Outdoor Activities

Information on the facilities in and around Amsterdam, North Holland, Gelderland, Flevoland and Utrecht for outdoors activities: walks, hikes and cycling activities in the area...

  • The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country in Western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium and Germany and has approximately 451 Km of North Sea coastline
  • The terrain is relatively flat, especially in the north and west, with the Ardennes foothills in the south-east (Limburg) and some low hill ranges to the east and south
  • Amsterdam is situated in the North-Holland province, in the northwest of the Netherlands. It is bordered by the provinces of Utrecht and Flevoland
  • There are three main rivers that intersect the Netherlands including the Rhine, Maas (Meuse) and Schelde.
  • Amsterdam lies on the river Amstel and is situated close to the North Sea and the Ijsselmeer lake
  • Five of the 20 Dutch national parks are found in North Holland, Gelderland and Utrecht
  • It has a temperate, maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters

The temperate climate and flat terrain in and around Amsterdam mean there are a wide range of outdoor sports available throughout the year.

Below is information on:

National Parks

The Netherlands has 20 national parks, they are areas with exceptional wildlife, fauna and landscapes. All of the parks are over 10 km2 and have been developed for visitors to enjoy them, with walking routes and cycle paths. In some cases, bikes can be rented free of charge.

  • For more information on the Dutch National Parks: Click here

Zuid-Kennemerland National Park (Noord-Holland)

The Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland covers approximately 38 Km2 of sand dunes, coastal beaches, lakes and forests. There are more than 350 activities available in the park including hiking, cycling, horseback riding and swimming.

Further information on the National Park, excursions and activities is available from the Visitor's Centre (Bezoekersinformatie). The centre also has a restaurant, shop, library, permanent exhibition and kids corner facilities.

  • Bezoekersinformatie
    At
    : Zeeweg 12, 2051 EC Overveen
    Information and Reservations Tel: 023 541 1123
    email

Duinen van Texel National Park (Noord-Holland)

The Duinen van Texel national park is suitable for hiking, biking and horse riding. There are four types of trail open to the public and these are clearly marked with coloured posts.

Ecomare is a visitors’ centre, natural history museum and conservation sanctuary for the Wadden and North Sea. It provides information about the nature and culture of the Texel and organises tours of the Duinen van Texel national park. Visitors can also visit the seal and bird sanctuaries and underground sea aquarium on site.

  • Ecomare
    At
    : Ruijslaan 92, 1796 AZ De Koog
    Tel: 022 231 77 41
    email
    Open: 09:00-17:00 every day (except 25 December and 1 January)

Veluwezoom National Park (Gelderland)

The Veluwezoom national park is one of the largest natural areas in the Netherlands. It is situated to the northeast of Arnhem and covers a variety of terrain including pinewoods, heath lands, sand plains and country estates. There are a number of outdoor sports that can be practiced in the park and ATP circuit and paths for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Bikes to rent and roadmaps are available from the park’s visitor centre. Excursions for young and old visitors may also be arranged.

De Hoge Veluwe National Park (Gelderland)

The De Hoge Veluwe is the largest national park covering 55 Km2 of sand dunes, heathlands and woodlands. It is the natural habitat to several species of wild animal including wild boar, red and roe deer. There are 42 Km of hiking and cycling paths. Maps are able at the entrance and information centre.

Under the Witte Fietsen scheme, there are more than 1,000 white bicycles available for visitors to use free-of-charge to explore the park. Bikes are available from one of the three entrances, the visitor’s centre or the Museonder museum. The park also provides tandems, wheelchair bikes and tricycles for people with disabilities.

  • For more information on how to use the white bikes scheme: Click here

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park (Utrecht)

The Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park is located between Driebergen and Navsari. There are 56 mapped walking routes around the park covering between 2km and 21km. Bicycles are also available to hire.

Amsterdam Parks

There are more than 30 city parks in Amsterdam including Vondelpark, Flevopark, Amsterdamse Bos and Oranjebeos.

  • For more information on the parks from I amsterdam: Click here

Hiking and Walking

The Netherlands are well-suited to walking and rambling – from coastal walks along the dunes and mud flats, to trekking in the national parks – and there is a wealth of information on these activities. The official Dutch walking association is Wandelnet.

The country has a network of paths and walks, and walking routes can be found on the Wandelnet website.

The ANWB also has a comprehensive guide for walking in Holland. They publish guidebooks and route maps which include a series of dog friendly walking routes.

For combined city/sightseeing routes, local tourist offices are the best source of information and can supply maps and details of guided tours in the area.

Cycling and Mountain Biking

There are plenty of opportunities to explore Amsterdam and the surrounding provinces by bike. There are clearly-marked cycle lanes in Amsterdam and other cities and lots of cycling paths through the countryside.

There is a network of 20 LF (landelijke fietsroutes) cycling routes in the Netherlands, covering more than 4,500 Km. They are created and managed by the Dutch National Cycling Association (Stichting Landelijk Fietsplatform). All LF routes are signposted in both directions. Route guides are available for a fee and divided into four categories for holiday tours, area guides, weekend rides and day tours. The guides are available only in Dutch, although they do contain detailed maps.

The Netherlands Board of Toursim and Conventions (NBTC) provides information on cycling tours and holidays around the Netherlands.

Cycling in The Netherlands is a website for cyclists visiting Holland. It includes information on where to go, getting around and what you need.

Climbing

As the Netherlands is so flat, there are very few places suitable for outdoor climbing. Instead climbing enthusiasts can use the purpose-built climbing walls.

Provincial Tourist Websites

There are a number of tourist websites with useful information on how best to explore the region.

  • The Noord-Holland tourist website has information on excursions, nature parks and sports that can be practiced around Amsterdam
  • The Ook Flevoland website has details of nature parks, sport, day trips and excursions in Flevoland
  • Utrecht Your Way is the website for tourism and recreation in the province of Utrecht. It has tips for day trips and active ways to explore the province in its Walking and Cycling section
  • The Gelderland VVV website (in Dutch) provides lists of routes, sports contacts and links to other local tourist websites