Are you coming to Holland by sea? Taking your bicycle on a sea ferry is inexpensive and easy. You can cycle straight on and off the ferry. Some of the long-distance cycle routes in Holland start directly at the harbour. Just hop on your bicycle and you’re on your way.
Ferry in the port of Rotterdam. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
Taking your bicycle on a sea ferry
You can take your bicycle on all the sea ferries to Holland. The charges for a bike vary. Check this with the ferry company when you book. On some ferries you can take your bicycle free of charge, but check whether you need a separate boarding card for your bike.
Cyclists generally board together with the other vehicles. This means you need to report to the vehicle check-in. From there you may cycle onboard the ferry. Usually there will be straps or ropes to the side of the car deck. Double check whether your bike is properly fastened - the crossing might be rough. Never leave any valuables on your bike.
Harwich - Hook of Holland
Stena Line sails daily between Harwich and Hook of Holland. There is a metro station just outside the terminal building which will take you to the centre of Rotterdam. Bikes allowed free of charge out of rush hours. From Rotterdam you will find good train links to the rest of Holland. You can take your bicycle on Dutch trains outside rush hour. You will need to purchase a special bike ticket. Folding bikes - as long as they are folded - are considered luggage and can be taken free of charge any time of the day. Read more on our page Getting around by rail.
Cycle routes from Hook of Holland
Hook of Holland is a great place to pick up several long-distance cycle routes:
Hull - Europoort (Port of Rotterdam)
P&O North Sea Ferries sails daily between Hull and Europoort, the largest port in Europe. It lies in the middle of a gigantic industrial area, 40 km from Rotterdam. If you've come without a bicycle, there is a special coach service you can use to and from Rotterdam and to and from Amsterdam. You need to book your ticket in advance. The P&O website gives you information on getting to and from the Europoort by coach or car.
The only way to leave Europoort by bicycle is a ride through one of Holland's largest industrial areas. It's probably not the best introduction to cycling in Holland, but there are good cycle paths that are well signposted. The scenery will only get better after this!
Cycle routes from Europoort
There are several national long-distance cycle routes you can pick up near Europoort:
Newcastle - IJmuiden
DFDS Scandinavian Seaways sails daily between Newcastle and IJmuiden (near Amsterdam). There is a special coach service to and from Amsterdam, but it won't take your bicycle. However, IJmuiden is a nice little port with good cycle connections. Do take a look at the impressive sluices while you're there!
Cycle route from IJmuiden
There is one long-distance cycle route passing through IJmuiden. The easiest place to pick up the route is at the ferry that crosses the Noordzee Kanaal at Velsen: