de_haar_castle_moat

Cycling from Utrecht Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Premium Adventures, Short Breaks, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
The Netherlands
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C05UT
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

6 Days Flight Inclusive
6 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

This single-centre cycling holiday is based in beautiful Utrecht, the Netherlands' fourth largest city and the country's religious centre since the 8th century. The city's ancient centre has many structures and buildings that date back to the High Middle Ages (1000 - 1250 AD) having been the country's most important city until Amsterdam took up the mantle during the Dutch Golden Age (1581 - 1672 AD). Still a major trade centre, sitting on the banks of the River Rhine, places of particular interest ar the Cathedral of Saint Martin and the Dom Tower, the tallest belfry in the Netherlands. As well as many theatres, art galleries, museums and music venues, the city also has a growing monument in the Letter sof Utrecht - an endless poem in the cobblestones of the Oude Gracht in Utrecht to which a letter gets added every Saturday. Utrecht was named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2017.

A recurring theme along the routes on this trip is the Dutch Waterline (the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie 1870-1940) - this was an important military defence line in Dutch history. Canals and sluices made it possible to inundate large expanses of land to keep an advancing enemy at bay. In places where inundation was not possible forts were built, blending in with the landscape. You'll also cycle past the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park - the largest wooded area in the Randstad.

At a Glance

  • 5 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel
  • All breakfasts
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • High quality bikes

Trip Highlights

  • Discover areas of natural beauty along the New Dutch Waterline - an important military defence line in Dutch history
  • Visit historical forts, castles and fortified towns
  • Discover the delights of one of Europe's most beautiful towns - Utrecht

Is This Trip for You?

The majority of the cycling on this trip is on cycle paths and quiet roads with the majority being flat with the occasional short climb. Distances range from 57km to 76km on each day.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, our local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together.

Adult min age:
12

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Utrecht
End City:
Utrecht

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Utrecht

    On this trip you stay in Utrecht, taking day trips out to explore the surroundings. On your first day take time to discover the canals and many cosy cafes, national monuments, including the Dom Tower, museums and even world heritages sites. Utrecht is also the town of designer/architect Gerrit Rietveld and Dick Bruna who created the children's books about 'Miffy'.
    Stay at the Hotel Mitland with Breakfast for 5 nights

  • Day 2

    Round Tour South - New Dutch Waterline

    The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (1870 - 1940) was an important military defence line in Dutch history. Canals and sluices made it possible to inundate large expanses of land to prvent the advance of enemy troops and vehicles and where inundation was not possible forts were built, blending in with the landscape - these have become local tourist attractions. The 85km length of the defensive line has become a green corridor, where wildlife has flourished due to restrictions on land use and building.
    You can shorten the route by 5km by taking a ferry at Fort Everdingen, the home of the Duits & Lauret brewery, also a great place to stop for refreshments.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 67 km / 41.5 miles
  • Day 3

    Round Tour West - Rivers & Small Towns along the Waterline

    Follow the River Vecht to De Haar Castle, the largest castle in the country. Beautifully restored in 1892, in neo-Gothic style, the castle welcomes visitors to tour its stunning rooms and halls as well as the beautiful gardens. Continue cycling to follow the River Old Rhine to the historic fortified town of Woerden then on to Oudewater where you can opt to visit the Weighing Hall (1482) where women used to be weighed to determine whether or not they were witches. Step on the scales to find out if you would have been deemed light enough to fly on a broomstick. Enjoy the natural scenery along the River Hollandsche Ijssel, which leads to the fortified town of Montfoort and its historical buildings. Follow the River Leidse Rijn back to Utrecht.
    Today you can shorten your route by 9 km by skipping Oudewater and the smaller rivers.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 66 km / 41 miles
  • Day 4

    Round Tour North – Oostelijke Vechtplassen

    Today's route takes you northwards to the Oostelijke Vechtplassen - the collective name for the 7,000-hectare nature reserve and lake district, created largely as a result of long-term peat extraction and important to many bird species. Cycle along its southern border, passing several New Dutch Waterline forts. Then cycling along the River Vecht, you visit a series of beautiful old villages such as Maarssen, Breukelen, Loenen aan de Vecht and Vreeland. You eventually reach the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park where you enjoy panoramic views. The wetlands beyond are also beautiful and tranquil with their very rare habitat type (floating mats of sphagnum mosses and other vegetation, anchored by sedges, on the surface of the water or on top of very wet peat).
    You can shorten your route by 8 km by skipping Vreeland and the nature reserves at Tienhoven and Molenpolder. Cycle directly to Groenekan instead.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 69 km / 43 miles
  • Day 5

    Round Tour East – Castles, Orchards & Woods

    From Utrecht, today's route follows the Kromme Rijn and the Langbroekerwetering canal to historical Wijk bij Duurstede. Between the 7th and 9th centuries the city was a centre of international trade that was pillaged by the Vikings. The city has the only drive-through windmill in the world and the ruins of Duurstede Castle and the Castle Park are worth a visit. The nearby St. John the Baptist Great Church is a Gothic pseudo-basilica with an unfinished tower and is a national monument. The countryside scenery today alternates between meadows, castles, orchards and stately country houses. You also get to cycle through the woods at the edge of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park. On your way back to Utrecht, you reach the town of Doorn and its impressive castle, Slot Zeist, surrounded by a beautiful English landscaped park.
    You can also take a 5mi / 8km longer route. After Wijk bij Duurstede, follow the 'Limes', the old frontier of the Roman Empire, along the Lower Rhine. The beautiful village of Amerongen and Amerongen Castle are worth cycling the extra distance.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 76 km / 47 miles
  • Day 6

    Leave Utrecht

    After breakfast depart from Utrecht.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel

hotel_mitland_pool

You'll stay in the 4* Mitland Hotel located in the outskirts of the city and next to a lovely city park. Enjoy your breakfast by the waterside, overlooking the northern moat of historic Fort De Bilt with the option to upgrade to half board and enjoy dinner at the hotel too. The hotel's facilities include a bowling alley, a swimming pool and fitness room. You can cycle to the town centre in less than 10 minutes.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £145.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

The Netherlands offers a variety of famous cheeses and local specialities that may be found throughout the country. In Utrecht, Reypenaer is a unique artisanal cheese. A variety of Gouda, it is taken through a few maturation stages that take place in controlled conditions in an old warehouse near the Oude Rijn river.  There are three "aged" varieties: Reypenaer 1 year has a soft creamy texture and flavours that are slightly creamy, fruity, salty, and nutty. The slightly longer aged Reypenaer VSOP, aged for 2 years, has a delicate crystalline texture, a strong, full flavour and aromas of caramel, wood, hazelnut and chocolate. The longest aged is Reypenaer XO Reserve, ripened from 2.5 to 3 years, provides a complex, deep-flavoured cheese with mature crystalline texture and aromas of cognac, walnuts, butter, caramel and grass.

Dutch cuisine includes specialities such as krokets (various flavours including meat, seafood and cheese) that are breaded and deep-fried and can be eaten on their own or in a sandwich form in a bun or roll (broodje kroket);  stroopwafels, delicious caramel wafer biscuits originally from the city of Gouda. Other sweet treats include kletskop cookies, Weesper moppen cookies and Hopje candies flavoured with coffee and caramel.

Joining Instructions

Your trip starts at the first hotel on the afternoon of day 1.

Please contact us if you would like to arrange flights and/or train travel to Utrecht.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Transfers are not included in the cost of the trip. Taxi transfers to the hotel can be arranged locally at Utrecht train station.

Location start:
Utrecht
Location end:
Utrecht

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Warm top and leggings for the early spring and autumn departures

Windproof and waterproof layer

Comfortable shoes and clothes for the time off the bike if you want to explore the towns

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use touring bikes provided by our local agent. All bikes are supplied with:

  • rear pannier
  • bike lock
  • 1 puncture repair kit

Bike sizes will have been given to the local operator in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust.

Please note helmets are not provided and we recommend that you take your own on this trip.

E-Bikes

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it. You can upgrade to an E-bike on a number of our European trips.

Bike Repairs

As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above.  You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees.

N.B This does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling to be undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and the ‘Is this trip for you’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

de_haar_castle aerial

Practical Information

Passport

The Netherlands

Two pages required for entry stamp.

A passport must be valid for at least six months beyond planned date of departure from the Schengen area.

Visa

The Netherlands

Visit the Embassy of the Netherlands website for the most current visa information.

The Netherlands is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter the Netherlands for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

No visa required for British passport holders.

For further Brexit travel advice please visit www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/brexit-advice-for-travellers

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

The Netherlands

None required.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

The Netherlands's Timezone:
Europe/Amsterdam CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

The Netherlands's Electricity:

The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances, if the standard voltage in your country is between 220 - 240 V. If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100 V - 127 V as is in the US, Canada and most South American countries, you'll need a voltage converter. You can also consider getting a combined power plug adapter/voltage converter.

European plug - 2 round pins.

Money

The Netherlands's Currency

The national currency of the Netherlands is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2021) of approximately 1.17 to the GBP, 0.85 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.62 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available and usually the most convenient way of obtaining Euros. Travellers cheques are accepted in banks. Credit cards are widely used.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunches and dinners are not included in the itinerary as there are good restaurant choices and the option to upgrade to Half Board at the hotel. Please allow some spending money for this - we recommend approximately €10-20pp per day for lunch and €15-40pp per day for dinner, depending on where you eat.

dom_sq_-_utrecht_uni

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.