The Netherlands / Themed route

Operation Market Garden Cycling Route

331.51 km

Cycling route


Stretching from Leopoldsburg in Belgium to the renowned "Bridge too far" in Arnhem, the Netherlands, the Market Garden area is littered with points of interest related to one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. Along the way, cyclists will encounter monuments, cemeteries, landmarks, audio stories, and remembrance sites. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about the operation, commemorate and pay tribute to those who lost their lives, as well as reflect on the liberation of Europe.

The total length of the route is 240 kilometers and can be cycled in multiple stages. Beginning at the Liberation Garden in Leopoldsburg, the route follows the cycling knots system, enabling easy offline navigation while ensuring cyclists pass through picturesque landscapes and traverse peaceful roads.

Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It took place in September 1944 and the goal of the operation was to secure the key bridges over three wide rivers in the Netherlands (Maas/Meuse, Waal and Rhine) in order to outflank the heavy German defences of the Siegfried Line (Westwall) which protected heartland Germany beyond the Rhine. It was hoped that with a swift advance towards Berlin the war would be over before Christmas.

Market Garden was a risky plan of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. It was executed by English, American and Polish airborne troops and three divisions on the ground. The operation consisted of two parts. Operation Market was the largest airborne operation in the history of warfare. Operation Garden was the campaign on the ground of the 30th Corps aimed at securing the bridges captured by the airborne forces.

The operation was highly ambitious and in the end it failed due to weather conditions and heavy German opposition. Especially at the narrow passageway at Veghel, Hell’s Highway, and near the Arnhem bridge. But there were more causes of failure: the airborne drop zones were situated too far from the Nijmegen and Arnhem bridges, communication problems, the laborious advance of the ground troops and a few mistakes by the high commanders in the final days of the operation, they led to failure in the end. Ultimately the Allies did not manage to take the last bridge in Arnhem: the proverbial ‘Bridge Too Far’.

Bart Verhulst - Market Garden CC

Sites and stories along the route