Travelling the Pilgrim’s Path from ‘s-Hertogenbosch to Oisterwijk

By: Naline Outdoor fanatic | Read time: 6 minutes

Are you going on a pilgrimage in North Brabant? The famous yellow arrow next to the St. John's Cathedral in ‘s-Hertogenbosch faithfully points pilgrims the way to Santiago de Compostella. Years ago, I followed this route more than 800 kilometres right through Northern Spain. Over the next two days, I will be doing that again, but then a shortened version. This gives me a prospect of thirty beautiful kilometres on the Pilgrim’s Path that will allow me to become acquainted with the countryside and places of interest between ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Oisterwijk.

Day 1: 's-Hertogenbosch – Kampina

The Pilgrim’s Path

The Dutch variant of the Camino is a two-part long-distance hiking trail (LAW 7) between Amsterdam and Maastricht, with ‘s-Hertogenbosch as the starting point of the second part of the route. And so it came about that I was standing stood in my walking shoes before the doors of the St. John's Cathedral in the early hours of the morning. Following the old city walls and bastions, within a few minutes I am walking among the poppies in Het Bossche Broek nature reserve.

The Pilgrim’s Path is well-marked with red and white stripes. Do keep in mind that this route is not exactly that same as the official Camino route, which can be recognised by the blue markings with a yellow shell or arrow.


“In contrast to the Camino, the Pilgrim’s Path also takes you past a few places of interest in the surrounding area – and that actually makes walking much more fun.”

Taking a break at Fort Isabella

I soon arrived at Fort Isabella; it was built in the 17th century as part of the Zuiderwaterlinie (Southern Water Defence Line). Now there is a range of creative and artisanal addresses. The first thing I saw inside the gates was the large terrace of the restaurant Pannûkoek and Osteria Ciao Bella. A quick tour of the grounds took me past the Pure Flavor coffee-roasting house and the bakery of Keilekker Brabantsche Worstenbroodjes (Sausage Rolls Brabant). Delicious for on the way!

On the way to the Kampina

On the way to the Kampina

It was time to continue my journey, which led me through the changing countryside of the Vught Lunetten but also past, for example, the Camp Vught National Memorial and the Fusilladeplaats (Place of Execution). This stage of the Pilgrim’s Path ends 19 kilometres further in Haaren, but I continued to walk along part of the second stage towards the Kampina, which is where I would be staying overnight. This vast nature reserve is named after the Roman ‘Campina’, which means wild grounds. By Dutch standards, the countryside is indeed wild, or perhaps lush is more appropriate. Small streams meander through the Kampina and roe deer, Icelandic horses and wild cattle roam about freely. If you are really lucky, you might even come across a red deer.

Staying overnight in the countryside

The Kampina is where I left the Pilgrim’s Path for the exit to my accommodation at Kampinastaete, where the owner Charlotte came to meet me with a “Welcome, how nice that you are here.” With a single glance I could only agree. It was nice to be here. Spaciously distributed in grounds filled with ferns, water lilies and wild flowers, the cottages looked like they have been plucked from a fairy tale forest. The next morning, I woke up when nature did and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast on my terrace.

Day 2: Oisterwijk

With some personal tips from Charlotte in my pocket, today I wandered through the Oisterwijk Forests and Fens. A beautiful nature reserve with many appealing resting areas, charming woodland restaurants and a unique open-air theatre. Exiting the woods, I walk straight into the charming centre of Oisterwijk, filled with plenty of good restaurants, small boutiques and chic fashion stores. A little further down the road I ended my route at what once was Europe’s largest leather factory. Now the Leerfabriek is a creative bastion with room for local businesses, including Robèrt van Beckhoven, jury member of Heel Holland Bakt, the Dutch TV version of ‘The Great British Bake Off’. Having to wait in the queue in his bakery Bij Robèrt is not a punishment because the long corridor allows you a glimpse into the bakery where Robèrt and his colleagues are making the most delicious treats.

Along the route:

With something delicious for on the way, I walked to the Oisterwijk station for my return trip. It seemed as though those first few metres leaving St. John's Cathedral were at least a week ago. And so my wonderful weekend in North Brabant came to an end with a wealth of new experiences and inspiration.

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