The city is the city; you’ve got to love it for what it is, but what if the noise and the puzzle start to drive you crazy, and you have to get away from it all. The countryside around the city of Amsterdam provides you with quite a few possibilities to escape to, and the area around the Amstel river is one of them. We also mentioned this as an area you might try out on our page on cycling around Amsterdam (link). There are several old villages along the river that are worth checking out. The river itself is really not that much of a waterway; in fact, it’s little more than a stream, only 31 km long. And yet there are some beautiful spots to relax at along its banks.
It’s not a real river anymore, and it’s been turned into almost a canal during the ages. It served as a supply route into the city. The river does play an enormous role in the origins of Amsterdam, though as we explained on the page, “The origins of Amsterdam (link), that’s all ancient history.
The Amstel leads you right into the city centre; it stops at The Munt, where it disperses itself into the city’s many canals. Originally it reached all the unto Het IJ by way of Damrak and Rokin but not any more.
If you want to cycle along the river, it’s only a matter of finding it and taking its right bank; if you’re in the city and you get on the wrong bank, the road will lead you away from the river. The right bank is the right one when leaving the city, and the left one is not. There’s also a path along the river on this side; it’s used by ramblers or hikers (people who like to walk) it goes on for about 10 km. If you want to take the car instead, it gets a bit trickier. Get yourself down to the Rai congress centre, it’s on the city’s ring road, the A10. The road you want to go down on is called the Europaboulevard and runs in front of the centre. There’s a roundabout at the end of the road where you turn right into the woods, and soon you’ll reach the end and the Amstel river. You’ll also be confronted by a large windmill; it’s a tourist attraction and probably open to the public. There’s also a statue of Rembrandt there, at the back of the mill. 100 meters further along the river is a bar-restaurant called ‘Het Kalfje’. It’s well known, and the food is good. During the sunny months, it has a large terrace extending over the river.
Amstel bank North
This is the Northside of the Amstel; even though you might think differently, it feels more like the south side. The other bank is called “The Binnenweg.” A few km down the river lies the old village of Ouderkerk. The real village lies on the other side of the waterway, so if you want to spend some time there, you’ll have to cross the bridge at the village’s entry point. The place has an excellent restaurant called Klein Paardenburg, but it’s not cheap. Ouderkerk is a lovely old place to walk around in, stretch your legs and have something to drink.
If you don’t want to stop there and continue on your way along the river, the scenery becomes even more rural, and the name of the road has also changed. Here it is called Amsteldijk Zuid, and you’re on the border of two provinces, North-Holland and Utrecht. The border lies in the middle of the river.
There’s a ferry service at Nes on the Amstel that can transport you to the other side; there’s not a lot there, though. If you continue on your way, you’ll come to the town of……
The next stop is Uithoorn and Amstelhoek where we pass by “Het Regthuis aan De Amstel” and Cafe De Herbergh. Next we’re on our way to Kromme Mijdrecht which we literally leave at our left.
We continue in the direction of Vrouwenakker.
Yes! We’re going to cross the river.
At Vrouwenakker, we get onto the bridge and cross over to the other side. The road was on to continue is called “Nieuwveens Jaagpad.” Drive it all the way down, follow the bend to the left in the direction of the Oude Nieuwveenseweg. Head towards Nieuwveen and back to Vrouwenakker; turn right onto the Ruigekade; you’re now on the other side of the river driving back towards the city of Amsterdam.
Stay on this side of the Amstel river until you you’re back to the city and pass underneath the A2, the motorway that leads to Utrecht. This is the second motorway btw; the first one was a km back, called the A10 the Ring Road. Get on the motorway before you pass underneath; this will take you once more across the river and into the city. If you continue on the straight coming off the bridge, you’ll enter the Rijn straat. This road will take you to the city centre. You can also turn right and follow the river; this will also take you to the city centre but not as close.