A guide to walking holidays in Amsterdam
Home to some of the most picturesque canals in Europe, the famous Van Gough Museum, and the world’s only floating flower market, Amsterdam is known as one of the friendliest and most laid-back cities on the continent.
With stunning architecture dating back to the seventeenth century and beyond, the city has become synonymous with great art and interesting history. Some visitors describe Amsterdam as having a pleasant air of grandeur about it. More than that, it is a fabulous city to explore, enticing visitors to while away the hours in its sprawling backstreets and many alleyways.
Let your feet do the talking in Amsterdam
A walking holiday is the best way to experience everything that Amsterdam has to offer, enabling visitors to fully immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and even smells that make Amsterdam so very special.
Amsterdam is a fairly flat, compact city, and as such it is ideal terrain for the less-experienced walker; everything is within easy reach, including remnants from the city’s industrial Golden Age. There are several museums celebrating Amsterdam’s rich history, and an abundance of shops and market places offering local products. Numerous restaurants, bars and coffee shops serve to refuel walkers along the way.
A walking holiday in Amsterdam is not complete without a visit to North Holland Dune Reserve, a breathtaking walk across a rugged landscape, or Hoge Veluwe National Park where walkers can experience some magnificent scenery by taking just an hour’s journey from the city limits.
Walking tours in Amsterdam
Organised walking tours are great for those wishing to get to know Amsterdam well. Particularly popular tours include walks along the Golden Age Canal and waterfront, journeys into the city’s Old Centre, ventures into the Jordaan district and spooky ghost walks. There are also plenty of cycling tours available along the canals. With so much to see, it is entirely possible to complete several tours and still only have scratched the surface of this vibrant city.
As the location of Anne Frank’s home, now a popular museum and tourist attraction, Amsterdam’s wartime history is inescapable. The city witnessed true terror between 1940-45, and the World War II Walking Tour invites guests to revisit this most evocative of periods, as sights, sounds and memories of the Nazi Occupation are brought to life.
This rich corner of the Netherlands is the ideal destination for a walking holiday, and an abundance of cheap hotels in Amsterdam mean that an extended stay needn’t cost the earth. From boutique hotels tucked away in fashionable corners, to renovated merchants’ quarters and bijou bed and breakfasts, Amsterdam has something to suit every walker’s taste and budget.
Off the beaten track; backstreets and beyond
Of course, visitors to Amsterdam are not restricted solely to the designated tourist areas. One of the best ways to explore the city is to take a wander down the backstreets, witnessing the sprawling cityscape as it was meant to be experienced. Walking enthusiasts will enjoy deviating from the guidebook, discovering their own Amsterdam and creating lasting memories of the city at its best.
And if all that exploring has whetted the appetite, walkers may even consider taking their adventures further afield. During the 1960s Amsterdam was one of the main starting points for the Hippie Trail, a very popular extended trek across Europe and southern Asia.
To maximise the enjoyment of a walking holiday, it is essential to stay safe. Walkers should ensure that they have adequate footwear and clothing to protect them from the elements, as well as plentiful supplies and spare cash for use along the way. It is always best to make contingency plans in case anything should go wrong, and to carefully plan out any routes to avoid getting lost. A few handy phrases in Dutch won’t go amiss either, and nor will a GPS tracker; just in case.