Kasteel Hackfort onderdeel Achtkastelenroute
© Vanessa Wassink via Achterhoeks Bureau voor Toerisme

National Landscape De Graafschap

In the east of the country lies one of the 20 National Landscapes of the Netherlands, De Graafschap. The center of the area is the old Hanseatic city of Zutphen and surrounding it are numerous small villages, estates and castles. The forests and streams of De Graafschap seem perfectly intertwined with the rural hamlets and historical sites. It is an area where you can walk and bike for hours without getting bored.

  • Walk the Pieterpad or the eight castle itinerary.
  • Conclude your walking or cycling tour with a venison dinner at one of many venison restaurants.
  • Enjoy nature, the historic castles, and local fauna.

Hunting and castles

De Graafschap National Landscape lives up to its name, because nowhere in the Netherlands will you find so many castles, historic farmhouses, country houses and castles. The nature of De Graafschap consists mainly of streams, forests and long sand dunes ("dekzandruggen"). It is truly wild game area with rabbits, hares, ducks, deer, pheasants and wild boar.

While visiting De Graafschap, there are many ways to experience both the nature and the cultural-historical monuments. How about a visit to Bronckhorst, the smallest town in the Netherlands? A walk along the Pieterpad or the popular "eight castles route"? Or a trip in a covered wagon through the many cultivated grounds?

Autumn in De Graafschap

In the autumn especially, De Graafschap is a popular destination. The red, yellow and orange colors attracts many people to the east for an autumn stroll through De Graafschap. The area has a superb reputation when it comes to game dishes. Many visitors conclude a hiking or biking trip in the woods of De Graafschap with a dinner and overnight stay in one of the many wild game restaurants. The best time to enjoy a game package deal is from October to December.

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