Northwest Overijssel & Friesland Via reed bolls to the Elfsteden route

During this week-long tour you sail through the land of the peat cutters in the northern part of Overijssel. You will discover the enchanting reed bogs of De Wieden and De Weerribben and sail through to Friesland. In Friesland you sail part of the Elfsteden route via the Tjeukemeer and through authentic places like Sloten, Workum, Bolsward and Sneek.

Day route 1 Zwartsluis

Start in Zwartsluis for your first night.

Day route 2 Zwartsluis > Ossenzijl

Depart from the Panorama harbour in the direction of Genemuiden. Watch out for the ferry that takes priority over recreational ships. Wait until the ferry is on the shore, then the 2 cables that hold the ferry in place are lowered to the bottom and you cross the ferry path safely. Now you are approaching the Zwarte Meer, which is very shallow, so only sail in the navigation channel. At the fork turn to the right, towards the Kadoelerbrug. This bridge is an automatic bridge, that means you have to approach the bridge until the lights on the bridge from the left and right of the bridge change to red and green, this is the sign that the bridge has “seen” you. Now wait until the bridge opens and the light turns green, then you can sail through.

After the bridge, the green buoys are on your right. Take care at the sharp turn to the right at the Voorst, do not cut off the bend, because you will get stuck. Now you can see the Vollenhove bridge in the distance. At this bridge you have to call (+31 320 - 76 76 10), they will ask if you want to go through a bridge or a lock; press 3, then a 1 for this bridge in Vollenhove and another 1 if you want to go through the bridge now. Near the bridge, see the large shipyard of Royal Huisman, where beautiful ships are built for the rich of the earth. A short distance away you will find Blokzijl, where you will enter the beautiful harbour entrance through the large doors. Immediately to the right is the long jetty to the lock, use this if you want to sail through, otherwise you can find a berth in the harbour. The lock takes you down about 80 cm, so be careful not to put a knot in your ropes, make sure you can release the ropes gradually when the water level goes down.

After the lock you sail slowly away from Blokzijl, as there is a speedlimit of 6 km/hr. You will now head for the Giethoornse lake, stay between the buoys and turn left towards Muggebeet, with its famous restaurant Geertien. Then you reach the Kalenberger canal, the most beautiful canal in Overijssel (max 6 km/hr). Enjoy the beautiful nature and houses/cottages with beautiful gardens. In Kalenberg you have to go through the pedestrian bridge, which costs €2.10 in bridge money. The bridge operator will swing a wooden shoe on a stick to you and as you sail through the bridge you put the money in the wooden shoe. Then you come through a beautiful S - curve and in the distance lies Ossenzijl with its marina "de Kluft". Here are good sanitary facilities, large lawns a campsite and opportunities to rent canoes and the likes to sail through the National Park “de Weerribben”.

Day route 3 Ossenzijl > Sloten

Depart from Ossenzijl, through the bridge towards the Linthorst - Homansluis, do not sail too fast, this channel is not very deep. The lock is not very big, but the height difference is only about 30 cm. Sail on and moor as close to the lock as possible. After the lock you will encounter a few bridges and beautiful nature both on your right and your left. Then comes Echtenerbrug in view, this town has a bridge, which costs €2 in bridge money. Echtenerbrug is located on the Tjeukemeer and in the meantime you have arrived in Friesland. Especially after the bridge there are possibilities to moor and do some shopping. On the Tjeukemeer you have to stay in the fairway because it is a very shallow lake. There are islands in two places that attract many boaters to spend the night (be careful with the depths around the islands!). You should sail very slowly here. If you continue, towards Follega, you’ll have to go through a bridge (free) and you sail through the Follegasloot towards Sloten. At the end of the Follegasloot you cross the Princes Margriet Canal, this is a highway for professional shipping so be careful and let the big ships go first! Then you sail to Sloten. Sloten is the smallest Frisian town of the 11 cities tour (long-distance ice skating event of almost 200 km long) and of Friesland, but so beautiful that a visit is very much recommended. On the south side where you arrive is a marina, but the shore on the north side is also very nice. To reach the north side, go through the bridge and look for a berth on the green shore a little further on the left. It is only a short walk into the old town with its beautiful windmill on top of the earthen wall and its water flowing through the heart of the city.

Day route 4 Sloten > Sneek

When leaving Sloten, head north to the Slotermeer and on to Woudsend. In Woudsend you will find a beautiful old sawmill. A little further on is the curve bridge that lies in the middle of the village. Then turn left along the large marina de Rakken and sail on to Heeg. Heeg is located at the Heegermeer, that continues into the Fluessen. You can sail over the Fluessen and go to Stavoren on the IJsselmeer. In this elongated lake several islands have been created for water sports. Here you can moor or halfway down the lake you can turn right to sail to Workum. Workum is a beautiful old town with good shopping opportunities. From here we sail on to Bolsward. To view Bolsward you have to go through the bridge over which the motorway passes, it will not open all the time because of the busy traffic, so be patient. Then comes the last bit towards Sneek. But first we go through the railway bridge in IJlst and then the bridge in the town of IJlst. Be careful at this bridge as it is positioned in a bend to the left, caution is required! After the bridge we sail towards Sneek with the beautiful sawmill on the right. Then we enter Sneek and right in front of us we see the symbol of Sneek, the Waterpoort. To enter the city canal you have to go through the bridge on the right, this is at a right-angle to the current fairway, so be careful! In the city canal you can moor the boat on both the right and leftside and spend the night in the center of Sneek. Sneek is a fairly large city, where you can do some nice shopping and easily spend a day.

Day route 5 Sneek > Princenhof

When leaving Sneek, simply continue through the city canal, go on to the Houkesloot after the last bridge. On your righthand side you’ll find a point where you are able to empty the waste water tank. At the end of the Houkesloot you cross the Princes Margriet Canal (be carefull for the commercial ships!) and sail on to the Snekermeer, along the ‘start island’. There are moorings everywhere on the green shore around the Snekermeer. Then sail towards Akkrum and you will pass through the Heerenzijl bridge and sail through Akkrum towards the Princenhof nature reserve. Just through the center of Akkrum you sail over the motorway (!) this is a very special experience. Then you are almost in the "Princenhof" nature park. Here you can find berths everywhere in nature, the only small village is Eernewoude.

Day route 6 Princenhof > Echtenerbrug

Back to the south, you can return the same way via Akkrum, or by sailing a short stretch of the Princes Margriet Canal to Grouw and for example, via the Kromme Knilles towards the Snekermeer and then Joure or Langweer. Better not to sail to Scharsterbrug, because the bridge over the highway only has a clearance height of 3.5 meters and because of the traffic it does not opened very often. Better to go via the Princes Margriet canal with a left turn through the Follegasloot to the Tjeukemeer. On the other side is Echtenerbrug where you can always find a berth before or after the bridge.

Day route 7 Echtenerbrug - Giethoorn

From Echtenerbrug to Ossenzijl you retrace your steps, two bridges and a lock and then the bridge in Ossenzijl. Then turn left onto the Steenwijk - Ossenzijl canal. Along the edge of the "Weerribben", you sail with the sandy grounds of Paaslo and Basse on your left. Until Steenwijk you will pass through 4 bridges, then turn right towards Giethoorn. In Giethoorn there is a beautiful harbour with good sanitary facilities on your right hand side; the Zuiderkluft. From here you can visit Giethoorn, by foot or with a small electric powered boat, which can be rented everywhere. So you can judge for yourself whether Giethoorn is worthy of the term ‘Venice of the north’.

Day route 8 Giethoorn – Zwartsluis

If you sail back to Zwartsluis the last morning of your sailing vacation, you still have to take into account one bridge, the Blauwe Hand and one lock, the Beukersluis. After the lock you have reached the Meppelerdiep, sail onto Zwartsluis, after the Meppelerdiep bridge take a right and soon you’ll see the harbour of Panorama appear on your right. We hope you have had a nice holiday.

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