Introducing Het Gooi
Along the slow-moving Vecht river southeast of Amsterdam lies Het Gooi, a shady woodland speckled with lakes and heath. In the 17th century this 'Garden of Amsterdam' was a popular retreat for wealthy merchants, and nature-hungry urbanites still flock to its leafy trails to hike and cycle today.
Naarden, on the Gooimeer to the north, has an intriguing fortress and is an excellent day trip. The main town, Hilversum, is really just an Amsterdam suburb with a few interesting early 20th-century buildings, most notably the Raadhuis (Town Hall, 1931) by Willem Dudok.