Are you looking for nice hiking trails in Holland? And have you seen enough polders? Then why not head east and go for a hike in the hilly lands of Beek, between the city of Nijmegen and the German border? This is a lovely hike if you want to get away from it all, away from the tourist crowds. It is a bit of a journey in case you are staying in the west of Holland, but then again, it will offer you a very different view of the country.
For tourists, I can imagine the most striking thing about the Dutch landscape is the sheer flatness of it, the fact that large areas are situated below sea level, and that all of this land is miraculously kept dry by dikes. Dutch people, on the other hand, often have a fascination for mountains. This is why they travel so much, preferably to hilly places.
However, perhaps surprisingly, there is some hilliness to be found within the Dutch borders. Dutch people may be heard to call these hills “mountains”. As you might expect, most of these hilly areas are situated close to the German border, and one of these is the area around the village of Beek, east of the city of Nijmegen. Beek is a sleepy Dutch village, but this travel tip is all about hiking! So if you’re looking for a hiking trail in Holland, why not try this?
Hiking trail in Beek
Downloading the GPS track of the hike in Beek
You can find this track called “Trage Tocht Beek” on the hiking website Wandelzoekpagina. You can download the GPS track without a charge. It is 15 kilometers long and starts and ends at a busstop called Van Randwijckweg in Beek.
Hiking in Beek: an impression
During this hike you will walk up and down several moraines, remains of the last ice age. As goes with hills, they offer lovely views of the surrounding area, in this case mostly farmland, fields and forests. The steepest hill you’ll encounter is the Devil’s mountain, named so after a local myth. They say this place is haunted! I didn’t notice that myself, luckily. You’ll find explanation boards along the way, some of them in English.
The route follows parts of long distance hiking trails, such as the Pieterpad (world famous in Holland, connecting the north and south of the Netherlands) and the Airborne Path (following the route of Operation Market Garden in the Second World War).
I found this trail a little challenging, especially as I hiked on a hot day. At the same time it was awesome. Lovely views, nice forest trails, hardly any paved roads, some farmland. Lots of birds.
There were quite a few other hikers when I was there in late spring. Nijmegen is known for its Vierdaagse, a four day marching event. This requires some training, so anytime between spring and the month of July, you will encounter energetic hikers in this area. Still, we had plenty of moments without anyone in sight.
How to get to Beek by public transport
When travelling by public transport, take a train to Nijmegen, and then change to a bus to Beek. Search for a bus to busstop Van Randwijckweg, Beek. That is the starting point of the trail.
When travelling by car try to park your car in Beek. Note that there are several villages called Beek in Holland. So make sure you select the right one in your route planner, just east of Nijmegen.
What to do after the hike in Beek?
Beek has a few opportunities for drinking and dining. It even has a hotel or two! However, you may also want to combine this hike with a visit to Nijmegen or Arnhem. Both cities have opportunities for sightseeing and plenty of bars and restaurants to chill out or grab a bite.