The Dutch are almost as famous for cycling as for cheese and wooden shoes and one of the best ways to discover the low lands is -of course- on your own and on a bike!
Virtually every street in Holland can be cycled, as nearly every major artery has separated bike paths, which make pedalling anywhere in the region a breeze.
Due to Cruise Port IJmuiden’s location near both old and famous cities and nature parks, you’re at the ideal starting point for a day of fun on a bike.
You will not find a bike rental at neither one of the terminals (due to the fact cruise ships come on an irregular basis) but it is possible to rent a bike in advance and have it delivered almost next to the ship you are travelling on.
A well-known and reliable rental company offering this service is Dutch Pedelec Tours which has both normal and state-of-the-art electric bikes (also known as pedelecs) for rent. This company offers both guided tours (various languages, small groups) as well as individual rentals. Also, there is a possibility to rent a bike at the main railway station of Haarlem. This city can easily be reached from Cruise Port IJmuiden using one of the public busses. Traveling time from both terminals to Haarlem is approximately 30 to 45 minutes, one way.
Some cruise lines also offer nice bike tours (including guide and of course, a bike); it may be a good idea to book one of those tours if you don’t want to go cycling on your own.
If you want to go for a ride through the beautiful nature, (on your own) we can recommend visiting the nearby National Park Kennemerland, one of the 21 national parks in The Netherlands. Overhere, short and long (walking and biking) routes take you through a varied landscape of forest and dunes and the difference in height forms an extra challenge. If you climb to the top of a dune, you are often rewarded with a stunning view! Along the way there are many opportunities for stopping, for example, at one of the estates, at the “Duincafé” in the Visitors’ Centre or at one of the many picnic tables along the sides of the paths.
During the past years, many cruise passengers have been asking about visiting Amsterdam on a bike. The answer to this question is “yes, you can” but it may not be a very good idea if you’re not a very experienced cyclist. Traffic is very heavy in the inner city of Amsterdam most of the times and the locals do make their own traffic rules and will cross your path in any way possible. Seriously, going on a canal cruise may be a much better and safer option!
All together, you don’t need to be a hardcore rider on a shiny bike to enjoy cycling in most parts of Holland. Because such a large proportion of the population rides regularly it’s easy to jump on to a bike and blend right in.