When you are tired on the busy tourist streets, then take a short trip into some of the many narrow alleys in the city centre. You don't have to go far to get a much more quiet atmosphere - and maybe even get to see a cat on the windowsill, sitting there and watching you.
The Diemerbos (Forest of Diemen) is located in the (south)east of Amsterdam, where the highways A1 and A9 meet, close to the suburb Diemen. Sinds 1993, when fast-growing trees were planted, this has been a literary growing recreational area.
You can do a nice 9 km, 2 h long, marked walk through this unique piece of nature, that is surrounded by highways. Especially after wet periods it can be a very muddy walk since parts of the route are unpaved, so take good walking shoes!
The hike starts at the end of the Muiderstraatweg in Diemen, close to the junction of the Muiderstraatweg with the Weteringweg. There is a big parking here. The closest public transport is the last stop of tram 9 in Diemen. See www.gvb.nl for details.
From this point you enter the forest and follow the hexagonal signs "Diemerbosroute" of the Dutch Touring Association (ANWB). Also a shorter, 3 km, 50 min long, marked walk from Staatsbosbeheer starts here, with red marking, see the pictures.
The Diemerbosroute also takes you along the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal (Amsterdam-Rhine Canal), that connects Amsterdam with the important shipping artery the river Rhine.
You can print the map that is among the pictures and take it with you for the unlikely case that you get lost in this small forest.
Follow the link below for my Netherlands page if you are interested in more hiking information.
The Defense Line of Amsterdam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. See for more info about the Fortresses of the Defense Line:
This 8-10 km marked hike takes you along two fortresses of the Defense Line of Amsterdam:
Fortress along the river Drecht (http://www.fortaandedrecht.nl/)
Fort De Kwakel (http://www.stelling-amsterdam.nl/forten/kwakel/)
The walk starts and finishes in the village De Kwakel, at the bus stop (bus 147) at the crossing Drechtdijk-Kerklaan. The route is marked with red/yellow stickers on signposts. Some parts are unpaved, so wear good shoes and avoid this walk after a very rainy period.
See http://www.9292ov.nl/ for public transport information. It e.g. takes 60-90 minutes by bus to get to De Kwakel from Amsterdam Central Station.
This 13 km long (3 hour) hike takes you through the recreational areas Gaasperplas, Gaasperzoom and De Hoge Dijk in Amsterdam Zuidoost (south-east).
The walk is well marked with signs from the ANWB (the Dutch touring club) which are marked "Gaasper Zoom Route" (see pictures). The hike starts and finishes at metrostation Gaasperplas. Metro 53 stops here.
You can also cheat a little and take the metro at station Holendrecht near the AMC (Amsterdam Medical Center) on your way back, that will save you about 20-30 minutes. If you want you can visit the Vrolik museum of medical curiosities while you are near the AMC.
Some parts of the walk are unpaved, so leave your high heels at home!
There is a map with the route among the pictures.
On my Netherlands page there is a lot more information about hiking in Holland, follow the link below.
In the Red Light district at night, dont stray off the beaten track too far or you could find yourself down some seedy back street where cabbaged individuals are having conversations with dustbins or licking the pavement, and the prostitutes start looking like Pete Burns from Dead or Alive.
The Goudriaan route, a hike of about 12 km, starts and finishes just outside the village Durgerdam. There is a big parking. Durgerdam is part of the municipality Amsterdam.
The hike is marked with blue stickers with "Goudriaan route", see the pictures.
Actually, the description of the hike says it is 12 km, but it seemed to be more like 10 km to us.
The hike goes along the dike, and through the polder. We saw many birds during the walk.
The only drawback of this hike is that you're walking on rather narrow cycle-tracks, and there may be many bikes passing....
Start and finish are at the bus stop and parking at the "Uitdammerdijk" (Amsterdam), close to the wind turbine, just outside Durgerdam (see pictures). See http://journeyplanner.9292.nl/ for public transport.
Wow, this is a must-see. You have to really look for it though! There is a courtyard hidden between two corner buildings that is stunning! The first picture is of the door you have to go through to get there and the other pictures are from the courtyard. There are two entrances. The one shown lies near the intersection of Spui and Begunen Steeg. There is also an entrance off of Kalverstraat between Engekapel Steeg and Water Steeg.
After arriving in Amsterdam, following a long ferry and bus journey, we decided to take a walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. We followed a route that was suggested in my guide book which took us around the old harbourfront area. Some of the places we saw are a little more "off the beaten track" but that made it so much more interesting.
One of the things that I enjoy during our travels is seeing the things that make a different society or country. In some instances they can be huge things, like the canals in the Netherlands and trying to understand how they would affect daily life. They can also be smaller things like the pics here show, from the "tricycle" taxi, the automat, the garbage collecting, the Chanta cars or even the repairmen working on the canal itself. All things that the local person takes in stride and the usual tourist never notices or never sees. We found all of these things on the streets and canals of Amsterdam and all were unusal to us, just one more reason (or should I say several reasons) that made our trip interesting.
Many a surprise awaits you wandering through the small and pictoresque streets of central Amsterdam. Little coffee shops or flower shops, the fascinating ....surprisingly I know the name in French: Roses trémières...which appear to grow wild in little cracks or niches around houses on the streets, horizontal rain protected bicycles...very strange, to me at least (I wonder what you would feel like in one of them ?), endless canals, nothing quite straight so that you end up running around in circles, literally, if you don't pay attention or have a map, and lastlz, a picture of a budding cyclist. They do grow into that way of life at a very early age !
The best way to see any city I think is to walk it.
I am not the fittest person around (hubby is alot fitter!) but we got alot of walking done. Other than that, we went on the trams a bit and the canals quite a lot.
The city isnt HUGE, and is doable for those who arent the fittest.
Just have a map and a bottle of water handy, pick a direction and go.
It's nice to see the important landmarks and sites, but seeing the non-touristy part of any city is also great.
It's quite handy coming across these lovely big wooden chairs (near the station where you get off to see Anne Franks Secret Annex)
We were not in possesion of a guide when we visited Amsterdam and we found many interesting buildings, a few of which are shown here. The architectural detal are things from the past and hopefully will return. Modern buildings, with few exceptions, show little taste and even less design, and NO character. If anybody can indentify these structures, I would appreciate the names so I can add here and read up on them. If you are interested in the architecture, try this site:
Riekermolen is to the south of Amsterdam... there is no direction placards to it but if you are walking alongside Amstel river from Martin Luther King Park to Amstel Park anyone will tell you how to reach it. There are two ways to reach close to the place..
1. Get to President Kennedy Lane by tram and then walk alongside the river with a lovely view close to 45 minutes brisk walk and suddenly the windmill Reikermolen appears to your right.
2. Take metro or tram to Rai station and then walk to the river bank and then alongside it for around 15 minutes.
The windmill is next to a small park named after Rembrandt..there are 1/2 benches to sit and enjoy and since its out of the way no crowds either.
The windmill is part of a small Dutch house.
on the side streets away from dam sqare and the red light area in the quieter areas are quiet areas with beautiful canals , shops and buildings.
i noted lots of the buildings had lean forward and came up with the reason being that the goods would be lifted from the canals and the top had to stand out so the goods would not snag on the building if you have any other ideas as to why they lean please let me know.
you will see from my pics that the area has beautiful quiet areas as well as busy ones.
Try the hiking! Have a look at the beautiful Broek-in-Waterland. Each house looked different and even there was a little house for the birds in the center of a small lake.