Sunday, 6 January 2013

Amsterdam 3-Park Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 10.5 km (6.5 miles), terrain flat, (what else, you're in Holland!)

Amsterdam running routes:
Three parks route
Amsterdam canals run

Sloterpark lake loop
For more running routes, see Route List.

Thanks to the creative photographers at Flickr CreativeCommons for the great photos!

Here's a route that will help satisfy your need for some green surroundings while in Amsterdam: it goes through three nice parks west of the city center, Vondelpark, Rembrandtpark and Erasmuspark. It will also follow a few scenic canals and interesting neighborhoods, after beginning right in the heart of the town.

This run starts at the same place as the Amsterdam Canal Run, on the town's main square, Dam, in front of the Royal Palace.
Moody shot of Dam, with royal palace and Niewe Kerk, photo by Emilio Santacoloma
Facing the palace, run straight westwards, past the left side of the palace, on Palaisstraat. In two blocks, you'll cross the Singel canal (ex-defensive moat of the old town). Turn left after crossing the bridge.

Now head south along the Singel until you get to the lively crossroads with the tram line, Konigsplein. Turn right to cross the square, and cross the bridge over the next canal, Herengracht.
Houseboats along the Singel, photo by dutchamsterdam.nl
You are now heading southwest on Leidseplein. You will now cross two more canals (Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht). Three blocks after Prinsengracht, the street narrows as a theater, the Stadsschauburg, protrudes into the street from the right side, at a big tram- and bus-stop.

Run past the theater and then over the bridge for the next canal, where you turn left to run along the water for just 100 meters, past the Holland Casino across the water.

At the next pedestrian/bicycle bridge, turn right to cross busy Stadhouderskade to go through the entrance to Vondelpark, running westwards.
Vondelpark entrance, photo by svacher
In just a few steps, everything gets quieter and nicer. This part of the park is narrow, basically a tree-lined sidewalk. But after 200 meters, the path goes under a street and comes out into the real park. The park is filled with a chain of ponds and all the other pleasant stuff that make for a nice city park: fountains, statues, formal gardens, outdoor cafés, flower beds. 
Blue Teahouse café in Vondelpark, photo by dutchamsterdam.nl
There are paths to either side and also down the middle. Take your pick.
Shady spot in Vondelpark, photo by nicola
The park is really popular, and on weekends and nice summer evenings it can be full of people picknicking and grilling, with their bicycles parked all over.
Barbeque time in Vondelpark, photo by Berend B
When you reach the western end of the park, cross Amstelveensweg and continue running westwards, running along the little bike/pedestrian way, with the trees and playground on your left.

You'll cross a drawbridge over another canal (hey, remember, this is Amsterdam), and continue running along Theophile de Bockstraat, in a quiet residential neighborhood.

When you get to Woesduinstraat, a block before the street ends, turn right to run northwards. You'll cross another canal and then keep right to run up a tree-lined path between two canals.

The path takes you under a big street and right into the next park, Rembrandtpark.

This park is also a fairly equal mixture of land and water, with meandering streams and ponds everywhere, and less going on than Vondelpark, probably due to the traffic noise of the freeway along its western edge.
Kids playing in Rembrandtpark, photo by tres rosas amarillas
You can just stay on the main path along the eastern edge and go by the ponds on each side. The path goes under another cross-street and you'll go through the middle section of park.

After still another street-overpass, you'll enter the northern section of the park, and pass by a swimming pool. You will exit the park at Jan van Galenstraat at the SportPlaza building, a really interesting building, covered in green plants on every side.

Cross the street and then turn right to begin the eastward trip back to the city center.

After three blocks, you'll begin running past the third park, Erasmuspark. When you get to the entrance, turn left to run across this unspectacular little park.

Follow the path to the right side of the park and through the little formal garden. Then turn left to run out the north end of the park at the polar bear statue, crossing two little bridges.
Treeline where you leave Erasmuspark, photo by Natashenka
Now, at the north side of the Erasmusgracht canal, turn right and run eastwards along Erasmusgracht.

Keep running for a few blocks until the street ends at Willem de Zwijgerlaan, with an industrial area ahead, across the next canal.

Turn right on Willem de Zwijgerlaan and run the few blocks into the park-like square, returning to Jan van Galenstraat. Turn left here and head east again towards town.

For the next half-kilometer, the street curves to the right, changes its name, goes through a big square with a roundabout, crosses a canal and then becomes a pleasant street with a canal down the middle, Bloemgracht, with nice old houses lining each side.

You are now in the cool Jordaan neighborhood, one of the liveliest residential neighborhoods in town.
Flowers showing how Bloemgracht got its name, photo by jpmm
Bloemgracht ends at the next nice canal street, Prinsengracht. Turn left here and run to the next bridge, where you turn right to run eastwards along the little connecting-canal, Leliegracht.

Now keep running straight over the next three canals (Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel) crossing Singel over the square over the old locks.
Along narrow Leliegracht, photo by jim forest
Continue straight east as the street narrows into a little alley, and run two more blocks to the coronation church, Niewe Kerk, next to the Royal Palace.

Now just try to avoid all the trams coming through, and run around the right side of the church, between the church and the palace, and you'll find yourself back in Dam square.