The 12 best hiking routes in the Netherlands

To be fair, the Netherlands offers countless hiking routes that are worth your time. From a forest hike to a hike straight through the dunes. Divers for sure and you’ll find a wide variety in scenery and species you’ll meet on the way. In this blog post we highlight the most beautiful (corona proof) hiking routes for you per province!

1. Boswachterij Amerongse berg, Utrecht (Utrecht)

Did you know that Utrecht is the smallest province of the Netherlands? Just a fun fact to start with. Yet this small province is rich in beautiful nature, which you can enjoy while hiking. Take Boswachterij Amerongse berg, for example.

This forest is one of the oldest forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. After the forest was originally created as a coniferous forest a hundred years ago, a beautiful mixed forest has been created over time by the spontaneous growth of oak, birch and beech trees. Boswachterij Amerongen has been part of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park since 2003.

During the route you will pass the Sterrenbos, which has been laid out with French stately beech avenues and straight paths. This walk also takes you to the highest point of the ridge: the Amerongse Kop (69 m above NAP).

In the Ice Age, glaciers pushed large amounts of sand in front of them, leaving behind an elongated ridge, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. In the 19th century, the ridge was forested with Scots pine, later with Douglas fir and larch to record the drifting sand. The spontaneous growth of oak, birch and beech has now created varied mixed forests.

Length: 8 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2 hours
Start and end point: Forest restaurant 't Berghuis in Amerongen
Route: via ANWB 

2. Spotting sand lizards in the Schoorlse Duinen (North Holland)

At the end of March, beginning of April, the sand lizards come from their hibernation. It is therefore possible to spot them in the dunes of Schoorl. But it is not easy. In May it is mating season, when the male shows off an emerald green wedding suit. So do your best to discover them! This beautiful and fun route starts at Buitencentrum Schoorlse Duinen. The best way to walk this route, so that you have the greatest chance of spotting the sand lizards, is to walk very slowly and look carefully at the ground. Pay special attention to the open spaces, where they like to warm up in the morning sun. But don't forget to look around, there is much more to discover in this rugged dune area, such as forests, moors and climbing dunes.

Length: 12 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2,5 hours
Start and end point: ‘Buitencentrum Schoorlse Duinen’ in Schoorl
Route: via ANWB

3. Het Reestdal, Balkbrug (Overijssel)

The Reestdal is a wooded peat area on the border of Overijssel and Drenthe. It is a small-scale and varied landscape with forests, old hamlets, moors, riparian lands with dotter flowers, meadows with rattles and of course the Reest, the stream that, according to an old poem, moves through the landscape like a grand duchess.

The route partly leads you along the 30-kilometer-long Reest - like a natural border between Overijssel and Drenthe - winds through the wooded landscape with moors, fens, gardens and estates. In the summer months it seems like a quiet stream, but when autumn and winter come, the stream can suddenly turn into a wild stream that likes to burst its banks. The water is brown because of the high iron and peat content of the soil. The Reestdal is a true paradise for plants and animals.

The walk also follows part of the old church path from Den Kaat to Oud-Avereest. This church path crosses the Reest briefly by means of a small bridge. A church path was a path to church; it was mainly used on Sunday. Many church paths are no longer used.

Length: 9 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2,5 hours
Start and end point: Three-way Meppelerweg / Hoogeveenseweg in Balkbrug
Route: via ANWB 

4. Langs de wijngaarden, Maastricht (Limburg)

This is a nice route for those who need stronger leg muscles or a better condition. You have to climb a lot, but with unparalleled views as a reward. The most beautiful part is on the Sint-Pietersberg. Chances are that magpies will join you during the climb. Upstairs are lawns full of flowers, marl caves and beech avenues through dense forest. The trees muffle the city noise from below. Halfway through the climb, the beautiful Château Neercanne appears.

During this route you will also pass 3 different vineyards. But hold back a bit with wine tasting, because you also have to go back home! Bringing a bottle to enjoy at home is therefore perhaps a better idea!

Length: 11 kilometers
Duration: approximately 3 hours
Start and end point: Parking area Fort Sint, Maastricht
Route: via ANWB 

5. Mindful through the dunes, Wassenaarseslag (South-Holland)

You must have been in touch with it once, mindfulness. Mindful walking is nothing more than walking with attention. The route through the dune landscape at Wassenaarseslag is perfect for walking and enjoying with full attention. The area consists exclusively of forest and dunes and you do not really have to think which way you should go. The ANWB has developed the perfect route for you, which also includes mindfulness exercises. It is certain that you will come home completely relaxed!

Length: 7 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2 hours
Start and end point: Parking De Kuil in Wassenaar
Route: via ANWB 

6. Mudflat walking on the Marker Wadden, Lelystad (Flevoland)

Marker Wadden is the newest part of the Netherlands: a group of nature islands that bring new life to the Markermeer which opened in April 2019. You can take a ferry from the Bataviahaven in Lelystad to the Marker Wadden. The starting point is near the harbor where you arrive on the island. From this point you will discover the beautiful new habitat for plants, insects, fish and birds. It really is a natural paradise where you can enjoy a new beach, new hiking trails and new birdwatching spots.

Part of this route is about boardwalks that run through sandy and swampy areas. A journey through new nature where the birds fly around you. Along the way you will encounter three bird-watching huts where you can enjoy the many birds in peace.

Length: 6 kilometers
Duration: approximately 1,5 hours
Start and end point: ‘Hut van de eilandwachter’ on the Marker Wadden
Route: via Natuurmonumenten 

7. Flower dikes in Zuid-Beveland (Zeeland)

At Zeeland you might expect a nice beach walk. But go crazy, and enjoy the other side of the beach, the dunes. Spring is the perfect time to take this route. Because at this time of the year, the dikes in Zeeland are full of beautiful flowers. The dikes of South Beveland have been constructed to protect the polders from the sea. The winding dikes surround each other like comforting arms. They are extra beautiful in the spring. The grazing sheep spread the flower seeds with their fur.

This route largely uses the "Sporen in de zak" walking route network. The walking route network is indicated in the field with yellow arrows on square, green signs. Ideal!

Length: 10 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2 hours
Start and end point: ‘Schaapskooi’ Nieuwkamerseweg in Heinkenzand
Route: via ANWB 

8. National Park Drentsche Aa, Oudemolen (Drenthe)

The Drentsche Aa is a system of streams, also called deeps. It is a National Park with surprising vistas, fields, meadows, forests, moors, shifting sands and pools. During the route you will pass one of the most beautiful depths: Het Oudemolensche Diep. The most beautiful is this in the spring, when the hay meadows bloom in bloom along the banks.

You can also encounter the Rapunzel during the walk. This is an ink-colored, sometimes blue-metallic shiny and rather flossy, somewhat loose-fitting flower. The plant blooms only briefly, between mid-May and mid-June, reaching about knee height. He likes a nutrient-poor soil, where clear seepage water bubbles up, which is exactly the case in the brook valley of the Drentsche Aa and especially at the Oudemolensche and Taarlosche Diep. What is special is that the plant is here in the open grassland, while it grows mainly in moist deciduous forests across the border to the south.

Length: 7 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2 hours
Start and end point: Parking Molensteeg Oudemolen in Oudemolen
Route: via ANWB

You can read more about this park in our blog; '21 NATIONAL PARKS IN THE NETHERLANDS THAT ARE WORTH VISITING'.

9. Wings of Westerwolde, Sellingen (Groningen)

A walk around Sellingen is a nice introduction to the semi-open wings landscape of Westerwolde: low grasslands, bushes, wooded banks, higher ash trees. Sandy roads and deck paths wind through it pleasantly and give a different view of the surroundings.

The route starts in the middle of Sellingen, but soon you walk into the beautiful nature reserve. In addition to all the beauty in the nature reserve, this route also includes an early Gothic Dutch Reformed church, the milk factory of Sellingen and an old Stelmakerij. You can't go in here right now but are definitely worth looking at from the outside.

Length: 11 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2,5 hours
Start and end point: Dorpsstraat 1 in Sellingen
Route: via ANWB 

10. Heather everywhere, Someren (North Brabant)

With this route you’ll walk across the largest heath area of North Brabant. What you see here, that's what most of Brabant looked like about a century and a half ago. The route takes you through an old production forest that has shaken the clean lines. You will also see the largest heather in our country, which is famous for its vegetation and the marsh birds that reside there. Chances are that you are suddenly face to face with a cow on the way. A walk of pure nature.

Length
: 12 kilometers
Duration: approximately 3 hours
Start and end point: ‘Natuurpoort Vennenhorst’ in Someren
Route: via ANWB 

11. Ornate bulbous and tuberous plants in the Rijsterbos, Rijs (Friesland)

As a lover of flowers and plants, you can indulge yourself with this route. Throughout the spring, the castle garden at the Rijsterbos is full of brightly colored flowers. From crocus to wild tulip and from lungwort to hollow root. These are Stinsen plants, graceful bulbous and tuberous plants that were formerly planted at country houses, rectories and farmsteads.

Ferns do very well in the dark, moist Rijsterbos. Everywhere along the paths you will discover double leaves, wide spiny fern and oak fern. Some ferns remain green all winter, others lose their foliage in the fall. The underground rhizome then goes into winter dormancy. Around April-May, new shoots emerge from this at lightning speed. If you did the walk again the next day, they would clearly have rolled out a lot further.

Length: 7 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2 hours
Start and end point: Marderleane 2 in Rijs
Route: via ANWB

12. National Park De Hoge Veluwe, Hoenderlo (Gelderland)

It does not matter when you are here, the National Park De Hoge Veluwe looks different in every season. So, you can safely do the same walk 4 times a year and see something different every time.

At the beginning of the route is the two-kilometer straight 'Lange Laan', one of the most monumental forest paths in the Netherlands. In Autumn colors, this piece is very beautiful thanks to beech, oak, American oak and birch on both sides. You can also enjoy extensive moors, with here and there a shiny moor, and hilly forests. There is also a good chance that you will encounter deer, swans and other game in this area.

For those who come back after the corona period, it is definitely recommended to visit the Kröller-Müller museum, one of the most beautiful museums in the Netherlands.

Length
: 9 kilometers
Duration: approximately 2 hours
Start and end point: Parking Het Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe in Hoenderlo
Route: via ANWB


We have selected the most beautiful nature walk for you for each province. Enough inspiration to discover in the coming period what spring has to offer us this year! Stroll and enjoy!

Source: ANWB https://www.anwb.nl/wandelen/nederland and https://www.natuurmonumenten.nl/routes?page=1&wat=wandelen

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