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Amsterdam is one of those picture-perfect fairy-tale cities made for walking—and getting lost in. Serpentine canals, cobblestone streets, stunning 17th-century row houses, leafy parks: best to get to know them all on foot. Spend a day exploring Museumplein—between the excellent Rijskmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the square itself, you’ll quickly burn off the previous day’s stamppot and stroopwafel. For an outdoor break from art, join the dog walkers, joggers, and skaters in Vondelpark, the city’s largest park, located just west of the museums.
When you have a sense of what’s what in Amsterdam and get tired of walking, you bike.
If your hotel or apartment doesn’t offer bicycles, check out Frédéric Rent a Bike (Brouwersgracht 78, map), well located about five minutes from Central Station near Jordaan; bikes go for €15 per 24-hour rental (there are shorter and longer rental periods available, too). It takes a while to get used to cycling with the locals in town—especially when pedaling up those cobbled bridges—but stay alert (i.e., out of their way) and you’ll master it in no time.
Better than pedaling in the city, we think, is to head out of it. One easy route we recommend is taking the pretty Amsteldijk canal down about 10.5 km (6.5 miles) to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (approx. route map)—the windmills, waterfront farmland, and relative stillness convey something of the gorgeous Dutch countryside, even though you’re still in the suburbs. Of course, there’s great food along the way (see broodje pom and bitterballen); once in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, don’t miss the elaborately carved tombstones of Beth Haim, the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Netherlands, dating to 1614.
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