Cycling in the UK is often synonymous with taking your life into your own hands. Big, boisterous buses, few cycling lanes and cross motorists can make it a hanging-on-by-the- seat-of-your-pants ordeal. Happily, such scenarios are unheard of in The Netherlands, where cyclists have priority over everyone else. Whether you’re four or 84, the preferred method of transport here is sedate pedalling.
One of the country’s top locations for enjoying a bit of biking is around Lake Lauwersmeer and its surrounding National Park. Twitchers will delight to hear that this area’s home to over 140 species, to be spotted flapping and wheeling overhead or paddling in the lake.
An easy pedal away is tiny Vierhuizen, watched over by its large wooden windmill. At the other end you’ll find Camping Lauwerszee, tucked behind its owners’ cosy restaurant, where local diners (just the men, thankfully) boast the kind of bushy moustaches that’d have the likes of Ned Flanders burning with ‘tache-envy.
The campsite resembles a landscaped garden, with brightly coloured hedgerows and huddles of trees providing tent- privacy, whilst sprinkles of flowers, host to butterflies, adorn the spacious lawns. Its laid-back ambience makes it the perfect place to relax after a good day’s exploration in the saddle.
There’s a new toilet and shower block. There’s a play area for kids and bikes are available to hire.
Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs – yes.
Go to nearby Anjum to visit the tiny mustard museum and candle-making factory (where you can make your own candles). Try a ghostly Full Moon Excursion around the mudlands of the lake. The walk begins at 11pm and finishes at 2am.
Food & Drink
The Herberg Restaurant on the site is well known in the area for its tasty treats. The menu is entirely in Dutch, so be adventurous and go for something untranslatable.
April – October.
From Amsterdam, take the A1 towards Almere/Amersfoort. After a short while, turn onto the A6 past Lelystad towards Groningen (at Heerenveen it changes into the A7). Leave at exit 33 (marked Zuidhorn/Boerakker) and turn left, following the N388 through Boerakker, Grijpskerk and Zoutkamp. Two miles (3 km) past Zoutkap, turn left onto the Hoofdstraat and the campsite is about 1⁄2 mile (1 km) down the road on the right.
Take the train to Groningen and then hop onto the Arriva 65 bus towards Zoutkamp for the 11⁄2-hour journey. The bus stops outside the church at Vierhuizen.
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