Amsterdam is one of the few places in the world where you’ll find entire parking lots dedicated to cyclists; levels and levels of bikes where locals come and go at an astounding pace at all hours of the day!
On a first trip to the city, you’ll be impressed by the quantity of bicycles that roam the narrow alleys and immense canals. Whether you choose to join a tour, rent a bike for a day or pedal your way through your entire vacation, discovering Amsterdam on two wheels remains one of the best methods to familiarize yourself with this gem’s amazing sights.
Not only are cyclists able to uncover more of what the city has to offer in less time, but they can also view Amsterdam in a whole new light. There is no better fashion to get the local’s perspective on the Dutch capital than by exploring its attractions this way!
Must-See Spots on a Bike Ride Through Amsterdam
Begin your itinerary in front of the Rijksmuseum and cycle past the Van Gogh Museum towards Vondelpark, the most renowned green urban park in the area.
Grab a morning snack at the Foodhallen, an indoor food market filled with delicious stalls, before continuing through the Jordaan neighbourhood, in which artists, museums and quaint cafés line the streets. It is situated on the western side of Prinsengracht, one of the most appreciated canals of Amsterdam, home to the Anne Frank Museum and the Tulip Museum where you can stop for a couple of hours.
Enjoy lunch in this part of town before heading back to the centre, crossing over some of the district’s loveliest bridges. Cycle next to the Royal Palace, the New Church and the National Monument at Dam Square before reaching the infamous Red Light District and Nieuwmarkt Square. Heading back to the Rijksmuseum, don’t miss the passageway if it’s open, as well as the iAMSTERDAM giant letters you’ll want to photograph yourself as a souvenir of this fun-filled day!
Then and Now: Overview of Amsterdam’s Biking History
In the early 1970s, an important number of driving casualties (over 3000 in 1971) motivated the Dutch to protest, unionize and organize demonstrations pleading for safer streets and more bicycle lanes to reduce vehicle traffic. In the following decades, countless initiatives were taken, which lead to the cyclist-friendly country we know and enjoy today!
According to recent statistics, there are over 880,000 bicycles in the agglomeration, which surprisingly results in more bikes than inhabitants! It’s therefore logical that over 500 kilometres of paths form a very comprehensive network to simply hop onto for an unforgettable adventure in Amsterdam!
Tips and Tricks to Cycle Amsterdam
Not used to biking at home? No worries! These simple rules will help you stay safe during your travels to Amsterdam.
- If you aren’t familiar with tram tracks, keep an eye out for them and ensure your wheels remain perpendicular to the direction in which they lay to avoid injury.
- Always stay in your lane and signal your upcoming turns with your arms.
- If you need to check your guidebook, map or phone, don’t abruptly stop without previously looking behind you. In doing so, move over to the side to clear the path.
- Make sure you steer clear of neighbouring drivers’ blind spots.
Just like the rest of the nation, the city lies quite flat and is easy to pedal around. Any and every type of traveller can embrace this means of transportation to stroll along the canals, meander through parks and soak up centuries of art, architecture and culture directly from their saddles.
Plan your trip and book a flight to Amsterdam now! If time permits once you’ve appreciated its remarkable sights, consider venturing out of the capital (yes, by bike!) to reveal the countryside’s charms. Rotterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, Maastricht, The Hague and Delft are also great destinations for day trips, should you wish to extend your stay.
Have fun exploring Amsterdam by bike!
Cover photo credit: Ed Webster