3 miles / 5 kilometres
The Amstel River is as much the essence of Amsterdam as the canals are, and no self-respecting tourist can return home without having had a stroll along the banks of the Amstel. This is a longer walk of 3 miles (5 km or so) but you can cut it a lot shorter by traversing one of the bridges, at Ceintuurbaan for instance.
However, if you do go the long haul, and walk as far as the Berlagebrug (bridge), you will not regret it. It takes you southwards, along the Amstel River, right on the riverside. On your way back, seeing the central city in the distance, you will get some idea of how Amsterdam appeared from afar in bygone days.
Amstel River along Weesperzijde Walk (follow link to see in Google maps)
Along the Weesperzijde you will encounter some wonderful architecture; this includes the buildings on the opposite side of the river. The style is opulent with wonderful bay windows, turrets and oriel windows. The Weesperzijde is a very relaxed neighbourhood however and there are houseboats and loads of pavement gardens. It is very leafy and colourful with fantastic roses or wisteria depending on the time of year, but it also has a kind of wildness that is very inviting.
It's an invigorating walk, and very pleasant even on a cold winter's day and the cafés (pubs / restaurant) are nice both indoors and outside. The path is on the riverbank and pleasantly removed from traffic. Sitting outside at a café beside the Amstel River on a warm day is one of life's special pleasures.
The Amstel is lined with elm and there are some nice stands of lofty Lombardy poplars too. Those Lombardy poplars are fantastic in all seasons because of their plume shape and height and the way the trunk and bark catch the light.
The west side of the Amstel River is less pleasant for walking, there is much more traffic and the footpath is too narrow. Unless you are determined to do a circular walk, you can go back the same way along the Weesperzijde. The bridges on the river give you fantastic views both upstream and downstream. If there's a nice sunset, you can get fantastic photos from these bridges.
See our longer Amstel walk if you want to go even further because the Amstel is a good starting point for some more substantial expeditions.
|good time for this walk||spring||summer||autumn||winter|
open 8 a.m. – midnight or later
Fantastic setting with exquisite outdoor area on the river. Great coffee, food, and wines. Friendly atmosphere, lots of buzz; you can just have drinks if you don’t want food, it's very popular so may be full. The actual ice-breaker is in the water in front of the café.
open 10 a.m. – midnight or after
Authentic café with riverside outdoor area making it a great place for coffee or lunch or a beer. Inside is cosy and atmospheric and you can get food in the evening too
Korte Ouderkerkerdijk 45 (this is beyond the Berlagebrug but is worth the extra walk)
open 9 a.m. – late (weekends open at 10 a.m.)
A fantastic reward if you walk along the Amstel River. This garden café is on the riverbank and there are idyllically placed tables for you to enjoy the great view. The gorgeous interior of the villa is cosy and welcoming In bad weather, and has been beautifully restored
One of our big favourites: this cafe restaurant is called Thuis aan de Amstel which means 'Home on the Amstel'; it lives up to its name by being friendly, good value, and relaxed. Most people arrive here either on foot or by bike.
You can have breakfast, lunch, dinner, or you can just come for a good cappuccino, home baking, or drinks. The prices are fair and it's a favourite place for families in the weekend. The food is nourishing, unpretentious,tasty and during the summer they cook with veg and herbs from their own patch.
Built about one hundred years ago, this wonderful villa used to be the residence of the chief engineer of the Southern Gasworks. It is really fantastic that the owners have opened this villa to the public without it being elitist. Given its situation, it could just as easily have been reserved for 'the happy few'.
Amstelboulevard 1 (is beyond Berlagebrug too, just about 5 minutes)
Open from 11.00 - midnight (opens at 12.00 in weekend)
Good for lunch, drinks, snacks and they serve meals too. Great position on a 2-storey modern houseboat with great deck area for sitting outside.