Few Dutch word pairings elicit more glee in the hearts of European travelers than “Amsterdamse Bos.”
Okay, we’re being slightly facetious, but only because most visitors to Amsterdam don’t know what this gold mine of natural beauty and outdoor activity actually is.
Amsterdamse Bos, or the Amsterdam Woods, is a manmade forest situated on the western outskirts of Amstelveen just south of the Dutch capital. Nested within its 1,000 well-manicured hectares (2,500 equally well-manicured acres) are bike trails, running paths, ponds and lakes of all sizes, more bike trails, a climbing park, a goat farm, an artificial ski-slope, trees (obviously), open fields, sporting facilities, and more picturesque picnicking spots than you can shake a stick at.
It’s like a soft-hearted fitness bro’s dream come true.
Of course, at a mere 10 km southwest of Amsterdam, the best way to explore all that this fantastic park has to offer is to rent a bike and make the trip out on two wheels. This way you’ll not only be able to navigate the sizeable area with ease (it’s roughly three times the size of New York’s Central Park), but you’ll also have the opportunity to check out some pretty worthwhile sights along the way.
Our preferred route starts from the Rijksmuseum and works it’s way south towards Amstelpark.
As long as you’re not looking to cruise continuously at full speed, you can cut through the park to explore its wealth of beautiful ponds and flowering plants before continuing west along the easily-pronounceable Gijsbrecht van Aemstelpark.
From here, it’s basically a straight shot towards all that Amsterdamse Bos-y goodness.
A word to the wise: you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to cycle around the forest’s interior, as one could conceivably add another 20-25 km onto one’s ride within the park’s borders alone. Also, if you’re so inclined, consider taking a half-hour to explore the town of Amstelveen just next door. There are quaint shops and cafes aplenty should the bustle of Amsterdam have you feeling a little cooped up.
Check out our map below, then go experience one of Amsterdam’s most accessible natural gems for yourself.