From 2018 the Netherlands has a new bicycle and walking route; The Roman Limes Route. It is a long distance path that is 275 km long for hikers and 200 km for cyclists. It leads from the coast in the west to the German border in the east, along the northern border of the former Roman empire. Along the way you will pass through historic cities and along the path you will see watchtowers, archaeological finds and information boards (also in English).
Currently I am hiking this path in stages, and I am very surprised about the diversity of the landscapes. This route is a beautiful reflection of the Dutch landscape and interesting and educational because of its history.
The route runs from Katwijk to Nijmegen, but is marked both ways. An alternative start point is in Den Haag. Information about public transport to the start or end point can be found on ns.nl. The level of this route is easy. The landscape is flat, apart from a few hills in the east of the Netherlands.
The signposting is quite good, but it is still easy to get lost if you miss a mark. I recommend to get a (digital) map or gpx. There are nice guides for both the bike route and the hiking trail, but unfortunately these are only published in Dutch. Instead I refer below to useful websites where you can find the route information.
The route for hikers is called Roman Limespath (or in Dutch Romeinse Limespad). In 2019 it won the prize for the hiking trail of the year. Subjects in which the path excels are the theme, signposting and unpaved paths. The footpath sometimes runs across private land and through meadows with steps over gates.
On this website (only in Dutch) you can find information about the path, sights, public transport, maps and GPX files. The route has 17 stages, but you can also divide the stages according to your own wishes.
The Netherlands is the bicycle country par excellence. There is an extensive network of well-maintained cycle paths. The flat Dutch landscape makes cycling fun for all levels. The Roman Limesroute has 6 stages. On this website, you can find GPX files.
Below I will discuss a few highlights that you will encounter on the roman lime trail from east to west.
City centre of Leiden
Leiden is a
very beautiful city and home to the oldest university in the Netherlands. The
city has an old city centre with a visible history. You can fund canals, city
gates, bridges, windmills, a castle, botanical gardens, small hidden courtyards,
large late gothic churches and various beautiful historical buildings.
Archeon Museumpark – Alphen aan den Rijn
Museumpark Archeon is an open-air museum in Alphen aan den Rijn that shows the Netherlands through prehistory, Roman times and the Middle Ages through living history.
The park consists of three areas by era. There are buildings in those areas that were built after a reconstruction of an archaeological site. Actors dressed in the traditional costume of the relevant period, reproduce typical activities for their period, such as weaving, baking pots and inform the visitors about it.
Castellum Hoge Woerd – Utrecht
On the spot where once the Romans guarded the river from a fortress, there is now a modern interpretation of a Roman fortress. Behind the high walls are an archaeological museum, a theatre, stables, an educational centre for nature and environmental education, and a café-restaurant. I recommend to visit the free museum where you can view an excavated ship. It is the most completely preserved Roman river ship found in northwestern Europe. It is open every day from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 AM and 5 PM.
City centre of Utrecht
Below the current Domplein lie the remains of a Roman fortress that was called Traiectum. Unfortunately, nothing of it is visible, but the centre of Utrecht is certainly worth a visit. Utrecht is known for the Dom tower and the wharf cellars along the canals and cafes and terraces by the water.
Waterline Museum – Bunnik
The Waterline Museum is located on Fort bij Vechten, the second largest fort of the New Dutch Waterline. The museum is about how the Dutch protected their country with water, but you can also learn about the Roman castellum that was located at this spot. It is open every day from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 AM and 5 PM.
City centre of Nijmegen
Many Roman archaeological finds have been made in and around the city of Nijmegen, which is not surprising because it was an important Roman city and trade centre. Museum Valkhof has a large collection of interesting Roman archaeological finds.
Need more information?
Do you want more information about the route or the highlights?
Do you need help with finding accommodations or bike rental?
Please, feel free to contact me.