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Cycling in Amsterdam: Inside Knowledge on How to Get Around
When you step out of Central Station and make your way to our hotel in Amsterdam center , you will notice it immediately. In Amsterdam, the bicycle rules. This is the same near our hotel next to Amstel staion. More than half of all trips in the city centre are by bike, and there are more bikes than cars or people. Cycling in Amsterdam is an obligation when you visit!
No matter the age, gender or income of an Amsterdammer, everyone rides a bicycle. Bankers, students, elderly, kids, lawyers, hipsters, parents with their babies, pregnant women – everyone rides their ‘horse of steel.’
Riding a Dutch bicycle is like sitting on a chair – convenient, comfortable and cleverly designed. Since you sit upright, you easily can see everything around you: shops, restaurants, parks, all the people. You can also chat with your friend cycling next to you.
And because of its strong frame, you can stash all your groceries (or your dog!) in a sturdy basket on the front carrier, in some handy panniers on the back, or you can balance the goods (or your friend!) on the back luggage rack. In Amsterdam, you see it all!
Join the Amsterdammers
So when you’re visiting the city, join the Amsterdammers and get on a bike. Amsterdam might have the most bike-friendly streets, but getting on a bike can be daunting. Unwritten rules, cargo bikes packed with kids, back-peddle brakes, and the hordes of cyclists—yikes! But don’t worry, we have seven tips to help get you peddling.
Get an upright bike so you easily blend in on the streets of Amsterdam. No need for anything fancy, just any old bike will do. Give the bell a test because you’ll likely need it!
Dutch people don’t wear helmets, vests or any special sporty cycling clothing. Cycling here is just a faster version of walking. So get on your bike, with high heels, a pretty dress, a smart suit or trendy jeans.
Let other cyclists know where you’re going. It’s easy: point right to go right, point left to go left. And if you want to stop in the middle of the fietspad (bike path), just point down to the curb with your left hand. No need to make a scene of it, just a limp hand does the trick.
Cycling here is social, so cycle side-by-side, chat with each other, but make sure other cyclists can pass. There is always someone riding faster than you.
‘Doubling’ is true Dutch. Ladies sit on the back rack with their legs to one side; men have one leg on each side. Dutch women are progressive, so it’s not strange to see the lady cycling while the man sits.
Is it raining? Most likely it is. No matter what the weather, the Dutch keep peddling. You can always duck under an awning in a downpour, it won’t last long. If you’re brave, you can try cycling while holding an umbrella at the same time, in true Dutch style.
Finally, bikes are sometimes stolen. So lock your bike with two high-quality locks and attach it to a bike rack. Other than that, sit back, relax and peddle away as you cycle in Amsterdam.
Now you’re ready to go and in Amsterdam city center, where MEININGER hotels are located. Grab a bike (there’s one waiting for you at the hotel lobby!) and start enjoying the fresh air, light rain, or even some afternoon sun. We’ve made a tour of Amsterdam just for you.
A Tour Made Just for You
Head to the Westerpark for some easy riding. Shake off the jet lag and get used to your bike, as cycling in Amsterdam requires you full attention!
Cycling in Amsterdam, specifically the Jordaan neighborhood is lovely. Eerste and Tweede Goudsbloemdwarsstraat are a few favorite streets. Stop at Winkel on Noordemarkt for a coffee or the best apple tart (or Boca’s on Westerstraat for delicious plates of meats and cheeses).
For a true village feeling, ride up and down the Haarlemmerdijk/straat. You’ll want to park at some point because all the shops are too tempting!
Take your bike on the (free) ferry behind central station to Amsterdam-Noord. Cycle to Nieuwendammerdijk and Schellingwouderdijk for dikes, water views, ancient houses and houseboats, clogs and a windmill. It doesn’t get any more Dutch than that!
Ride over to Java Eiland for a look at a modern version of Amsterdam, complete with narrow houses, cute bridges, and picturesque canals.
So Many Options for You!
The Skinny Bridge (de Magere Brug) for a nice view of the Amstel River. Head over to De Ysbreeker for fresh-mint tea and the perfect cyclist-watching spot. You can also ride along the Amstel for about 10km to Ouder Kerk aan de Amstel, and even take the bike ferry to the other side of the river for a different view.
If you’re riding past Utrechtsestraat, make sure to stop at one of the fresh fish kiosks before stopping to shop. They have the best fresh haring and smoked mackerel sandwiches in the city. Get there before 4:30pm!
Ride beneath the Dutch masters and through the It’s the most wonderful bike path in the whole world. (When you pass under the south side, look up and see the emergency drop for the Night Watch painting by Rembrandt.)
Ride through Vondelpark and stop for some sun and people-watching (or even a picnic).
In a converted train depot, the Food Hallen is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. Or if the afternoon sun is shining, head to Edel for a canal-side experience.
We know you and your bicycle will discover many more gems than on this list. That’s the wonderful thing about riding a bicycle in Amsterdam. Stash your map in your pocket, and just let your bicycle and the swarm of cyclists guide you. We hope you love Amsterdam as much as we do!
Cycling in Amsterdam is made easy when you stay with us at MEININGER, where we have two beautiful hotels waiting for you!