Regional Information
The Dutch Coastal Route (North Sea Route)
The Dutch Coastal Route (North Sea Route)
Coastal resorts to nature reserves - the route with everything.
 

The Dutch Coastal Route is made up of routes LF1 and LF10 (see PDF guide for this route, in Dutch only here) of the national cycle network which in turn make up part of the larger North Sea Cycle Route (www.northsea-cycle.com) or EuroVelo 12 (www.eurovelo.com). The route covers around 570km and is essentially made up of two sections taking you along the coast from Sluis in the South West to Callantsoog along the Noordzee Route (LF1), and then continuing north along the Waddenzee route (LF10) to Nieuweschans.  The two sections are distinctly different with the LF1 characterised by long, narrow dune areas, lively coastal resorts and the South Holland and Zealand islands, and the LF10 taking in calm panoramic scenery, farmland and sparsely populated villages as well as passing the Wadden Sea Islands world heritage site.

Picture: from www.holland.com

Key places of interest along the Noordzee route (LF1) include Zoutelande and Westkapelle, collectively known as the Zeeland Riviera. Zoutelande has an unremarkable history, but in recent times has become a popular seaside resort, owing to its sheltered geography, long beaches and high sunshine. Zoutelande also has some of the highest dunes in the Netherlands, reaching up to 54 meters and making them a popular spot for hand gliders.

Further down the coast and around 35km from Rotterdam is the small, little known fortress town of Brielle. Brielle is steeped in history and was a key town during the Eighty Years War as the capture of Brielle by the Dutch Rebells in 1572 signalled the beginning of the Dutch uprising against Spain. The town has a number of prominent architectural features and national monuments, not least the fortress that surrounds the town that has been largely unchanged since 1713.

The town of Callantsoog marks the end of the LF1 section of the Dutch Coastal Route and is another fine coastal resort. The town has been rebuilt several times following coastal flooding, with the construction taking place further in land on each occasion. To the south of Callantsoog is the Zwanenwater, a diverse nature reserve rich in plants and birdlife well worth a visit.

One of the highlights of the LF10 section of the route is the Lauwersmeer National Park (www.np-lauwersmeer.nl). The fascinating reserve has been gradually building since the area was dammed in 1969. Now a protected area, the Lauwersmeer National Park has become internationally renowned for its diverse bird and plant life that rely on the specific conditions created by the wet/dry and brackish and freshwater extremes. Of particular importance are the orchids of the area that offer beautiful floral displays in June and July. For cyclists, the area has a dedicated cycle route “Rondje Lauwersmeer” that consists of a 45km circuit covering the various areas of the park.

All in all the Dutch Coastal Route provides an inspiring, diverse and stunning journey that is well worth the effort.

Web Link: http://www.northsea-cycle.com/