Route: Fortress Stretch
Duration: 1/2 day or full day
- Take a tram, metro or train from Amsterdam Central Station to Amsterdam Amstel. From there, bus 320 or 327 runs regularly to the P+R Terrein stop, Muiden (30 mins).
- A lovely walk through the historic centre of Muiden brings you to the medieval Muiderslot Castle (get FREE entrance with your I amsterdam City Card).
- If you follow the canal towards Muiden, you will see the ferry to Pampus Island on your right hand after about 500 metres (25% discount with your I amsterdam City Card).
- The island and abandoned fort have a mysterious air and make for an interesting day out for visitors of all ages.
- Another ferry runs directly from Pampus Island to Amsterdam IJburg (www.amsterdamboatexcursion.com), from where you can take tram 26 back to Amsterdam Central Station. Get a special discount (25% off) with your I amsterdam City Card from April – October.
Route: Leisure Lakes
Duration: 1/2 day and full day
- Set the alarm and get up in time to discover the wonderful world of flowers at the FloraHolland flower auction. Take bus 172 from Amsterdam Central Station to Aalsmeer (1 hour, direct connection).
- The earlier you get there, the more you’ll see, so visit before 9am. Experience the hustle and bustle of the auction floor, watch traders bidding against the clock and be amazed at the quantity of beautiful blooms traded daily from more than ten countries.
- After your visit, take bus 172 again to the Hortensiaplein stop. From here you can walk to Westeinder Rondvaart (20 mins total), a company that operates boat tours on the Aalsmeer lakes. You’ll float past countless islands teeming with flora and fauna. (www.westeinderrondvaart.nl)
Duration: Full day
- Rent a bike from one of Amsterdam’s many bike rental companies and head south towards Amstelveen and the beautiful Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest). You can also rent bikes at the entrance to the Amsterdamse Bos as well as canoes for a view of the forest from the water.
- In Amstelveen, pay a visit to the famous Cobra Museum or the smaller Jan van der Togt Museum.
- Continue on to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a picturesque village established in the 12th century on the River Amstel.
- The banks of the Amstel are bustling with fantastic cafés and restaurants with sunny waterside terraces.
- After you’ve refuelled, visit the Netherlands’ oldest Jewish cemetery, Beth Haim.
- The route back to Amsterdam is lovely; in no time at all you’ll be cycling past grazing cows and elegant country houses.
Brochures of the different cycle routes are available in the I amsterdam Visitor Centre at Stationsplein.
Route: Forts and country estates
Duration: Full day
- Take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Naarden-Bussum (towards Amersfoort Vathorst or Zwolle via Weesp).
- From Naarden-Bussum, take bus 110 to Naarden (50 mins total journey including train ride).
- Walk around this preserved fortified town and visit the Dutch Fortress Museum.
- From Naarden, take bus 110 or 210 or cycle to Muiden.
- A lovely walk through the historic centre of Muiden brings you to the medieval Muiderslot Castle (FREE entrance with your I amsterdam City Card).
- From Muiden, take bus 110 or 210 to Weesp. Take the time to explore the historic city centre, where you can look at more than 200 monuments and the fascinating Museum Weesp.
- Rent a bike at the bus/train station (Fietspoint, €12.50) and follow the River Vecht. The riverbank offers unimpeded views of the imposing castles (such as those at Breukelen and Oud-Zuylen), ornate country estates and accompanying tearooms.
- Don’t forget to stop by at Fort Uitermeer. Next to the fort you’ll find a lovely restaurant – the perfect stop for a refreshing drink or good meal.
- To discover all the forts and castles in this area, download the English app with free audiotour (search for ‘Layar’ and then ‘Fortenland’ in the app store).
- From Weesp, trains back to Amsterdam run every 15 minutes.
See www.vvvgooivecht.nl for cycle routes.