Lelystad is the capital of the Dutch province of Flevoland. While overshadowed by the larger Almere and with a much less interesting town centre, Lelystad still has its fair share of tourist attractions, mostly found on the outskirts of the city.
Having been ocean floor at the bottom of the Zuiderzee well into the 20th century (like almost all of Flevoland), Lelystad is a rather "young" city architecturally and historically - but also demographically, compared to the rest of the Netherlands. Like much of the rest of Flevoland, Lelystad is not thought of highly as an exciting tourist destination by the Dutch, but if you want to learn more about the history of land reclamation, or indeed more ancient naval and land history of the Netherlands, visiting Lelystad can prove surprisingly worthwhile. Visiting Lelystad can also be solid fun for wildlife and birdwatching aficionados, aviation buffs and bargain hunters. Lelystad is named after the liberal Dutch politician and civil engineer Cornelis Lely who spent much of his political career lobbying for what became the Zuiderzee Works, a giant land reclamation and anti-flood project to which Lelystad owes its existence. Both the town of Lelystad and the province of Flevloand carry the Fleur de Lys in their coat of arms to honor Mr. Lely.
Lelystad is right in the middle of the busy Flevolijn/Hanzelijn railway corridor, and its train station, 1 Lelystad Centrum. , right in the middle of the city, with a bus terminal just below the train platforms. There are frequent connections to Schiphol, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Vlissingen, Dordrecht, Roosendaal, Almere, Zwolle, Groningen and Leeuwarden, and you can get to pretty much every other station in the Netherlands by changing trains in one of those locations.
There are plans to build another train station along the same line in Lelystad, called Lelystad-Zuid, but it is not to be completed before 2025. Until then, Lelystad Centrum remains the only train station in the city.
There are several inter-regional bus lines that stop at Lelystad Centrum:
- 148 to Harderwijk in Gelderland
- 650 to Wervershoof in West Friesland
Local bus lines to other locations in Flevoland include:
- 145 and 163 to Dronten
- 165 to Swifterbant (145 also stops there)
- 345 to Emmeloord
There is no bus connection to Almere. The only public transportation option to travel between Almere and Lelystad is taking a train.
Lelystad can most easily be reached by the A6 running across Flevoland and embracing the city as its ringroad. An alternative, scenic route is taking the N302 running along the Houtribdijk from Enkhuizen in North Holland.
From Almere, seasoned bikers can take one of the scenic routes to Lelystad along the Oostvaardersplassen. One is the Flevoroute along the southern border of the nature reserve, and the other runs over the Oostvaardersdijk separating the calm lakes of the nature reserve from the larger Markermeer. Both are about 30 kilometres long and should take seasoned bikers 1.5–2 hours, unless you stop to take photos. Do note that there are no man-made structures along most of the way and indeed pretty much nobody to ask for help, so make sure you can make it on your own before engaging on such a journey.
- 2 Lelystad Airport (LEY IATA). remains a general aviation airport only, which means there are no scheduled passenger connections to and from there, but one may land there with a private plane.
Lelystad was not designed to be as walkable and enjoyable to explore on foot or by bike as Almere, so your better bet is taking one of the convenient bus lines to your destination. That said, it still has a well-marked network of bike paths and you can safely choose to bike if you are prepared for mundane architecture and disjointed districts along your way.
There are 10 local bus lines (numbered from 1 to 11, but note that there is no line 4 anymore) that all go through the Lelystad Centrum bus hub under the railway station. The intercity bus lines also leave from the railway station to neighbouring municipalities, stopping within Lelystad along their way. A schematic map of the bus lines can be found here: [dead link].
Bike paths are well-designed, convenient and excellently marked.
While the city centre is very compact and easily navigable on foot, most of the attractions are spread out to the outskirts of the city. Getting there on foot would be a challenge.
Lelystad has several tourist attractions like:
- 1 Bataviawerf (Arrive by bus lines 3 and 7 from the railway station). 10:00-17:00. Old fashioned shipyard were the replica of the 17th-century ship "Batavia" is built.
- Nature Park Lelystad (Bus lines 7 and 148 stop over a kilometre away, your best bet is arriving by car or bike).
- 2 National Aviation Theme Park Aviodrome (Arrive by bus line 7 from the railway station).
Lelystad has many one-day events like the Airshow Lelystad [dead link], the Waterfestival, the National oldtimerday, speedwayraces [dead link], Architecture day and several sports events. On the Midland Circuit many motor-, karting- and stock car racing events and several autoclub meetings are held. At the coast there are several marinas.
The Oostvaarderplassen is a nature reserve in the Netherlands between Lelystad and Almere. Despite its age, the polder only became dry in 1968, it has an international importance as a European wetland. The Oostvaardersplassen can be divided into two areas, the wet and dry areas. In the wet area along the Markermeer, there are large reedlands on clay, where moulting geese often feed. This area is also home to cormorants, spoonbills, white herons and the Great Bittern, among many other animals. The dry area was originally a habitat for willow trees. The first year hundreds of seedlings could be found on a square metre. The area is kept open by konik, deer and Heck cattle. These big grazers are kept out in the open all year round without supplemental feeding. The theory is that in time, the current open landscape will evolve into a natural forest. The only big grazers missing are the moose and the wisent (European bison). It is unlikely that the moose will be introduced but there is hope for the wisent as it fills a different niche from Heck cattle.
The Oostvaardersplassen today covers 5600 ha, of which 3600 ha are marshland and 2000 ha are grasslands and roughs. The area is an integrated mosaic of eight ecological types of landscape varying from a very wet zone to a dry one and open water and wet grassland to spontaneously grown woodland. The marshlands can be divided into three different landscapes: one-third is large scale open water, one-third is a combination of shallow lakes and mudflats with varying vegetation and one-third is almost exclusively covered with reeds.
The Oostvaardersplassen are perfect for birdwatching. You can find more information on .
- 1 Batavia Stad (Buses 3 and 7.). A large outlet shopping center, built in the Lelystad harbour and styled to resemble an old seaside village.
- Palazzo Lelystad (Bus number 7 stops at the Palazzo). opening hours. The expansive Palazzo furniture and home improvement shopping centre has as little to do with the Italian Palazzos as it has with Leslie Nielsen's Enrico Palazzo, but it can come in handy if you decide to move in to Lelystad for a longer time
Lelystad is mostly a day trip destination, so like in the whole of Flevoland, there is only a limited number of accommodation options.
- Apollo Hotel Lelystad City Centre. A tired 1970s hotel in the city centre, overlooking the moderately depressing Agora €89.
- B&B de Valkenhorst. While referred to as a B&B, de Valkenhorst offers high-standard hotel-like accommodation along with a number of leisure facilities. It is situated out of town, in the new development of Flevopoort 5. €100.
- Hajé Restaurant de Aalscholver, Rijksweg A6 de Aalscholver 2, 8218 PW Lelystad (On the A6, not accessible by public transportation). The restaurant overlooking the Oostvaardersplassen offers inexpensive rooms for nature lovers wishing to spend some time there. €45.
- Huis van Steen. A guesthouse in a green area outside of the city and close to the Batavia-haven. €72.
- Hotel De Lange Jammer (Buses #1 and #11 stop nearby). More of a guesthouse than a hotel situated in a countryside-style building outside of Lelystad-haven (Lelystad's OTHER marina) €80.
- Hotel Restaurant Lelystad Airport (Bus #7 stops at the airport). This hotel is within walking distance of the airport buildings and the Aviodrome, but the remote location may be of little use to you unless you arrive by your own plane. Fit-outs and furnishings are rather basic. €69.
- 1 Buytenplaets Suydersee, Badweg 1, 8223 PA Lelystad (On E outskirts), ☏ +31 320 258 253, firstname.lastname@example.org. Has a wide range of huts, pods, etc. as well as space for tents, campingcars and caravans.
|Routes through Lelystad|
|Groningen ← Urk ←||N S||→ Almere → Amsterdam|