Turf route Friesland - 115 km - 1 week

Boats with a clearance up to 3,30m. This route is not suited for beginner.

Operating time 15 mai – 15 september

Terherne, Akkrum, Oldeboarn, Gorredijk, Donkerbroek, Oosterwolde, Olderberkoop, Echtenerbrug, Scharsterbrug, Langweer, Joure, Terherne.

Back in the 16th century, a network of canals was dug, over which peat shippers could transport their freight to the west. The turf route follows those canals through southeast Friesland, the western region of Drenthe and the tip of Overijssel.

Connection point

The Linthorst Homanssluis locks and the nearby Driewegsluis locks form the connection with the waters of north-west Overijssel. In the five to six weeks of the peak season, the Linthorst Homansluis locks are in continuous operation in order to keep the traffic moving. And so you can sail effortlessly from Tjeukemeer lake and from Wolvega and Heerenveen. Driewegsluis locks are the ideal spot for a break. Enjoy the panoramic views or explore the Brandermeer countryside. Alternatively, you can go ashore directly into the Rottige Meenthe nature area.

Woodland and heaths

Nature is equally inviting wherever you arrive. The Drents-Friese Wold at Appelscha offers endless walking and cycling routes, as well as the woods around Oranjewoud and Delleboersteheide nature reserve, close to Oldeberkoop. A little further up is the Katlijker Schar, an attractive woodland area where Scottish Highlanders graze.


The Turf route takes in many bridges and locks, often with beautiful lock keepers’ cottages. You operate many of the small bridges yourself, but bridge keepers will be ready to assist you with the larger ones. In order to finance upkeep of the Turf route, you can purchase an ‘entrance ticket’ at the locks in Gorredijk, the Damsluis locks at Appelscha and Sluis I locks at Oudehorne. This covers the costs of all bridge and lock fees. The route is accessible for boats with a maximum length of 28 metres, 5 metres wide and 3.30 metres high, with a maximum draught of 1.10 metres.

The other Friesland, with woodlands, peat moors and heathfields: that’s the south-east corner of the province.

The Turf route connects this area with Western Drenthe and the tip of Overijssel. Moreover, you’ll pass by no less than four beautiful National Parks: the Drents-Friese Wold, the Dwingelderveld, the Alde Feanen and the Weerribben. The name of the route refers to the history of the rich landowners, peat tradesmen and poor peat diggers. It was this trade in peat which brought riches to a number of important Friesian families. Their heritage, country estates with fantastic gardens and parks, can be found in Bakkeveen, Oldeberkoop, Beetsterzwaag and Oranjewoud, among other places.

Short version

The ‘short Turf route’ takes you through 70 kilometers of south-east Friesland. The trip starts at the Opsterlânske Kompanjonsfeart in Appelscha, a flourishing recreational village featuring Duinen Zathe attraction park, Friesland Midget golf park and De Vleer historical cookery museum. Appelscha is close to the Drents-Friese Wold, the second largest nature area of the Netherlands. On the other side of the water, we find the unique Fochtelöerveen, a Frisian savanna and home to the crane, grebe and adder.


Sailing towards Gorredijk, the prominent place of Bakkeveen comes into sight in the distance. At Bakkeveen dunes, a modern viewing tower offers fantastic panoramic views. Along the route to Gorredijk, the woods stretch out along the water to chic Beetsterzwaag. In the centre of Gorredijk, a typical peat community, is the first and largest locks of the Turf route. If you feel like stopping here, why not relax in the Saunastate thermal baths or visit the Opsterlân regional museum. Sailing on through the fields, the striking ‘Boarnster Toer’ tower of Aldeboarn rises up far ahead. Shortly after, you’ll reach Akkrum, a water sports village, before continuing over the Tjonger via Heerenveen to stately Oldeberkoop. A number of attractive villas and Molenbosch park betray its ‘decadent’ history.

Over the border

Back in Appelscha, you can carry on and cross the provincial border into the Drentse Hoofdvaart, sailing to Meppel via a traditional landscape of characteristic ‘esdorp’ villages, villages with farming plots along a square. Through the water sports village of Zwartsluis, we continue north towards Steenwijk, passing picturesque Giethoorn along the way. Further on is the watery nature area called De Weerribben, where otters are once again in residence. From Ossenzijl, there’s a link to the northern section of the Turf route.

Downloads: Map Turfroute
Map in: Google Maps

sluis nij-beets
Scan the code