There is one place in the Netherlands where I’ve been coming for years to hike. To hike and eat pancakes, because most hikes over here finish at one of the two pancake restaurants in the little village of ‘De Lage Vuursche’. The last bit to either the train station or the car is to walk off the calories.
The main reason why I like it here so much is that there are so many types of hikes you can do here. Whether it is a 20 km hike from one train station to the next of a short hike near Castle Drakensteyn, I always end up having a good time. And the pancakes are a nice bonus.
De Lage Vuursche.
The town of De Lage Vuursche only counts about 140 inhabitants, 210 if you also count the surrounding area. The town used to be combined with De Hoge Vuursche, but in 1857 it merged with the municipality of Baarn. This municipality now has around 24,700 residents.
One of the famous residents of De Lage Vuursche is our former Queen, now Princess Beatrix. She bought the castle in 1959 and it is here that she raised her children. After she became Queen the family moved to The Hague. However, shortly after her abdication Princess Beatrix moved back into Castle Drakesteyn. Her son, late Prince Friso, has been buried there.
Another famous name connected with De Lage Vuursche is Fanny Bankers-Koen. This late athlete was born in this beautiful village. She married and became a mother of two and a housewife. But she also proved to the world that she was really fast. In 1948, at the age of 30, she won four golden Olympic medals. Her nickname then became ‘the flying housewife’. At the age of 85 she passed away in Hoofddorp. There are two statues and buildings created to honor her. In Almere a sports park is named after her and Hengelo even has an annual international sports tournament.
The NS hike (from train station to train station).
The first time I went on a hike in this area I was in my early thirties. I had joined an activities group. Over the years I met many friends through this organization. It was with them that I rediscovered my love for exploring the world by foot. The hikes I did with them were usually between 10 (6.21 mi) and 20 km (12.43 mi) and the group varied from 10 to 30 people. The hike that started at train station Baarn was 13 km. It was called an ‘NS-hike’ after the Dutch Railways. The end of this hike was the train station Hollandse Rading. It is also possible to do the hike until De Lage Vuursche (9 km; 5.59 mi) and then take a bus to train station Hilversum.
Both 13 km and 9 km is too long for our daughter, but close to De Lage Vuursche is a parking area, where you can park you can and start some shorter hikes. The shortest one is only 3 km (1.86 mi). It is called the ‘castlegardenhike’, which is a bit misleading as the hike takes you alongside the garden of castle Drakensteyn and not within. But with Princes Beatrix living there would not have expected it any other way. There are several other hikes in the area. Some start at the same parking lot, others elsewhere.
The 3 km hike is a nice one. It starts near a garden with ponies inside. The road is a sand trail and parts of it run through the forest. There are usually a lot of birds to be seen and we have even spotted mice during our hike. Halfway you cross paths with another hike so you prolong it of you wish. The other hike is more in open land and takes you inside meadows with cows.
There are also hikes that take you to meadows, to other estates and through dense forest. Part of a 400 km (249 mi) hike called ‘the hike of the migrating birds’ also comes through De Lage Vuursche. This part is a little over 16 km (9.94 mi).
As mentioned before, there are two good pancake restaurants in De Lage Vuursche, one on each side of the street. They are sister restaurants. These are an excellent place for a rest until you finish your hike or return to your car. One is called ‘De Vuursche Boer’ , the other ‘Het Vuursche Bos’. Last mentioned one has poffertjes, a Dutch delicacy that can’t be missed. They are little round pancakes, the size of a golf ball, but flat. You eat them traditionally with butter and icing sugar.
‘t Jagershuis is also situated in the Dorpsstraat. They serves pancakes (no poffertjes), but they also have several other dishes you can order. Since 2017 they have an outdoor playground in which children can play during the summer.
All three restaurants are great, but I have to warn you, they are not cheap. Compared to other pancake restaurants they are not overly expensive either. The quality of the food as well as the service is usually great.
Also on Travelharts.com.
Our photo site has a nice photo album about the hike near Castle Drakensteyn.
Castle Drakesteyn, the estate of Princess Beatrix, former Queen of the Netherlands, is located near Soesterberg. You can walk in the woods surrounding it.
I also wrote a story about a hike in the Ankeveense Plassen. Another very nice hike in the Netherlands!
The Ankeveense Plassen are a great place to go hiking with kids. This area in the Netherlands contains peat-soil. Many animals live in and near the water.