Characteristics of Noord Holland
Most tourists will enter Holland in this province, as the International airport Schiphol is located here. Together with Zuid-Holland it is the busiest part of the country.
Still you can enjoy some nice cycling, e.g. through the dunes or in the old 'polders' north of Amsterdam. The most famous polder is the Beemster Polder, nowadays a world heritage site. Dating from the early 17th century, it is the oldest area of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. It has preserved intact its well- ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles.
Along the IJsselmeercoast you'll find some pretty old cities like Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Edam, Marken and Volendam. In the last two you can still see some elderly women wearing traditional costume as a daily dress. The IJsselmeer used to have an open connection to the Northsea, but nowadays it is an inland sweet lake, divided from the sea by de Afsluitdijk, a 30 kilometre long dike which connects Noord-Holland to Friesland. If the wind is blowing from the right direction, and it normally does during the summer, it is a nice ride on the dike.
Amsterdam is the main city and we advise you to avoid it by bicycle unless you are an experienced cyclist in large cities. If you do want to see the city by bicycle we suggest you make an organised tour with a company like e.g. Yellowbike. They offer guided city tours on bike and bike tours into the countryside as well. If you do enter the city on your own bicycle never ever leave it unlocked for even one minute as Amsterdam is also the capital for bike theft!
A nice way to expore the province is by cycling (part of) the Fortenroute, a 200 km signposted round trip around Amsterdam, cycling along the old forts that used to defend the capital against enemies.