Utrecht to Heerlen

One of our favourite trips goes along beautiful canals through a nice rural landscape from Utrecht to Wageningen, and continues along the river Rhinen to Wasserschloss Anholt near the border between the Netherlands and Germany. From there one may continue south through Germany to Limburg in the Netherlands, where the scenic landscape around Heerlen is ideal for cycling.

Accomodations need to be reserved well in advance; some of the hotels are very popular. In Utrecht, NH Hotel Utrecht Jaarbeursplein can be recommended. Rental of bicycles can be pre-ordered through Wiel-Rent.

Day 1. Utrecht to Wageningen (65 km, map link)

St. Martin's Cathedral in Utrecht

Start: Fietsknooppunt 52 (1 km west of Utrecht Central Station). Bike south along the canal towards Knooppunten 13, 73 and 74. Before reaching 74, cross the canal to the left on Symfonielaan. Go left to Lekkanaaldijk and over the bridge to Knooppunt 6. Follow the right side of the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal to Houten, where the Knooppunten route turns away from the canal for a few kilometres (_6-90-3-14-64-66). Then continue along the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal to Wijk bij Duurstede (66-63-58-57-56-55-14-15), where we can recommend De Engel Café for lunch.

Free range chicken near Rhenen

From Wijk bij Duurstede, bike northeast to Amerongen and Veenendaal, on a nice narrow bike path through the forest (_15-17-65-42-43-85). Continue east through a charming rural landscape past Rhenen to Wageningen (85-38-34-30-33-26-11-12-28-45-25-83). In Wageningen, Hotel de Wereld can be recommended for dinner and overnight stay (just before Knooppunt 83).

Day 2. Wageningen to Anholt (74 km, map link)

From Wageningen, go east towards Arnhem (83-61-81-6-20-2-8-9-37-53-39-94-35) and south on the beautiful dike of Riederrijn to Huissen (_35-22-30-66) which is conveniently placed for a lunch stop, for example at Cafe nr.5.

From Huissen, the river is crossed on a bicycle ferry. Continue on the eastern dike (63-64-65-6-88-46-33-29-30-2-3-1) to Emmerich am Rhein, whedre a café stop may be made with a nice view to the river, for example at Restaurant Schlemmerich. Then go east through charming villages towards Anholt (1-9-87-84-68-69-43). For dinner and overnight stay, Romantik Parkhotel Wasserburg Anholt is a unique experience, with the calm atmosphere of the beautiful Schlossgarten viewed from the restaurant.

Wasserburg Anholt

We recommend to stay in Anholt for two nights, allowing a daytrip along Bocholter Aa to Bocholt (43-44-65-66-41-54-18-31-47-55).

Along Bocholter Aa

Day 3. Anholt to Geldern (59 km, map link)

Bicycle ferry quay at Rees

From Anholt, go south to Rees, through a beautiful open landscape (_43-19-30-83-80-56). Cross the Rhein on a bicycle ferry (or the bridge near by), and bike south along the Rhein to Xanthen (_20-45-21-22-40) with history back to the Roman Empire. A lunch stop may for example be made at Hotel Hövelmann.

Continue to Birten (_40-41-25-53) where a roman amphitheatre is seen to the right of the road (Römerstrasse). From Birten to Geldern, the following route is suggested: 53-54-55-96-70-80-82-20. A few accomodations and restaurants are found in Geldern; Hotel See Park Janssen can be recommended for dinner and overnight stay (located between 82 and 20).

Day 4. Geldern to Herkenbosch (71 km, map link)

The suggested route goes through the modern centre of Geldern, and then south along the river Niers (_20-95-93-29-75-60) to Straelen, where the old Markt is worth seeing. Then bike south along the river Nette past the old town Wachtendonk (_60-34-30-32 44-45) where a lunch stop may be made at Anja Ticheloven Café.

From Wachtendonk, continue south to Schwalmtal (_45-63-67-37-65-38) and further southwest through a nice rural landscape to Niederkrüchten and Herkenbosch (38-91-17-10-21-81-80-78-77) where Romantik Hotel Kasteel Dalenbroeck can be recommended for dinner and overnight stay.

Excellent bike parking

Day 5. Herkenbosch to Heerlen (50 km, map link)

Kasteel Dalenbroek

From Herkenbosch towards Heerlen, one could go east along the river Rur, west along Maas, or choose a more direct route towards south as suggested here (71-25-15-14-35-33-31-48-47-53-44-52-75-63-62-61-33-74-35-76-33-51). Then a lunch stop may be made in Schinveld, for example at Bistro Biei de Tant.

Beautiful autumn colours

Hotel Kasteel Terworm in Heerlen can be recommended for dinner and overnight stay (alternatively Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen, which is located near Kasteel Terworm).

In Heerlen, it is a good opportunity for local cycling trips, for example to Valkenburg, Slenaken and Voeren.

Back from Heerlen to Utrecht, taking a train is an alternative to the cycling route.

View of Slenaken