Wherever you are in Zeeland, you’ll always see the other side. And that enticing stroke of land on your horizon has a certain je ne sais pas quoi but it sure includes a call to “get-thee-over-here”. Ideally, now, on your bike, and no detours allowed. Well, for you, there’s a ferry. Often. Especially summertime, just walk on, take a break from pedalling. Easy, and a great way to see so much, differently.
Ultimate holiday feeling
Way back in the ferry good old days, Zeeland had more than a hundred crossings. Often they were the only link between one’s home island and the rest of the world. Nowadays most of them have stopped running, since we have a network of dams, bridges and tunnels to use.
Good old days
Some ferries (‘pontjes’) – just a precious handful – still operate, for cyclists and pedestrians. They can save you literally several hours of diversions. And – this is priceless – your brief holiday crossing over the water will unveil long, and probably windy, vistas you’d never otherwise see.
They ply their various routes across the province. Such as from Noord-Beveland to Sint Philipsland, Zeeland-Flanders to Walcheren, or Zuid-Beveland to Tholen. Some date back to the early 20th century, when they served as cargo boat, or ferry, or both.
Plan your own route
The bike hub network is designed to link up the various ferry harbours/ It might be an idea to set out a bike route for several days. You’ll find the guidebook 'De gids van de Zeeuwse pontjes' handy here, with schedules, prices and contact details. During the high season, from May to September, you can get a free copy from a VVV Inspiration Point.
Wind and whitecaps
Before you set off, just check the strength of the wind. If there are whitecaps on the water, you’d do well to call the skipper. Some ferries do not sail when there are strong winds. And work out the direction of the wind. If your route includes an exposed dam or bridge, make sure you will have the wind behind you.
Up-to-date news about the Zeeuwse Pontjes is carried on the Zeeland app and the mobile route planner. You’ll know, for example, if the schedule has been changed, if the wind will be strong, or if the ferry service has been suspended.
5-star bike province
The national bike platform judged us in May 2017 to be a 5-star bike province. There’s no higher award. Key factors were the overall quality of the bike hub system, network maintenance and the (many) bike cafés en route. The Zeeland Routebureau is always enhancing the system. Just so you can get the best cycling in the Land-On-Sea.