About I amsterdam
With more than 800 years of history to discover, Amsterdam is rich with fascinating attractions and sights. From ancient castles to magnificent museums, secret courtyards to quaint cobbled streets, and the city's world-famous canals. Of course, no visit to Amsterdam is complete without a walk or bike ride along these fantastic sights.
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- I amsterdam
Bijlmer is the neighbourhood of neighbourhoods. The official name is Amsterdam-Zuidoost and Bijlmermeer, but the people who live here call the neighbourhood 'Bijlmer' for short. The neighbourhood has a turbulent history. In the 1970s, people dreamed of 'green living' but in the 1980s decay set in followed by the terrible air disaster in 1992 involving a Boeing 747. Now, the neighbourhood is finally getting a positive return as a young, colourful living environment.
Intriguingly, it is perhaps the only place in the Netherlands where you can experience the positive vibes of 130 nationalities. How about a Syrian lunch, a handmade West African dress or the best roti in Amsterdam?
You can easily reach the start of the route via the station Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA. Bijlmer ArenA station is only 15 minutes away from the city centre and is used by no less than 23 million travellers annually!
You start off with a relaxing ride through the park with its modern mix of culture and nature. Then, you cycle to the H neighbourhood where you can see the once 'new housing vision': large flats rising out of the green with colourful murals on the side walls created by various contemporary artists.
Park your bike at the strikingly coloured building of HCC, a living and working place for artists and other creative people. Don't forget to plan a pit stop at Oma Ietje, a colourful eaterie. It is also worth making a small detour to Brouwerij Kleiburg, half a kilometre from HCC. This social enterprise uses Belgian monastery beers as its inspiration for its own homemade brews. Further on in Bijlmer, in a flat once listed for demolition, you will find the monks dedicated to a spiritual and hospitable life.
From the Bullewijk, you can cycle to the Gaasperplas next to the Gaasperpark. On the way, explore the greenspace around the Gaasperdammertunnel. This green connection between the Nelson Mandelapark and the Gaasperpark is a sprawling oasis of parkland surrounding the tunnel beneath. The Gaasperpark itself was described by the architects as a 360-degree arena of nature. It symbolises the increasing quality of life in the area. While you’re here, take a look at the largest school garden in Amsterdam. It has two teaching areas, nature trails, a large greenhouse, a herb garden, a small animal garden and a bee corner.
The Gaasperplas is a nice setting for a long break. The large artificial lake was created for recreational purposes, such as sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, sunbathing and swimming. If you feel like something typically Dutch, go to the other side of the Weespertrekvaart canal for the old Gaaspermolen windmill dating from 1707.
Gaasperpark was developed in 1977 in preparation for the 1982 Floriade international exhibition and garden festival. Now it is home to the Gaasper campsite. You can also stop for a pit stop at the Planetarium, built especially for the World Horticultural Expo. Today, it is a striking dome with three restaurants, one of which has a lovely terrace on the water.
After, cycle to Bijlmerweide park. There you will find a children's farm and a shelter for animals. Every year, more than 500 small animals are brought here by Amsterdam residents and animal ambulances.
The route also passes the monument for the Bijlmer disaster. On the evening of Sunday, 4 October 1992, a Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed into flats in the Bijlmer neighbourhood. Forty-three people died in the disaster. A tree that survived the destruction became a monument: "The tree that saw everything".
Take a short detour to the Mi Oso housing project. The nickname has everything to do with the tropical look of the houses. It is also a popular area for the Surinamese people who have lived here since the 1970s, because of the close ties between the Netherlands and the former colony.
Are you hungry from all this cycling? Finding something to eat here is difficult purely because there’s so much choice at the World of Food! This is the most delicious stop on your route: street food from all over the world in a former car park. Culinary delights from Mexico, Peru, Ghana, Syria, Thailand, Indonesia and many more. Work off those calories by cycling down Darling Street towards the sports and entertainment area.
You will first pass by the Golfclub Amsterdam Old Course, the oldest golf club in the city. Then, the route takes you past the iconic Johan Cruijff ArenA. Further along is the Ziggo Dome where the world's biggest stars perform, the fifth busiest concert venue in the world. The exterior is completely covered with 840,000 LED lights. There is also a gigantic furniture boulevard and the largest cinema in the Netherlands.
Then, it's time to cycle back to the station. But before you get on the train to the centre of Amsterdam, take a walk around Hoekenrodeplein and Bijlmerplein.
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- I amsterdam
Have you ever been to a city on the seabed? Lelystad may not be Atlantis, but it is the youngest coastal city in the Netherlands. It is named after Cornelis Lely, a politician and civil engineer, who designed the Zuiderzee works, turned the Zuiderzee into a lake and turned the seabed into dry land.
The first part of the route runs through the Boswijk district along Gelderse Diep. Soon though, you will be cycling in Nature Park Lelystad. Spot otters, storks, wild boar, moose, European bison and Père David deer (indigenous to China). The animals are not always easy to find but, conveniently, the otters are fed daily at 3 pm. The foresters at the visitor centre are happy to tell you all about the park and the latest animal news. Restaurant Hajé is located in its centre. Perfect for a coffee break or a tasty, healthy lunch.
For aviation enthusiasts, the Aviodrome is a nice stop with flight simulators, a 4D cinema experience and a unique collection of over 100 aircraft. It is about 3 extra miles (5 km) by bike, so the distance is manageable!
You cycle along the Lage Vaart and then arrive in the Hollandse Hout. This forest was planted with tall poplars in 1971 and lies 13 feet (4 m) below sea level. The Bezoekerscentrum Oostvaardersplassen is the starting point for the section of beautiful path along the lake. From the restaurant terrace or the adjoining crow's nest, you have a magnificent view of the ponds. With a bit of luck, you may see the only nesting sea eagles in the country.
The land reclamation of Eastern Flevoland started in 1950 from a "working island" in the middle of the IJsselmeer. Dykes, a harbour and wooden barracks were built. You will cycle along Houtribweg all the way to Batavia Quarter. Batavia was the capital of the Dutch East Indies, named after the Batavians, the Roman name for the Low Countries.
Batavialand brings the Dutch relationship with water to life. Impoldering, dyke building and evidence of global voyages are all apparent here. Several ferries also depart from here to the newest land in the area: the Marker Wadden.
You cycle back to Lelystad centre along the edge of the city. Stop off at one of the many restaurants on the way for a bite to eat and a drink before taking the train back to Amsterdam from Lelystad Central Station.
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- I amsterdam
Within cycling distance of Amsterdam lies a true fairytale land of dreamy castles, beautiful gardens and imposing forts. Some were part of the Stelling van Amsterdam UNESCO World Heritage Site while others were owned by rich merchants from the Golden Age. The route also takes you past various windmills, farms and gardens that are all well worth a visit.
The route starts at Weesperhaven: an inspiring neighbourhood initiative for an environmentally-friendly harbour. If you have extra time, this is the perfect place to hire an electric boat. There is also an intact ring dyke at Watergraafsmeer, around the lowest part of Amsterdam: 16 feet (5 m) below sea level.
Cycle over the Nesciobrug to Diemerpark. The award-winning Nesciobrug is the longest bicycle and pedestrian bridge in the Netherlands, at 2,560 feet (780 m) in length. Diemerpark is a picturesque greenspace opened in 2003 and built on what was once the most unattractive and polluted area of the Netherlands. Fortunately, that has changed!
When you cycle around Diemer Vijfhoek, you pass Fort Diemerdam. Further on in Muiden, you ride past the gunpowder mill "De Krijgsman". The original mill in Amsterdam exploded and no permission was given to build a new one. So gunpowder production was moved to Muiden in 1702. And yes, more explosions followed. The factory finally closed in 2004.
It is well worth deviating a little from the route to the Westbattery, built to support Muiderslot Castle in defending the mouth of De Vecht. But you'll also enjoy cycling past the Sluis for the Muiderslot: a real medieval castle built in 1296 by order of Count Floris V. What was it like to be a knight or a noblewoman? Find out for yourself by dressing up in a beautiful fifteenth-century costume while you’re there. The castle is open for tours (check muiderslot.nl for opening times).
From Muiden to Weesp you pass Fort H, part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. Built between 1873-1877. The fortress now serves as a restaurant and a marina. You cycle along the River Vecht, which originates in Utrecht as a branch of the Rhine. In the 17th century, traders made their fortune by shipping goods via the Zuiderzee to the Rhine and Northern Europe. Along the Vecht, you can still find their large estates.
The organic farm Groene Griffioen is a nice stop along the river. You will find an organic dairy farm, an artisan cheese dairy and a farm shop. Peruse the delicious cheeses, which are available to buy as tasty souvenirs.
After crossing the railway line, you cycle up to Fort Ossenmarkt, with its beautiful tea garden. The fort was built in 1862 as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. The Theetuin is an oasis of calm with special flowers and plants.
From the Fort you drive into Weesp, a town 700 years old and one of the fourteen fortified towns of the country. The protected historical centre has forts, windmills, a museum and several cosy terraces along the water.
Cycle along the western bank of the Gein past various historical highlights: the cheese farm Gein Genoegen and the Mondriaan Mill, so-called because the artist painted it more than 20 times. You will also pass by the Fort near Abcoude, the oldest fortress in the Defence Line of Amsterdam and one that is still almost completely intact.
The route takes you briefly through Abcoude, along the Abcoudermeer and then through the districts of Gein and Reigersbos. Cycle along the beautiful Gaasperplas, an artificial lake which was the setting for the Floriade landscape and flower show in 1982. Part of the landscaped park still exists.
Via Driemond, so-called because three small rivers meet here (Gein, Gaasp and Het Smal Weesp), you cycle back to Diemen over 4 miles (6 km). It’s a lovely tour along the Weespertrekvaart canal, which was built in 1639 to connect the Amstel to the Vecht in Weesp. Before you cycle back into the urban area, you ride through the Diemer forest. This young forest was planted in 1990 to preserve the area’s natural habitat.
Are you heading to Diemen-Zuid? Then you will have to cross the Diemerbrug. The original drawbridge was built in 1640. Now, it is remotely operated, connecting the old village and the residential area of Diemen-Zuid. In the direction of the Amstel Station, you ride through Bajes Kwartier, a former prison complex: the Bijlmerbajes. The district is now well on the way to becoming an energy-neutral residential area. All rubbish and old resources are reused: the bridges that connect Bajes Kwartier with the city are made of old prison doors.
You finish the trip in style at Riva, a modern restaurant, with international cuisine and a terrace with a beautiful view over the Amstel. The perfect way to recover from this tour!
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- I amsterdam
No other landscape in the Netherlands quite represents the 20th century as Nieuw Land (New Land). The modern polder towns here are true architectural museums. The nature reserves, such as Lepelaarplassen and Oostvaardersplassen, are a beautiful contrast to this.
In this new land, you are actually cycling on the seabed. A system of dykes keeps the surrounding water, which is on average five metres (16 ft) higher, at bay. Take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Almere or Lelystad, and discover Nieuw Land in these two wonderful routes, starting with Almere.
You cycle just over 6 miles (10 km) from the city centre of Almere to reach the Lepelaarsplassen section of the Nieuw Land National Park. Cycle past the houses of the first settlers in the new town. Just after the Beatrixpark, you see the modern houses of Noorderplassen West. Then you cycle between Noorderplassen and the Lepelaarsplassen nature reserve. Stop at the lookout hut and see how many of the 300 species of bird you can spot. At the Trekvogel visitor centre, housed in a former engineer's house that once stood on an island, you can learn all about your new feathered friends.
Cycle over the Oostvaardersdijk to the Oostvaardersplassen, and with a favourable wind you might even feel like cycling all the way to Lelystad. Or, you can complete the Almere round and save Lelystad for next time. Then turn right at the Jac. P. Thijsepad and cycle with the Oostvaardersplassen on your left along this unique nature reserve. Large herds of Heck cattle, Konik horses (originally from Poland) and red deer graze the grassland. The area is of international importance as a marshland and bird habitat.
Then it is time to cycle back from the Oostvaardersplassen to the city centre of Almere. Cycle along the Lage Vaart and be amazed by the striking buildings and landscape art. Examples include the remarkable buildings called the Rode Donders or the five concrete elephants by sculptor Tom Claassen, each weighing 40 tonnes.
Via Hanny Schaft Park, you enter a shopping area that is officially recognised as one of the best city centres in the Netherlands. While shopping, pay attention to the many buildings designed by the world's most famous architects. Finally, get on the train to Amsterdam and take a last look at the typical Dutch landscape where water and land go hand in hand.
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- I amsterdam
Amsterdam would not be Amsterdam without Zaandam and, on this Tour, you will experience the city’s strong ties to its industrial past. In this part of the Netherlands, people have lived in the shadow of huge factories for over a century. Some are still in use while others have been converted into flats or cultural hotspots. But the real gem of this trip is the Zaanse Schans – a living village of windmills, wooden houses and craft workshops that seems to stand still in time.
The journey begins at the Silodam, a 19th-century wheat warehouse. Look out for the gigantic 'n' shaped building known as the Pontsteiger – this luxury apartment complex has the most expensive flat in Amsterdam, worth a whopping 15 million euros. You then cycle under the trees along Nieuwe Hemweg towards Neptunushaven. Here, in the enormous warehouses, raw materials such as cocoa are stored before being distributed.
While you wait for the ferry, take a selfie next to the gigantic statue of the kissing couple. The ferry takes you to the Hembrug site, which you cycle to with the North Sea Canal on your right. The white building is a former munitions factory. Walk around the corner and cycle along the typical Havenbuurt.
To your right is William Pont island. Although you wouldn't know it now with all those modern apartment buildings, this small island was once a hub of the Dutch timber industry. It was run by the prosperous merchant William Pont, who moved his business from Edam to Zaandam after the completion of the North Sea Canal in 1876.
When you are ready for a coffee break, visit café 'De Koperen Bel' on Dam Square, or relax at one of the other cafés, restaurants and bakeries in the lively centre of Zaandam. On the way to the Zaanse Schans, you will pass the Bullekerk church (also known as the Westzijderkerk). The name bulle means ‘bull’ and comes from the story of a farmer and his pregnant wife who were mauled by one such creature in 1647. You'll also cycle past Verkade's iconic biscuit and chocolate factory. It started as a single bakery in 1886 and eventually expanded across the dyke to the west, where some of the buildings are still used. Further on, 'De Bleeke Dood' (c. 1656) stands, the oldest wooden tower windmill in the Netherlands.
The Zaanse Schans has come to life as a 19th-century Dutch masterpiece – an area dotted with windmills, craft shops and lovingly preserved houses. Visit the impressive Zaans Museum to learn more about the history of the area, see clogs from centuries ago in the Klompenmakerij or follow your nose to the Verkade Experience.
You set off for Amsterdam again and pass through Haaldersbroek, a picturesque fishing village. Less than 200 people live there. At Haaldersbroek 11, you will see the oldest house, dating from around 1661.
You will also cycle past Gerkens – one of the largest cocoa producers in the Netherlands – and a series of old houses and factories. At Oostzijde 82, you can see the neoclassical Church of the Apostolic Society. Admire the other impressive and award-winning modern architecture along the water.
Once at Zuiddijk, cycle through the residential streets with beautiful old houses, then through the bicycle tunnel under the Den Uylweg back towards Amsterdam. Cycle along the Noorder IJ-Plas with the Noorder IJpolder lake on your left. There is lots of greenery and plenty of birds to spot around the water. You then pass through the Amsterdam Marina, with its curious mix of commercial hubs and shipyards. Restaurant Loetje aan het IJ has a beautiful panoramic view of the entire marina.
The finish of the route is at the NDSM shipyard, once the largest shipyard in Europe. At its peak in the 20th century, thousands of people worked here on cargo ships and oil tankers. Since the closure of the shipyard in 1984, the area has been redeveloped as a start-up hub that you can explore on foot.
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- I amsterdam
Just outside Amsterdam, some beautiful gems await you. Hop on your bike and explore the long beaches, quaint historic villages, amazing dunes and even some 13th-century ruins – on a route that is mostly flat with a few hilly bits here and there. A great cycling adventure!
The route starts at the Haarlem train station and then goes through the Kenaupark, which was part of the city's historic defences. It was once flanked by 18th-century mansions and villas, which were home to some of Holland's wealthiest families.
You soon cycle out of the city and into nature. This is the gigantic green area of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. Stop for a few minutes to admire the view from the Visscherspad Lookout. In the distance you can see Zandvoort and you might even hear the engines of racing cars on the local circuit.
After about 6 miles (10km) of cycling you reach Zandvoort, a lively seaside resort with numerous cafés, shops and restaurants and, of course, the fishmongers where you can score a delicious portion of kibbeling or herring.
Cycle to the next seaside resort with the sea on one side and the racing circuit on the other. In the dunes, you will see insects, birds, horses and Scottish Highland cattle — a veritable menagerie. You soon arrive in Bloemendaal aan Zee, another trendy resort with hip beach clubs. Cycle on, to junction 18 and then turn left into the dunes.
You are now heading deeper into Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, home to calcareous dunes, wide beaches and lush coastal forests. The combination of the sand, rain and strong winds create a unique ecosystem with diverse flora and fauna.
You can choose to shorten the ride here and skip IJmuiden to go back to Haarlem via cycle junctions 6 to 5. If you do cycle on, you can of course reward yourself in one of the famous fish restaurants on the Halkade at the head of the harbour.
After IJmuiden, deviate a little from the route to visit Landgoed Beeckestijn, a place of enchanting, old-fashioned grandeur. There are changing exhibitions, gardens of French and baroque stylings, a park and a brasserie. The route then takes you through the small village of Driehuis, known for one of the oldest crematoria in the Netherlands – and also for some lovely old cafés.
You cycle back towards Haarlem over the Duin en Kruidberg Estate, an old English country estate, the manor house of which is both a hotel and a restaurant. It is a good place for a tea break or to wander around the old English gardens. Alternatively, visit the Brederode ruins, which you pass soon afterwards, or climb the Donjon tower for a view over the dunes. If you are tired and want to head back quickly, return to Haarlem via cycle junctions 34 to 9, or continue to Spaarndam.
Cycle along the Spaarne to Vrouwehekbrug, or along the Drosteboulevard on the other side. Further on, you will find the super hip Stadstrand de Oerkap, a great place to stop for an elderflower tonic before heading for your final destination, where you started your route earlier today.
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- I amsterdam
Amsterdam is known for its enchanting city centre, crooked canal houses and winding waterways. But a few kilometres to the west, the scene changes from urban to pastoral as you head towards Haarlem. As well as ornate 17th-century architecture, you'll find bustling restaurants and a thriving art scene. Hop on your bike and experience all the beauty of Amsterdam's sister city for yourself.
In the first four kilometres (2.5 mi), you cycle from the Haarlemmersluis to Sloterdijk. The 17th-century Haarlemmersluis bridge was once a fish market, thanks to its proximity to the IJ river. Haarlemmersluis connects to Haarlemmerstraat and Nieuwendijk, both popular shopping streets.
On the Haarlemmerstraat, you will also find the West-Indies House: the former headquarters of the Dutch West India Company. They built some of the first forts on the island of Manhattan in 1625.
You cycle through leafy Westerpark, the site of a former gasworks, in operation between 1883 and 1967. The buildings have been largely repopulated with cool cafés, art galleries and restaurants. After the park you reach Sloterdijk. Stop here to admire the Petruskerk. This church was built in 1663 to serve the municipality of Sloten, which was annexed by Amsterdam in 1921 as the city grew. A church had already been built around 1479, but was destroyed in 1573 by the Geuzen after the siege of Haarlem.
Cycle past the extensive Volkstuin Complex, an area known for its cute and quaint country houses. Continue on the cycle paths along the wooded Spieringhorn. You might even spot a rose parakeet; these tropical birds formed a colony here years ago after escaping from the zoo.
About halfway between Amsterdam and Haarlem is Halfweg; a lively stop for traders with its cosy inns. The best coffee and cake can be found at the cosy Koffie van Kaatje. You are now cycling through a peat meadow area, a typical Dutch landscape. Centuries ago, this was all peat land.
The route takes you along the banks of the river Liede to the Fort Penningsveer in Haarlemmerliede. The fort is part of the UNESCO site 'Stelling van Amsterdam' and was built around 1886 as an internment camp during the Second World War. Afterwards, the fortress served for decades as an ammunition arsenal.
Take your time to explore Haarlem. Lock up your bicycle and visit the Teylers Museum, focused on art and science. The museum is full of fossils, drawings, paintings and minerals. Of course, a visit to the Grote Markt is also a must before admiring the Haarlem City Hall, one of the oldest in the country, dating back to 1370. You can always take a guided tour of the imposing Sint-Baafskerk church too, built in 1520.
The Burgemeester Reinaldapark is also a great place to park your bike and take a walk or just sit and watch people for a while. If you are hungry, get a pancake at the Pannenkoeken Paradijs.
After your visit to Haarlem, it is time to cycle back to Amsterdam. If you like, you can pass the Polderbaan of Schiphol on the way: the best place to spot aeroplanes. On the way back to Amsterdam, you will also pass some gastronomic delights: Het Rijk van de Keizer is an industrial hangout with a relaxed atmosphere; the Sloterplas lake is a perfect place to stop and enjoy the sun or take a walk in the woods; it is flanked by the popular Hotel Buiten, ideal for an afternoon break.
Once back in Amsterdam's New West, the leafy Rembrandt Park is an ideal place for a stop to relax those aching calves. Or stroll through the woods of Vondelpark and have a beer in the famous Blue Teahouse at Brouwerij het IJ or visit Vondelpark3 Restaurant.
Cycle through Amsterdam's Antiques Quarter, passing the famous Kramer Art & Antique shop on the corner of Prinsengracht with lots of famous Delft Blue porcelain to surprise a loved one back home. Stop at the Westerkerk and then go to the Anne Frank House, home of the wartime child whose diary moved the world.
The route ends on the picturesque Brouwersgracht. In this canal street you will find shuttered warehouses, houseboats and beautiful 17th-century houses. A fitting end to a fantastically beautiful bike ride.
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- I amsterdam
Anyone who sees wooden shoes surely thinks of the Netherlands. But the same goes for the tulip! In 1637, at the height of tulip mania, tulips were selling for more than the price of a luxury canal house. This flower tour starts at the Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) in Amsterdam and ends in Aalsmeer, near the biggest flower auction in the world. If you love flowers, this is the route for you.
The Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam is the only floating flower market in the world. As cycling is prohibited here, walk past the stalls pushing your bike. The market is built on barges dating back to the days when flowers were brought in from the countryside by boat. And those beautiful blooms were captured brilliantly in art too. In the Rijksmuseum, you will see countless paintings of flowers by the Dutch masters. Of particular note is Rachel Ruysch, one of the first female artists to achieve international fame.
If you've brought a picnic, the Vondelpark is the ideal place on the way out or on the return journey. It is also the perfect place to wander in search of unusual plants and flowers. In 2017, schoolchildren planted 30,000 tulip bulbs at the Vondelpark monument.
From Vondelpark, cycle to the Nieuwe Meer, a narrow lake southwest of Amsterdam. It is a popular spot for boating and recreational fishing. Perch, pike, whitefish and eel are the most common species. There are many beautiful marinas with catering establishments along the water's edge that entice you into a short stop.
Further on, the route leads through the Amsterdamse Bos forest. Here, there are 200,000 trees, 116 bridges and 124 miles (200 km) of walking and cycling paths to explore.
By now, you’ve probably already heard and seen the planes. After all, you are now cycling right past Schiphol Airport. About half of all cut flowers in the world arrive at their destination via Schiphol. In the past, large barges brought the flowers from the countryside to Amsterdam.
The next part of the route takes you through the protected nature reserve Oosteinderpoel. There are a few open marshy areas that turn a beautiful shade of purple in the summer because of the cuckoo flowers that grow there. Afterwards, the Westeinderplassen (West End Lakes) treat you to natural pleasures. This large area has no less than 400 little islands. The Surf Island is the ideal place to get off your bike and enjoy the view of the water.
After the break, it is time to head for the city again, this time to Aalsmeer, which has the world's largest flower auction. Every day, 12 million flowers are sold at Royal FloraHolland. That really is flower power and a very interesting sight to see. You will also pass the old auction, the original venue where all the flowers were bought and sold.
After the flower auction, it is still 12 miles (20 km) by bike. First through the Schinkelbos again, then you will cycle along De Poel in the Amsterdamse Bos. De Poel is a peat lake created by excavations in the 19th century and is used for water sports. To the east lies the old village of Amstelveen with its Museum Jan van der Togt and all sorts of cosy places to stop for a drink. If you have some time left, the CoBrA Museum is well worth the detour. CoBrA was an international movement of young artists from just after the Second World War. Their innovative spirit is captured in the art that is still exhibited here today.
After the museum visit, you pass the De Braak botanical gardens and the Dr. J. P. Thijssepark in Amstelveen, where you can admire a wealth of rare plants only normally seen in books. Continue the route past the Olympic Stadium, used for the 1928 Olympic Games. Take a rest in the Vondelpark and cycle back to the Bloemenmarkt where you started this special flower tour.
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- I amsterdam
Amsterdam would not be Amsterdam without the Amstel River. It’s named after the small fishing village of Amstelredamme (dam in the Amstel river), built in the 13th century. This Amstel route follows the flow of the river out of town and takes you deep into quintessential Dutch countryside and past old towns like Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.
The cycle route starts at the Blauwbrug (a historic bridge in Amsterdam), which was originally painted in the characteristic blue of the Dutch flag. In the first 300 metres (1,000 ft), you cycle past 400 years of Dutch history: the Skinny Bridge, the Hermitage, the Royal Theatre Carré and the Amstel Hotel.
You cycle down the Amsteldijk all the way to the Riekermolen windmill, built in 1636 to drain the surrounding land. Nearby is a bronze statue of Rembrandt, in honour of the many sketches he made here. A little further on, you cycle past the Rembrandt Hoeve: a traditional farm specialising in making clogs and cheese.
Continue cycling along the waterfront, which is full of old houses and windmills. It is as if you have cycled back in time. At Gemaal Middenpolder, you can see how the water level is regulated by hand-operated devices. Still operational, this water pump feeds the water to and from the polders. Cycle a little further and you will arrive in the lovely village of Nes aan de Amstel, from where you follow the river to Uithoorn.
In Uithoorn, it’s time for a well-deserved break. The Wilhelminakade and the Dorpsstraat offer the most beautiful views of the small harbour and the Amstel. This is the place to stretch your legs and have lunch or a drink. From Uithoorn, the route turns back towards the city, but don't worry, the way back still has a lot of fun to offer.
You cycle through the beautiful Dutch landscape, with vast plains as far as the eye can see. The cycle path along the Wavre takes you all the way to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. Interesting sights along the way include the Stokkelaarsbrug bridge, the pumping station of the Ronde Hoep and, for hungry cyclists, the restaurant de Voetangel.
Take a well-deserved breather in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a picturesque medieval village dating from the 12th century. Visit the Beth Haim cemetery, opened in 1614, the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Netherlands. Or the St. Urbanus Parish, built in 1872 by the famous Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Central Station.
From Ouderkerk aan de Amstel it is another 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) by bike to the Amstel Quarter - the end point of this route. There, you can relax and reflect on all the beautiful things you have seen along the way.
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- I amsterdam
Prepare to fall in love with Amsterdam's Waterland. The route takes you past typical Dutch jewels, such as 17th-century wooden houses, typical Dutch villages and countryside, the leafy Noorderpark and unusual windmills.
The route starts and ends at Amsterdam Central Station. Take the free ferry behind Central Station (Buiksloterveer). From here, you ride along the cycle paths in the direction of Het Schouw, with the Noorderpark on your left and the North-Holland Canal on your right. It is also fun to cycle on the Buiksloterdijk (a dyke), just past the Noorderpark. When you see the 16th-century wooden houses on the Buiksloterdijk, you can imagine how Amsterdam must have looked in the past.
Continue cycling past Krijtmolen d'Admiraal (built in 1792), then ride a little past the motorway and prepare yourself for breathtaking panoramic views. You pass a number of historic farms, many of which have been in continuous operation since the 17th century.
Take the ferry from Landsmeer to Het Schouw. It costs less than a euro and you get to the other side in no time. Take some cash with you to be sure you can pay the skipper. Cycle through the sleepy waterside towns, with all the characteristics of classic Dutch villages: picturesque houses, canals and a relaxed rural lifestyle. You can also cycle on the quieter, left side of the water and take the ferry across at Ilpendam.
Stop at the town square of Ilpendam for a cup of coffee at Het Wapen van Ilpendam, also known as Café Biljart. This traditional 'brown café' is known for its authentic menu and warm hospitality.
From Ilpendam, you can cycle to Purmerend in around 10 minutes past green landscapes, farms and open fields. The town has a long history: it was founded by a wealthy banker in 1410 and received the status of town in 1434. The drainage of the Beemster and Purmermeren lakes in the 16th century exposed rich fertile land, making Purmerend even more prosperous.
After a lovely break on the historic Koemarkt, you will cycle through Purmerland to Het Twiske. This beautiful recreational area is full of little beaches and has a wonderful lake. Cycle through the park or hire a boat at Twiske Haven to experience the area in a very special way.
The last leg of this superb route runs from Twiske through the trendy northern suburbs of Amsterdam. The abandoned shipyard NDSM has become a huge cultural hotspot in recent years. There are festivals (check the listings: ndsm.nl), an impressive street art museum and at the coolest restaurant spots where you can enjoy a great view over the water. You’ll love to hang around here for a few hours before you take the ferry from NDSM Wharf back to the starting point of the route.
June 10, 2021