In 2014, the Netherlands was ranked as the healthiest country in the world. While much of this is due to access to the country’s plentiful supply of high quality vegetables, it may also be because this is a nation committed to physical exercise. Visitors to the Netherlands will notice that people tend to be in shape and they often spend more time cycling than driving.
The Netherlands is relatively flat and the air is clean, meaning that it is easy and enjoyable to simply walk or bike everywhere. However, what if you are looking for something a little more exciting? Travelers wanting to explore the Dutch countryside should check out these unique outdoor experiences.
Ice Skating on the Canals
Amsterdam is famous for its canals, but they offer so much more than boat rides. During the winter, it is common for temperatures to drop so low, that the canals completely freeze over and are safe for people to walk on. Cafes will place chairs on the ice at this time, while children will play and build snowmen.
If you are looking for something a little more fun or adrenaline inducing, then consider getting hold of some ice skates. The locals know where it is both safe and permitted to skate, so look for groups already doing the activity and then join in. Unfortunately, global warming means that the canals freezing is becoming increasingly rare and it doesn’t happen every year. It can therefore be hard to plan this activity ahead of time. If you do manage to be there when ice skating is possible, then take the opportunity while you have it, for a magical Amsterdam experience.
Mountain Biking Through the National Parks
Outside of the popular cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Groningen, Amsterdam is full of beautiful countryside. In particular, the Hoge Veluwe is well worth a visit for nature lovers. Here, it is easy and fun to take advantage of cycling. Rather than picking up a traditional Dutch road bike, however, go for a mountain bike. The Netherlands isn’t known for its mountains, but the cycle paths in the national parks are mostly offroad, so you’ll need a bike which can handle the bumpy terrain.
The World’s Tallest Climbing Wall
The Dutch city of Groningen is home to the world’s largest freestanding climbing wall. If you are already a keen climber, then conquering this 121 foot monster should be on your bucket list. If you have never climbed, then it can be a fun and effective form of exercise. Not only will you build strength across your entire body, but you will have improved cardiovascular performance too. This is all while having a fantastic and fun time on one of the most exciting climbing walls in the world.
Watch the Wild Ponies, Red Deer, and Boar
Many people visiting the Netherlands go for the extensive wildlife that exists. You don’t get the mountain lions or bears you might find in North America or the elephants and giraffes of Africa, but you do get a unique biodiversity based on the climate and ecosystem of the north west Europe. The wetlands are buzzing with an exciting range of animals.
The sand drifts are home to lizards, while the woodland and grassland is inhabited by wild ponies. There is also an abundance of red deer and wild boar, which travelers love trying to spot. You can sign up to local wildlife tours in order to increase your chances of catching a glimpse these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
Rent a Beer Bike in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is famous for its cycling, but there is one particular form that might be more exciting for some. Gather up a group of friends and jump on a beer bike. If you haven’t seen them, they are essentially a bar on wheels, upon which punters pedal around town while they drink. This can be a unique and fun way to engage in city life, while being in the great outdoors and doing a bit of exercise. For summer visitors to Amsterdam, this is a great way to enjoy the party scene outdoors and connect with your fellow travellers.
The Netherlands is a country with an abundance of outdoor activities. Join in with the culture of health and fitness by spending more time outside during your trip. Whether you are in the major cities or out in the national parks, there are outdoor activities to inject your trip with a level of fun and excitement.