Follow the Amstel river south to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a quaint village less than an hour’s relaxed bicycle ride from Amsterdam. It’s one of our favorite day trips from Amsterdam to breathe fresh air and see some countryside.
DAY TRIPS FROM AMSTERDAM • OUDERKERK AAN DE AMSTEL
Grab some a few snacks and some water and hop on your bicycle for a relaxed ride. Ouderkerk aan de Amstel lies about 10km south of Amsterdam along the Amstel river which gives its name to the city of Amsterdam (Amstelredamme – dam on the river Amstel) and the village (old church on the Amstel).
A WONDERFUL CYCLE RIDE UP THE AMSTEL RIVER TO OUDERKERK
You can start the route in the center of the Amsterdam or begin anywhere convenient along the Amstel. The route jogs from road to cycle path as you head out of the city on the Weesperzijde with the Amstel on your right side. Don’t miss the famous Magere Brug or “Skinny Bridge”.
After Restaurant Riva, the route takes a turn up by the road where the Amstel bends to the west. Look for the signs to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel and don’t miss the turn back to the path. If you pass the McDonalds you have gone too far.
Cross another small drawbridge and you are on your way to the quieter countryside. Keep the river along your right side and enjoy the parks and fields you pass along the way. Notice the Riekermolen windmill which was moved here from the western part of Amsterdam. Next to the windmill is a statue of Rembrandt, as the painter was fond of sketching in this area. If you’d like to check out the windmill and statue more closely, look for the small dock and wait for the ferry that will take you and your bicycle across the river.
You might see a similar view to this one Rembrandt drew in the 1600s.
If you have a blanket with you and some picnic supplies, stop along the way and relax on the riverbank and watch the boats go by. If it’s a sunny warm day you might see people swimming as well.
Eventually the path stops at a main road, cross this street at the stoplight and follow the small road into the town. Check out the charming village, the old church and the historic Beth Haim Portuguese-Jewish cemetery dating from 1614. Bodies would be brought to this cemetery from Amsterdam via boat, and it is said more than 25,000 people are buried here.
Have a bite to eat or a drink at one of the cafes in the town, and then head back to Amsterdam or continue your exploration of the lovely countryside for a longer day trip from Amsterdam.
You can return the way you came, keeping the Amstel on your left, or cycle along the other side of the river. This side has a bit more vehicle traffic so we’d recommend returning the way you came or taking an alternate route through the polders.
If you feel like a sweet place to stop for a drink and food on the way there or back – check out Thuis aan de Amsel.