5 Idyllic Amsterdam Hikes to Help You Reconnect With Nature

Want to reconnect with nature right on Amsterdam's doorstep? Check out these five fantastic hikes close to the Dutch capital. 


The museums, canals and other world-class attractions in Amsterdam are much loved, but did you know you can also get in touch with nature very close to the city? Here are five of the best hikes in and around Amsterdam.

1. Amsterdamse Bos - a forest escape that's perfect for families

Be embraced by the forest as you look upon rays of sunlight filtering through the canopy, with nature's sweet scent in the air. Along with woodland, Amsterdamse Bos features diverse habitats such as meadows, open water and reed land where you might spot wild orchids growing. Take your binoculars and don't miss the chance to see woodpeckers, rabbits, marsh harriers or kingfishers. The changing leaves are beautiful in autumn, and if you visit in spring you might be lucky enough to see cherry blossoms in full bloom.

  • Trail length: A popular route among the various trails is the loop from the east end of the Bosbaan canal to De Poel lake and back, which is 9.5 km
  • Estimated time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Good to know: Amsterdamse Bos has highlights for families during warmer months, including a high ropes adventure course, swimming and paddling pools in summer, and electric boats that children can steer

2. The Amstel river route - windmills and waterways

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.” – A.A. Milne

The route along the Amstel river is one of the most popular trails for walking in Amsterdam. If you have been taking a look at Amsterdam canals, you'll notice that the river is much wider and will give you the feeling of being in a more expansive open space outside of the bustling city centre. A good starting point is Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) in the central canal district. Starting on the east side of the river, make your way through the leafy Weesperzijde neighbourhood before crossing the Berlagebrug bridge and heading for Amstelpark. After a picnic in the park or a snack from one of the crêperies, consider continuing on to the charming medieval village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

If you'd like to wake up and enjoy the flower gardens and art galleries in Amstelpark before walking to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, book a room at Novotel Amsterdam City.

  • Trail length: Skinny Bridge to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is a 20 km round trip
  • Estimated time: 5 hours
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Good to know: Highlights along the route include the 17th-century windmill De Riekermolen just south of Amstelpark, as well as the De Zwaan windmill just before you reach Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

3. Lange Bretten - a hidden treasure among Amsterdam hikes

Lange Bretten is one of the hidden gems among the hikes around Amsterdam. The nature reserve is the place to spot birds of prey like buzzards and falcons, and in this peaceful, secluded area you might find yourself alone with these magnificent creatures. You'll also see varied environments that include grasslands and marshes, providing a true sense of the Dutch countryside. Bring your wellies, as some of the sections can be pretty muddy (a.k.a. great fun as long as you're wearing the right gear!). Fortunately, if you're staying in a city centre hotel you can be back at base in under an hour on public transport and freshen up before heading out to dinner.

  • Trail length: The loop trail is 7.5 km
  • Estimated time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Difficulty level: Easy 
  • Good to know: There are other nature reserves in the area to explore the same day. Heemtuin Sloterpark is set around Sloterplas lake and features a petting zoo and a small sandy beach, while Geuzenbos is home to Konik horses and highland cattle

4. Floris V-Pad - a trail for serious hikers!

Some hiking trails in the Netherlands cross large sections of the entire country from north to south, including Floris V-Pad which winds for around 250 km from Amsterdam to the city of Bergen op Zoom. If you're planning an Amsterdam hike but can't quite find the time for all 250 km, the first segment from Amsterdam to Weesp will provide satisfying exercise and an experience of verdant farmland outside the city. You'll pass through the village of Driemond where the Gein, Gaasp and Smal Weesp rivers all meet. As you reach the end of the segment in Weesp, you'll be rewarded with the sight of the Molen 't Haantje windmill, as well as the chance to enjoy a bite or a local beer at one of the waterside venues in the town.

  • Trail length: The first segment follows the Amstel river out of the city centre before heading to Diemen, Driemond and finally Weesp, which is around 16 km in total
  • Estimated time: 3 hours 30 minutes one way
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Good to know: If you decide not take on the whole of this famous walk in Holland, you can travel back to central Amsterdam by train from the station in Weesp

5. Vondelpark - the most popular hike in the city

Look out for city-dwelling wildlife like herons and parakeets

Vondelpark is the best place to stretch your legs close to central Amsterdam. Among the winding paths and up in the tall trees, look out for city-dwelling wildlife like herons and parakeets. For a more tranquil experience in this popular spot, visit in the early morning when you'll hear the sound of birdsong being carried across the crisp, cool breeze. Throughout April, Vondelpark is one of several central locations that take part in the Tulip Festival, so it's a good place to admire and photograph the spectacular multicoloured flowers in Amsterdam.

Vondelpark is popular for plenty of other things too, including:

  • restaurants
  • lakes
  • an open-air theatre
  • a rose garden

Oh, and don't miss the Picasso sculpture right in the middle of the park!

  • Trail length: The loop trail is 3.5 km 
  • Estimated time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Good to know: You can add variety to your day by taking in some 1930s modernist architecture along with the natural vistas by stopping in at Blauwe Theehuis ("Blue Tea House") for a refreshing drink

These Amsterdam hikes have something for everyone, so you're sure to find your new favourite locale!

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