The Best Running Routes in Amsterdam
Although it hosts an autumn marathon, running isn’t the first activity one associates with Amsterdam. Bicycles, canal tours, museums and pancakes all surely feature higher. But if you are planning an Amsterdam city break you should definitely pack your trainers.
The Western Canals
With their picture postcard looks, the Western Canals are the very epitome of Amsterdam, and understandably thronged with tourists. But if you’re happy to set out reasonably early in the morning they’re also a truly memorable place to run.
Start at the top of the Singel canal, where the main road Nieuwe Westerdokstraat crosses, and jog along Singel with the canal on your right. The run is essentially out and back, out and back along the four western canals, Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Princengracht. Running all the way down to where the Western Canals meet Amstel is almost 20k in total. To shorten the route, simply cross the Singel a little earlier. This is not a route to stress about one’s pace. Take it easy and soak up the sights – canal houses with ornate gables, narrow footbridges and cobbled side alleys.
The Western Canals
There are some great parks outside Amsterdam, but if you’re pushed for time you can take a break from pounding pavements and head to Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest city park. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it features willow fringed lakes plus statues and sculptures a plenty, and has a similar feel to London’s Hyde Park and Green Park. Pick your time though – it gets really busy on a sunny weekend. A full lap of the park is 3.5k.
A quiet afternoon in Rondelpark
The Amstel Beltway
To escape the bustle of the central Amsterdam an out-and-back run along the Amstel is a great option. We started at Blauwbrug, the bridge where the Amstel enters the old city, and headed away from the centre along the west bank. Simply run out for roughly half the distance you fancy and look out for a suitable bridge to cross for the return. We opted for a relaxed 7k, criss-crossing at each bridge we came to, starting with the famous Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug).
The Amstel, with the Skinny Bridge in the distance
Wherever you run in Amsterdam, the chances are you will pass some hidden gem of a pancake house or bar you would never otherwise have discovered. One of the joys of exploring a new city through running!