Sports and fitness - Amsterdam - Travel | Monocle


Boat hire, citywide

During the warmer months, rent a boat, pack a picnic and float towards the harbour or Amstel river. No licence is required for rentals, just a sober captain over the age of 18 who can handle the intersections. Mokumboot hires out vessels from seven boarding locations across the city. For a snack, dock along the quays at Café Hesp, Hannekes Boom or Waterkant. Or head south to the widened section of the Amstel to swim in front of the tHuis aan de Amstel café. 

Vondelpark walk

Distance: 4.3km
Gradient: Flat
Difficulty: Easy
Highlight: The stretch along the southern pond
Best time: Take your pick
Nearest station: Rijksmuseum 

Start at the main entrance of the park on Stadhouderskade and head west under the bridge designed by Piet Kramer in 1947. Next you’ll enter the main park; take the first right to follow the road that loops around the pond. Look out for the neo-gothic Vondelkerk on the right, designed by Pierre Cuypers, the man behind the Rijksmuseum. At the fork in the path, leave the main road and head right on the narrow path that meanders along the edge of the park, passing Roman church-turned-music-venue Orgelpark.

As you rejoin the main road, take a sharp right and carry on for about 700 metres. At the end follow the curve to your left and once you’ve crossed the water (marked by knee-high walls) take a right to run along the narrow path. Rejoin the main road and after about 300 metres take the lakeside path again. 

At the next fork, keep left and then head back onto the main road. Veer right, passing “Figure Découpée (L’Oiseau)” in the clearing on your left. This sculpture was designed by Picasso and presented to the city in 1965. Loop right around the pond and on the left look for a blue bridge to the Blauwe Theehuis (Blue Teahouse), a modernist institution built in the 1930s. Finish here with a drink or loop around the building and continue on to pass the statue of Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel, after whom the park was named. You’ll wind up back at the starting point.


Noord cycle tour

The city centre isn’t always the most relaxing place to wheel around so try the north’s rural paths instead. 

Starting point: Centraal station, Centrum
Distance: 10km 

Rent your fiets (bicycle) from MacBike, around the back of Centraal station. Take the 902 ferry to IJplein, drinking in the views over the city, and once docked pedal northeast along Meeuwenlaan. Cross the first roundabout and just after the road forks take a sharp right onto pretty Nieuwendammerdijk, a quaint street with charming old houses. Take a break in Café ’t Sluisje, a historic bruin café in a building that’s nearly 500 years old and has a large waterside terrace that’s perfect for lunch. Continue straight along the same road, passing fields and waterways as you go, until it ends at a park.

Turn right over the white bridge, immediately left and then keep right on Schellingwouderdijk. After you’ve passed some football pitches, turn right down Noorder IJdijk and dismount when you reach the start of the Oranjesluizen. To cross this series of working locks you’ll have to go by foot.

Once you’re back on your bike head down Zuider IJdijk, joining the two upper paths nearest the water. At the T-junction turn right and follow the path to a big bridge; wheel your bike up the tracks on the nearside stairway. Head west along Zuiderzeeweg until the junction, where you turn right onto Zeeburgerdijk. Continue for 1.5km until you see the De Gooyer windmill over the water to your right. Once you reach it, it would be impolite not to reward yourself with a beer at adjacent brewery Brouwerij ’t IJ.

Images: Jussi Puikkonen, Getty Images

Go back: Amsterdam


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00

  • Monocle on Culture