While autumn is in full power, where better to go than a beautiful forest? Enjoy the magnificent colours, the delightful smells and the refreshing feeling all around! Here are five tips for Dutch National Parks with gorgeous forests to visit this weekend!
1. Drents-Friese Wold
Being one of the largest National Parks in the Netherlands, the “Drents-Friese Wold” offers you over 6000 hectares of forests, moorland, shifting sands and stream-valley grasslands. Maybe you can spot some of the big grazers in the area! There are cattle, horses and sheep, all enjoying their freedom within the park boundaries. (But don’t go to close to them, you can never predict how they might react!) The park also has several watchtowers where you can see for miles in the distance.
You can start your explorations at the visitor centre in Terwisscha or at the infocentre in Diever. There you can gather information about the park and enjoy a warm cup of tea. (Open between 10 am and 5 pm)
Or you can just take a map or GPS and start exploring the area on your own. In that case, you can find some described trail routes here. (Dutch)
You might know this park from its extensive dunes and beaches, but there is more! Although the dunes are an extraordinary piece of nature, the forests are also worthwhile.
The main entrance to the park is the visitor centre in Overveen. Gather your information, drink some coffee, eat a pancake, and you are ready for the adventure!
You can find more information about walking in NP Zuid-Kennemerland here. (Dutch)
3. Utrechtse Heuvelrug
Originally a moraine, a gathering of sand and stones, pushed together by a glacier during the last ice age, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug has a very particular appearance. And not only that, due to the special nature of the soil, a lot of rather rare plant species as well!
But even when you are not really into plant species, there is lots to enjoy, especially the old forests are breathtaking at this time of the year! Other parts of the park are more intertwined with human life, combining natural grasslands with pastures, small farms and even some castles. A lovely variety!
Find some walking routes at this page. (You have to scroll down a bit) (Dutch)
4. De Sallandse Heuvelrug
Another moraine, but in a different part of the Netherlands, the Sallandse Heuvelrug has its very own charm. Forests, but also a lot of moorlands, make this park a lovely place to visit.
You might say the nature in this park is not really natural, it is in fact influenced by human activity quite a lot. But it is nonetheless a beautiful place! And really, to me, the whole “not-natural” is not so much of a bad thing. It has created a beautiful and green place, that’s what matters, right?
Use their very new, very shiny, interactive map to find all of the highlights of the Sallandse Heuvelrug, take a described walking or cycling route, or start at the visitor centre in Nijverdal.
5. De Meinweg
In the south of the Netherlands, National Park the Meinweg can be found. It has a unique landscape form with terraces and steep slopes. These terraces are the result of rivers wearing out the ground over the course of tens of thousands of years.
The Meinweg being the only place in Limburg (the most southern part of the Netherlands) where the adder (Vipera berus) still occurs, that is also the symbol of the park.
To help you on your way, here are some walking routes you can take in NP de Meinweg.
Have you made your choice yet? Where will the journey go this weekend?