Valkenburg is a Dutch village in the Limberg province of South Holland. It is absolutely stunning and easily one of my favorite places I visited in my four-month, fourteen-country trip. The people are friendly, the countryside is unforgettably gorgeous, and the beer is cold and served with salty peanuts. Who could ask for anything more?
My friend Mireilla, who lives in The Netherlands, took me down to South Holland (and Ghent, Belgium) for a weekend while I was staying with her in June.
On the morning after we stumbled onto an exquisite André Rieu concert, Mireilla and I decided to rent bikes for the day. After briefly considering biking to Germany (a possibility, but we’d have to get an earlier start), we ended up just riding around the hilly countryside of Valkenburg.
Though The Netherlands is known for being remarkably flat and therefore bicycle-friendly, this part of Holland is actually incredibly hilly. In fact, the Tour de France had a stage finish in Valkenburg in 1992 and 2006.
We biked somewhere between 20-30 miles (I can’t for the life of me remember, because we measured in meters, and now it’s been months. Let’s go with 30, because that’d be cooler.) and got real good and sweaty. We stopped for lunch and shared satay fries (fries with peanut sauce, the best thing I ate in Holland) and the hugest burrito-shaped spring roll I’ve ever eaten in my life.
We stayed at the Hotel Lahaye, which I LOVED. It’s a family-run hotel that has been in operation for generations, and has a wonderful rustic quality. There is WiFi, but it’s a bit spotty, and though we requested a non-smoking room, you could tell guests have been smoking in those rooms for decades. But the owner was so friendly, and there’s a little bar that serves beer (with bar snacks, of course). Mireilla and I each ordered a gin and tonic, and each ice cube was placed with care by a small pair of tongs into our glasses. The hotel was just a quaint and lovely little place, and more affordable than the hotels closer in town.
The room also comes with a complimentary breakfast.
Speculoos cookie butter and chocolate sprinkles on toast. My perfect breakfast. (Note: I provided the chocolate sprinkles.)
This bike ride in Valkenburg is one of the main reasons I can’t wait to go back to The Netherlands. It’s such a stunning country with friendly people. And of course my dear friend lives there, so I imagine I’ll be back before too long.