Flevoland is the newest of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. It was created in 1986 after a partial draining of the Ijsselmeer. The newly reclaimed land lies an average of four meters below the water level and is home to about 300,000 inhabitants. The eastern part of this province is quite rural, while the western part is more lively. Almere is only a stone’s throw away from the vibrant Amsterdam.
Sights in Flevoland
National Park Nieuw Land
The highlight of Flevoland is undoubtedly the national park Nieuw Land (nationaal park nieuw land) which is the largest man-made national park. It consists of four nature areas:
- Marker Wadden
The Oostvaardersplassen is home to Konik horses, red deer and Heck cattle. The animals live in vast natural areas, far away from residential areas or business parks.
The Lepelaarplassen are a marsh area which are home to marsh and water birds. Bird lovers can spot up to 200 different bird species here.
As an inland body of water, the Markermeer has no tides. The markermeer is popular for watersports activities such as kitesurfing. Along the Markermeer you will find numerous beaches and surf schools where you can take a class and rent equipment.
The newest part of the national park is the Marker Wadden. The land is being drained to create new habitat for plants, birds and fish. It’s a great place for hikers and cyclists.
If you want to see an idyllic Dutch town in Flevoland, make sure to visit Urk. Urk is a former island located on the Ijsselmeer which is now connected to the mainland. What we love about Urk are the small houses and narrow streets across the entire town. The harbour is one of the main sights in Urk. From the nearby lighthouse you have a great view of the Ijsselmeer and the surrounding landscape. Urk also has a small beach.
The Dutch are experts when it comes to dealing with water. If you visit Flevoland, chances are that you’ll be crossing the Afsluitdijk. This 32 km (20 mi) long dike divides the salty Wadden Sea from the freshwater Ijsselmeer. On the south of the Ijsselmeer you’ll find another dike, the Markerwaarddijk, which forms the border to the Markermeer.
You can cross this dike to drive between Lelystad and Enkhuizen (province of North-Holland).
A visit to the National Aviation Museum in Lelystad is absolutely worthwhile. The museum exhibits the history of Dutch civil aviation. It hosts an extensive collection of various aircrafts such as the first airplane of the Wright brothers. You can see the planes from inside and even hop on board thanks to the aviodrome’s flight simulator.
By the way, while Lelystad is a modern, mid-size city, there’s not much to do for visitors except for the Aviodrome. Enkhuizen (located on the other side of the Afsluitdijk) is a better !
Families with children will love the zoo Almere Jungle. The zoo consists of both outdoor as well as indoor areas. It’s home to countless small animal species like turtles, meerkats, birds and fish. What’s special about the zoo is that children can see the animals up close and even help feed them.
Activities in Flevoland
The most popular cycling route in Flevoland is the Zuiderzeeroute which takes you around the Ijsselmeer. The 400 km long route leads through varied landscapes of Flevoland. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a multi-day cycling vacation. However, you can also choose a small part of the cycling route which is signposted thoroughly.
Almere is home to the Spa La Mer (Thermen La Mer). These luxurious thermal baths consist of indoor and outdoor areas. Inside the day spa you’ll find various saunas and infusions, relaxation rooms, sunbeds and a restaurant. Make sure to complete your wellness experience with a relaxing massage at Spa La Mer. The outside consists of a beautifully decorated Mediterranean garden. Furthermore, you’ll find a swimming pool, a whirlpool, several terraces and small wooden cabins with different saunas here. If you’re looking for a great day spa in Flevoland, the Spa La Mer is the perfect place to be.
Accommodation in Flevoland
Flevoland offers a wide range of accommodations catering for all tastes and budgets. Thanks to its large amount of nature, you’ll naturally find numerous campsites and cozy guesthouses in this province. Accommodation in Flevoland even includes houseboats and floating camping rafts. If you prefer more comfort and flexibility, you’ll find larger hotels and bed & breakfasts in cities like Almere, Lelystad and Urk.