People on bikes in Amsterdam

How to Explore Amsterdam by Bike

Did you know that the capital of the Netherlands is often considered to be the most bicycle-friendly destination in the world? To help you navigate through the city by bike, here are some of my favorite places in Amsterdam to go cycling.

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David van Brakel

1. April 2019

Everyone here in Amsterdam will tell you how riding a bike is one of the must-have experiences. Thanks to the excellent network of cycling trails, exploring Amsterdam on a bicycle is quite easy. There are also dozens of signs, traffic lights, and signals in the city to help cyclists move around.

Where can I get a bike? Well, bike rentals can be found on every corner of Amsterdam. If you are moving to the city or you are planning to study here, you should definitely consider purchasing a bicycle. Although the prices vary from place to place, you can always find a good deal on second-hand bikes. So, let’s take a look at the list of the best places for cycling in Amsterdam.

1. Vondelpark

A small pond, trees and flowers in Vondelpark, Amsterdam. Wonderful Vondelpark. Photo: HelloAmsterdam. 

The most famous park in Amsterdam, Vondelpark, is quite popular with both tourists and locals. It is also an ideal area if you are planning to explore the city by bike. There’s plenty to see here including a cool rose garden and an open-air theatre. Make sure to check out the sculptures in the park, such as the high bronze monument of the Dutch poet Vondel and the abstract concrete ‘Fish’ by Picasso. In case you get hungry from all the cycling, try reasonably priced local foods at Hap-Hmm.

2 The Nieuwmarkt

Niewmarkt in Amsterdam by night. Nieuwmarkt by night. Flickr/Not4rthur. 

To experience the multicultural lifestyle of Amsterdam, hop on your bike and pay a visit to the Nieuwmarkt district. Named after a marketplace, this old district is home to many interesting buildings and attractions that you can visit along the way. One of them is the De Waag building from the 15th century where you will find some of the finest examples of Dutch architecture in the city.

There is also a nice café and a restaurant on-site. The cycling route through Nieuwmarkt will take you to Zeedijk Temple which is the largest Buddhist temple in Europe. Nieuwmarkt is close to the infamous Red Light District, so you can bike there to explore all the independent boutiques and of course the popular coffee shops.

3 Ijburg

A close-up of a modern style building in Ijburg, Amsterdam. A sample of the modern architecture of Ijburg. Unsplash/Leo Wieling. 

Our next stop on the ultimate Amsterdam bike tour is the Ijburg neighborhood. Consisting of five man-made islands, the district is connected to the city by the Nesciobrug Bridge, which is a perfect place to go cycling. Explore the modern architecture in this family-friendly area and visit the Diemerpark, one of the city’s largest green spaces.

4 Westerpark

A pink blossoming tree in Westerpark. Spring in Westerpark. Photo: HelloAmsterdam. 

There are many cool things to do in Amsterdam and one of them is biking through Westerpark’s green meadows. Located west of de Jordaan and easily accessible from the center of the city, this fabulous park boasts numerous cycle paths. Continue your journey to the popular Westergasfabriek which is home to a cool brewery, an art-house cinema, a couple of casual eateries, and indie shops.

5 Waterland District

By the harbour in Monnickendam, Netherlands. Monnickendam. Flickr/Richard Mortel. 

To get away from all the hustle and bustle of the Amsterdam city center, cycle all the way to the Waterland district. This bike ride will take you past a couple of fishing towns and picturesque villages. It is a perfect bike road to getting to know the Dutch local life. If you wish to take a break from all the cycling, take your bike and hop on a boat to discover the region. As for cool attractions along the way, don’t miss the yacht harbor at Monnickendam and the cute Broek’s wooden houses from the 17th century.

6 NDSM-Werf and Overhoeks

A bike parked by a wall full of posters. A bike by a wall of posters in NDSM-Werf. Unsplash/Micaela Parente. 

The NDSM neighborhood is a cultural hotspot and a place where you will find many creative spirits. Get on that bike and visit what is known to be the trendiest part of Amsterdam. There are definitely more than enough cycle routes here that will take you all the way from NDSM-Werf to the Overhoeks area, which is well-known for its modern buildings including the famous Eye Film Institute and A’DAM Toren.

7 Amsterdamse Bos

A man with bike in the Amsterdam Forest. Amsterdamse Bos. Unsplash/Nick van der Berg. 

Larger than Central Park in New York, Amsterdamse Bos is a huge man-made forest which is best explored by bike. Expect to find dozens of rivers and artificial lakes here. What I like about this place is that the entire park is well-connected by numerous cycle routes. If you wish to go off the road with your bicycle, the wood of Amsterdamse Bos offer a couple of great off-road routes.