A beautiful nature reserve between Apeldoorn and Arnhem, Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe (tel. 0900/464-3835; www.hogeveluwe.nl) covers some 55 sq. km (21 sq. miles) of gently rolling heath, pine and birch woodland, fens, and sand dunes, populated by red and roe deer, wild boar, pine martens, badgers, polecats, and other wildlife, including non-native species like the long-haired mouflon Mediterranean wild mountain sheep, along with around 150 different bird species. Observe the wildlife from hides and observation posts.
The national park has solved its transportation issues in a way that's both user-friendly and nature-friendly. Cars aren't permitted in the reserve proper, and a fleet of free white bicycles, which you can pick up from one of several convenient spots next to the perimeter car parks, makes getting around both easy and pleasant -- though some visitors have an unfortunate tendency to "borrow" other people's bikes as soon as the original rider's back is turned. These bikes are the perfect way to explore the park, and you'll be able to see more than if you go on foot.
A leisurely ride takes you to the splendid Jachtslot Sint-Hubertus, an extravagant hunting lodge on the park's northern edge, with a tower that soars high above it. The Art Deco lodge was designed in 1920 by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage for the Kröller-Müller museum . Inside, stained-glass windows tell the story of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, and the house is full of symbolic references to his life. Stroll through the rose garden or sit on the banks of the swan-shaped lake.
Entrances to the Hoge Veluwe National Park are at Otterloo, Rijzenburg (at Schaarsbergen), and Hoenderloo. The park is open daily from 8 or 9am to between 6 and 10pm, depending on the time of year. The St. Hubert Hunting Lodge is open for guided tours April to October daily every half-hour from 11am to 4:30pm (except 1pm), and November to December and February to March Monday to Friday at 2 and 3pm. Admission to the park alone is 7€ ($11) for adults, 3.50€ ($5.60) for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under; a combination ticket including the St. Hubert Hunting Lodge is 9€ ($14) and 4.50€ ($7.20), respectively. Free white bicycles are available at several places, among them Hoenderloo, Otterlo, and Rijzenburg (near Schaarsbergen). Buses depart for the Hoge Veluwe every hour or so from outside both Apeldoorn and Arnhem rail stations.
The reserve offers camping facilities, bungalows, and other vacation accommodations, as well as picnic facilities.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.