Go-to spots for adrenaline junkies in and around Amsterdam
With its quaint cobbled streets, tranquil canals and flat terrain, Amsterdam doesn’t spring to most people’s minds when they think of extreme sports. But it should, as there's plenty to enjoy for adrenaline junkies in the city and its surrounding area. From bouldering to go-karting and windsurfing, here are a few tips for where to get your adrenaline boost.
Boulderhal Het Lab
The cool younger brother of rock climbing, bouldering, focuses on harness-free climbing on smaller rock formations – making it a go-to sport at indoor artificial walls. Het Lab offers standard sessions, group training, one-on-one intensive lessons, weight-busting exercise classes and youth groups for the little ‘uns. If you fancy bringing your Gran along, she might not be up for scaling the overhangs, but there are yoga classes on offer. The restaurant on-site is the perfect spot to recharge your batteries. Nothing gets rid of those first-timers’ sore forearms better than a nice cold one.
Reclaimed from the sea back in 1976 (gotta love the Dutch), Almere – a 25-minute train ride from Amsterdam or a scenic cycle route – is known among outdoor enthusiasts for its range of pedal-to-the-metal watersports activities. Cablepark Almere allows thrill-seekers to zip along the stunning Weerwater Lake on water skis or a wakeboard at speeds of up to 30 kilometres per hour. For veteran tricksters, this gives ample leeway for jumps, tricks and – of course – general showing off. There’s also plenty to do for beginners. In addition to the dedicated training track, the park boasts a wakeboarding clinic and a kids’ club.
There’s something extraordinary about seeing Amsterdam’s spectacular canal ring from 50 metres above ground level – and then seeing it from 2 metres above ground level just five seconds later… Located a quick ferry trip over the river from Central Station, Bungee Amsterdam gives the brave a chance to take a leap of faith off a restored crane at the NDSM Wharf. The genuinely adventurous can also spend the night sleeping in a deluxe hotel room at the top of the crane, with its own sky-high hot tub. Only in Amsterdam.
Paintballing is all about teamwork, communication, leadership and focus – or just a great excuse to shoot your mate square in the chest with a satisfying splat of paint. A 10-minute train ride away from Amsterdam, Spaarnwoude is an open oasis of grassland and woods. Naturally, this makes for one heck of a paintball arena. And with 12 battlefields on offer, one minute you'll be defending your hill from relentless attackers – and the next, you'll be rushing their base to capture that ever-illusive flag. The location also offers laser tag and BBQ facilities. The course is right outside Haarlem, a beautiful smaller city which is always worth a visit and is easy to cycle to on this scenic route.
Skatepark Noord is the go-to hotspot for the city’s most serious skateboarders, boasting a sprawling 1,600-square-metre area with cutting-edge tech. The ramps and obstacles can be raised or lowered using hydraulic lifts, meaning that equipment can be modified for any occasion. The park hosts skate demos from the likes of the Nike SB team – as well as video-part debuts, late-night skates, the popular girls-only skate sessions and a dedicated skateboarding school. Have a read of this round-up for more go-to skateboarding spots in Amsterdam.
Wind ‘n Wheels
If you like that windswept look, then you should really try racing along the sand in a land yacht or kite buggy. Located on Zeeburgereiland to the east of the city, Wind ‘n Wheels will help to get your pulse racing with a session of land sailing (also known as ‘blokarting’). You’ll experience the same acceleration and g forces as you would on a go-kart, but the big twist is that your vessel is totally wind-powered. Other activities on-site include electro cross and archery tag - perfect for team building events or groups of friends.
Can't get enough of the splashy fun? Check out this range of wind and watersports activities to try at Amsterdam Beach.
For windsurfers, Surfcenter IJburg is only 15 minutes from Centraal Station on Tram 26. The centre is perfectly positioned on a stretch of island that juts out into the water, ensuring you get the full blast of good winds in every direction. You’ll find classes for all levels, including those who have never stepped onto a board and those who want to train to be an instructor. All equipment is provided, and Blijburg Beach, where the clubhouse is situated, is the perfect spot to hang loose and watch that glorious Dutch sunset.
Snow World Ski Centre
The Netherlands is famous for being a flat country, so it might sound a bit odd to go skiing or snowboarding just outside of Amsterdam. Even more, to do so in summer – but Snow World is open year-round for some winter-themed fun. They hire out equipment, offer private lessons, courses and week-long ski camps, so there’s nothing to stop you hurtling down a slope whenever the fancy takes you. The location is in Spaarnwoude, just a 10-minute train ride from Amsterdam near Haarlem.
Race Planet and Zandvoort Circuit Park
What better way to get your motor running than at the racetrack? At Race Planet, children aged 8 and up (minimum height: 1.35 metres) can drive a go-kart for their first laps on the asphalt during special kids karting sessions. Parents can join them during the Family Heats. For the bigger boys and girls, how about driving a Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche or a formula racing car at the world-famous Zandvoort Circuit Park?
Race Planet Amsterdam // Herwijk 10, Sloterdijk
Zandvoort Circuit Park // Bugermeester van Alphenstraat 108, Zandvoort