Highlights of a short cycling break in Holland

Wednesday, 2 May 2012 10:47 AM

Booking short breaks doesn't mean you have to be restricted to one destination - by opting for a cycling holidays, you can see several places in one country over the course of a few days. Travel to Holland to explore Amsterdam, as well as a few nearby towns.

Starting out in Schagen, you will cycle south towards Edam, before continuing on to conclude your cycling holidays in Holland in the capital city of Amsterdam. Along the way, you'll pass typical Dutch countryside, canals, windmills and some beautiful villages.

Before you depart from Schagen, you should wander around its historic centre, with the market square and church of particular significance. Plan your trip during the summer and you are likely to be there to see its weekly folk parade, when locals dress up in historical outfits and dance their way through the streets, accompanied by traditional music.

Following the morning procession, performances take place all afternoon outside the church, while a market selling food, drink and locally-crafted goods is set up in the square.

After enjoying the delights of Schagen, you can look forward to a leisurely ride to Edam - home, of course, to the famous cheese of the same name. It would be difficult to visit the city as part of a Dutch cycling holidays and not learn more about this famous produce, so pay a visit to the restored 18th century cheese warehouses that run alongside one of the canals.

While the dairy produce is no longer manufactured here, the finished cheeses are still stored in the warehouses to mature and it is possible to visit the buildings for a tasting session. If you are in Edam during July or August, you could also include a trip to the weekly cheese market on your itinerary, where you can sample a few other Dutch varieties of this savoury treat.

You can burn off some of the cheese you've eaten in Edam on the next leg of your journey to Amsterdam, which is bursting with cultural and historical sites for you to explore. One of the most-visited places in the city is Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank, her family and other Jewish people hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the second world war.

As well as the concealed room that the family lived in for two years, you can also view exhibits such as Anne's original diary, belongings owned by those in hiding and photos and historical documents from the period in the museum that is housed in the Prinsengracht building.

In addition to learning more about Amsterdam's history, you should see some of the art the Dutch capital is home to. One of the most famous painters to come out of the country is Van Gogh, so stopping off at the gallery dedicated to his work is essential for any culture vultures.

Some of his best-known paintings are on display here - including Bedroom in Arles, Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers and Yellow House - as well as letters written by the troubled artist to his brother Theo.

Pieces by other 19th century painters, such as Gaugin, Bernard, Breton, Monet and Redon, are also on show in the museum, allowing you to see how Van Gogh's work compares to some of the art produced by his contemporaries.
 

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