Today we have some very special travel inspiration for you! I’d like to take you to a lovely place which is located quite far away from Australia: Roughly 16.300 km away from Brisbane! I’ll take you to the Ijsselmeer region in the Netherlands – Probably one of the nicest and most popular places to do water sports in central Europe. An absolute “Must Go” for all nature lovers and water sports fans!
It is well-known that the Dutch have a special connection to the sea. Around 20% of the Netherland’s surface consists of water, so it is no wonder that the inhabitants are real water enthusiasts. Actually, it seems that everyone owns some sort of boat – whether it’s a small canoe, a dinghy, a traditional motorboat or a modern sailing yacht – the people want to benefit from the great network of waterways, lakes and rivers, and simply stay in contact with nature while enjoying the beautiful landscape.
The Ijsselmeer is an enormous lake, which has been closed off from the Wadden Sea to the North by a 34 km long man-made dyke. To the South, there is another dyke separating the Ijsselmeer from the Markermeer. Together, both of these “inland oceans” offer a unique spot for all kinds of nautical activities, well-protected from the open North Sea. There are many locks regulating the water levels, which are used by boaters to navigate from one lake into another or even to head out into the North Sea via the Noordzeekanaal, passing the city of Amsterdam and the industrial port of Ijmuiden.
For local as well as foreign sailors, the Ijsselmeer with its adjacent lakes is particularly popular. There is a vast offer of boat rental companies, so that the visitors can explore the region by themselves and “feel” its popularity. As you can see on the pictures, there are often hundreds of sailing yachts berthed in the modern marinas, which are spread across the region.
However, even if it looks quite crowded, the atmosphere in these recreational ports is always very pleasant and welcoming. It has to be the Dutch mentality of enjoying life close to the sea! In the evening, the sailors sit in their cockpits watching the sunset, eating dinner, chatting with each other about the day at sea and suggesting routeing plans for the next day. And in the morning, you experience the “relaxed atmosphere of departure” as I call it – without stress the people get their boats ready, discuss about the weather conditions and inform their friends on which radio frequency they will stay during the day.
There are also smaller very picturesque ports in some of the villages, as for instance in Hindeloopen, Stavoren, Lemmer or Enkhuizen, where you can berth your boat directly in front of the historic city centre – an experience you shouldn’t miss!
Anyway, it is not only the fantastic scenery and the friendly, open-minded people that make this region so special. The food is great as well! I would definitely recommend the regional snack called “Kibbeling” – delicious chunks of fried fish. Order some chips as well and you have a perfect local meal!
I often hear people complaining about the weather conditions in the Netherlands. Well, as the photos prove, it can be sunny as well! Between May and September, you are very likely to experience a longer period of simply fantastic sunny, warm days. If it gets too windy, there is always the option to navigate through the protected canals or head for the Fluessen lake system with the Heegermeer located just to the East of the Ijsselmeer…
If you like nature, boating or water sports in general, this is the place in central Europe to visit. Enjoy the beautiful landscape, get to know friendly people, taste nice food and take pictures of the “postcard scenery”! Spending some time around the Ijsselmeer region will be an unforgettable travel experience!
Yannick (21) has been sailing along the Algarve coast since his childhood and has recently passed the renowned RYA Yachtmaster qualification. LIKE and follow his multilingual facebook page “Sailing Pinboard” with daily updates on the subject of sailing and watersports!