Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest)
Time 4 hours
The Amsterdamse Bos is a park area located to the south of Amsterdam, in the Amstelveen area. The park is roughly 1,000 hectares, or about three times larger than New York's Central Park, and consists of biking and walking trails, a rowing lake, and many facilities for outdoor activities.
The biking route from Amsterdam Centraal Station heads south through the dense neighborhoods packed with tourists before veering south east and following the famous Amstel River. A popular stop on the route is the petting zoo in the Amsterdamse Bos where you can rest, visit the animals, and buy some locally made ice cream and other snacks.
To start the bike route from Amsterdam Centraal Station, go to the east side of the station and then head south across the waterway and across the main street in front of the station called Prins Hendrikkade. After passing the Schreierstoren, a historical 15th century monument with a cafe, go right onto Geldersekade. Within a few minutes of riding along this busy biking route, you arrive at Nieuwmarkt Square with a building called the Waag, or the "weighing" building. Centuries ago, traders would bring their goods into Amsterdam by boat along the canals to the Waag to sell them in Amsterdam's busy markets.
Ride around the right side of the Waag and continue on the opposite side of the canal as the street name becomes Kloveniersburgwal. At the 3rd bridge, go left and cross the canal onto Staalstraat. Continue straight as the bike path crosses two other bridges before veering right and then making a left along the Amstel River.
The route follows alongside the Amstel for about 2.5km, heading south east. At the Intercontinental Amstel Hotel, cross the road carefully, and pass in front of the hotel before passing through a tunnel under the (highway) s100 on the otherside. Continue following the Amstel until you reach Berlagebrug. Cross the bridge on your right as this bridge will mark the spot where the route separates and you will return to this bridge later on your return to Amsterdam Centraal.
After crossing the Berlagebrug, immediately go right along the s110 and after 400 meters, watch for the first canal crossing. After crossing the first, cross the s110 to go left onto Jozef Israelskade. Ride for about 1.2km along the road until you reach the main road of Ferdinand Bolstraat. Go left, over the canal, then 1-block later, go right onto Churchill-laan. Ride along this road until it veers slightly to the right and crosses a canal, then immediately stop (if you reach the intersection with Stadionweg, you have gone 1-block too far). Go left and follow the canal along Bernard Zweerskade.
Continue riding along Bernard Zweerskade and following the canal as it turns into Stadionkade before reaching Amstelveenseweg. Across the street on the right is Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium, which served as the main building for the 1928 Summer Olympics. Without crossing the street, go left (bikes ride in both directions on this side of the street) and ride one-block along Amstelveenseweg. At the first intersection, go right and cross the street and ride along IJsbaanpad. Ride straight through the roundabout and, immediately after passing the tram tracks, go left and cross the street to a bike path (if you ride past the bike path, you have gone too far).
Ride along the path, following the tram tracks as the route passes under the A4 Highway, past several large buildings, and a marina before reaching a road, which is one of the entrances to Amsterdamse Bos. Go right at the road and ride towards the rowing lake. For roughly the next 2.5km, follow the paved road in same direction, but inland from the rowing lake. The long, straight paved road ends at a 4-way intersection next to a pancake restaurant called Boerderij Meerzicht.
At the pancake restaurant, go left and follow the paved road towards the lake. Go right at the lake as you ride on the opposite end of the rowing lake. From here, the route gets a bit tricky to follow, with several turns and junctions as you make your way through the forested section of the park to the petting zoo. Start by going right and passing through the right side of the parking area and following the bike path out to where it meets the road. Cross the road and about 100 meters along the bike path, turn right onto another bike path. After about 250 meters and crossing the 2nd of two bridges, go right onto another bike path and continue riding through the forest. Not too far along the path, you reach a junction with a bridge on your right. Turn right and ride across the bridge, then turn left at the first junction after the bridge and follow this trail until it meets with a paved bike path. Turn right onto the paved bike path and after about 350 meters, make a left at the junction towards the petting zoo. Here you can lock your bike up against one of the fences before enjoying some time with the animals, eating lunch, or having a refreshing drink.
From the petting zoo, return to the bike path and go left, in the opposite direction you came, and follow the paved path as it veers right and crosses a bridge. The path continues through the trees before exiting at an open field area. Ride straight through the 4-way intersection and back into the forest as it crosses another bridge before reaching the end at a road and canal. This marks the eastern edge of the forest. Go left and follow the road for about 1.25km next to the canal. Make a 90-degree right and, again, continue to follow the canal on your right for another 1km. When the path reaches a T-Junction, go left as you pass a gravel parking area and onto the street Jan Tooroplaan and back into a residential neighborhood. Once you reach the intersection Nieuwe Kalfjeslaan, go right towards Amsterdam.
A short pedal brings you back into urban Amsterdam and to a busy traffic light. Go straight through the light and continue following Kalfjeslaan. Up ahead is the busy Beneluxbaan (s109) which you cannot easily cross, so you have to take a detour to the right. About 100 meters before the Beneluxbaan, go right over a bridge, then go left and ride down to the road and underneath the tunnel. Right after exiting the tunnel, go left up a short path with a hill and cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge, go ride and continue along the straight away for the next 1.6km. The route ends at the Amstel River, next to a small restaurant called Restaurant Klein Kalfje.
Go left at the Amstel and then go left at the roundabout, passing the Riekermolen, a windmill built in 1636 and still used today to pump water out of the nearby Buitenveldert. Continue along the road as it crosses a bridge and reaches a large roundabout. Before the roundabout, go right and follow the bike path under the trees alongside Europaboulevard. Continue riding along the long straight-away and underneath the A10 Highway and train tracks. Immediately after riding under the highway, go right at the bike path intersection and follow the route next to the highway, arriving at the Amstel River a few minutes later. Go left and follow the road along the Amstel as it winds its way back to the city, first merging with Amsteldijk and then reaching the large bridge called Berlagebrug. This is the same bridge you crossed earlier in the day on your way to Amsterdamse Bos.
To get back to Amsterdam Centraal Station, cross over the Berlagebrug and go left at the first street, following this long route next to the Amstel. Ride through the tunnel, past the Intercontinental Amstel Hotel, cross the street, and continue along the road next to the river. When the route veers to the right and then to the left, crossing over a bridge, stop before reaching the 3rd bridge at Kloveniersburgwal. Don't cross this bridge but, instead, go right and follow this road along the canal as it passes by Nieuwmarkt Square, before returning to Prins Hendrikkade, the main street running in front of Amsterdam Centraal. Go left towards the lights and make your way across the street to the station.