Getty Images

Amsterdamse Bos


Amsterdam's forest is a vast swathe (roughly 1000 hectares) of almost countryside, 20 minutes by bike south of Vondelpark. Planted in 1934 to provide employment during the Great Depression, its lakes, woods and meadows are criss-crossed by paths and dotted with cafes. You can rent bicycles, feed baby goats in spring, take a horse-riding lesson, boat the rural-feeling waterways, see a play at the open-air theatre and ascend to the treetops in the climbing park.

It's a glorious place to go with kids, though best if you explore by bike due to its size. There's a bike rental kiosk across from the forest entrance and a visitor centre with information. In the densest thickets you forget you're near a city at all (though you're right by Schiphol airport). A lot of locals use the park, but it rarely feels crowded.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Amsterdam attractions

1. Olympic Stadium

1.06 MILES

Built for the 1928 Olympic Games, this elegant stadium was designed by Jan Wils, a protégé of famous architect HP Berlage, and is functionalist in style…

2. Electrische Museumtramlijn Amsterdam

1.43 MILES

A handsome red-brick building, the former Haarlemmermeer Station is now the starting point for the tram museum, which is not a static experience but a…

3. De Ridammerhoeve

1.45 MILES

A remarkable place in Amsterdamse Bos is this organic working goat farm, where kids can feed bottles of milk to, well, kids (€1 for a bottle) in season…

4. Amstelpark


Pastoral haven Amstelpark has particularly creative garden layouts and many different species of flowers – it was originally created in 1972 for the bloom…

5. Riekermolen


Like a scene from another century, just outside Amstelpark's south edge, on the west bank of the Amstel River, stands this 1636 windmill. In a field…

6. Cobra Museum

1.72 MILES

It's well worth making the effort to visit this out-of-the-way canal-side museum. The building, designed by Dutch architect Wim Quist, makes a light…

7. Rose Garden

2.09 MILES

The Vondelpark's rose garden, with some 70 different species, was added in 1936.

8. The Fish

2.11 MILES

A cut above regular park statuary is Picasso's soaring, approximately 6m-high abstract work Figure découpée l’Oiseau (Bird Cut Out), better known locally…