This is the first time i write for iamgreek.nl so some introductions might be in order.
Hi there, Im Panos, from Pirgos Greece and i am a blogger, cyclist and photography lover. Through iamgreek.nl I’ll be sharing with you my bike journeys and a lot of useful tips and routes to get to learn the Netherlands a bit better and discover some amazing locations!
Since this is the first trip I’m going to go easy on you with a ride that you can make either by car or bike. I personally recommend this trip for recreational and everyday cyclists.
The start of a great biking trip.
My destination on this ride was the island of Marken, which is surrounded by a barrier. It is located 25km northeast of Amsterdam and inside the IJ lake (formerly named IJ sea). Although Marken is an island, it is connected to the mainland by a road, making it easier for travelers to visit.
As mentioned before you can do this route by bike or by car but if you decide to do it by bike, the bicycle path runs all the way along rural streets dedicated to traffic.
I started in Zeeburg (Amsterdam Oost) and crossed the tall arch traffic Amsterdamse bridge (adjust to flevopark) that goes across the main canal. Right after the end of the bridge I end up in a main road intersection where I continue straight on my route and after 500m I crossed another tall arch bridge across the Ij Lake this time. That was the most complicated part of the route.
A few hundred meters later at the end of the second bridge I found a roundabout, took the first exit on the right and then I made another 90 degree right turn and followed the signs to Durgerdam.
Durgerdam, a lovely fishing village built on an actual dam!
After 10 minutes of cycling through the rich Dutch grassland I arrived at Durgerdam, a lovely and small fishing village with an open seaside front, which is visible from far away due to its unique topology as its build at the top of a dam! What can fool you about this village when looking it at for the first time is the size of it. It might look narrow when you see it for the first time but it stretches on for 1.5 Km along the barrier. If you got a camera, this is a great little village to play around with it.
What you also might notice is that the houses there stand on wooden piles and not directly into the ground, because the barrier is not wide enough to support them. As result the front part of every house stands on artificial land and the rear part stands on piles. Lack of land forced the villagers to find other ways to build their community. Dutch ingenuity?
As I went through the village I couldn't help but noticing the Dutch tradition of the decorated windows with open curtains that allow you to have a clear look to the interior of the house. I always think that it is so welcoming for travelers passing by. As I am Greek it was really strange for me the fact that I don’t remember seen any cafes in Durgerdam. No seats outside, no tables, nothing. Business opportunities people!
Leaving Durgerdam after I had taken a lot of pictures I followed the path to Marken.
The bicycle path between Durgerdam and Marken is located entirely on the top of a dam and the road dedicated to traffic is located on a lower level to the left. So, cyclists are lucky in comparison with drivers because there are in higher ground and they have a great, uninterrupted view around.
What’s really sort of fancy is that a cyclist can actually see the height difference between the land on the left and the sea on the right. Of course the land is lower, nether-lands...
Lunch time at Marken next to a lovely rustic lighthouse.
12 km of cycling later I arrived in Marken. The first I did was to visit the beautiful lighthouse, a really nice place for taking pictures, located at the eastern side of the island. I had my lunch there on a wooden bench by the sea, relaxing and enjoying the great view and then I started cycling towards the village on the dam that surrounds the entire island and protect it against storms.
The village of Marken has an old medieval character with elevated wooden houses, small alleys and canals. Take some time to walk around and keep you camera handy.
The return trip. Get you cameras ready, we are going on a Dutch safari!
After exploring most of Marken I decided to head back. The return route runs along the fields of Noord Holland and there you have the chance to have a closer look at the polders (reclaimed land). The terrain is totally flat (of course) and along the way you can find lots of farms and stables that host the famous black and white Dutch cows. Have in mind that there is always the chance to see one of the cows on the paper label of Nounou back in Greece.
The fields between Marken and Amsterdam are a natural sanctuary for all kinds of birds such as swans, ducks and partridges so have your cameras ready for a safari, Dutch style! The bicycle path and the road run as one here because car traffic is somehow absent! Only cows, birds, canals and beautiful bridges. rural Dutch beauty folks.
I finished my route at the north part of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Noord) , opposite the central station.I just had to cycle south to take the, free, ferry and I arrived to Amsterdam’s central station.
Τhe route, 51 km in total, is fairly easy and everybody can complete it. As I mentioned above there are not hilly or rough parts. Sometimes the wind can be a bit strong but this is Nederland fellows. There are no mountains to work as obstacles to slower down the currents coming from the ocean.
Planning on taking this route by bike? Here are some tips!
For those who want to make this route by bike (like me) I recommend to have with them spare tubes, a pump, patches, tire levers and, depend on the season, a hat or a poncho. Now that I think more about it I recommend having the poncho always with you, even on July! Trust me...
In the link below you can see the route on the map plus additional information like elevation data. You also have the option to send the data to your smart phone or export the route as GPX or KLM format for your GPS or Google earth.