When in Zeeland, and to be exact in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (the most southern island of the province Zeeland), it’s recommended to hike a route which starts in Sluis, goes all the way to the town of Retranchement and then back to Sluis via another path. This hiking trail is around 16,5 kilometers and takes you through atmospheric towns and a diversity of nature.
In this article I’ll tell you some more about the trail and where you can find it for more details and to hike it yourself!
Start in Sluis
The start (and the end) of the route is in the fortified town of Sluis. You can easily park your car in the center of the town (against payment), as there’s plenty of space. Also by public transport, the town of Sluis can be reached easily. You can take the boat from Vlissingen to Breskens, from where you take the bus (number 42) to Sluis. You go out of the bus at stop ‘St. Annastraat’. From Brugges you also can easily take bus number 42 to Sluis.
Sluis is a very lively town which is definitely worth a visit. The town is rich of shops and eateries, but also of history. It’s the perfect place to end the hike, as you can take place on one of the terraces after your hike for a nice drink or something to eat.
As Sluis is a fortified town, there also are city walls on which you can walk. It wouldn’t surprise you when I say the hike starts in the heart of Sluis and goes over the city walls, which lead you at the end out of Sluis, into more nature.
Would you like to read more about Sluis? You can find all information here.
From Sluis to Retranchement
When you walk out of Sluis, the route goes further on unpaved roads: through fields, grasslands and along a small river. On your way, you’ll come across some beautiful cows and sheep. From the unpaved roads you’ll walk a little over bicycle paths and further over the dike (only accessible for bikers and hikers) until you reach the town of Retranchement.
The route from Sluis to Retranchement is very diverse and offers some beautiful places to have a short break.
Walk around Retranchement
Although Retranchement is a lot smaller compared to Sluis, it’s still absolutely worth a visit. Especially the city walls are worth to have a walk over and that’s also how the trail goes. With beautiful nature and viewing points you’ll get over the walls, into the town and further over the walls. There’s only one restaurant in Retranchement (during our hike it wasn’t open at the time we were there), so it’s certainly not a place to have a break on a terrace. It’s best to take your own lunch and to have a break somewhere in the nature.
After hiking the town walls, you’ll walk out of Retranchement and continue the route back towards Sluis (but for the way back there’s another route).
Would you like to read more about Retranchement? You can find all information here.
Back to Sluis
So the way back to Sluis isn’t going over the dike, but goes over another dike, which is accessible for cars. Don’t worry, because you don’t actually walk over this dike. You walk under / next to the dike and won’t notice the cars at all. You’ll walk along grasslands and border markers (as shown in the photo right above), which are the border markers between the Netherlands and Belgium.
After a while you’ll walk away from the road, go back further into nature and walk along more grasslands and fields. At the end, you’ll arrive back into the town of Sluis, where you can enjoy a nice drink or something to eat after this beautiful hike.
Where to find this route
If this article made you enthusiastic and you’d like to hike this route yourself, you can find more information back on the website of Op Pad (Dutch website, click here). You need to download the SNP Route app on your smartphone and download the route through the mobile app, so you can navigate and hike the route. The hike is quite long, but not that hard as there are barely any heights (we’re in the Netherlands ;-)).
Tip: there are more day hikes in the Netherlands which you can find on the same website of Op Pad. These day hikes can be found through the whole country and can be downloaded for free.
Do you have some other tips on hiking trails around Zeeland? I’m very curious! Let me know your recommendations in the comment section below.