As you can read here, I walked the Pieterpad trail in July 2018. It took me in total 22 days and I hiked 19 days, so I had 3 zero days. The total distance is 492 km and you will walk from North to South through The Netherlands (or the other way around). It was very warm! Especially for The Netherlands. Because of this I started hiking between 06:00 and 06:30 in the morning. If the temperature was colder, I think I could have been faster.
First of all, this is any very easy trail to walk. There are multiple reasons for it:
- The trails itself are very easy to walk. Only is the southern part has some hills in it, but still very doable.
- Every day you will walk through villages and so on so you don’t need to carry a lot of food.
- Camping in the wild is not allowed in The Netherlands, but there are many campsites along the trail.
- Also, there are quite a lot of bed and breakfasts along the trail if you want a bit more comfort.
The main reason to walk this trail is to challenge myself if I can do the distance in 3 weeks. So why should you?
- It is a perfect trail to prepare yourself for long hikes. You can do the distance and find out how you can handle this.
- The Netherlands is a beautiful country and along this trail you can see every part of it.
- It is a popular trail, especially in the weekends. A lot of people will section hike this in the weekend.
The trail is divided in 26 sections. As you can see, some of them are quite short so you can go faster. My favorite section is from Braamt to Millingen aan de Rijn. Basicly, this section has got everything. The first part is through the woods, going up and down.
After that you will walk along the river The Waal and you go through a very nice village called Tolkamer. It is a very nice place to have a break and to have a nice drink with a beautiful view.
Before you can enter Millingen aan de Rijn, you have to get a boat to get to the other part of the water, which is also a nice experience.
There are also a view sections of the trail that are mostly on asfalt. You just need to get through these sections. Try to walk on the side of the road as much as you can, because asfalt isn’t nice for your feet!
So what about the cost? Well, it depends on how you will do the hike, with a tent or not and will you eat a lot in restaurants or not.
Ik hiked with a tent and so on and on average, this was my daily cost:
- Campsite was between 8,- and 13,- euro’s a day.
- In a village I took some rest at a bakery and had some food, between 5,- and 6,- euro’s a day.
- My breakfast was muesli bars and crackers from the store, about 2,- per day.
- trail food was peanut M&M’s, cashew nuts and jelly beans, about 2,- per day.
- Dinner was sometimes having food at the snackbar on the campsite which was about 7,- but also I had some dinner with me in the form of old cheese and french dried sausage (both calories and salt). So on average I think I spend about 5,- on dinner.
- Extra’s, for example a beer, or icecream or? On average 5,- per day.
- Drinking, I would always drink water and no energy drinks. You can fill up water at the campsite so the cost of this was 0,-.
On average I spend between 27,- and 32,- euro’s per day. As you can see, most of the money is spend on food. You can go a bit cheaper I think, but not a lot.
There are also some costs that happen just a couple of times, for example the train ride to and from the trail. The train is quite expensive in The Netherlands, but there are always offers on train tickets. If you want to get a one way ticket like I did, the website vakantieveilingen.nl has a great of for this. You have to buy 2 one way tickets for 24,-, so 12,- for a one way ticket to anywhere in The Netherlands which is a very good deal.
If you want a normal bed and breakfast, this will cost somewhere between 30,- and 35,-. Hotels will start from 50,- and up. If you have dinner in a small bar with normal food, this will cost between 10 and 15 euro’s without a drink. There is another option is “Vrienden op de fiets“. It is a bit cheaper then a bed and breakfast but what I’ve read about it, the experiences are mixed.
The differences are quite big, but if you wanna go with a tent, you need to get your gear, and light gear is also costly. If you are going on weekend hikes and just want to do something for fun, moneywise, probably the bed and breakfast is the better decision. If you really do like hiking and after this trail you want to continue hiking, moneywise it is probably smarter to get the gear you need.
So would I recommend this trail? For sure! Just do some research so you know what you are getting. If you are looking for a trail that brings you 5 days straight into nature, this trail is not for you.
If you are a beginner and want to do some distance without carrying a lot of food or you want some nice sections for day hikes, this is the trail for you.