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Best Way To Get Around Amsterdam: Bikes

Amsterdam Bike Parking Lot
A regular site in Amsterdam, rows and rows of bikes

Amsterdam is a city of cyclists, with twice as many bicycles as cars on the road. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Dutch person who doesn’t own a bicycle. With an abundance of bike-only lanes and special traffic lights, cycling through Amsterdam is safe and easy for visitors of all sorts. Whether you’re traveling solo, sight-seeing with a group, or have a toddler in tow, you’ll love the leisurely experience of exploring this colorful city by bicycle.

Renting a Bicycle In Amsterdam

You can rent a bicycle for around 13 euros per day, or more cheaply if you rent by the week. One popular and reliable rental company is Damstraat Rent-a-Bike, which offers everything from cruisers to luxury 21-speed hybrids and even scooters. Most rental shops are glad to offer friendly advice about the best routes, and will also give you a free map of Amsterdam, although it’s worth paying 4 euros for the more comprehensive map, Amsterdam op de fiets (“Amsterdam on the bike”), which you can purchase at any Tourist Office.

Cycling Inside the City

If you’re new to Amsterdam and want to get a feel for the city’s culture and atmosphere, point your handlebars towards Albert Cuyp Market. This century-old shoppers’ paradise is the largest of Amsterdam’s twenty-six open-air markets, with nearly 100 vending stalls. Park your bicycle on the outskirts and go for a treasure hunt by foot. If you get peckish, try some local flavors-fresh farmer’s produce, cheese, chocolate, and pastries are sold in abundance.

You can come away from this bustling market with antiques, local art, books, clothing, bedding, cosmetics, jewelry and any number of whimsical items. Make sure you don’t overload your bicycle’s basket or tote bags! Once you’re comfortable with the main part of the city, cycle through the less tourist-trampled areas, such de Negen Straatjes, or ”Nine Little Streets,” a handful of charming cafes, high-end boutiques and quaint shops selling everything from handmade soap to designer clothing and vintage accessories.

Losing yourself among the cobbled paths of this original district is a delicious way to spend an afternoon. Don’t miss the quirky spectacles museum. Amsterdam has over 2000 bridges, so you won’t be able to cycle over all of them in a single day. However, if you start with the famous Bridge of 15 Bridges, you’ll be rewarded with a romantic view of 2 intersecting canals and 14 bridges. In the late afternoon, you can cycle along the bridges for some pretty amazing views you’ve probably never seen before.

Cycling Outside the City of Amsterdam

In less than half an hour, you can leave the urban scene behind and explore the picturesque landscape of rural Amsterdam. Cycle through pastures and over canals with a backdrop of windmills against wide-open skies. For a full-day experience of fun and discoveries head south to Amsterdam Bos, or “Amsterdam Forest,” crisscrossed by more than 30 miles of well-maintained cycling paths. The entire park is 13 feet below sea level, and was constructed by humans on reclaimed land.

Here you can visit the Geitenboerderij Goat Farm for a taste of locally-produced cheese and other dairy products made from goat’s milk. Children will enjoy the petting zoo. If you’re visiting in the summer, check the performance schedule for the park’s open air theater.

The longer you explore Amsterdam by bicycle, the more secret city comers and remote countryside paradises you’ll discover. The pleasure of getting to know Amsterdam by bicycle comes from the unexpected, the unpredictable and the unforgettable. Once you’ve spent a few days riding around, you won’t want to travel any other way.

Amsterdam Map

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