North Betuwe Terrace Route
Rhenen, Amerongen, Kesteren
This beautiful cycle route runs through two of the most beautiful regions of our country and has something breathtaking in every season. On the one hand, the Betuwe with its vast orchards. In spring, it guarantees spectacular blossom. In summer, an abundance of fruit at the stalls and farm shops. On the other side of the Waal, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug with its picturesque towns, castles, nature reserves and tobacco history. And in every town or village, a nice terrace to soak up all the beauty while enjoying some goodies.
The route starts in Kesteren in the north of the Betuwe. You can park your car perfectly well at Brasserie Beerie, but this aside. The Betuwe is known for growing fruit in orchards. The Betuwe is thought to owe its name to this. It would mean something like "good, profitable soil". But the name could also be derived from the Batavians who lived there. The fact is that the Betuwe consists of an alternation of old stream channels, levees and bowl grounds. This makes the area, with beautiful views, not only a pleasure to cycle through but especially the sandy material of the river ridges is very suitable soil for agriculture.
The Lower Rhine forms the northern border of the Betuwe; you cross it with the Lienden-Rhenen foot ferry. See the disembarkation point for sailing times. If the ferry does not sail, cycle from node 13, towards nodes 52 and 36 to return to the route. (Or vice versa if you cycle the route the other way round.) Once you have crossed the Lower Rhine, you cycle into the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Starting with cosy Rhenen, which was granted city rights as early as 1258. At the Stadsmuseum Rhenen, you can immerse yourself in the history of this town partly located on the Grebbeberg, famous for the Battle of the Grebbeberg in 1940.
Between Rhenen and Amerongen, you end up in a very different history. That of the tobacco industry. In the seventeenth century, tobacco growing began to flourish in this area. For the first time, hothouses were used to grow young plants. This was later adopted throughout Europe as the "Dutch method". By the eighteenth century, native tobacco had become an important trade product. Especially between Rhenen and Amerongen were many tobacco farms, such as the Willem III plantation of the cigar manufacturer of the same name. Today a rolling nature reserve with snowmelt water valleys from the last ice age, konik horses and galloway cattle.
In Amerongen, you can find out much more about tobacco cultivation at the Tobacco Cultivation Museum. You also cycle there past several old tobacco barns; long barns with lots of shutters and trellises. Tobacco leaves were once dried there, strung on bars. Picturesque Amerongen is also known for Amerongen Castle, among the village's cosy streets.
If you haven't had enough of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug yet, you can extend the route and cycle over the dyke to Wijk bij Duurstede, which also has a beautiful old castle and a cosy centre full of terraces. You'll then cycle some nineteen kilometres extra. To do so, follow junctions 15-37-73-74-76 from junction 17 and return to the route.
The ferry to Eck en Wiel brings you back to the Betuwe, where you can stock up on some delicious Betuwe fruit in Lienden. Or you can get a taste of Betuwe history at the Streekmuseum Baron van Brakell in Ommeren.
Here you can expand your route with pitstops
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