Rivers, lakes and channels
Besides the three major sailing areas, the Netherlands offer countless channels, rivers and smaller lakes to explore. Many of these are easily accessible for our flat-bottomed ship and we can often even sail on them if the wind is right; they are usually too narrow and busy for tacking upwind. We like putting in a “channels and lakes” day on a long trip, just for variety. It can be quite an experience to negotiate a large ship through narrow town canals, or to leisurely sail past meadows with grazing cows and sheep. It can also be a good way to avoid strong winds on the open water.
Below are some inland routes that can be scheduled into your sailing trip, time and location allowing. We cannot guarantee actual sailing and in some cases we may have to charge extra for fuel. Extra stops will add to the duration of the routes; they can all be navigated in both directions.
Noord Holland, 2 days
This route runs from Markermeer and IJmeer through Amsterdam via the IJ, then north on the river Zaan or the Noordhollands Kanaal to Den Helder on the edge of the Wadden Sea. Sights along the way include Amsterdam, the Zaanse Schans, the medieval town centre and cheese market of Alkmaar, Den Helder’s naval heritage, etc.; overnight stops are possible in Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Den Helder.
Ringvaart (belt canal) Haarlemmermeerpolder, 3 days
A beautiful channel and lakeside scenery tour from Markermeer and IJmeer via the IJ, the river Spaarne, the Ringvaart, the Nieuwe Meer (“new lake”) and on the Kostverlorenvaart back through beautiful South West Amsterdam to the IJ. Sights include Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leyden, the Kagerplassen, the Braassemmermeer, the Westeinderplassen, Aalsmeer and Schiphol airport. Overnight stops possible in Haarlem, the Kaag, Leyden, Oude Wetering, Aalsmeer and Amsterdam.
Flevopolder peripheral lakes, 1-2 days
This route runs from Markermeer and IJmeer via Gooimeer, Eemmeer, Nijkerkernauw, Nuldernauw, Wolderwijk, Veluwe, Drontermeer, Vossemeer and through the Ketelmeer lake to the IJsselmeer. Attractions here are Spakenburg, Nijkerk, Harderwijk and Elburg. All these scenic towns are convenient for overnight stays.
Workum, 1-2 days
We exit the IJsselmeer near Workum and travel to Stavoren through the Gaastmeer, the Fluessen and the Johan Friso Channel. Overnight stays on uninhabited islands in the lakes or in Heeg; Workum and Stavoren make very interesting stops.
Johan Friso channel, 1 day
From the IJsselmeer and through Stavoren and Heeg to Lemmer. Overnight stays are possible in these picturesque towns.
Margriet channel, 1-2 days
This channel runs from the IJsselmeer through Lemmer, Sneek and Grou to Leeuwarden. These towns are well worth a visit; we can also stay there overnight.
Dokkumergrootdiep, 1-2 days
From Leeuwarden through the Dokkumer Ee, the Dokkumer Grootdiep and Lauwersmeer lake to the eastern Wadden Sea. Overnight stays in the Frisian capital Leeuwarden or in historical fortress town Dokkum.
Van Harinxma Kanaal, 1 day
This channel runs from the western Wadden Sea through Harlingen and Franeker to Leeuwarden. overnight stays possible in all these historical towns.
Groningen, 2 days
This route runs from the eastern Wadden Sea via the Lauwersmeer to Zoutkamp, once a stronghold that controlled all shipping to Groningen. Then through the Reitdiep to Groningen, where we can stay overnight. The next day we travel through the Eems channel to Delfzijl; from here we can cross the Ems to the German Wadden.