There is nothing more local than hiring a bike and getting lost amongst the maze of canals, the scenery of the picturesque lined buildings and the year long buzzing atmosphere of beautiful Amsterdam. If you are anything like me and are used to driving on the left hand side of the road and looking left then right before crossing a road, then hiring a bike can be some what of a challenge – a dangerous challenge that is – but nevertheless something that can’t be passed out of fear.
I have added a map above, to help you with following along with my bike tour, and to understand the city of Amsterdam like a pro before even visiting.
Hiring the Perfect Bike
Displayed on the map above, pinned point is where the most beautiful bikes in all of Amsterdam are located. The name of the bike shop is not displayed on google maps, but I have pinned Cafe De Pont, and behind the cafe you will see a million and one bikes – it’s unmissable, don’t worry!
Most bikes that people hire in Amsterdam are orange or yellow and you can pick these bikers as tourists, drawing more attention to the fact they possibly have no idea what they are doing. I hate standing out, so I went in search for a bike that I could blend in with and not stand out as an obnoxious Australian who doesn’t know which way to look first when riding around.
These bikes come in all different colours, and come with a lock and chain that has a protector seal so no one can saw through the chain and steal your glamorous bike. You are able to purchase the bike with insurance and without insurance. The insurance covers you if the bike was stolen, for an extra few Euro it could be worth it but for me, I was willing to take my chance.
There is a ferry that takes you over the other side of the river leaving from Central Station, it is free and leaves every 5 minutes as it is only a 2 minute ferry ride just across the water, so it really doesn’t take up a lot of time – and is totally worth it.
Price: 14 Euro for 24 hours and an additional 3 Euro for insurance.
Best Areas to Bike Around
Once you have your bike and you have crossed back over the river, head down Damrak – here there is a heap of resturants and tour shops such as the hop on hop off) until you reach the square with Madame Tussauds and the National Monument – it is very large, you won’t miss it.
Once you arrive here, head right along the road Madame Tussauds is on, it will take you behind the Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam and you will be on your way to some of the most beautiful canal’s in all of Amsterdam.
Here, there are four main canal’s all a few streets apart, and worth the ride around. Take time to ride up and down the canal’s and to stop at a cafe or two. If you head outwards to the fourth canal, turn right and continue riding, this is the canal the Anne Frank Huis is on. And if you turn left at the fourth canal, and ride for a while along the fourth canal and past buzzing street markets, side streets filled with canal’s and gelato shops, you will find yourself at a street on your right hand side called ‘Spiegelgracht.’ Turn down this street and continue straight, without missing it you will see the Rijksmuseum – go through the museum (there is a pathway through the building) and on the other side there is the famous ‘I Amsterdam’ sign. This is a great place to bike around, here there is a heap of museums, including the Van Gough Museum.
Very close to the Rijksmuseum, there is the famous Vondelpark, which is the biggest park in Amsterdam with cafes, row boats and large paths to ride, run and take a nice stroll through the greenery. To get here, head towards the Het Concertgebouw – directly across from the Rijksmuseum and ride right. You will soon enough come across the beautiful green park.
Other places to Bike Around
The area that the Hard Rock Cafe is in, is beautiful. It is sitting in the backstreets of the city and off the canal’s for a different picturesque view. Here there is an oodle amount of resturants with 5 Euro pizza and pasta and plenty of places to lock your bike up.
Also, take a ride through the Red Light District during the day time, Grachtengordel, Hortus Botanic Amsterdam and Frederik Hendrikstraat – here is beautiful flower, fruit, clothes and jewellery markets.
Biking around Amsterdam is a bucket list must do for travellers and people of all ages. Don’t be scared by the thought of riding around alongside cars or through busy streets, as Amsterdam has more bikes then people, and has particular lanes for bikers, so there is no need to head out onto the busy roads.
Happy cycling adventurers.
If there is another place have missed or you personally enjoyed biking around, please add it to the comments below.