Few cities blend their heritage with urbanisation in quite the same way as Amsterdam. From pot smoking alien sculptures to the masterpieces on show in the city’s museums, the Netherland’s capital exudes cultural charm.
But what does Amsterdam offer the active traveller looking for their next adventure? Here’s my guide to seven of the best outdoor adventures in Amsterdam.
Go canoeing in the Waterland Nature Reserve
Located north of Amsterdam along the Markermeer, Waterland offers outdoor enthusiasts a patchwork landscape of meadows, grazing cows, colourful villages, and traditional farmhouses.
Head to Holysloot (24 min (12.8 km) via Bloemendalergouw), a picture-perfect village with a white-washed church, where you’ll find canoe rentals and plenty of rural charm.
Take an Instagram tour through the Red Light District
An intriguing element of Amsterdam’s vibrant urban culture, the city’s red light district or Rossebuurt, as the locals know it, offers a treasure trove of curiosities. Guaranteed.
Join a local photographer and Instagram aficionado and discover one of the most infamous neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, learn how to capture the cityscape on film, and translate your travels into Instagrammable imagery.
There’s much to be said for taking part in activities run by local people when you travel, take a look at these Amsterdam activities organised by passionate locals.
Roller skate through Vondelpark
Rent a pair of inline skates in Vondepark and weave your way along the cycle lanes that wind around the city. A great way to burn off the mountain of stroopwafel you’ll consume during your stay, this environmentally friendly transport option will take you back to the roller discos of your youth!
Check out this handy skate map of Vondelpark to plan your route and watch out for updates about the electric Friday Night Skate here.
Take a tandem tour of the river Amstel
Peddle along the shores of the River Amstel with your loved one and soak in the views of houseboats, farmhouses, and swathes of rustling reed beds. Hire your tandem from Waterlooplein and ride over the Blauwburg (Blue Bridge) then mosey on down to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (around 10km) for a hit of country air and a traditional Dutch high-tea.
Hack out through the Amsterdamse Bos
Tucked away within the leafy suburb of Amstelveen, the Amsterdam Forest is a mosaic of marshland, wooded areas, grassland, reed beds, and open water.
Offering numerous outdoor pursuits for adventurous types to enjoy, those looking for a unique way to explore the district should saddle up and hack out on a steed from the Manege Nieuw Amstelland riding stables.
Practise T’ai Chi in oosterpark
Lime trees and tranquil lily ponds surround Oosterpark where teacher Sifu Chan offers daily t’ai chi classes. Warm up with chi gong and then immerse yourself in the graceful movement of t’ai chi before moving into a powerful finale of kung fu.
If you’ve a head for heights make your way down to Amsterdam Centraal and rope up for an adventure on the climbing walls of De Kimmuur.
A reclining wall, overhang, and large bouldering areas create the perfect landscape for climbers of all abilities, and the facilities’ retractable roof makes it an ideal destination whatever the weather.
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Do you have a favourite outdoor adventure in Amsterdam? Leave a comment below.