Hiking Around Lake Grevelingen
After the completion of the Oosterschelde trail, friends Arie, Maarten, Bart and I had to make a decision. Which long-distance hiking trail are we going to walk next? How about hiking around Lake Grevelingen?
Remarkably, there is no official hiking route around this largest saltwater lake in Europe. But no worries, friend Bart lives a stone’s throw away from Lake Grevelingen and knows the area well. Time and time again he provides us with the most beautiful routes.
In the last two years we have covered eight stages of the trail. Completion is expected in 2020, but here is already the blog post.
The map is interactive: zoom and click for more information.
We were lucky to have two cars. Anyone who wants to follow in our footsteps and use public transport will have to make some minor adjustments to the route. But even on Sundays, most villages and towns on these pious islands are reasonably accessible by bus.
Stage 1: Bruinisse – Herkingen
September 23, 2017 – 14.3 kilometers
The tour starts at the easternmost tip of the former island of Schouwen-Duivenland, near the fishing port of Bruinisse. The first section takes us along the Grevelingen Dam but it doesn’t really feel like a dam, because on its north side there is a recreational area with forests and beaches.
We pass the provincial border on the last stretch of the dam, since although Goeree-Overflakkee feels very Zeelandic, in fact it’s part of South Holland. The landscape is vast; we walk on an asphalt dike with a view of Grevelingen and its many sailing boats. In a small bay near the hamlet of Battenoord we meet a number of strange visitors: flamingos.
The last part of the route takes us inland, along flower-sown field borders to the village of Herkingen.
Stage 2: Herkingen – Slikken van Flakkee
May 27, 2018 – 17.2 kilometers
After the asphalt embankment of the previous stage, the coast west of Herkingen has a much more natural character. A grass dike with long rows of trees separates the old land from the Slikken van Flakkee (literally the Flakkee mud flats). It’s a large zone with low vegetation, highland cows and fjord horses as well as many birds.
At Melissant the Slikken are about two kilometers wide; a dirt road leads to a beautiful jetty in the lake. The last part of the route leads through more wooded terrain.
Stage 3: Slikken van Flakkee – Stellendam
August 19, 2018 – 13.7 kilometers
Most of this day’s stage still leads along the Slikken. Sometimes on paths through alternating woodland or a somewhat more open landscape, other stretches are on the former sea dike.
The last part of this day hike takes us across dikes and country roads across the island to the banks of another former estuary: Haringvliet. Via the fishing port and the sluice of Stellendam we reach the beautifully situated terrace of the architecturally designed restaurant Zout of Zoet.
Stage 4: Stellendam – Goedereede
October 6, 2018 – 12.5 kilometers
On this day we do not really see Lake Grevelingen at all. But it would be a shame to skip the north coast of Goeree, with the Kwade Hoek nature reserve. The beach is wide here, with a beautiful transition zone to the dunes, covered with, among other things, marram grass and salicornia.
The last part of the route goes inland, through dunes and forests. And situated between fields and meadows, the ultimate goal looms there, the tiny but very picturesque town of Goedereede.
Stage 5: Goedereede – Punt van Goeree
February 17, 2019 – 14.9 kilometers
After some sightseeing in Goedereede we walk through reedlands rich with birds back to the lake that’s the subject of this trail: the Grevelingen.
We pass a former fortress, De Schans, as wel as the old harbor of the village of Ouddorp.
This stage ends at the Punt van Goeree, a somewhat messy but therefore quite charming area. Including a fairly new park of holiday homes that, for a change, looks pretty nice.
Stage 6: Punt van Goeree – Brouwersdam
May 4, 2019 – 12.3 kilometers
We are not yet finished at the Punt because the first part of the walk takes us along the bunker route, with remains of the Atlantikwal built by the Germans in ’40 -’45. And another piece of history: we do not skip the museum of the RTM, the Rotterdamsche Tramweg Maatschappij that in the old days operated trams and boats connecting these islands with the big city.
The Brouwersdam forms a nice contrast with the previous part. A wide strip of land with a grand view over Lake Grevelingen and / or the North Sea. A paradise for sailors, surfers, kiters and other water sports lovers.
Stage 7: Brouwersdam – Zonnemaire
August 10, 2019 – 13.2 kilometers
We leave the Brouwersdam behind and pass the village of Scharendijke and the Den Osse water sports center. The dikes along this shore were once reinforced with concrete and wooden structures that are now heavily weathered. One would almost forget it, but before closing the dams the sea was a constant threat for this coast.
We reach Brouwershaven, which turns out to be a beautiful little town with a windmill, a medieval town hall and a picturesque harbor. From there it is a few kilometers on country roads to the picturesque village of Zonnemaire.
Stage 8: Around Zonnemaire
October 22, 2019 – 15.9 kilometers
Via a hamlet with the appropriate name Dijkhuisjes (Little Dike Houses) we walk back to Brouwershaven to taste another one of those fantastic herring at the town’s harbor.
The tour continues over grassy dikes with a wide view over fields with potatoes and carrots on one side and Lake Grevelingen with various wooded islands on the other.
From the former work harbor of Bommenede, nowadays used for water sports, country roads take us back to Zonnemaire.
Two more stages remain before we will close the circle in Bruinisse. Of course I’ll add those to this blog post in due course.