Last week, I told you that whenever you feel like escaping the city hustle and bustle, you don’t necessarily need to escape the city, due to its beautiful green sceneries within the city borders. However, if you do feel like escaping the city for a little and explore the just breathtaking nature outside Amsterdam, I naturally have some recommendations for you. And just like any other day, there are so many things I’d like to share with you, but today I’ll try to keep it short and introduce you to four great spots. But next week, I might tell you some lovely green escapes too. Who knows 😉
Okay, so let’s get to it folks!
Broek in Waterland
This place has a very funny sound to it if you literally translate it to English, this lovely little village translates into “Pants in Waterland”. But that’s not really relevant now, is it. Broek in Waterland is just a beautiful village with gorgeous meadow landscapes, ditches and gorgeous authentic houses that were built back in the 17th and 18th century. One of the things that often surprises people is that this is just a 45-minute bicycle ride away from my home. This is really one of my favourite places to go when I feel like going for a ride and rewinding for a bit.
As the name also indicates, this place is relatively close to home. Yes, Amsterdam has its very own forest, near Amstelveen. However, officially, it’s an exceptional large city park (more than 1,000 hectares). Something that might give a better indication of the size of this city park, is that over 200 species of birds live here and the park has 150 indigenous species of trees. The park is also known for its botanical garden and once a year, for just a small period of time, a great number of cherry blossoms are stealing the show.
Zuid Kennemerland National Park
This national park is a little further away but still makes for a great bicycle ride for the fanatic riders amongst us. The hour and 15-minute ride, one way, will first take you to the beautiful town of Haarlem and then to this exceptionally gorgeous National Park in Overveen.
As this park is exceptionally large, there are multiple areas that could be a start of a great hike.
First of all, “Koevlak”. Here you find the visitorscenter of the National Park, which will give you all the information about the Kennemerdunes(!) you could imagine. From here, a hike towards the lake is the most popular route, and not for just any reason. The lake, called “Het Wed”, will just show you once again how beautiful nature can be.
From the dunes to the forest. If you start your hike at “Middenduin”, you will get to enjoy steep forest slopes and the raw beauty of the dunes. This walk will guide you through multiple sorts of landscapes and therefore, is very much adored by hikers. There is a route of 3 kilometers, but the real explorers can naturally also “dictate its own ways”. 😉
If you don’t feel like doing it the Dutch way and riding a bicycle all the way to this National Park in Overveen, “De Bokkedoorns” has free parking spaces. The route that is suggested at “De Bokkedoorns”, will appraxamitely take you an hour. This route will also lead you to the dunes and the lake, but the route is a little longer than the “Middenduinen” route.
And finally, also in Overveen’s National Park, is the beautiful Elswout Estate. The Elswout mansion and park were designed and built back in the 17th century. They are the perfect example of the Dutch baroque style. The gardens have a little more of a modern look due to the fact that everything is pruned to perfection. Because of the “lines” in the gardens, some even call it geometric. This has to do with the fact that back in the 17th century, people were convinced that they could only see and enjoy the beauty, if humans had designed it and make it more neat. Note: do check the openings times if you want to have a closer look around this estate.
So, that’s it for today folks. I hope I have managed to inspire you slightly to explore some of the great nature around Amsterdam. Really folks, it’s just mind-blowing that these lovely places are relatively so close to my beloved city. I’m a lucky man.