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Amsterdam Forest

Listed under Easy Cycle Touring in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

  • Photo of Amsterdam Forest
  • Photo of Amsterdam Forest
  • Photo of Amsterdam Forest
Photo of Amsterdam Forest
Photo by flickr user EddieBerman
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Everyone knows that Amsterdam is a great city for cycling, but few realise the delights that away intrepid cyclists who leave the city behind to explore the Dutch countryside. One of the most enjoyable countryside attractions is ‘Amsterdamse Bos’, Dutch for the Amsterdam Forest, and it is only a few miles to the south of the city. With 137km (85mi) of footpaths, 51km (35mi) of cycle paths and 50 bridges, it is one of the largest parks in all of Europe, although one of few parks that is completely man-made. The area is reclaimed land as it sits nearly 4 meters (13 feet) below sea-level. Parts of the park are over 70 years old, so even though it is a planned paradise, the park has a natural feel. Planners left nothing to chance, including such well thought out features like De Heuvel (‘the hill’), an artificial mountain which is popular spot in the winter for sledding.

The park has many attractions and highlights, including:

- Horse Riding: there are two horse riding schools operating in the park and you can hire a horse for the day to ride around the park

- Goat Farm: the ‘Geitenboderij’ is a great stop for families because the farm has a miniature petting zoo and allows children to get up close and interact with some of the goats. A café is on site, serving up locally made products, such as goat’s milk, goat’s cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.

- Theatre: during the summer, an open air theatre operates in the park, showing popular plays such as Shakespeare.

- Watersports: on the ‘Grote Vijver’ you can rent either canoes or pedal boats. The lakes are connected by canals so you can explore much of the forest by water. Check the colours of the poles in the water to help you guide your way – the staff will explain this when you book your rental.

The paths in the park are well signposted but in Dutch, so be sure to jot down some notes before you go. But part of the fun in exploring this forest is just to pedal and see where your wheels take you. Food is available at the Goat Farm, but otherwise pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the full day in the outdoor glory of the Amsterdamse Bos.

Written by  Andy Hayes.

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