From coffee and traditional Dutch apple pie with cream to a bowl of hearty pea soup, from pancakes with all kinds of sweet or savoury toppings to raw herring with onions: part of the joy of cycling in Holland is stopping at one of the many cafes, bars or restaurants to rest your tired legs and sample the local specialities! The next place for a snack or refreshment is never far away.
Cafes, bars and restaurants on your route
Even if you're cycling in a rural area, it will never be long before you come across somewhere you can stop for a snack or refreshments. Just head towards the nearest church spire - usually it marks the next cafe and opportunity for a well-earned break. If you want a proper three-course meal, you might have to look a bit further. The locals are normally very generous with their advice on the best place to eat. Just ask around.
A pannenkoekenhuis (literally 'pancake house') is a typical Dutch family restaurant. A restaurant devoted to the humble pancake? Yes, pancakes are so popular in Holland that there are pannenkoekenhuizen all over the place. But don't be fooled, one glance at the long and varied menu will show that the Dutch pancake is anything but humble. And it isn't just a light dessert: however much you'd like a second helping, for most hungry cyclists a single pancake will be enough for a whole meal.
Traditional Dutch pancakes are large and quite thick. They come with savoury or sweet toppings. Popular varieties are: apple, raisins soaked in rum, bacon and cheese, to which you can add syrup (stroop) or icing sugar. Alongside these old-time favourites, each pancake restaurant will serve a variety of other flavours.
Some cafes, bars and restaurants give cyclists an extra warm welcome. Businesses that have joined the Cyclists Welcome! (Fietsers Welkom!) scheme advertise with special facilities for guests who come on their bike. These include a bicycle repair kit so you can mend a tyre if necessary and the possibility to recharge your electric bike and fill your water bottles free of charge. There will also be some cycling maps you can consult or purchase.