Enjoy a tour of the Netherlands countryside as you step back in time to uncover the stories this region has to tell. Listen closely and who knows what you might find out! You will have the opportunity to do it all: sleep in an episcopal palace, imagine yourself residing in a mansion back in the 18th century, or perhaps a village of the same time period instead? This area of the Netherlands boasts incredible beauty and fascinating history, so it’s ideal for culture-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.
You might also like our Relaxing Friesland Holiday for another cultural experience in the neighbouring province of the Netherlands. Or check out our Netherlands Tour Package of Groningen and Friesland for another option to combine these interesting areas!
This tour of Groningen includes staying in several villages, each with unique characteristics and interesting things to do. From Nietap to Oldehove to Pieterburen, you will enjoy the beautiful countryside of the Netherlands as you tour Groningen Province. You can choose cycling days, hiking trails, museum visits, and more. We have carefully curated these local experiences and unique accommodations so you can thoroughly explore Dutch culture and the lovely natural beauty of this northeastern part of the Netherlands.
With 2 persons: €594 per person
Single supplement: €390
Your tour of Groningen will begin in the village of Nietap, which is located right at the border between the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe. Nietap is 23km from the city of Groningen and not far from the villages of Leek and Roden. You can arrive by plane to Groningen Airport Eelde, or by train from Schiphol Amsterdam or Eindhoven airports, as well as from a variety of cities across Europe. There are public transport connections from the city of Groningen that will bring you within a 10-minute walk of your accommodation.
Upon your arrival in Nietap, you will check into your B&B, which is a spacious and stylish apartment on a farm with a multitude of activities available locally. The B&B has an adjacent 2-hectare estate, so we suggest you go for a walk after getting settled, spotting various bird, frog, and animal species, and simply enjoying the peacefulness of the surroundings. There is an outside kitchen with BBQ facilities available for guests at the accommodation, perfect for fans of outdoor dining!
Today you will follow a bike route through the Onlanden. This is a water storage area in the northern part of the province of Drenthe (Kop van Drenthe) and the southeastern part of the province of Groningen. It formerly consisted of meadows, but now has characteristic small, wet grasslands. Your accommodation offers mountain bike rentals for a small price, or we can arrange electric bicycles for you if you wish to enjoy a longer tour. The route is around 30km long and will take you around this beautiful area with all its inhabitants, such as the Corncrake and the Bluethroat, as well as various dragonflies and fish.
Starting from your hotel, you will bike towards Leek, a village with a recreational park, a children’s playground, as well as the Nienoord Estate and the adjacent museum that houses antique carriages. When you pass the village, the landscape will gradually start changing towards the typical grasslands of the Onlanden; you will start hearing the birds’ chirps and maybe even spot some of them already!
We suggest you take frequent stops during your cycling day to take pictures and admire the landscape, as this is a very special place where tranquillity and peacefulness are a welcome attribute. You will come across the village of Roderwolde with its historical buildings, a beautiful white church, and a classic oil and grain mill. You’ll also be able to see wild hops growing in a small grove just outside the village.
This bike route is guaranteed to showcase the charming nature of the Onlanden and the surrounding villages. It can be completed in just a little over 2 hours, but you are, of course, free to explore at your leisure; we advise you to prolong today’s outing at your own pace in the area. After the bike tour, you are welcome to spend your evening exploring more of the estate around the B&B or maybe paying a visit to a nearby tea garden.
Today, you will leave Nietap and drive 25km headed north through the province of Groningen, reaching your very special accommodation near Oldehove. This part of the Middag-Humsterland is the oldest cultural landscape of the Netherlands with unspoilt farmland and characteristic mound villages. Your countryside lodge offers a unique overnight experience in their “Straw hotel”, with beds made out of straw and placed in a renovated barn building, giving a rustic feel of sleeping in a real farmhouse. Upon arrival, we recommend you go on a walk around the property, as well as explore the surrounding areas.
If you prefer another kind of accommodation, we’re able to suggest another very special possibility, like the smallest hotel in the world.
The accommodation offers bike rental, and we highly recommend making use of it to explore the villages nearby. Niehove, just 5km away, is a charming mound village that holds the title of “The most beautiful village of The Netherlands 2019”, and it is well-deserved. There you will see characteristic brick houses situated in a circle around the church, and you can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat in the cosy small restaurant right in the heart of the village.
If you wish to make this bike tour a little more extensive, we can help with creating the best route for you!
Tonight, there is a unique opportunity for the most adventurous travellers! Enjoy an overnight “expedition” organised by the accommodation to a strategically-placed Western-style covered wagon (Huifkar). You’ll get an idyllic outdoor sleeping experience with a “back in time” feel, as well as a possibility of setting a romantic campfire, stargazing, and exploring the peaceful location in the middle of nowhere. You are free to enjoy the detachment from the noise and the people and might even spot a deer or two!
If you decide to stay in the “Straw hotel” tonight instead, a refined 4- or 6-course dinner can be arranged for you in the best restaurant of Groningen, Piloersemaborg, which is located within walking distance from your accommodation. The chef, Dick Soek, is passionate about showcasing the gifts of the Dutch soil using his pure, unadorned, and genuine recipes.
For those of you waking up to sounds of nature in a covered wagon, today can be as calm or eventful as you want it to be. Either way, we encourage you to explore the area, soaking up the best of the rustic, untouched landscape of the surrounding area. You can choose to stay in the wagon for another night or return to the farm and experience sleeping on straw beds on site.
If you stayed in the hotel, after a relaxing night of sleep you’ll enjoy a fun adventure, courtesy of the accommodation providers. Your adventure is called “Op goed geluk” (“On good luck”), which is a surprise tailor-made day trip of the surrounding areas carefully planned in cooperation with local people and businesses. The trip is kept fully secret until the day, however, there are 4 “themes” to choose from, and special requests can be accommodated to a certain extent (e.g. if a specific activity is not an option for you, it can be communicated beforehand). You can also choose from a variety of activities offered by the accommodation, including walks, bike tours, a training course on the farm, and many more!
This morning, you will head towards Pieterburen, a village 16km north of Oldehove. Especially for tea lovers, we recommend taking a detour to the small village of Houwerzijl, where the Theefabriek (“Tea factory”) is located, with a museum, shop, and a tearoom open to visitors.
There is another very special place to visit in the area where we recommend you take another detour: Molenrij. There you can visit De Groene Luwte, a unique combination of a landscape garden and a vegetable garden, with an orchard and small livestock. This place is run by two passionate ladies on the principles of sustainability and organic living. The garden has a small photo gallery, serves drinks and snacks, and also offers vegetable gardening courses. If you choose to visit this beautiful garden, a two-hour-long tour of the garden can be arranged, with one of the founders as your guide for exploring the property, and for learning ecological management and the green cycle.
This afternoon, you can choose your own destination. We recommend a visit to the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre in Pieterburen, where scientists conduct research on the habitat and populations of seals. There is also a functioning emergency relief and rescue centre, where the team makes sure to provide the best care for seals.
Another possible point of interest would be the smallest and most northern port of The Netherlands mainland: Noordpolderzijl, which is a 13km drive away from Pieterburen. Here, you can explore the port, follow a hiking route through salt marshes and have lunch in Café ‘t Zielhoes right by the port. Noordpolderzijl is accessible by car, but it is also possible to rent bicycles in the village for another bike tour instead.
Your overnight will be booked at a small B&B in Pieterburen.
The village you are staying in is the perfect starting spot for mudflat hiking, which is something you have to try in the Wadden Sea area at least once in your lifetime!
Today, you may choose to follow one of many offered walks varying in difficulty and length. We will book this in advance for you. The basic hike is 3.5 hours long, including a stop for coffee/tea and a screening of a film about mudflat walking. All the gear, including special shoes, can be rented prior to starting the hike.
Mudflat walking is a traditional activity for the Northern region of The Netherlands, allowing you to observe serene views, appreciate the stillness of nature, and maybe even encounter seals in the wild.
If you want to have a very special experience at night after a day of exploring the mudflats, a trip to Lauwersmeer Dark Sky Park can be arranged. A Dark Sky Park is a place offering the visitor to enjoy a particularly clear view of the starry sky, as well as options of searching for moths and finding star constellations.
An interesting fact: there are currently only two places offering this kind of view in The Netherlands and only around forty worldwide, with Lauwersmeer National Park being the only one on the Dutch mainland! Observing the especially dark sky is also believed to induce better sleep, so we highly suggest taking advantage of this opportunity and see if you wake up feeling well-rested.
If you are a bird enthusiast, the name of Lauwersmeer National Park may already sound familiar to you, with over a hundred bird species breeding in its waters, grasslands, and forests. The park is inhabited by flora (especially orchids) and fauna, including foxes, Scottish Highland cattle, and Konik horses. However, the life within Lauwersmeer National Park revolves around the birds. It is especially impressive in spring and autumn during the migration times when you can witness a breathtaking view of thirty thousand barnacle geese flying above your head.
You can choose to explore the park by following one of the guided tours, and you can also choose to join a boat tour, hike, or rent a bike. There are several bird-watching huts spread throughout the park, offering a hideout for observing birds in the wild, and fishing spots are set up along the shore.
For the younger nature lovers, there is a gnome path (Kabouterpad) that you can follow, where children can observe the wonders of nature at their own pace while participating in an interactive “search for gnomes”. There is a multitude of activities offered in the park, so we recommend you browse through the options to see what appeals to you. Just remember, we can work together to make this a trip you will remember for years to come!
You depart from Pieterburen today. We hope you have enjoyed exploring the province of Groningen, and we wish you a safe trip home or to your next destination!
TravPact is Travelife Certified, which means our tours are in line with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Industry criteria and our certification is formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
With a professional background in the nonprofit sector working in international development, we are keenly aware of the impact tourism can have on a destination and its people.
That’s why we choose to bring your focus away from driving long distances, and instead offer alternatives such as bikes, sailboats, kayaks, or simply walking to reach a destination where possible.
Moreover, in order to give you the most authentic experience, we give preference to small local hotels, B&B’s, and campsites. In these spaces, you can connect with the Dutch culture in an authentic way and experience the cities and villages of the Northern Netherlands.