Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe
Photo credit: Tatiana Chekryzhova, Shutterstock

To spend a break in unspoilt nature, surrounded by rivers, lakes and islands of crystal-clear pastures where many birds flit, you do not have to travel far: because all this can be found not far away in De Beisbosch National Park in the Dutch province of Brabant, which is considered the largest area in the world. Freshwater ebb and flow in Europe (some even say the world). The national park, established in 1994, extends over an area of ​​12,000 hectares across the delta region where the Rhine and Maas rivers empty into the North Sea. The fauna of the national park makes the hearts of not only amateur ornithologists beat faster due to the abundance of birds. Among other things Sea eagles, ospreys and kingfishers make their home in De Bisbosch. The beaver also feels so comfortable that it has become the flagship of the national park.

What impressed me personally is the isolation and silence you find here, not far from the big cities of Rotterdam and The Hague. Already when you arrive with her Polly In the national park, you feel as if you are leaving civilization behind with every kilometer and immersing yourself in a world where nature is still intact and the nearest supermarket is miles away. A world I only knew in remote areas of the world. But here? In the middle of one of the most populated areas in the Netherlands?

My nightly tip: Camping De Knotwilg nature camping site

Then, when you think you haven’t really gotten anywhere and there’s nothing around but wet meadows and lakes, turn left over a small dam to a very private campsite. De Knotwilg nature camping site is located in the middle of the national park on a small lake where hundreds of birds come in search of food, especially in the morning and evening hours. Directly in front of him, a flock of sheep graze on the wet meadows. On the other side of the fence, tents are being diligently set up on the tent meadow. When we arrive, warm evening light shines through the fruit trees and shrubs that divide the site into beautiful natural playgrounds.

We find a nice place under the pear tree. My truck was in the best company out of at least 10 other historic campers, with everything really burning and smelling like warm food. As darkness falls, a fire is burning next to the fireplace on the cold summer night. Owners Brigitte and Sjaak have really created a wonderful place here for anyone who wants a break in nature – without a lot of frills, no WiFi or permanent campsites with fences and garden gnomes.

The approximately two-hectare arena offers space for 55 places and is open between May and October. Spacious pitches for caravans and motorhomes (200m2) ensure adequate distance from neighbours; Of course there are also power connections. There is an open sanitary building behind the information building providing toilets, showers and ablution facilities. Dogs are welcome anywhere on site.

But what I liked most was the friendly and warm atmosphere that prevailed between the two camps. You can just tell that the campsite attracts nature lovers who treat each other with respect and kindness. At night it was wonderfully quiet, and apart from the crackling of the fire, there was absolutely nothing to be heard. If only camps could always be like this!

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in EuropeDe Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe

Tips for hiking and excursions in De Biesbosch National Park and the surrounding area

Although you can actually spend a whole day camping in this beautiful environment and enjoying nature, it is worth exploring the national park actively – on foot, by bike or in a canoe, which you can find right on the farm of the camp owners. The camp opposite can be rented.

By the way: Bisbosch National Park owes its existence to one of the worst natural disasters in the Netherlands. During the so-called St. Elisabeth Flood in November 1421, the dam broke and the entire area around Dordrecht was flooded. A total of 70 villages and 10,000 people fell victim to the disaster. The flood slowly receded and a unique biome of reeds, grasslands and wet forest emerged from the devastated area downstream.

#1 – Hike a beaver trail through the national park

My top hiking tip takes you on the beaver trail from the campsite to the Besbosch Museum in Iceland and along the Diepgat River back to your starting point. We definitely recommend taking a detour along the nature trails through the so-called De Pannekoek area, which you reach shortly before Museum Island. If you like traveling without a dog, then you can visit the museum and learn more about the unique landscape and how it came to be. There is also a museum café that you can visit without visiting the museum. We got sandwiches and drinks there for a picnic in the sun. What I liked most was the return route along the Diepgat Canal, where the camp is also located. The approximately 13-kilometre drive is ideal for getting an insight into the national park’s diverse landscape – but the ring road has a bit too much asphalt for my taste.

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe

#2 – Kayaking in De Besboche National Park

Diepgat Canal is also an ideal starting point for canoe tours. Brigitte and Sajak have a small rental shop and will be happy to help you plan your route and provide you with important information about the tides. My advice: Not only is the light most beautiful in the early morning or late afternoon, but the chances of finding a beaver in the wild are also higher.

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in EuropeDe Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in EuropeDe Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in EuropeDe Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe

#3 – Hike Jantjespad via Jantjesplaat

In my opinion, the most beautiful hiking trail in the national park leads to the so-called Jantjespad via the Janthesplaat of the same name. The entire route, about five kilometers long, leads to narrow nature paths and numerous small bridges through the middle of nature – sometimes along small canals, sometimes across wet meadows and sometimes along beautiful lakes. This short loop hike is my absolute recommendation, especially if you are traveling with a dog or kids!

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe

#4 – Tip for the trip: Woodersheim

Voudrichem as one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands, the old fortified town of Woudrichem is just a 20-minute drive away. You will discover the most beautiful views when you walk along a narrow path along the old castle walls: on one side the water, on the other side beautiful little houses with beautifully landscaped city parks and, every so often, a few sheep grazing between them. . But the narrow streets are also worth a visit. The city owes its military importance to its strategic location between the provinces of Noord-Brabant, Zuid-Holland and Gelderland as well as the Maas, Waal and Merwedde rivers.

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe

Before you leave the mostly car-free downtown, I can take you to… Pannekokenbaker Woodreisheim (Shipdam 7) I just recommend it. The family business serves a variety of pie creations on a houseboat – with a stunning view of the water, of course.

De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe De Besbosch National Park – Camping in the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe

Want more tips for Brabant? Then read here: De Maashorst – Camping in the wild nature reserve in North Brabant

Have you ever been to De Biesbosch National Park and have any other tips? Or do you have any other tips for beautiful natural camping spots in the Netherlands? Then let me know in the comments!

In cooperation with Visit Brabant

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