7 days sailing in the Netherlands, discovering the IJsselmeer

By Kanika from SamBoat - August 22, 2023

Lelystad stands as the quintessential destination for embarking on an unforgettable sailing journey through the Netherlands. Nestled within this charming town is the renowned Deko Marina, a haven boasting an array of vessels awaiting your exploration. Among these, is an alluring selection of catamarans and elegant sailing yachts, promising to entice you to step aboard. This maritime gateway sets the stage for an exceptional experience, allowing you to seamlessly venture forth into the enchanting expanse of the nation’s grandest lake—the IJsselmeer.

In the following article, we will explore a 7 day guide to navigating the scenic waterways of the Netherlands.

The IJsselmeer, the ideal sailing area for a cruise in the Netherlands

Amsterdam, renowned for its intricate canal network and rich cultural history, stands as an amazing destination in its own right. Whether you’re yet to acquaint yourself with its wonders or seeking to delve deeper, a weekend or a week’s sojourn promises an exploration of unparalleled charm, whether by foot or even by bicycle. However, as we curate a captivating cruise itinerary for your Dutch escapade, our course steers us toward a different gem: the majestic expanse of Lake Ijssel, fondly referred to as “IJsselmeer” within the Netherlands.

Dismiss any preconceived notions of a mere “lake,” as stretching across a vast surface area of approximately 1,100 km², it stands tall as an inland sea. Without a shadow of a doubt, your experience promises to be nothing short of a true indulgence and delight.

Important things to know about sailing in the Netherlands

We advise you to sail in the Netherlands between the months of June and September. The water and air temperatures will normally be pleasant at this time. In general, the wind does not affect navigation in the inland seas of the Netherlands, whatever the time of year: even in strong winds, the waters are relatively well protected.

At ports in the Netherlands, mooring is generally done bow to the pontoon, the back of the boat being moored to piles. Regarding the availability of berths in the port, depending on the season, SamBoat recommends that you do not arrive too late, to put the odds on your side.

Finally, as with all destinations, we advise you to always take the markup into account and follow the nautical charts with precision. 

Day 1: Lelystad to De Kreupel

24 nautical miles, i.e. 4 h 50 of navigation

Reach Lelystad in around 40 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Take the time to take a short tour of the city center to get a glimpse of the local architecture.

Once at Deko Marina, pick up your sailboat or catamaran, check-in, and above all don’t hesitate to ask the owner or the base manager any questions you can think of. When you are ready, start your cruise in the Netherlands with an initial navigation of approximately four hours. Direction De Kreupel: an artificial island of 70 hectares, classified as a nature reserve, which should allow you to get away from it all very quickly.

Day 2: De Kreupel to Medemblik

5.1 nautical miles, or 1 hour of navigation

Starting from the tranquil anchorage of De Kreupel, where you rested during your first night, your journey continues towards the picturesque destination of Medemblik. This leg of the voyage promises to be briefer, spanning just around an hour. A perfect occasion to relieve any accumulated tension!

Upon reaching the second port of call in your Dutch cruising adventure, you will be presented with a pair of enticing options. You can opt to once again anchor your vessel amidst the scenic expanse of the Stoomgemaal area, or alternatively, dock it in the welcoming embrace of the Medemblik marina. While ashore, you’re afforded the luxury of a leisurely stroll through the city center, the inviting beaches, or partaking in the culinary delights offered by local restaurants. For those with an affinity for cultural exploration, the Dutch Steam Engine Museum stands ready to be discovered, offering a window into fascinating heritage.

Day 3: Medemblik to Den Oever

21 nautical miles, i.e. 4 h 15 of navigation

Embark on a delightful journey from Medemblik as you set sail once more towards your next enchanting destination: Den Oever. This picturesque stopover, nestled to the northwest of the IJsselmeer, invites you to experience the authentic charm of a Dutch fishing town.

Upon your arrival, the marina provides a welcoming haven equipped with all your essential comforts. From restrooms to a well-stocked supermarket, and even a bike rental service, your needs are thoughtfully catered to. An exquisite fish restaurant graces the waterfront, offering a taste of culinary excellence right at the harbor’s edge.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of your surroundings with leisurely strolls, whether through the quaint urban setting or the serene natural landscapes along the lake and within the woods. For those seeking a bit more adventure, a mere 25-minute drive transports you to the captivating city of Den Helder. Here, the iconic lighthouse stands as a testament to the region’s maritime heritage, making it a detour well worth your while.

Day 4: Den Oever and Makkum

30 nautical miles, i.e. 6 hours of navigation

On this splendid fourth day of your Dutch adventure, an exciting new destination awaits your exploration. Departing from Den Oever, your voyage sets a course for the charming town of Makkum on the eastern shores of Lake Ijssel.

Following an engaging journey of approximately six hours, your vessel finds a welcoming berth at Jachthaven Makkum—a conveniently situated marina right on the doorstep of the city and its enchanting canals. Here, you’ll find ample opportunities for leisurely strolls, each step revealing the picturesque allure of this destination.

Day 5: Makkum to Stavoren

14.5 nautical miles, i.e. 2 h 55 of navigation

Embark on a captivating voyage from Makkum and set a course towards the stunning destination of Stavoren, spanning a distance of approximately 15 nautical miles. This coastal gem, nestled gracefully along the fringes of Lake Ijssel, boasts a rich history harkening back to its flourishing era during the Middle Ages. It was once a pivotal hub of commerce, facilitating trade links with England, Scandinavia, and France, a testament to its vibrant past.

Immerse yourself in the charm of this town by embarking on a delightful stroll. Why not indulge in a leisurely shopping experience, perusing the array of boutiques that dot the streets? As the evening sets in, the prospect of a fabulous dinner awaits, with an assortment of excellent restaurants ready to elevate your dining experience.

Day 6: Sailing from Stavoren to Enkhuizen

15.5 nautical miles, i.e. 3 h 05 of navigation

Set sail in the morning from the charming port of Stavoren, charting a course towards the south-southwest. Your destination: Enkhuizen—an ancient port city steeped in captivating history and exuding a unique atmosphere.

As your journey unfolds over a span of a little over three hours, the anticipation builds for your arrival at Enkhuizen’s welcoming harbor. This haven of tranquility provides modern and well-appointed sanitary facilities, along with essential amenities including convenient wifi access. Nestled in the heart of this maritime haven, the proximity of the historic town offers a perfect backdrop for the remainder of your day’s exploration.

Embark on a leisurely stroll through Enkhuizen’s charming streets, immersing yourself in the town’s enchanting ambiance. To elevate your experience further, a visit to the renowned Zuiderzeemuseum, a maritime treasure trove, promises to capture your fascination. This museum is an absolute must-visit, adding a touch of intrigue and insight to your journey.

Day 7: Enkhuizen to Lelystad

20 nautical miles, i.e. 4 hours of navigation

Revel once more in the pleasures of sailing in the Netherlands, as you embark on the final leg of your journey. Today’s voyage takes you from Enkhuizen to Lelystad, eventually returning you to the welcoming embrace of Deko Marina.

Should you find yourself blessed with a pocket of time before your departure, consider a delightful detour to Natuurpark Lelystad. This extraordinary national park invites you to get acquainted with untamed creatures amidst the backdrop of unforgettable natural vistas. It’s a remarkable experience that perfectly punctuates your voyage, offering a final, memorable touch to your Netherlands escapade.

Our routes are calculated using the application of our partner Navily .

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