Go cycling or not? In Zeeland. With friends. That’s the key question a week before departure. ‘We’ means with our children, who are the only kids in our group. The youngest have not cycled really long distances yet. The two eldest already think of a quiet ‘screen’ afternoon, they even volunteer to babysit. But I like cycling. And the weather will be beautiful. And Zeeland is ideal for cycling, they say. So the bikes come along. For a super nice winter weekend with deserted beaches, pleasant cycling routes and the impressive ‘Delta Works’. And children who easily cycle 50 kilometers. And all this at 120 km from Brussels …
Day #1: From de Banjaard to Veere
We leave around 10 am at our accommodation, a beach villa in North Sea Residence De Banjaard. With a warm jacket, scarves and gloves, hot drinks, a packed lunch and some sweets for ‘on the road’.
We follow the fietsenknooppunt. First stop is the beach. It’s pretty windy, so it takes quite an effort to get there, in particular for the children. We stop at a lookout point : almost deserted, in full sun, with the ‘Delta Works’ in the distance. To dream away for a while. We cycle further along the Veerse Meer over the Vrouwenpolder to Domburg. With a very varied landscape along the way: from a beach path over a sandy path and a ‘cobblestone road’. The children especially like the forest with the ‘many strange trees’. We stop several times for photos. Always fun to take original shots. In Domburg, a typical Dutch village, we stop for lunch. Bikes on the side and a sandwich with a hot cup of tea. Enjoying the sun.
From Domburg we head inland via Oostkapelle and Serooskerke, towards Gapinge. Quiet cycle paths through a flat landscape. With less wind. Cows. A farm. A small village. With those typical Dutch houses around the church tower. Ideal for cycling. Just after Gapinge, on the edge of the Veerse Meer, we decide to continue cycling to Veere, a village on the banks of the Veerse Meer and once a warehouse for Scottish wool. A place with a rich history, which you literally find in all the streets: the beautiful Scottish houses, the old town hall, the Grote Kerk, the Campveerse Toren (a remnant of the former city defenses). Next to the yachts in the small harbour. And Grandma’s candy store with more than 101 types of old-fashioned candies in all kinds of scents and colors. Worth the effort. From there it is another 10 kilometers back, along the Veerse Meer. But not if you have a puncture. That’s the ideal moment for a hot chocolate milk – with some chocolate and marshmellows to melt in your warm milk – at Bliek Eten en Drinken on the historic market. Served with a delicious warm waffle.
Day #2: Neeltje Jans
On day 2 we take things a bit slower. 50 kilometers gets into your legs. And certainly in those of the children. Less than 10 minutes by bike from our accommodation is the impressive Storm Surge Barrier, part of the famous ‘Delta Works’. This barrier offers protection against flooding, as Zeeland is largely at or below sea level. It is a unique building and simply impressive. We cycle over the bridge, on a bike path separated from cars, and marvel at the concrete, the impressive 45-meter wide steel doors and the tide that rages below us. We cycle to Neeltje Jans, the ‘work island’ where, to our surprise, we even see a real ‘french fries’ shop. And lots of windmills. We cycle back with a tailwind – what a breeze – and linger on the beach for a while. Still nice, such a deserted beach, all to yourself to take a walk.
Our conclusion ?
Zeeland is ideal for cycling with children, even in the winter months. The cycling routes are varied in landscape, you always cycle on good cycle paths and you pass in cozy villages. We think a weekend in January is ideal: few tourists, deserted beaches and therefore also a very good price/quality.
We cycled via numbers 03-30-27-16-14-13-15-20-22-23-24-33-32-36-32-31-30-03 of the fietsenknooppunt. You can make your route longer or shorter at any time, more inland or further along the coast. Ideal to adapt to the cycling pace of your children …
The house was beautiful, comfortable and modern. A real plus were
- beds made up and a towel package (2 towels per person), what a luxury!
- tea towels, starter package including Senseo pads and some washing up cubes
- well-equipped kitchen with more than enough cutlery, plates and glasses and decent kitchen equipment, even a fine peeler
- large garden with garden table, barbecue and fireplace
- very spacious bright living room and dining table
- modern furnished and large bedrooms
- a well-functioning WiFi
- a sauna in the house
- in the immediate vicinity of the reception, a small swimming pool and shop (with fresh bread on Saturdays)
- ideal starting point for a cycling trip in the area, a visit to the Delta Works, Domburg, Veere and the Veerse Meer