Lovely wide and smooth cycle path

Netherlands 22: The route to Leiden

Since we’ve been going to Duinrell, we usually try to fit in a ride to the city of Leiden when we stay there, and 2022 was no exception. I’ve previously written about our trips there back in 2015 and 2017, so this might be quite familiar. Though with this being The Netherlands, there’s always one or two new things to see along the way.

Riding to Leiden

The three of us set off on our usual route to Leiden, the others had decided not to join us on the ride. The route involved going along the outskirts of Wassenaar and down a few roads with little or not cycling provision. We then cycled along traffic-free path, Weidepad, which goes past the little petting farm. After a brief spell on the road, we got onto another traffic-free path, Jaagpad, which runs along the water and passes the many boats at the marina.

View of moored boats from Jaagpad
View of moored boats from Jaagpad

Jaagpad is mostly a two-way cycle path, with some small sections of road, for access. There was a new section of coloured concrete path, which wasn’t there last time we cycled the route, back in 2019. This was nice and smooth, just like the concrete path on the way back from Noordwijk.

Recently installed coloured concrete surface, was previously asphalt
Recently installed coloured concrete surface, was previously asphalt

We turned right onto the path that runs round Valkenburgse Meer lake, next to the narrow-gauge railway that belongs to the fantastic Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden heritage railway. We carried on onto the cycle path next to the A44 motorway, where there’s currently a lot of construction going on, as covered in my first post of The Netherlands trip Around Wassenaar and Valkenburg.

On the path around Valkenburgse Meer, heritage railway line on the right
On the path around Valkenburgse Meer, heritage railway line on the right

From there, we then passed under the A44, and onto the local cycle paths that take you into Leiden. On the whole, these are very high quality, wide two-way cycle paths, with smooth asphalt surfaces. Along the way, you cross signalled crossings and roundabouts that are all safe and pleasant to use. You also cross over the Rijn, on a lifting bridge, with protected cycle paths of course.

As the you approach the centre, it’s necessary to cross some of the large roads around the city. But with the fantastic underpasses, this is really safe, easy and pleasant to do. The cycle paths also continue to be great as we carried on along Plesmanlaan, passing the substantial artworks by Frans de Wit.

Next, we went through the underpass that passes under the railway lines going into Leiden Centraal, then over a bridge crossing Morssingel, before arriving at Beestenmarkt, where we parked up.

Around Leiden

After parking up at Beestenmarkt, we set off into Leiden, initially in search of lunch, as we were hungry by now. We had a look round the shops and decided to stop at WAAG to eat. This is in a wonderful old building next to the Rijn, and has great food in a beautiful setting.

Boats on the Rijn, looking towards Beestenmarkt
Boats on the Rijn, looking towards Beestenmarkt

After lunch, we headed out for a wander. We didn’t have plans to do or see anything specific, we wanted to have a walk round. From WAAG, set off along the Nieuwe Rijn, past the city hall and the fantastic Koornbrug bridge, with an abundance of cycles parked on it.

Koornbrug bridge
Koornbrug bridge

We crossed over the Sint Sebastiaansbrug bridge, and headed down the pretty street to Hooglandse Kerk, a large gothic church with significant parts dating back to the fifteenth century. We took in the surrounding area before having a look inside. This is quite an impressive brick structure, with a modest and subdued interior.

Hooglandse Kerk
Hooglandse Kerk

There’s some beautiful old buildings surrounding the church, as well as many pleasant traffic-free or low traffic streets. With attractive paving and minimal traffic, these access only streets really are somewhere you’d want to spend time.

Looking down Hooglandsekerk Choorsteeg, another quiet traffic-free street
Looking down Hooglandsekerk Choorsteeg, another quiet traffic-free street

The attractive streets continued as we headed towards where Hooigracht crosses the Oude Rijn. Crossing the bridge, we took in the view, looking down the Oude Rijn and took a left onto the road next to the river, back towards where we ate at WAAG.

Bike and bridge on the Oude Rijn
Bike and bridge on the Oude Rijn

We really enjoyed walking along the Oude Rijn. The river setting, old buildings, bridges, bikes, boats and greenery made for a very pleasant place to walk. Once we arrived at Visbrug, we stopped for for an ice cream, then headed back to Beestenmarkt, to collect our bikes.

Riding back to Duinrell

After a short, but pleasant wander round Leiden, we set off back to Duinrell, largely following the route we came. This gave me opportunity to record a couple of short videos, first of all on the lovely wide and smooth two-way cycle path on Ommedijkseweg, next to the A44 motorway.

Looking at this location in Google Maps, you can see just how many times this route has been improved over the years, with it being little more than a narrow concrete path in 2010. This is in stark contrast to the UK, where it’s unusual to see any improvements to cycle routes once they’ve been installed, and even basic maintenance is rare. Another of the many reasons to be jealous of The Netherlands, when it comes to cycling.

Next is the new section of concrete path along Jaagpad. Unlike older concrete paths, this was very smooth and the expansion joints between each of the concrete slabs wasn’t very noticeable. So none of that repetitive bumping you tend to get on old concrete paths.

As I mentioned in the last post, on the route to Katwijk and Noordwijk, concrete is increasingly being chosen to surface cycle paths. Concrete paths are highly durable, require no maintenance and have a lower impact on the environment, compared to other options.

We were soon back at Duinrell, to meet up with the others, before heading back to the beach for our final evening there.


More Netherlands 22 posts

2 thoughts on “Netherlands 22: The route to Leiden

    1. Thanks Amanda! Petting farm may be overdoing it a little, but it’s a little farm where you can feed and pet the animals as they come up to the fence. It’s on Weidepad, just off from Dirk de Raetlaan, just about here,4.4053442,129m/data=!3m1!1e3

      Here’s a couple of older posts, with some photos at the farm:

      Netherlands 17: The route to Leiden

      Netherlands 17: The route to Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden


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