The best time to cycle in The Netherlands

The best time to cycle in The Netherlands

You may have heard about Dutch cycling-culture and the abundance of cycling lanes. But what is the best time to cycle around in The Netherlands? I’ll try to answer that question here, by sharing some tips and considerations when planning to head out on your bike. In terms of where to cycle, I put together an ideal beginner bike route through the most scenic parts of the country.

Mind the wind

First and foremost, consider the wind! The Netherlands is mostly very flat. Especially when you’re close to the sea, this causes a lot of wind. Before heading out on my bike, I always check the direction of the wind. Usually, I plan my route in such a way that I will have tailwind on the way back. If you start out with tailwind, it’s easy to go too far out and experience a real struggle getting back. Especially when the wind is strong, I try to go as far as possible with headwind and then turn around for a pleasant cooldown. Obviously this works best for a circular route, where the starting and finishing place are the same. When cycling on a lightweight bike (with luggage), try to avoid strong wind from the side.

Is it worth waiting for a day without wind? Probably not. Of course, avoiding big storms is a good idea, but you might end up waiting for weeks if you want the wind to totally die down. Just take into consideration that you may be slower or faster than normal depending on the direction of the wind.

Time of day on weekdays

Because commuting to work or school by bike is quite common, rush hours are definitely not the best moments for cycling in The Netherlands. Between 08:00-09:00 in the morning and 16:30-18:30 in the afternoon, don’t pick a route through cities or with lots of road-crossings. These places will be packed and you’ll have to slow down or stop regularly. Instead, try to go during working hours. Even areas that are very crowded during the weekends are likely to be quiet on for example a Tuesday afternoon. Another great moment for a bike ride is late at night. The later, the better, really! Many cycling enthusiasts in The Netherlands will go out on their bikes in the evening (after work or studying). Scenic cycle paths can therefore still be busy between 18:30 and 20:30. Cycling around 21:00 is much more relaxed.

Time of day on weekends

Weekends are when families and people on e-bikes like to cycle around. Popular bike paths will be full of people during the day, even more so in the summer months. I would suggest avoiding the crowds by heading out at sunrise and sunset. These times of day are both quieter and super pretty! In general, early mornings and evenings are less attractive for the average leisure cyclist, as they can also sleep in and go during the day. Evenings are then used to wind down and prepare for the next working week. So, these moments are perfect for you! In summer, cycling in the morning or evening also helps you avoid the hottest time of day.


Due to the frequent wind and rain in The Netherlands, I would not recommend the winter months for planning a cycling trip. Local city councils are fairly good at sprinkling road salt on cycle lanes, but outside of cities you will face icy roads. On the other hand, the summer break period is prime time for both locals and tourists to hop on their bikes. So when is the best moment to go?

I personally think June and September are the best time to cycle through The Netherlands. These months are a good pick based on the weather and lack of crowds. On top of that, it has been rather wet in July and scorching hot in August over the past few years. June and September present much more moderate weather conditions. Sure, it can be a little chilly at times, but overall these months are a safe bet. Even late May and early October can be very pleasant in terms of temperature and sunshine.

Most important tips

  • Take the wind into account when planning a ride (start with headwind).
  • Cycle during the day or late at night on weekdays.
  • Cycle at sunrise and sunset on weekends.
  • Plan your cycling trip to The Netherlands in May-June or September-October.

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