CASTLES & GARDENS
Near Amsterdam you’ll find a number of lakes perfect for a day of fun on the water. Rent a sailboat, electric boat, canoe or surfboard to explore, enjoy and relax.
WESTEINDERPLASSEN Located in Aalsmeer, the Westeinderplassen (West End Lakes) form one of the biggest lakes in the country, with plenty of watersports options from swimming to sailing lessons. You can also rent a boat and go on an adventure through the network of tiny channels that link the lakes together. There are dozens of small islands, mostly privately owned, but everyone is welcome to moor their boat at Starteiland (Start Island). There are some 50 marinas along the banks of the Westeinderplassen, some of them with restaurants, cafés and sun-drenched terraces. www.vvvaalsmeer.nl J
WATER TOWER The 50-metre water tower is one of the showpieces of Aalsmeer. With its art-deco architecture and ornamentation, the vista of the tower at the water’s edge is truly splendid. Close to the tower, restaurant ‘Westeinder Paviljoen’ offers a breath-taking view of the lake, a perfect surf break and a beach for swimming. www.westeinderpaviljoen.nl
TIP There’s no better way to explore the Westeinderplassen than with a boat cruise. During an hourlong tour with Westeinder Boat Cruises, the skipper will entertain you with historical facts about this delightful area, which is deeply entwined with the Aalsmeer horticultural industry (www.westeinder rondvaart.nl).