a day. The first two days in Friesland you will visit the Elfstedenroute and see the hunebedden around Borger. On day three you catch some parts of the Zuiderzeerally, where in 1991, for example, Richard Burns drove.
Furthermore, the road trip through the Netherlands leads through almost every province, with the other way around Flevoland. Also, the creators seem to want to go around The Hague with a big bow. Kinderdijk, De Veluwe, Zeeland and even a castle route over the Utrecht Ridge are included. The route is already designed in Google Maps. All you have to do is enter it. See the full route on your desktop or mobile. And read about the official rules of shotgun calling before you leave, that saves hassle again.
Road trips have become immensely popular in recent years. Every year, thousands of Dutch people go out to explore America with a rental car or to drive a route through Scandinavia or the Alps. This year, of course, it’s all different. Whether a holiday abroad can continue is all highly uncertain. So many people have already put a big line through their road trip plans. But is that necessary, we thought? Why not take a road trip through the beautiful Netherlands? That got us thinking.
Online there are plenty of nice routes to be found. Think of the well-known routes across the Veluwe and in Limburg. But a whole route through the Netherlands? There’s hardly any of them. That had to change, we thought! We took the map of the Netherlands once and before we actually knew it, we had a very cool road trip criss-crossing the Netherlands. How many miles is this route? Over 2700 kilometres! So you can still enjoy a whole holiday ‘on the road
Stage 1: From the Elfstedenroute to the Drentse Land
Since road trips are often done abroad, we start our road trip in Zurich. No, not the Zurich in Switzerland, but the one in North-East Friesland! From there we actually move directly in the direction of the well-known Frisian villages and towns that we all know from the Elfstedentocht. Via Harlingen we go to the historic town of Franeker. Via a number of garlands on the north side of Leeuwarden, we deviate from the Elfstedenroute and come through Dokkum in Lauwersoog, where you can look out over the Wadden Sea. From Lauwersoog we enter the province of Groningen, from where we set course towards the south. Via Norg, Appelscha and Oranje we arrive in Drenthe. There we pass by Camp Westerbork and not much later we also arrive in the epic centre of the Hunebedden in the region around Borger. There is the finish of the first stage!
Stage 2: From the Drentse Land to the Elfstedenroute
During this stage number 2 we will finish the loop in the north of the Netherlands. Not long after the start of this ride we are already moving westwards in which we come through the Dwingelderveld. Via Dwingeloo and Elsoo we enter Friesland again via the neighbourhood canada. Then we pass the National Park de Alde Feanen, where with a lot of luck you can catch a glimpse of a bald eagle. Then we make a loop via Terherne and Joure where we drive along Lake Sneeker. Via Sneek and Burgwerd we come back to the Elfstedentocht territory. Via the well-known places such as Witmarsum, Makkum and Hindelopen, we drive south along the edge of lake IJssel. After a long day, this stage ends between the triangle of Lake Sloter, Lake Tuke and the Groote Brekken.
Stage 3: Right through the Weerribben-Wieden
Just after the start of day three, we quickly leave the province of Friesland behind us. After entering Slijkenburg we drive the necessary kilometers on the famous dike roads of the Zuiderzeerally, where in 1991 the regretted Richard Burns drove one of his first full asphalt rallies. Via the old town of Blokzijl we quickly end up in one of The Netherlands’ most famous nature reserves: the Weerribben-Wieden. Via Zwartsluis (where you really have to build up to eat a fish) the tour is continued along the Black Water, after which the IJssel comes into view not much later. Via Kampen and Wezup the village of Vorchten is reached, where the pound can cross the IJssel. On the dike roads along the IJssel we reach the end of this ride via Wijhe and Olst just above Deventer.
Stage 4: Hilly Overijssel
During this stage 4 we trek through the surprisingly hilly Overijssel heel. The first ‘mountain’ soon follows. Via the south side of Sallandse Heuvelrug we drive up via Holten de Holterberg. Especially at the end of August when the moor is in full bloom, the view on top is really worth a look! After the descent of the Holterberg (with stretches of 10% gradient), we continue to climb. After the Hellendoorn berg we drive a part of the former Luttenbergring, after which we come to the Elerberg. Via Ommen and Den Ham we leave the Sallandse territory behind us and enter Twente. Via the rural roads of Marle, Notter and Ypelo we pass the castle of Twickel. From there we move deeper and deeper into Twente. Via Zenderen, Tubbergen and Vasse, the landscape begins to simmer and continues to simmer. At Nutter we ride a part of the steepest part of the dutch cycling championship that was organized there in 2008 and 2011. Through Tilligte and Denekamp you end up with the land drifts and the Dinkel around the Lutterzand. A unique piece of nature along the Dutch/German border! Via Losser and Enschede the finish of this stage will be reached in Bentelo not much later.
Stage 5: The Achterhoek
The start of stage 5 is in Bentelo, but via the N740 and the Needse Berg we enter Gelderland quite quickly. After we pass the N18 at Groenlo, we pull into a big bend along the German border. Via Meddo, Winterswijk and Gendringen, the landscape starts to simmer again. Especially when passing ‘s-Heerenberg and Zeddam the view through the Bergherbos is really worth it. Via Etten, Silvolde and Sinderen we go north and cross the A18. There we drive a part of the motor circuit De Varsselring. After passing a number of castles in the northwest part of the Achterhoek we cross the IJssel at Zutphen. There we drive mostly on entire cool dike roads along the IJssel. At Welsum we take a turn to the west, to finish after a long day through the Achterhoek at Epe.
Stage 6: De Veluwe
Today is a day with the necessary altimeters on the program. We will drive both the well-known North Veluwe and South Veluwe route. Let’s start quietly. From Epe we travel across the N309 to ‘t Harde and Elburg. From Nunspeet there is a bend towards the south, where the Veluwse roads are starting to become quite rolling. After leaving the N310 we arrive at Vierhouten, where the real hillwork begins. From there we travel via Elspeet and Garderen via the N334 towards Apeldoorn, right through the northern part of the Veluwe. There we pass two well-known tourist attractions, namely Julianadorp and Apelheul. Via Loenen and Dieren we finally arrive at the edge of the Veluwe, which is also one of the steepest parts of the Veluwe. Via Rheden and Velp we take the exit north, back into the Veluwe. There we drive through Hoenderloo past the Kröller-Müller Museum out of the Veluwe again. Not much later the finish of the stage is in Ede.
Stage 7: Castle route over the Utrecht Ridge
This day there is a short stage ahead. After the start at Ede it is in one line towards the west, where we go up the Utrecht Ridge between Woudenberg and Austerlitz. Via Soesterberg and Soest we drive past Paleis Soestdijk and then drive south again via the Hoge Vuurseweg. There we pass another well-known royal building, namely Drakensteyn Castle. Via Den Dolder we drive through the south side of Zeist past the eponymous Zeist Castle. We continue to drive along prominent places on this route, because not much later we pass by House Doorn and Castle Amerongen. There lies one of the most hilly stretches of today’s route. At Elst we turn left on the N416, after which the finish is not much later at Veenendaal.
Stage 8: Waal en Meuse route
After the rolling stages for this, this stage is anything but that. Just after the start at Veenendaal we will go to Rhenen de Lower Rhine and Waal. Along the Waal and the Meuse we go along nice technical dike roads. Here we come along castle Hernen and the puddle known among divers at the Green Hills. At Nijmegen we cross the Waal twice and then drive on one of the most beautiful roads along the Waal. Via the Ooijpolder we leave the Waal behind for the time being and we move south. Via the Kraaijenberg Passes at Cuijk we enter North Brabant. Via the rural roads at Volkel and Gemert we move in the direction of Overloon, where one of the Netherlands’ most impressive war museums can be found. Shortly along the German border we cross the Meuse twice again to drive through the National Park De Hamert. This means that we have now arrived in Limburg! After passing the castle gardens of Arcen, the finish of this stage is near Panningen.
Stage 9: On and off in Limburg
As a car enthusiast you want to arrive in Limburg but one thing of course: looking for the hills in the south of the province. But make no mistake! Not far after the start we drive through the east side of Roermond through the National Park de Meinweg where Limburg already shows its first wrinkles in the landscape. Then we swing along the German border further south in the direction of Sittard. The real climbing starts as soon as we leave the N276 south of Sittard at Windraak, where we end up on the Panoramaweg near Puth. From that moment on, you’d better be sure of a good pair of brakes on your car. At Schimmert we cross the A79 to get how ironic through the town of Climbing. When you enter Fromberg, you will see for the first time the iconic images that can be seen every cycling spring of the Amstel Gold Race. From now on we have also arrived on the infamous Marlland route, one of The Netherlands’ most famous car routes. Via Mingersberg and Eys we continue in a southerly direction along the German border to drive towards the Three Country Point at Vaals. There is a unique driver’s road: the Eperbaan. With a number of hairpin bends and roads that go up and down constantly, this is almost an un-Dutch road. Finishes at Sleneken to add to that from a spicy day of steering!
Stage 10: Continued Marlland route
After a night of recovery we set our way back north during stage 10. For this we will of course still have to finish the necessary kilometers on that beautiful Marlland route. After a loop at Mheer we arrive at one of the most impressive places of the road trip. Here we pass the Dutch-American cemetery. A place where you really need to think about it during this trip. Then we head to the Keutenberg in the direction of Valkenburg, where we make a loop to drive both past the famous caves, as well as over the Cauberg. From that moment on, the landscape begins to level down. After crossing the River Geul we pass maastricht airport and then drive further north via the Juliana Canal along the Dutch-Belgian border. Not much later we drive right through Born: one of the epic centres of the Netherlands in the car field through the factory of Mini (VDL-Nedcar) that stands there. Via Monfort and Roermond we cross the Meuse for one last time to finish this stage at Baexem.
Stage 11: Along the Belgian border
After driving the necessary kilometers through Limburg, we drive across the border with Brabant at De Groote Peel. For rally lovers we come here on familiar territory. For example, we ride part of the classification test of Someren who has a prominent place in the ELE Rally. This is also the signal for the start of a well-known route that we are now going to drive. In the first part of this day we drive a part of the Kempenroute that leads us along the south side of Eindhoven. After passing the Strabrechtse Heide we drive through Valkenswaard, Borkel and Schaft and Eersel further and further towards the west of the province. For the animal lovers, a visit to the Beekse Bergen where this route practically goes along is definitely a good option to stretch your legs. Do you need a walk in nature? No problem! Via Alphen and the Chaamseweg we arrive at the Mastbos south of Breda not much later. The rest of the route takes us into another well-known rally area. To the southwest of Breda are the infamous classification tests of the former Night of Eight Times (now the GTC Rally). Via Rijsbergen, Zundert, Achtmaal and Wouwse Plantage we leave North Brabant behind us to enter Zeeland. It is clear that we are also entering a different landscape. The Brabant green countryside immediately changed as soon as the Southern foreport is crossed. Via Kruiningen and Kapelle the finish of stage 11 is near the Goese Meer near Wilhelminadorp.
Stage 12: Criss-crossing Zeeland
After the start of stage number 12 in Zeeland we go even further west, to literally the corners of our country. Via the Muidenweg we drive along a little later also over the Veerse Meer. Via Arnemuiden and Middelburg we then arrive at the Zeeland place where Bøf once wrote a small hit about it. You know, that place where they ate vodka with bokking… After a nod around the Westchaelsche Creek we drive up the N287, where for the first time you can really enjoy a beach view! At Domburg this party is over and we return inland to drive via Oostkapelle and Gapinge towards Veere. That’s where we turn the Polredijk: the road that Autoblog described as the most beautiful road in the Netherlands! Not much later, another treat awaits. It is time to move towards the spectacular Delta Works. We are going to cross the Delta works Neeltje Jans de Oosterschelde. Arriving again on the Zeeland mainland we swing through several rural roads and small village centres like those of Brouwershaven to drive on the N59 via Bruinisse, then we drive back back into North Brabant. There we not only pass through the fortress city willemstad, but above all we have not yet driven past one of Brabant’s most unique areas. Right: the Biesbosch! Driving all through the Biesbosch is not the best option, but to take the exit to the Bandijk at Werkendam will not disappoint you. Once returned to the route, cross the Upper Merwede near Gorinchem to head west via Sliedrecht to one of The Netherlands’ biggest tourist attractions. After all, what would a road trip through the Netherlands be to not drive through Kinderdijk!? After a look at the mills, we actually turn into one of the most beautiful dike roads in the Netherlands, namely the Lekdijk. This stage is not much later near Lopik!
Stage 13: and water route
At the start of the second last stage we immediately turn away from the Lekdijk at Lopik. But don’t worry! Via Oudewater, Waarder and Bodegraven we quickly arrive at another, very cool dike road. North of Bodegraven we turn right onto the Kerkweg, which turns not much later into the Meije which passes along the river of the same name and cuts through the place of the same name. When turning the Meije we drive through Breukelen past two of The Netherlands’ two most famous puddles. First of all we drive along the west side of the Loosdrechtse Plassen and then cross the A2 to cross the Vinkeveense Plassen via the Provincial Road which has gained quite a lot of popularity thanks to the necessary attention on Instagram. The continuation of the route leads us past a number of other puddles and lakes. At Langeraar we drive along the Langeraarse Plassen, at Roelofarendsveen we drive along Lake Braassemer and at Leiden we drive past Het Joppe and the Klinkenbergerplas. Before you notice it, you will quickly enter Noordwijk in this way. Although the beach is not yet visible from the route, you just know that this can’t take long! When you turn left at Aerdenhout and enter Zandvoort, a very pleasant North Sea breeze immediately blows against the car. Not only the beach of Zandvoort is a reason to let the route pass by, but of course the circuit of Zandvoort in this route can not be missed either. At Bloemendaal aan Zee we then make our way over the N200 where you have to pay extra attention. Who knows, you might spot a few deer between the dunes of the South Kennemerland National Park. The last part of this stage we zigzag between the big cities to really enjoy the North Dutch landscapes with the accompanying waters and puddles. At Buitenhuizen we take over the pound the North Sea Canal, to drive along The Uitestermeer via Uitgeest. After passing Egmond aan Zee, this stage ends on the edge of the Schoorlse Duinen in Bergen.
Stage 14: From North Holland to the Afsluitdijk
It is already time for the very last stage of the ultimate road trip through the Netherlands. After leaving the National Park behind at Schoorl, after a loop around Alkmaar we set our course again towards the roads along the different waters in North Holland. At Veenhuizen we turn left onto the Groenedijk, to drive along the Oostdijk along the Ringvaart. Via Rustenberg and Schermerhorn we drive along the Molendijk then past the Schermerringvaart. The dike roads and waters keep us alert on this route, because after crossing the N244 we turn left to drive along the Vinkenhop and the Knollendammer Vaart. These dike roads then take us to Purmerend, where via Monnickendam take a small trip. At Monnickendam we cross to a peninsula. Indeed: a peninsula! The town of Marken is situated on the edge of Markermeer and offers the ultimate view of this lake with the Horse of Marken in the foreground. After a return over the Zeedijk we head back to the north of the province. There we drive right through Edam where the famous cheese market is organized. After passing Edam, the road trip is really almost at its end. Via Spierdijk, Hoogwoud and Aartswoud we turn this trip narrow road along the water for the last time, after leaving the Greeting Canal and the Waardkanaal behind us, we make a loop around the Amstel lake where we turn up the A7. The experts of the Dutch roads know exactly which road this is. This is the Afsluitdijk! When turning off the Afsluitdijk we find out where this road trip started fourteen stages ago: in Zurich. After sending 2700 kilometres on The Netherlands’ most beautiful roads, it’s time to head home again!
Zurich is a village in Friesland