Netherlands 17: The route to De Haar Castle

On our final full day in Utrecht, we decided on a trip to De Haar Castle, taking quite a roundabout route via Gunterstein castle. From our base for the week on Amsterdamsestraatweg, we headed out of Utrecht towards Gunterstein Castle along the cycleway.

Heading out of Utrecht on Amsterdamsestraatweg

We carried on onto Straatsweg, taking a right at the roundabout next to the fire station. Although protected, the roundabout seemed a little unsafe for bikes. Traffic is able to approach the roundabout at quite high speeds and the angle you join the roundabout on a bike makes it difficult to see what’s approaching from behind. In theory, you have right of way on a bike, but it’s always good to be able to check.

Roundabout on Straatsweg, next to the fire station

Passing through Maarssen, we carried on onto Zandpad. As it’s part of the LF7 long-distance cycling route, we were thinking it’d be nicer than the N402. We were quite wrong.

Quite high speeds on Zandpad

Whereas the N402 has segregated cycleways. This section of the LF7, you’re sharing with motor traffic on quite a narrow road with a 60kph speed limit. Add in that there was quite a bit of through traffic, and the experience of riding there with the kids wasn’t great.

Lots of traffic, high speeds and no protection on Zandpad

We arrived at Gunterstein Castle, which was largely closed with not much happening, so we crossed over the bridge into carried on into Breukelen.

Gunterstein Castle in the distance

In Breukelen, we stopped to have a wander round, have lunch and an ice cream (it was a very hot day after all). Breukelen is a nice little town, but suffers a bit from a lot of through traffic, which is a shame.

Crossing the bridge to Breukelen

Leaving Breukelen, we headed over the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal, which we then followed towards De Haar Castle.

Crossing the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal

Kanaaldijk West runs alongside the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal and is open to motor traffic. But as it’s a dead end for motor traffic, you don’t see many cars there, just bikes. This was a lovely spot next to the canal and the trees provided welcome shelter from the sun’s rays.

Kanaaldijk West running along the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal

Moving away from the canal, we approached the A2 motorway on a fantastic cycle bridge. This looks to be reasonably new and takes you on a gentle incline over the motorway.

The motorway sound barriers must be really effective here as we couldn’t really hear much noise until we were above the motorway, which was reasonably busy at the time. The design of the sound barriers must be much better at blocking sound than the typical wood fences you get in the UK.

Cycle bridge over the A2 motorway

Once over the motorway, we descended onto a very pleasant rural cycleway, passing through a small village as we headed towards De Haar Castle.

Heading towards De Haar Castle

On arriving, we spent a lovely few hours wandering the castle grounds on a lovely sunny day. At closing time, we found the bikes and started our ride home, heading back towards the A2 motorway, but on a slightly different route.

Arriving at De Haar Castle

The route back took us through Haarrijnseplas, a pleasant recreational lake with a beach. Somewhere I wish we would have stopped at, as we could have done with cooling down.

Bridge over the A2 motorway on Burgemeester Waverijnweg

We carried on onto Burgemeester Waverijnweg, which took us over the A2 motorway and Amsterdam–Rhine Canal again.

Crossing the A2 motorway

Being late Friday afternoon, the motorway was quite busy as we passed. The cycleways were nice and quiet as we headed towards Utrecht.

Between the motorway and the canal, the cycleway route diverges from the road a little, as you pass through a series of underpasses, going under Vogeweg and Safariweg. There were a few inclines to get up, but as we were away from the traffic, this was no problem.

Underpasses between the A2 motorway and Amsterdam–Rhine Canal

While on the bridge, we were treated to fantastic views of the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal again. With boats passing slowly, this was much nicer than passing the motorway.

Boat passing on the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal

Once over the canal, it was a short ride until we were back onto Straatweg and onto Amsterdamsestraatweg where our apartment was located. We arrived back in time for dinner and a well-earned drink.

Back to part 1 – Cycle parking in Utrecht

Next to part 3 – Around Utrecht Centraal Station

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