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Helfstedentocht

(93.9 km)

Instead of skating, go cycling along six historic Frisian cities and villages. You cycle along lakes, cliffs, meadows, on shell-covered paths and historic dikes.

There hasn’t been an official eleven cities skating tour since 1997. It has been many years since it froze long enough or hard enough to organise the ‘mother of all skating tours’. But what does start every year on Whit Monday is the 11-city cycling tour. At 235 kilometres long, it’s also quite a challenge. Especially if you encounter headwinds and a rainstorm. That’s why the Helftstedentocht cycle tour is a nice alternative. It’s about 90 kilometres long and starts in Bolsward.

Sights on this route

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VVV locatie Bolsward

VVV Bolsward vind je in de museumwinkel van Museum De Tiid. Hier kun je terecht voor leuke tips en toeristische informatie.

VVV locatie Bolsward
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Bolsward (Boalsert)

Bolsward, or Boalsert as we say in Friesland, is the city where history and architecture play a leading role. Let yourself be carried away by the rich history of this eleven cities city.

Visit Bolsward

Bolsward (Boalsert) Bolsward Broerekerk
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City Hall of Bolsward

The City Hall of Bolsward is one of the most beautiful gems of Friesland, although it's currently surrounded by scaffolding for renovation purposes. The richly decorated City Hall was built in the 1614-1617 period and designed by Jacob Gysbert.

City Hall of Bolsward
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11Fountains Bolsward

Bats are intriguing, useful animals, crucial to the ecological system for their insect hunting. In Asian culture, the bat symbolises wealth, happiness and the blessings of old age.

11Fountains Bolsward
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Broerekerk (church)

The Broerekerk was built in the 13th century as a monastery church of the Friars Minor. The monastery was abandoned and demolished in 1580. The three-aisled church without a tower is a ruin as a result of a fire that took place on 8 May 1980.

Broerekerk (church)
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Tea garden and canoe rental Kootje bij de Brug

Canoe Rental Friesland Kootje bij de Brug is a Canoe and Rowboat rental company with a tea garden by the water. It is one of the most charming canoe businesses with a tea garden in Friesland.

Tea garden and canoe rental Kootje bij de Brug
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St. Vituskerk

St. Vituskerk De kerk vanuit de lucht
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Greonterp Bell Tower

The Greonterp bell tower was built in 1822. It consists of a square stone substructure, a pyramidal wooden superstructure, a bell chamber with baffled openings and a spire. There are similar bell towers in Hinnaard and Hartwerd.

Greonterp Bell Tower
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Aldegeaster Brekken

The water of the Aldegeaster Brekken is located close to the village of Oudega SWF.

Aldegeaster Brekken Aldegeaster Brekken
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Mûntsebuorsterpolder

In het voorjaar is het topdrukte in de Mûntsebuorsterpolder. De grote aantallen kleine rietganzen maken dan plaats voor de weidevogels. Onze nationale vogel de grutto en de tureluur met zijn lange...

Mûntsebuorsterpolder
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Monnikenburenmolen / Nijhuizumermolen

Spinnekopmolen vlakbij Nijhuizum en wordt ingezet als poldermolen.

Monnikenburenmolen / Nijhuizumermolen
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Nijhúzumer Tsjerke

De kerk van Nijhuizum is de kleinste van Friesland, in 1721 opgetrokken uit de restanten van een ouder gebouw. Het is een bescheiden kerkje met een kerktoren en een eenvoudig interieur.

Nijhúzumer Tsjerke achterzijde kerkje Nijhuizum
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Workum (Warkum)

Workum (or Warkum as we say in Friesland), is one of the famous Frisian cities that has enjoyed city rights since 1399. Located on the shores of the former Zuiderzee and bordering the Frisian lakes.

Visit Workum

Workum (Warkum) Workum Fontein
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Jopie Huisman Museum

The Jopie Huisman Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the Frisian self-taught master painter Jopie Huisman. His love of nature and his compassion are a recurrent theme.

Jopie Huisman Museum
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Museum Warkums Erfskip

Museum Warkums Erfskip is housed in the old Waag building in the center and tells more about the history of Workum and its surroundings. It is the starting point to discover and admire the highlights of the beautiful city of Workum.

Museum Warkums Erfskip It Stedhûs
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11Fountains Workum

For centuries Workum’s city arms on ‘De Waag’ have been supported by two lions. They are naive and their theatrical pose prompts laughter.

11Fountains Workum
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Sint Gertrudis church

On ‘De Merk’, you'll find ’Workum Cathedral’, Sint Gertrudis church. This is the largest late-Gothic cruciform church of Friesland, with the largest windows in all the province.

Sint Gertrudis church St. Gertrudiskerk vanuit de lucht
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Blazerhaven

Alongside the sea lock in Workum, is on the one side the De Hoop shipyard and on the other, the Blazerhaven. The latter was dug in 2008, and forms a historic maritime complex together with De Hoop, around the old Zuiderzee locks in Workum.

Blazerhaven
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Hindeloopen (Hylpen)

Hindeloopen, or Hylpen as we say in Friesland, is known for its painting and stylish costumes from the past.

Visit Hindeloopen

Hindeloopen (Hylpen) Hindeloopen
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Museum Hindeloopen

Three centuries ago, Hindeloopen grew into a major trading city. The city had a large fleet of 100 ships that sailed across the ocean. Hindeloopen is still an attractive city to visit. Many old characteristic properties are preserved.

Museum Hindeloopen Museum Hindeloopen buitenzijde
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Friesian Ice Skating Museum

This museum is a must for all ice skating fans. You will find the world’s largest collection of ice skates here, and a complete history of the Elfstedentocht in a specially designed Elfsteden-room.

Friesian Ice Skating Museum Schaatsmuseum en winkel Museum Hindeloopen
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11Fountains Hindeloopen

The city coat of arms, with its tree of life, with the deer and the doe surrounding it, is the source of inspiration for the fountain in Hindeloopen.

11Fountains Hindeloopen
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Bocht fan Molkwar

Vanaf de vogelkijkhut zie je de invloed van de wind. Westenwind zorgt voor een hoge waterstand waardoor de zandplaten onderlopen, de eilanden kleiner worden en minder plaats bieden aan vogels. De aalscholvers,...

Bocht fan Molkwar
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Molkwerum - Bocht van Molkwerum - Vogelkijkhut Swan

Veel vogels te zien, aan het IJsselmeer.

Molkwerum - Bocht van Molkwerum - Vogelkijkhut Swan
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Stavoren (Starum)

Stavoren (or Starum as we say in Friesland) is very much the main city of the IJsselmeer, being enclosed by the lake on three sides. It is also the oldest city of Friesland, founded around 300 BC at a waterway, and gaining city rights in the 11th century.

Visit Stavoren

Stavoren (Starum) Fontein Stavoren
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11Fountains Stavoren

The sea gives, the sea takes. Stavoren, once a rich Hanseatic city, has much to say on this subject. Floods, maritime trade wars, a port that silted up: the city fell into poverty several times.

11Fountains Stavoren
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The Lady of Stavoren

From the 15th century on, the flourishing Hanseatic city of Stavoren began to fall upon bad times. It is this period in history that is related in the saga of the Lady of Stavoren. In the saga, all aspects of Stavoren as a trading city are covered.

The Lady of Stavoren
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Rode Klif (Red Cliff) at Lake IJsselmeer

At the edge of Lake IJsselmeer there is a red cliff that is 10 metres high. It was formed during the last ice age but one when the land was pushed up by glaciers that advanced from Scandinavia. The forces exerted by the ice created hills in the landscape.

Rode Klif (Red Cliff) at Lake IJsselmeer
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Scharl Bell Tower

The circular graveyard in the little village of Scharl sits on a natural mound. The wooden bell tower in the graveyard was built in 1898. Beneath its four-sided metal dome roof there is a single bell.

Scharl Bell Tower
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Veerpont It Oerset (It Heidenskip)

Veerpont It Oerset (It Heidenskip) De pont steekt van wal
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Oudega - Plasdras - Vogeluitkijkpunt

De vogelkijkplek kijkt uit over het spoor met daarachter de gebieden Hisse- en Pikemar. Een goede plek om bijvoorbeeld grutto en goudplevier te zien.BezoektijdHet...

Oudega - Plasdras - Vogeluitkijkpunt
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IJlst (Drylts)

IJlst (or Drylts in Frisian) is not only one of the famous 11 cities, but also a 'wood city'. For many years, tree trunks were processed here by the legendary wood trading companies Oppedijk and S.O. de Vries.

Visit IJlst

IJlst (Drylts) Molen IJlst
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Nooitgedagt chimney

The silhouette of IJlst would not be the same without the old factory chimney, on which the letters of the Nooitgedagt name can be read from top to bottom.

Nooitgedagt chimney
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Waterside Gardens

Unique and characteristic to IJlst are the waterside gardens on each side of the Ee.

Waterside Gardens
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11Fountains Ijlst

Culture, like nature, consists of layer upon layer. New generations continue to build on a foundation which does not disappear.

11Fountains Ijlst
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Museum en Werkplaats Houtstad IJlst

Experience the history of IJlst during an active visit to: Museum and workshop Houtstad IJlst. IJlst has been connected with wood for many centuries.

Museum en Werkplaats Houtstad IJlst Viking Games 4 november 2023 Houtstad IJlst
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Houtzaagmolen de Rat

Visit wind powered sawmill ‘De Rat’ and step back in time three hundred years!

Houtzaagmolen de Rat
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Terpensmole IJlst

The Terpensmole hasn't always been located near IJlst, and it hasn't always been named that way. The origin of the mill is in Grou, then Sneek, and it eventually ended up in IJlst.

Terpensmole IJlst Terpensmole IJlst
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Sneek (Snits)

Sneek, or Snits as we say in Friesland, is the water sports city of the Netherlands. But Sneek is more than water sports and the Sneekweek. The city is bustling with events, culture, unique hotspots, and nice shops.

Visit Sneek

Sneek (Snits) Waterpoort Sneek
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Water Gate Sneek

The Waterpoort in Sneek is a water gate, a gate in a defensive wall that connects a city to a waterway. In the 15th and 16th century, a defensive wall had been built around Sneek.

Water Gate Sneek
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11Fountains Sneek

A man with a Horn of Plenty stands on a golden ball in the middle of the water.

11Fountains Sneek
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Frisian Maritime Museum

The Frisian Maritime Museum focuses on the history of Frisian shipping.

Frisian Maritime Museum
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City Hall of Sneek

The City Hall of Sneek was built around 1478. The building was actually constructed on the foundations of two Frisians strongholds: a Medieval, defensible, residential tower. The City Hall was subsequently extended and altered many times.

City Hall of Sneek
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De Friese Bierbrouwerij Us Heit

The Frisian Brewery is giving a guided tour and some special tastings, which only can be done on appointment.

De Friese Bierbrouwerij Us Heit
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VVV locatie Bolsward

VVV Bolsward vind je in de museumwinkel van Museum De Tiid. Hier kun je terecht voor leuke tips en toeristische informatie.

VVV locatie Bolsward

Directions

1

VVV locatie Bolsward

VVV Bolsward vind je in de museumwinkel van Museum De Tiid. Hier kun je terecht voor leuke tips en toeristische informatie.

VVV locatie Bolsward

De tocht is ontworpen tegen de klok in. Je kunt de fietstocht in principe overal starten!

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VVV locatie Bolsward

VVV Bolsward vind je in de museumwinkel van Museum De Tiid. Hier kun je terecht voor leuke tips en toeristische informatie.

VVV locatie Bolsward
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