Running is hot in the Dutch capital. Amsterdam is a compact city and the next park is never far away. It is easy to reach the many parks and green oases inside and at the border of the city. Try running in Amsterdam in the early morning when the city is deserted; it is an amazing experience. I have been running in Amsterdam ever since I moved here 15 years ago and it’s never dull. There so much to see and explore that no run will ever be the same as the last. The city of Amsterdam is doing its best to promote a healthy lifestyle for its citizens and guests, and in the last few years 21 running routes, from 500m to 21km, have been laid out. Every corner of the city gets its share of running ground and the routes are marked every 20m with signs on the streets.
Amsterdam is world famous for its bicycle culture. The city is built in a way that favours bicycles for commuting, making it a nightmare for cars. However, if you want to use your bike for exercising you have to leave the city or you end up in a nerve-racking stop and go, fighting your way through the crooked streets. Not ideal for your race bike but great for your running shoes.
Running is booming in Amsterdam and the running community seems to be growing constantly. Just hit the famous Vondelpark any time of the day and you will know what I mean. In all the major parks you will be in good company and you will find numerous running clubs using them to their enjoyment. No need to bring water with you. Throughout the city you find a few hundred water fountains with free drinking water. A water tap is never far away and the water quality is excellent! Check out our guide below, for a full overview of running in Amsterdam:
- Sightrunning Tours
- Running Races
- Running Routes
- Running Stores
- Best Times to Run
Amsterdam Sightrunning Tours
Booking a Running Tour is probably the best and most fun way to explore Amsterdam. It is a great workout and a safe and fun way to learn about the capital of the Netherlands. All the tours from Go! Running Tours Amsterdam are accompanied by local guides. Your private running guide meets you in the lobby of your hotel or the apartment and brings you back full of new memories. You will be able to explore all the highlights of the city, discover hidden pearls, and learn about history, architecture and of course local life. With Sightrunning you will often see more of Amsterdam in one hour than many tourists in a whole weekend. So it is great if you have limited time. I recommend hitting the road in the early morning when the streets of Amsterdam are all yours. This is the best way to banish your jet-leg if you are on a business trip with a long day of PowerPoint slides ahead of you. Or use it to chill down in the late afternoon / evening after a hard day on the business floor.
There are different tours offered to meet anybody’s taste, running experience (distance) and speed. Don’t worry. There is no need to be an experienced runner – all the tours are customized to your needs (so if you like a fast run we will put on our fastest shoes).
Take the “Best of Amsterdam Compact – 7 km” tour that will show you the city in a compact tour. The “Best of Amsterdam – 11km” is probably my favourite, as it gives a more comprehensive picture of Amsterdam. If you have seen the centre I can highly recommend the “Urban – 13km” tour. Here you will learn a lot about the maritime history of the city, we will explore some of the best-kept secrets and it is a real treat for anybody interested in architecture. Let us surprise you!
Amsterdam Running Races
Amsterdam has a thriving running culture and there are plenty of running races to choose from. The most famous one is the Amsterdam Marathon https://www.tcsamsterdammarathon.nl/en/
held mid-October. It starts and ends from the Olympic Stadium and is rated the world’s sixth fastest marathon.
A month earlier, in September, the “Dam to Dam run” is held and you can try to beat your personal best at the distance of 10 English Miles (16.1km). This race, bringing you from Amsterdam to Zaandam, is probably the most popular race in the country and attracts each year up to 50’000 participants
And then there are also the more local running races that do not have the same international attention and where you truly get to experience the local running culture of Amsterdam. Check out the site of Hardloopcalender (calendar of running events throughout the country) to take your pick .
Amsterdam Running Routes
The Vondelpark just south of the centre is immensely popular with runners. It can get crowded and you also have to share the space with cyclists and all other means of human ways of moving forward (you might find some you didn’t know exist). However, the park offers a great vibe and with a length of just about 2 km you can do as many loops as you wish.
Westerpark at the west side of the city, as you might have guessed, has become a hotspot in the recent years. The park itself, as well as its routes leading further west, offer some great running.
Oosterpark, at the east side of the city, is another great running retreat (and great for a after-run picnic with a bottle of wine). A loop around the park is 1.2km.
Flevopark is a bit further out to the east but has the advantage of plenty of space and peace. If you take the great bicycle bridge over the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal you can combine it with the Diemerpark. Here you will find enough space for your long distance training away from the hectic city.
Another great route for a long distance run is the river Amstel. Basically you can follow the river right from the city centre on one side until Ouderkerk aan de Amstel and back on the other side. This is a fabulous run and you can experience some real Dutch landscape. By the way, this is also part of the route the Amsterdam Marathon takes.
Last but not least, we have the Amsterdamse Boss. This large forest is on the south of the city towards the airport Schiphol. It is maybe a bit out of the centre but it is a real oasis and a runner’s heaven. Here you will find plenty of space to get some serious oxygen outside of the city.
For a full pack of information check out the site of hardlopen. Here you find the 21 running routes mentioned before (as well as all you wish to know about running in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general).
Amsterdam Running Stores
In the main shopping mile of Amsterdam (Kalverstraat) you find Perry Sport. A short ride on the metro will bring you to the Decathlon at the Arena (Ajax Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam South). At both stores you will find plenty of running gear.
Amsterdam Running Clubs
Running in a group is more fun than running alone. It’s great for improving your technique, preparing for your next race or just for socializing with like-minded people. There is plenty of choice in Amsterdam, from fun running groups to the more competitive athletic clubs.
If you are new in the city you might want to visit https://www.iamexpat.nl/ aimed at expats in Amsterdam. Don’t worry; language will not be a problem at any of the other clubs. Check out Loopwizer.nl, Avfeniks.nl or search the net for much more choice.
Best Times to Run in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is not famous for its warm weather. Yes, it can be chilly especially when the wind is up. And in the summer, the high humidity can drain your energy much faster than you would expect given the temperature. That said, the climate is quite moderate and there are few to no days where the weather is a valued excuse for keeping the running shoes on the rack. Now, looking back at the winter season 2018/2019, there haven’t been more than 3 days that I chose not to run in my shorts (meeting many runners on the way that also went for the shorts model). So go running in Amsterdam – anytime!
Enjoy and happy running!