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Boating & Sailing -- Sailboats, kayaks, and canoes can be rented on the Sloterplas Lake from Watersportcentrum De Duikelaar, Noordzijde 41 (tel 06/8146-6991; www.deduikelaar.nl). From mid-March to mid-October, you can go to the Loosdrecht lakes, southeast of Amsterdam, to rent sailing equipment from Ottenhome, Zuwe 20, 1241 NC Kortenhoef (tel 035/582-3331; www.ottenhome.nl). Canoes can be rented in Amsterdamse Bos, south of the city, for use in the park lakes.

Cycling -- Amsterdam is flat, flat, flat, but you take your life in your hands trying to ride a bike in the center of the city—local cyclists take no prisoners. Luckily there are plenty of options for enjoying a bike ride. Cycle along the canals; follow the path of the River Amstel south to Amstelpark and out to the photogenic village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel; head into the Amsterdamse Bos; or venture further afield to the UNESCO-listed Amsterdam Stelling; this former defense line is 10km (8 miles) out of the city and gives 135km (85 miles) of scenic cycling past nature reserves and waterways. MacBike (tel 020/428-7005; www.macbike.nl) is the best-known cycle hire company. You’ll need passport ID and a 50€ deposit per bike (cash or credit card). Rates (with insurance) are 9€ for 3 hours and 13€ for 1 day for a pedal-brake bike, 13€ and 18€ respectively for a bike with a handbrake. MacBike is open daily 9am to 5:45pm. A range of bikes is available, including tandems, six-speed touring bikes, and smaller ones for kids. There are five MacBike rental outlets (same web details)—on Waterlooplein, Stationsplein outside Centraal Station, Oosterdokskade 149, Weteringschans 2 at Leidseplein, and Marnixstraat 220.

Amsterdam’s Beaches

Amsterdam has no natural beaches of its own, so it decided to create some. And what’s even better is that admission is free to all their facilities and daily entertainment programs. Blijburg aan Zee  is out at IJburg Zuid (Muiderlaan 1001; tel 020/416-0330; www.blijburg.nl; tram 26) in the eastern suburbs. Backed by a manmade sandy strip, it has a bohemian vibe, campfires, and late-night summertime clubbing. Party central for the young and hip of the city is Strand West  at Stavangerweg 900 (tel 020/682-6310; www.strand-west.nl), just north of the Westerpark and 15 minutes from Centraal Station by buses 22 or 48; here you’ll find parasols, volleyball, beach bars, night-time DJs, and dance parties. Sophisticated Strandzuid  at Europaplein 22 (tel 020/639-2589; www.strand-zuid.nl) is the preserve of a rather more mature clientele, with a restaurant, chill-out lounge, and cocktail bar on the wooden boardwalk. It’s south of De Pijp; catch tram 4.

Golf -- Among public courses in or near Amsterdam are: 9-hole Golfbaan Sloten, Sloterweg 1045 (tel 020/614-2402; www.golfbaansloten.nl); 18-hole Waterlandse Golf Club, Buikslotermeerdijk 141 (tel 020/636-1010; www.waterlandsegolfclub.nl); and Golfbaan Spaarnwoude, Het Hoge Land 2, 1981 Velsen-Zuid (tel 023/538-5599; www.golfbaanspaarnwoude.nl).

Horseback Riding -- If you want to see the countryside from horseback, options include Sonnenburgh Stables, Nieuwe Kalfjeslaan 25 (tel 020/643-1342; www.sonnenburghstables.nl); or nearby Manege Nieuw Amstelland, Jan Tooropplantsoen 17 (tel 020/643-2468; www.nieuwamstelland.nl).

Ice-Skating -- If temperatures drop low enough for long enough in winter, the canals of Amsterdam become sparkling highways through the city and the Dutch get their skates on. Classical music plays over the ice and kiosks are set up to dispense warming liqueurs. There are very few places that rent out skates, however. One that does is Jaap Eden IJsbanen, Radioweg 64 (tel 0900/724-2287; www.jaapeden.nl); you can rent skates here from November to February.

Jogging -- The two main jogging areas are Vondelpark in the center city and Amsterdamse Bos on the southern edge of the city. You can run along the Amstel River. If you choose to run along the canals, watch out for uneven cobbles, loose paving stones, and dog poop.

Roller Blading -- You can hire blades from De Vondeltuin (tel 06/275-65576; www.devondeltuin.nl) on the southwest side of the Vondelpark, near the western gates leading on to Amstelveenseweg. That’s all the better to join the hundreds of skaters who skate on Amsterdam’s regular—and free—Friday Night Skate (www.fridaynightskate.com). This event begins at 8:30pm, weather permitting. Meet at 8pm in summer and 8:15pm in winter outside the VondelCS cultural center in the Vondelpark, and take a circular route of around 20km (12 1/2 miles) through the city. It’s a sensible idea to wear a helmet and knee protection.

Swimming -- Amsterdam’s state-of-the-art swimming facility is Het Marnix, Marnixplein 1 (tel 020/524-6000; www.hetmarnix.nl), which has two heated pools along with a fitness center and spa, and a cafe-restaurant. The Zuiderbad, Hobbemastraat 26 (tel 020/252-1390), is a handsome, refurbished place close to the Rijksmuseum and built in 1911; it even has times set aside for those who like to swim in their birthday suit. De Mirandabad, De Mirandalaan 9 (tel 020/252-4444), features an indoor pool with wave machines, slides, and other amusements, and an outdoor pool that’s open May to September.

Tennis -- Find indoor courts at Frans Otten Stadion, IJsbaanpad 43 (tel 020/662-8767; www.fransottenstadion.nl), close to the Olympic Stadium. For indoor and outdoor courts, try Sportcentrum Amstelpark, Koenenkade 8, Amsterdamse Bos (tel 020/301-0700; www.amstelpark.nl), which has 32 courts.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.