Those who think the Netherlands is not interesting country for hiking are so wrong. The Netherlands has close to 40 long-distance trails and circuits which will take you several days to complete. From the north with its polders to the south with its hills, the scenery is different in all of them. There is a hike for everyone.
Hiking in the Netherlands might seem unlikely to the experienced Rovers and Rangers or those who have a mountain in their back garden. The Vaalserberg, is the highest point in the country at 322,4 metres high, and is located in the south of Limburg. With 17 long distance trails with a minimum of 200 kilometres and 22 theme-based tracks with lengths between 80 and 350 kilometres, there should be something interesting for everybody, right?
The Dutch coast path follows the sandy beaches and windy dunes from Belgium to Germany. Near Belgium, you’ll see the Deltaworks up close and cross some of the barriers that keep the provinces of Zeeland and South-Holland safe in case of storms and high sea-levels. If you are interested in sea preservation and safety of the coastal areas and people, consider joining the Paths located in this region. Further up north you can find the cities of The Hague and Haarlem and the salty fields of the Beemster, famous for its cheese. After crossing the Afsluitdijk you might even spot some seals, which live in the Waddenzee. The Waddenzee is an extraordinary place and was added to the UNESCO’s world heritage list in 2014. With over 700 kilometers of varied landscapes, cities and cultural curiosities, it’s the longest trail in the country.
Pieterpad is something completely different. No sea and dunes, but forests, orchards and hills. If you feel like it, you could visit the seals at Pieterburen before heading south. The path meanders through the eastern provinces and crosses the German border on several occasions. There is a variety of polder landscape up north, but it soon transfers into forest and heather fields. You cover several hilly sites, but overall it remains flat until you get to the far south. Although the track covers over 500 kilometres it only comes across a few cities. Groningen and Maastricht can show all their medieval glory as the trail leads you right through their city centres. Rovers and Rangers that are interested in both nature and culture may find this trail really interesting.
Theme-based tracks are often circuits that can lead you through the hills of the National Park Veluwe, around the marshes in the south or along several hanseatic cities. Most of the names cover the theme, so if you need some more input for choosing your Path, you could look up a trail that is in this area.
The Netherlands has excellent public transport which makes it easy to cover only a part of a walk if you don’t have the time to complete it.