Walking Holidays Netherlands - The Best Long Distance Walking Trails

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Walking Holidays Netherlands - The Best Long Distance Walking Trails
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A hiking holiday in the Netherlands might be the most surprising thing you can do this year. We may not have mountains or hut-to-hut hikes, but still, the Netherlands is a real hiking country. The Netherlands has no less than 23 LAWs, long-distance hiking trails of 150 kilometers or more. Ideal for a longer hiking holiday, a day out, or a long weekend. Read our blog post and get your hiking boots ready.

De Veluwe, the dunes, the Wadden Islands, the Afsluitdijk, the Frisian Lakes, or the hills of Limburg. Walking along green meadows, through dense forests, and past the oldest cities and villages. The Netherlands may be small, but there is much to discover, especially when you're on foot. Keep reading and explore the most beautiful long-distance trails in the Netherlands.

What are Long Distance Hiking trails?

Lange Afstand Wandelpaden, abbreviated as LAWs, are hiking trails that are at least 150 kilometers long. In the Netherlands alone, you can find 23 of them, and if you also consider the Grand Randonnée trails abroad, you can start at home.

What are Long Distance Hiking trails?

The GR paths are marked in both directions with a white-red sign using stickers or paint and described in hiking guides. It is advisable to use such a guide in addition to the markings in the field: the trail markers are usually not applied more frequently than necessary and often tend to disappear. Although all LAWs have their own beauty, challenge, and allure, there are a few hiking trails that stand out. These are them.

1. The Zuiderzee Trail

On the Zuiderzeepad, you mostly follow the former coastline of the former Zuiderzee. The trail is a circular walk and is about 490 kilometers long, divided into 28 stages. Most stages are between 12 and 20 kilometers long, except for Stage 25. Stage 25 is the exception because you have to walk over the Afsluitdijk, which is a whopping 30 kilometers long. Hoping for a tailwind!

Until the early 20th century, the Zuiderzee was a large inland sea in the northern part of the Netherlands. The Zuiderzee used to be about twice the size of the current IJsselmeer, and it was often a battleground against the water. In 1932, it was enough, and the construction of the Afsluitdijk began. After the completion of the Afsluitdijk, large parts of the Zuiderzee became land through reclamation, with Flevoland being the best example. In 1976, the Houtribdijk was constructed, splitting the IJsselmeer and creating the Markermeer.

1. The Zuiderzee Trail

2. The Pieter Trail

The Pieterpad could have been at number 1 too. It is by far the most well-known long-distance hike in the Netherlands. The route covers 498 kilometers from Pieterburen in the north of Groningen, south through the east of the Netherlands to just south of Maastricht, at the top of the Sint Pietersberg, at an altitude of 109 meters. The Pieterpad is one of the official Long-Distance Hikes in the Netherlands and by far the most popular of the long-distance walking routes. It is possible to walk the route in both directions, and all year round.

Most stages can be easily reached by public transport. However, buses may not run too frequently between small villages, and some villages may be a bit further from a railway line. Always check the timetables and plan your journey before you embark on the Pieterpad. For those traveling by car, it is advisable to park the car at the endpoint, then travel to the starting point by public transport, and then walk back to the car. The other way around can be a bit of a rush because you have to catch the bus or train.

2. The Pieter Trail

3. The Marskramer Trail

Do you dare to follow in the footsteps of German farmers, peddlers, and Tödden? You are undoubtedly wondering who they are. The prosperity that the Dutch Republic experienced in the 16th & 17th centuries attracted people from all over Europe. This included many farmers from the German, Westphalian countryside, where life was tough. There were the Hannekemaaiers who worked for wealthy farmers in Groningen, Friesland, and Holland. You had the Maskramers who walked to the Netherlands with their large woven basket (mars) on their back. They sold yarn, buttons, needles, socks, and stockings to the rural population, at home or in the village square. And then there were the Tödden who went to the big cities to sell linen and fabrics.

The Marskramerpad is 372 kilometers long and divided into 20 stages. The stages are between 12 and 24 kilometers long, with most ranging between 15 and 20 kilometers. You can allocate about 4 to 5 hours for each stage. The stages of the Marskramerpad generally connect well with public transport. If you are traveling by car, it is advisable to park the car at the endpoint, then travel to the starting point by public transport, and then walk back to the car. The other way around can be a bit of a rush because you have to catch the bus or train. This also applies to the other LAWs.

3. The Marskramer Trail

4. The Migratory Bird Trail

The longest nature trail in the Netherlands runs from Bergen aan Zee to Enschede and is divided into a whopping 22 stages. The Trekvogelpad is also known as LAW 2 or the 'Pieterpad crosswise' and is the ultimate for any bird lover. The route is compiled in collaboration with the Vogelbescherming Nederland (Bird Protection Netherlands), and you can feel it. You traverse through the North Holland peat meadows, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, the sand dunes on the Veluwe, and the Achterhoek. Not all stages are easily accessible by public transport.

4. The Migratory Bird Trail

Packing list for your hiking vacation in the Netherlands

It doesn't matter where you go hiking or for how long. Bringing the right gear is crucial. On most hikes in the Netherlands, binoculars are actually a must. In the first place, you need a good backpack. The size of your backpack depends on the number of days you'll be hiking, the season, and the clothing you're bringing. We've compiled a packing list with some essential items you need to bring and some extras you might find useful:

Essential Items:

- Hiking boots (broken in)
- Hiking socks
- Binoculars
- Base layer tops - preferably thermal
- Mid-layer tops (e.g., fleece)
- Hiking pants
- Hat for warmth or shade
- Gloves
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof pants
- Casual clothing & footwear for evenings
- Nightwear and underwear
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses & sunscreen
- Toiletries


- Small first aid kit
- Blister patches
- Insect repellent
- Camera and charger
- Map and compass
- Book
- Energy snacks
- Hiking poles
- Buff

LAW etiquette - Pay attention to this

Parts of the LAWs in the Netherlands traverse the land of private owners and caretakers. They graciously extend hospitality to hikers, allowing them to enjoy these lands and the natural beauty there. Please observe the following:

- Follow rules set by landowners

- Respect the privacy of residents

- Do not disturb or feed livestock

- Close gates

- Do not leave any waste

- Keep dogs on a leash

- Leave flowers and plants untouched

- No smoking in nature

- Do not disrupt the peace

- Do not affix or remove any markings of any kind

LAW etiquette - Pay attention to this

Where can I book my walking holiday in Netherlands?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book many treks in Netherlands. We take care of all the details for you, give you personal trekking advice and give you the best service possible. Find all our offers for Netherlands here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of Trekking Experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is a walking holiday in Netherlands not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:


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