Hiking in Amsterdam: top 7 places for wandelen near the city

Hiking and Amsterdam are two words that are not often paired — but that didn’t stop us from trying. 

Escaping to the wilderness is an ideal solution for managing stress, yet, it can seem tricky when you’re in a crowded city and the only elevation gains are the 14,000 stairs to your apartment. 

Fortunately, Amsterdam has some surprisingly stunning walking trails in her big bag of tricks, perfect for a little dose of nature therapy.

With no hiking boots required, here’s where you can find our top seven spots for “hiking” around Amsterdam, all within cycling distance.

1. Lange Bretten: Nieuw-West’s best-kept secret

Photo-of-playground-under-grey-sky-in-Lange-Bretten-park-Amsterdam
An adorable park along the Lange Bretten walking trail. Image: Marion Goldstein/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

A nature reserve in Nieuw-West, Lange Bretten is uniquely beautiful and unlike anywhere else in Amsterdam. It’s quiet and secluded, far enough from the city centre that you’re unlikely to spot a single tourist, but still close enough to access with ease.🧘‍♀️

An extensive network of trails winds you through 10 kilometres of varied natural landscapes. You’ll also find plenty of grassy offshoots along the way to venture off the beaten path

READ MORE | Hiking in the Netherlands: 4 myths, busted

Lange Bretten is also chock-full of wildlife. Big buzzards and falcons fly overhead while little rabbits and squirrels skitter below. You’ll hear croaking frogs and toads and may even spot a few highland cattle!

The hardest part is turning around and walking back — if you simply cannot, head another couple of kilometres west, and you’ll find yourself in a whole new forest to explore, the Spaarnwoude.

📏 Walk distance: 10+ kilometres, each way
🚲 How to get there: 25-minute cycle from Amsterdam Centraal
📍 Starting point: Volkstuinpark De Bretten
🗺 Route: Keep heading west along any of the paved or unpaved trails.

2. Amsterdamse Bos: Amstelveen’s wooded wonderland

photo-cherry-blossoms-in-forest-amsterdamse-bos
Amsterdamse Bos even has a whole area with cherry blossoms! Image: Depositphotos

The Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest) is unrivalled for one of the largest green spaces in the city to go hiking in Amsterdam, with the largest area being in Amstelveen.

Covering over 1,000 hectares, this park is three times bigger than New York’s Central Park, and one of the largest city parks in Europe. 🏙

If you’re looking to get a little lost, this is probably your best bet within the city. With its infinite winding paths, you can easily spend hours hiking through the park.

Around 150 indigenous species of trees and over 200 species of birds call the Amsterdamse Bos home. It’s the go-to place to spot rare flora and fauna, encounter dozens of varieties of mushrooms, and see a diverse range of birds, reptiles, and insects.

📏 Walk distance: 15+ kilometres (and many shorter routes)
🚲 How to get there: 30-minute cycle southwest of Amsterdam Centraal
📍 Starting point: Bosbaanweg (among others)
🗺 Route: There are many routes to choose from. For a nice 15 km walk, try the Long Forest Walk.

3. Rembrandtpark: the woods of Nieuw-West

Rembrandtpark-hiking-in-Amsterdam
Close to the city centre, Rembrandtpark is an easy choice. Image: Julien Chatelain/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Rembrandtpark is a top choice for a quick urban nature escape. The leafy and watery park spreads over 45 hectares, with a mix of paved and dirt paths.

READ MORE | Where to live in Amsterdam: the 2023 neighbourhood guide

Tall leafy trees, bushy shrubs, grassy knolls, and water features make Rembrandtpark an interesting area for spotting birds and other small wildlife, while a handful of unexpected art sculptures add a bit of pizazz. ⛲

It’s also a nice area for walking dogs, and a family favourite, with a playground and a petting zoo.

Pro tip: If you’re up for a longer wandeling (walk), you can link your route to the nearby Vondelpark. Both parks are only separated by a 5-minute walk, and this way, you can have a good 1.5-hour walk if you fancy.

📏 Walk distance: A little over 3 kilometres
🚲 How to get there: 18-minute cycle west from Amsterdam Centraal
📍 Starting point: Main entrance at Postjesweg
🗺 Route: Lots of space, but you won’t get lost — follow any of the trails and meander around.

4. Heemtuin Sloterpark: a suburban sweetheart

Heemtuin-Sloterpark-wandel-route-hiking-in-amsterdam
Plenty to explore in the Heemtuin Sloterpark. Image: Ceescamel/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

A popular park for walking, the green space around the Sloterplas lake in Nieuw-West is surprisingly full of trails and wilderness.

The Rondje Sloter is a 5.8-kilometre loop trail around the lake. While this loop doesn’t quite offer a full escape to nature, you can add on a wandeling in the Heemtuin or Ruige Riet area to forget all about your city woes.

READ MORE | 7 scenic bike paths in the Netherlands

Heemtuin Sloterpark is a young nature reserve, established in 1975 and maintained by volunteers. This stunning little forest hides just west of the Sloterplas.

Native plants and wildlife thrive in these wetlands and woodlands. The reserve also hosts a botanical garden, a petting zoo, and a nature education centre called Drijfsijs. 🌱

📏 Walk distance: 5.8 kilometres around the lake
🚲 How to get there: 20-minute cycle west from Amsterdam Centraal
📍 Starting point: Begin at any point around the lake
🗺 Route: Take a lap around the lake, or head straight for the nature reserve and wander through the winding paths.

5. Amstel River route: Zuid and then some

photo-of-amstel-river-walking-hiking-route-near-amsterdam
This view is just a three-hour walk down the river from Amsterdam. Image: MartinD/Wikimedia/CC3.0

The Amstel River trail is a wonderfully expansive path that’s adored by pedestrians and cyclists alike. Once there, you can experience the picturesque Dutch landscape, windmills, and cows.

Take in the tranquillity of the water along the way, and be sure to pay a visit to the beautiful Amstelpark. It’s full of large leafy trees and botanical gardens, including a rosarium and rhododendron garden with 139 varieties. 🌹

Past the park, the trail will lead you as far into the rural countryside as you’re willing to go. To give you an idea, from the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) in central(ish) Amsterdam to Amstelpark, the distance is about 4.5 kilometres.

Now, if you’ve got some good trainers, a sandwich in your pocket, and an inordinate amount of pep left in your step, you can keep going as long as you like.

📏 Walk distance: From Magere Brug to Amstelpark is 4.5 kilometres, then continue as long as you please
🚲 How to get there: 10-minutes cycle from Amsterdam Centraal
📍 Starting point: Start anywhere along the river, for example at the Magere Brug
🗺 Route: Head south alongside the river for as long as your legs will carry you.

6. Vondelpark: the urban classic

view-of-pond-in-dutch-park-vondelpark-on-a-sunny-day-with-large-willow-trees-hanging-over-water-and-reflected-in-the-water
Vondelpark is known for its stunning sights and the range of wildlife that call it home. Image: Depositphotos

The famous Vondelpark: a park so accessible, no wonder it receives more tourists than any other park in the city.

Particularly on an early morning weekend wandeling, the park is calm and quiet. The tall trees help you forget you’re in the city, and the expansive paths lead you through interesting twists and turns.

READ MORE | Btw, turns out public sex in this Amsterdam park is LEGAL 

A hearty mix of trees, shrubbery, and ponds invite a range of interesting wildlife, such as grey herons, toads, bats, and even the famous Amsterdam parakeets.

📏 Walk distance: Roughly 4.5 kilometres
🚲 How to get there: 15-minute cycle from Amsterdam Centraal
📍 Starting point: Maid of Amsterdam (main entrance)
🗺 Route: Straight ahead, then choose right or left. Make a loop or weave your way around.

7. ‘T Twiske: the north’s soggy hiking haven

Twiske-nature-walking
Waterland walking at its finest in ‘T Twiske nature reserve. Image: S Sepp/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0 

Around 30 minutes north of Amsterdam by bike and a short ferry ride, ‘T Twiske is the furthest hiking area from Amsterdam to make the list.

The park has various well-marked walking routes to choose from, each between 3.5 and 16 kilometres long. By following the longest route, the Twiskeroute, you can cover a large majority of the nature reserve.

You’ll walk along both paved and unpaved trails around a lake, and pass through meadows, dikes, and forests.

Along the way, you’ll have the chance to encounter pheasants, rabbits, countless forest birds, and handsome Scottish Highland cattle. Plenty of benches line the way to rest your feet and have a snack.

If you’re up to hiking through more of the region, it’s easy to tie in a visit to the neighbouring nature reserves, Ilperveld, Varkensland, and Oostzanerveld.

📏 Walk distance: 3.5-16 kilometres
🚲 How to get there: A short ferry from Amsterdam Centraal and then a 30-minute cycle north
📍 Starting point: An easily accessible starting point is Twiske Speelsloot
🗺 Route: For a 16 km walk, follow red signs for the Twiskeroute


There you have it — seven incredible areas for a stroll through nature around Amsterdam. So get out and enjoy! And if you’re still hungry for more, check out some of the other beautiful forests, lakes, and nature reserves in the Netherlands. 

Will you visit any of these great hiking and walking areas in Amsterdam? Do you have any additional favourites to add to the list? Tell us in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2020, and was fully updated in October 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Freepik
Brin Andrews
Brin Andrewshttp://brinandrews.com
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a terrific article. We will keep this for our next visit to Amsterdam. Even though Amsterdam is my hometown, I did not know about some of these hikes. Thank you.

  2. Amstelveen is a great alternative to staying inside the city. I can vouch for the beautiful
    Amsterdamse Bos and it’s many walking trails for exploring nature.

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