4 hours in Castles & Gardens: country estates and gardens
Cycle along a scenic riverside path to explore the picturesque village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel marvelling at the extravagant country estates of the Castle & Gardens region. During this 4-hour tour, you’ll also stroll through the elegant gardens and period rooms of Kasteel Museum Sypesteyn and explore a historic cemetery.
Peddle along the Amstel River
For a local cycle route that offers a little bit of everything, follow the River Amstel south from Amsterdam into some spectacular Dutch countryside. Watch as the buildings fade away, replaced by swaying reeds, green meadows and historic villages. Touring this idyllic region with a bike rental will make you feel just like a 17th-century artist might have. You'll find plenty of flat and accessible bike paths through the area including this cycle route which departs from Amsterdam.
Marvel at the extravagant country estates
Enjoy the grandeur of the beautiful country houses and river estates dating from the 17th-century, when Amsterdam’s wealthy merchants would leave their homes in the heart of Amsterdam and retreat to their rural estates during the summertime. You can still bike or boat past these historic houses and their beautifully manicured gardens on the banks of the Amstel River and the River Vecht.
Have lunch by the river
Continue your cycle on to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a picturesque village established in the 12th century on the River Amstel. Ouderkerk is home to many renowned restaurants and cafes, with most of the popular spots located along the river. The hip Restaurant Jamie van Heije is a popular choice with diners, as is Loetje aan de Amstel across the river, with its buzzing riverside terrace. Have a read of this guide to restaurants and bars in the Castles & Gardens region for more tips.
Explore a historic Jewish cemetery
After you’ve refuelled, visit the Netherlands’ oldest Jewish cemetery, Beth Haim, a fascinating place for a tranquil stroll. Filled with ornately carved marble gravestones that feature beautiful inscriptions in Dutch, Portuguese and Hebrew, the graves belong to Spanish and Portuguese Jews who fled to the Netherlands in the 17th century, as well as their descendants.
Stroll through stunning gardens at Kasteel Museum Sypesteyn
Also worth checking out in the region is Kasteel Museum Sypestyn. Henri van Sypesteyn (1857-1937) built this magnificent Castle-Museum to preserve his family’s 500-year lineage. Located in the middle of the Vecht region, the estate houses a fascinating art collection and exhibition on the family, while the beautiful garden is perfect for a tranquil stroll. Here's a guide to more gardens to explore in the Amsterdam Area.