Time 5 hours
The castle of Muiderslot is located southeast of Amsterdam, at the mouth of the Vecht River in the town of Muiden, and is the area's most famous castle. Now a national museum open to the public, Muiderslot was originally built by Floris V in 1280 and used to collect taxes from trades who were on their way to trade goods in the town of Utrecht. The original castle was destroyed in 1300 by the Archbishop of Utrecht before a new castle was built on the same site in roughly 1386.
The bike route to Muiderslot begins from Amsterdam Central Train Station and passes through the busy streets of Amsterdam before heading southeast along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. The route passes through the Dutch countryside before arriving in the town of Muiden and the nearby castle. Afterwards, the route heads south, following to the east of the Vecht River and passing through the town of Weesp. The route then heads north along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal before passing through Diemerbos, a forest and nature area built in the 1990's, and returning to Amsterdam.
The route to Muiderslot starts behind Amsterdam Central or on the north side next to the IJ. To get there from the front where all the trams and buses are, go to the far, east side of the station. Cross the street where all the busses drive under the traintracks and go left onto the Oosterdokskade. Ride along the bike path under the train tracks above to a traffic light on the other side. Cross the street called De Ruijterkade, then turn right and ride along the bike path. Follow this route for the next 2.2km as you quickly ride away from Central Station.
When you reach either the intersection with the s114 or, the one after, Borneolaan, cross to the other side of the street but continue riding in the same direction. Continue riding along the same street you are on, which is now called Panamalaan, until you reach a 3-way intersection. Turn left onto Zeeburgerdijk and ride for about 1km until the road starts to veer to the right. When the road starts to turn to the right, look left and cross the street to a road on the other side next to apartments called Flevoparkweg (note: If you reach the traffic lights at Zuiderzeeweg, you have gone too far and must go back 100 meters). Immediately after crossing the street, ride to the left of the road, past the apartment building, then veering right onto a bike path. Ride for 500 meters until you reach the end of the bike path at a river called the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.
The Amsterdam-Rhine Canal was built in the 1950's to connect Amsterdam with the Rhine River via the city of Utrecht. Today, the 72km long canal is one of Europe's busiest waterways, used as a major shipping route for barges ferrying to and from the port city of Amsterdam. Turn right and ride under the bridge and begin heading south along the canal for the next 6km. The route is a relaxing ride and offers views of the busy canal and its surrounding area as you make your way southeast and leave Amsterdam behind.
During your ride along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, you will ride under 2 major highway overpasses, first the A10 and later, the A1. About 750 meters beyond the A1 overpass is a train bridge and it is this train bridge, which has a bike path on it, that you want to cross over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. Ride towards the train bridge and just before reaching it, turn right onto the path and ride up the hill, going left 150 meters later and looping back up onto the bridge. This is a busy train route and it won't take long before one of the high-speed Dutch trains passes by. After crossing the bridge, ride down the hill and turn right at the junction, following the path that is parallel to the train tracks.
When you reach the road, you will need to make 2 quick lefts to get onto a bike path called Papelaan. First, cross the road, turn left and ride for 100 meters and looking for laneway on your left. This laneway is before the road completes its full right turn, so if you reach a train station, you've gone way too far. Cross the road again towards this laneway and continue along the bike path as you ride out into the Dutch countryside, surrounded by farm fields.
The path ends when it reaches a road called Rijksweg, which is parallel to the A1 Highway. Turn right and ride along Rijksweg until you reach an intersection with a roundabout. Do not cross the street but go left at the roundabout and ride along the bike path on Weesperweg, under the highway overpass and past the Muiderbosch cemetery, which looks like a park from the street. Burried in the cemetery are British soldiers who died on May 1, 1943 when their RAF Handley Page Halifax bomber crashed in Noordpolder. Continue along the road and when you reach another roundabout, turn right onto Amsterdamsestraat and ride across the bridge into the town of Muiden. Cross a 2nd bridge and immediately go left onto Herengracht and follow this road next to the canal as it takes you right to the entrance of Muiderslot Castle.
Muiderslot is open daily during the summer and only on weekends and public holidays through the winter months but it's best to check their website for the official times. Plan to budget roughly an hour to explore the castle and the surrounding gardens. The area isn't large but the gardens are beautiful and a nice place to relax before continuing your bike ride. However, keep in mind that follow this bike route, you are not quite at the halfway point and there are still roughly a few hours left in this bike route.
After visiting the castle, follow the road to the left next to a raised dike and walking path until you reach a road with a bridge on your left. Don't cross the bridge, instead, turn right and ride along Vestingplein and back into the town of Muiden until, 200 meters later, you reach the same intersection at the bridge you were at earlier before riding to the castle. Earlier, you had ridden across this bridge then turned north to the castle. Now, turn left onto Herengracht and head south with the canal (the river Vecht) on your right. The road will veer to the left, then turn right onto the street with the same name, Herengracht, and cross the bridge, leaving the town of Muiden.
At the road up ahead, turn right onto Lange Muiderweg and follow the road as it immediately veers left and passes under the A1 Highway overpass. The next 3km follow this road along the windy Vecht River towards the town of Weesp. After a peaceful 3km ride and just after riding under a train bridge, turn right at the intersection and ride across a bridge. After crossing the bridge, on the right sits the Tower at Fort Ossenmarkt, a fortress that was built in 1861 and, later, became part of the Stelling Van Amsterdam. In the period 1880 to 1920, a series of defences, known as the Stelling Van Amsterdam, were built in a circle surrounding the city at a distance of 15 - 20km from the center to protect Amsterdam from an invading force. Today, the fort is used only for special occasions and is not open to the public but still provides a scenic photograph as you bike by.
After passing the fort, ride across a 2nd bridge and immediately turn right onto the first street, Hoogstraat. Ride to the 2nd street and turn left onto Kerkstraat. About 100 meters further, the street splits around a church called Laurens Church (Laurenskerk). Ride to the right as you pass the church and ride to the front of the building along Nieuwstraat. Turn right and ride along Nieuwstraat for 120 meters and then turn left onto Slijkstraat, riding another block before crossing a bridge. Do not cross the bridge over the canal on your right, instead, continue riding straight along the same street that is now called Buitenveer. Continue riding along this route for the next 1.5km ensuring the canal is on your right hand side and you leave the town of Weesp and ride along a bike path.
Just after riding under an overpass, the path reaches the busy Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. You need to cross the canal using the big bridge up ahead. First, ride under the big bridge then go left at the first path, riding for about 300 meters uphill in the opposite direction before the path turns back towards the bridge next to the road called Gooilandseweg. After crossing the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, ride down the hill to the first traffic lights and turn right, crossing the street onto Zandpad-Driemond. Ride along next to the houses and at the parking lot on your left, turn left onto Jaargetijden and cross the small, white bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn right onto the bike path and ride for a short distance until it veers left and begins heading north along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.
Ride north along the canal for the next 1.2km as you see the train bridge off in the distance that you crossed earlier on your way to Muiden. After riding for just over 1km, watch for a set of stairs on your left that descend the side of the dike and onto a pathway below. Stop and get off your bike and walk it down these stairs, positioning your bike to head to the right. These stairs can be easy to miss if you're watching the scenery along the canal, so if you reach the train bridge, you've missed the stairs by about 1km.
The next section of the biking route passes through Diemerbos, a forest built in the 1990's on a polder, or land that has been reclaimed from the water. From the bottom of the stairs, go right on the path as it immediately veers left and into the relatively young forest. The trail turns to the right at a canal and open field, then goes straight for about 250 meters, then turning left and reaching a junction a short time later. Go left at the junction and follow the signs to Amsterdam as you continue riding through the peaceful Diemerbos. Go straight through a 4-way intersection as it veers left just after and goes under the A9 Highway. On the otherside of the highway, stay on the wide bike path, passing smaller paths on your left and right. After 450 meters, the trail turns 90-degrees to the left and then continues. After passing a large open waterway and reaching a 4-way intersection, follow the signs pointing to Amsterdam and turn right, and continue riding through the last section of Diemerbos until you reach a parking lot about 700 meters from the 4-way intersection.
Exit the Diemerbos parking lot and turn left onto the street, which is called Muiderstraatweg. Follow Muiderstraatweg for more than 2km as it passes through a couple of intersections, under a train overpass, and into the town of Diemen, with houses on your right. When you start to see a canal on your left that is parallel to the road, watch for a bridge on the left that will need to cross. At the intersection with Beukenhorst Street, turn left and cross the bridge and stay on the well marked, red bike path as you pass through a residential area. The windy bike path might make it seem as though you are lost but keep riding straight until, just before a highway overpass, a bike path junction points to Amsterdam to the right. Turn right and follow the bike path that's parallel to the highway as it crosses a small bridge, then reaches a 2nd bridge where a number of highways intersection. Stop before riding under the highway and turn left onto a bike path that goes under several highway overpasses and comes out alongside a long straight canal called Weesperzijde (note: if you reach a roundabout on the bike path, you missed the left turn).
The next 2km along the long, straight bike path Weesperzijde quickly takes you back towards Amsterdam. At the end of the path, when it reaches a road, turn left onto the road and ride under the train overpass to a roundabout. At the roundabout, ride to the right but ride onto a bike path that goes between the large buildings. After passing a few large office towers, you reach a road next to the Amstel River. Turn right and ride to the traffic lights. Go straight through the lights and continue following the road next to the Amstel River, passing through the neighbourhoods of Amsterdam.
After riding through a tunnel, you pass the Amstel Hotel and arrive at a busy street with tram tracks called Sarphatistraat. Turn right and ride to the next major intersection about 200 meters away. Turn left onto Weeperplein and ride along the busy bike path, crossing several bridges until you reach a square called Visserplein. This square can be confusing as more than 8 streets converge into this area from all different directions. However, you will need to ride around the other side of the square and go left onto Jodenbreestraat. Once on Jodenbreestraat, the route passes over another canal before veering right and onto Sint Antoniesbreestraat. A short ride through central Amsterdam brings you to another square called Nieuwmarkt Square with an old buidling called De Waag, or the "weighing building" that was used when traders brought their goods to the markets in Amsterdam via the canals. At Nieuwmarkt Square, the route veers right onto Geldersekade and the bike path on the left of the street follows parallel to a canal. When you reach the end of the street, turn left onto the bike path along Prins Hendrikkade street and the busy Amsterdam Central station becomes visible across the street. At the first set of traffic lights, cross Prins Hendrikkade Street and carefully cross along the bike paths towards the station, being mindful of the many trams, busses, and people around you.