16x Green Secrets: spending the night in Dutch nature

25 May 2021

Spending the night in nature is really very special! Away from the hustle and bustle and waking up with birds chirping in the background. Staring at the outdoors during breakfast and not being able to wait to get going. Take a leisurely walk through colourful forests or cycle through unspoilt dune areas. In this blog, we unveil the greenest secrets of The Netherlands. Time to go and explore!

Would you like to take a breather and swap the chaos for some greenery? Spending the night in nature brings a sense of calm and space. Everyday noise makes way for perfect silence. No crowds of people around you, but have an eye for the animals instead that you spot in the distance out in the gorgeous nature. We have three special locations with the best tips that perfectly complement this sustainable getaway. Simply in the Netherlands, at Stayokay. 

1. Canoening in the Biesbosch

One of our favourite places where greenery is concerned is the Biesbosch National Park. A beautiful nature reserve made up of a maze of rivers. Simply hire your own canoe or kayak from the visitors' centre near Stayokay Dordrecht. With a navigation map and binoculars in hand, you are ready to spot the most wonderful flora and fauna!

2. Hanging out in the climbing forest

Playing child

A green forest is a genuine play paradise for children. Children can go completely wild at Speelbos Nieuw Wulven near Stayokay Utrecht-Bunnik. To reach the play forest, you first take a short walk, and by then the fun will already be starting. In the park, you'll find all sorts of climbing structures, and parents get to chill out on the grass with a picnic!

3. Spending the night in a Wikkelhouse

Wikkelhouse in the woods

Would you like to spend the night in nature 2.0? Then the Wikkelhouse at Stayokay Dordrecht is absolutely something for you! This sustainable holiday home is made of recyclable cardboard and is equipped with all modern conveniences. From a luxurious Auping bed, a shower and toilet, to your own Nespresso machine: everything is taken care of! In the morning, step out onto the grass with your bare feet and have breakfast on your own private patio. 

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4. Experience the past

Loevestein Castle

Located close to Stayokay Dordrecht is the imposing Loevestein Castle. Is that starting to dawn on you again? The chest of books which the legendary Dutchman Hugo de Groot escaped out off on 22 March 1621? Your knowledge of Dutch history will be freshened up in this castle. And did you know that children can even climb into the famous book chest here?

5. Hike the Klompenpad

Backpack in the woods

The klompenpaden ('clog paths') in the Netherlands take you to the most beautiful places in the countryside. You'll run into several around Soest as well. You can wander right across pastures where cattle graze, and drink a cup of coffee at a farmyard café along the way. Nothing could be more Dutch! One of the klompenpaden is the Derfde Erfpad. All kinds of wild cooking ingredients can be found along the way which you are allowed to pick.

6. Products from the region

Sustainable supermarket

Soest is located super centrally! You can easily make a trip from the hostel to, for example, Amersfoort. A lovely city to stroll around and sample the atmosphere. And we mean the delicious regional products. At the hip local supermarket Het Lokaal, you can buy all sorts of groceries that are produced within a radius of 50 km. And they bake bread, roast coffee and brew beer on site too! 

7. Go for a solex race

Friends on a solex

There are so many ways to discover the beautiful nature of the Kromme Rijn region, but how about a classic solex tour? You will set off in style straight from the sixties. Castles, magnificent country estates, fruit orchards; you will see them all! From Stayokay Utrecht - Bunnik, you're just a few minutes by bike from the Fort starting point near Vechten, one of the largest forts of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (the Dutch Water Line).

8. A sustainable holiday

Boar on a farm

A holiday in the countryside brings you back to the realisation that the world is beautiful and that it should be kept that way. You are guaranteed to go home with new ideas. At Duurzaamheidscentrum Weizigt (the Weizigt Sustainability Centre) in Dordrecht, you'll get to see an urban farm, gardens, a climate greenhouse and an apiary, among other things. Sustainability is being considered in a very approachable way. You'll also bump into some unusual animals here. How about Dahomey miniature cattle and a miniature Appaloosa horse? An impressive and sustainable afternoon for young and old!

9. Drijf Dordrecht

Boys supping on the water in the Biesbosch

Suppen is totally hip and happening! Stand-Up Paddleboarding is a popular water sport where you stand on a SUP board and propel yourself over the water. You can have fun for hours paddling through the Biesbosch with the sun shining through the clouds. Did you know that you can conveniently hire boards through our partnership with the guys from Drijf Dordrecht? Their SUP boards are on our grounds. You are also at the right place for canoes, dinghies or group arrangements! And afterwards, of course, you can enjoy a drink at our own hostel outdoor terrace!

10. Relaxing in orchards

Child with chickens in nature

 If you are out and about with the children, Buitengoed de Boomgaard is a wonderful place to be. There is plenty to do here. From building huts, go-kart racing and pottering around the children's farm to swinging across the play pond like Tarzan. The orchard is a popular spot with locals from the city. Pop-up restaurants, communal tables and wine and whiskey tasting sessions are often organised during the summer months. Drop by for a day and experience the laid-back atmosphere!

11. Canoeing from the countryside all the way into the city

Canoeing in Utrecht

From the countryside in Bunnik, you can paddle in a canoe straight to the Oudegracht in the centre of Utrecht. It's really so much fun to discover the city from the water! Around the Vaartsche Rijn, you'll spot lots of Utrechters relaxing on the jetties at the water's edge in the summer. Another fun experience: the night canoe trip. Botenverhuur de Rijnstroom organises these trips during full moon!

12. Bobbing around on the Eem lake

Boats in the Eem lake

There's nothing nicer than bobbing around in a boat with a little sun on your face. Rent a dinghy or a console boat and discover the Dutch waters. What about the Eem lake, for example? The Eem is an 18-kilometre long river that leads you past the gorgeous countryside and stretches of meadows and lovely villages such as Eemdijk and Eembrugge. 

13. Discover the Biesbosch Café

Terrace in the Biesbosch

Are you planning a wonderful walk in the Biesbosch? Then start at the Biesbosch Centre. Lots of activities are organised from this location, such as round trips or day treks. There is also plenty to see and do at the centre. For instance, there are exhibitions, a green shop and you can also take time out to enjoy delicious food and drinks at the Biesbosch café. Treat yourself to healthy sandwiches, fresh smoothies or a yummy piece of cake. That's how you can start your Biesbosch adventure full of energy!

14. Bird spotting

High trees in nature reserve De Paltz

The Utrechtse Heuvelrug is a beautiful stretch of countryside in the middle of our country. This is where you'll find the country estate Landgoed De Paltz, where you'll be busy all day, armed with a plant- and bird guide! You might spot a hawk, black woodpecker or a goldcrest. At the same time, you can hike through beech woodlands and beautiful valleys. After this walk rich in colour, you can admire the art of none other than Dutch celebrity Herman van Veen in the country estate's villa. 

15. Dune area in the middle of the Netherlands

Tree in the Soester dunes

Located in the heart of the Netherlands are the Soesterduinen (Soester dunes), within walking distance of Stayokay Soest. This area is known for its large sand drifts. Everybody can have a great time romping around and letting off steam in this huge sandpit. Roam through wooded areas, across heathlands and sand banks. Or go for a lovely picnic! 

16. Picking fresh food

Shop with fresh products

You'll come across all kinds of delicious ingredients on this kind of holiday in the countryside. Are you allowed to pick them or not? Fortunately, at Plattelandwinkel De Achterdijk, a farm shop, you can go right ahead! This is where you can pick cherries fresh from the tree, because that is when they are at their most scrumptious. Want to head straight for a table? Then opt for a delicious high tea or have a look around the shop for more regional products.

And, staying the night?

You can find all of these fun activities close to one of our following top locations, also in the middle of nature of course ;)

Stayokay Dordrecht

You'll find this renovated hostel in the heart of the Biesbosch forest. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning in the leafy backyard as the first canoeists paddle you by. And you can reach the vibrant centre of Dordrecht in no time with a Stayokay bicycle. Inside the hostel, there are comfortable private or family rooms, each with their own bathroom.

Our sustainable Wikkelhouses are located next to the hostel as well. Book your own tiny house with your friends or family and experience nature like never before!

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Stayokay Soest

Stayokay Soest is located in the middle of the forest and within walking distance of the beautiful Soesterduinen. The public areas are made for resting up and relaxing. We like to light a campfire on our wonderful outdoor terrace in the evenings and you can sit down for a great meal during the day. At this hostel, you can also choose from spacious private or shared rooms. And wherever you are from in the Netherlands: Soest is super central and easy to reach by car or train.

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Stayokay Bunnik

Spend the night in a stunning country manor! Stayokay Utrecht - Bunnik is located in the middle of the beautiful countryside of Rhijnauwen, where lots of local ramblers enjoy a cup of coffee on our outdoor terrace during the weekends. This place is ideal for nature lovers. Walking, cycling, canoeing; it's all possible. And if you feel like a day of sightseeing in the city, you can easily cycle into the centre of Utrecht!

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Did you know that...

Stayokay is the perfect base for families?

Choose a private room and sleep in one room with the whole family. Each room has its own bathroom and you can make your stay as comfortable as you like. For example, go for a lazy checkout, choose a discount package or add meals. Breakfast is already included! 

We have different types of rooms: there is something for everyone. Do you want to know which room suits you best?

Check out the room types

A family holiday at Stayokay

Would you like to book a hostel with your family? Go on! There's always a great, easy-going atmosphere at ours and children are free to play to their hearts' content. Our family hostels have a large outdoor area so that no one will ever get bored! 

Read more about family holidays