Getting around the city with Amsterdam bikes

See the city from a new perspective with your own two wheels

Amsterdam bikes are probably one of the most photographed landmarks in the city, along with canals. The flat, bike-able landscape makes it the perfect destination to hop on two wheels and explore the vibrant capital at leisure. Did you know there are over 880,000 bikes in Amsterdam? That’s more than there are people! You won’t be short of bike rentals, tours, and self-guided routes to see the city from a new perspective.

Amsterdam Bike Rental

You’re feeling confident, you want to seize the metaphorical bull by its horns and cycle your way around the sites yourseld, to drift from café to bar, and to get the full flavour of local life here in Amsterdam.

There are plenty of bike rentals around the city to help you on your way and hook you up with a set of wheels but one of the most recommended bike rental Amsterdam companies is MacBike with a number of offices located around the city, making it easy for a last-minute rental. Pick one up at Vondelpark, Leidseplein, Central Station North, Central South and Waterlooplein. The beauty of cycling is that not only is it good fun and good exercise but it’s also eco-friendly so you’re doing your bit for the environment, too. Get 25% off your MacBike rental with The Amsterdam Pass.

Damstraat is another option for bike hire Amsterdam style. It’s one of the oldest bike shops in the city and if you’re already sightseeing in central Dam Square, it could be your closest option – and its open seven days a week.

If the thought of renting a ‘tourist’ bike makes your cringe, don’t worry, Bike City has you covered. Targeted at tourists-who-don’t-want-to-be-tourists, these bikes are free of branding, so you’ll blend in with the locals and can cycle shamelessly around the cobbled streets of the Jordaan district where you’ll find the shop on the popular Bloemgracht street.

There are many more bike rental options, practically around every cobbled corner, and depending on where you’re staying, too, your accommodation might even have their own bikes to rent out, too.

Tip: bike etiquette. Make sure your bike has a bell and remember you could be cycling on the ‘other’ side of the road so look left then right before crossing roads or pulling out. It’s not just motor traffic you’ll be contending with but a circus of cyclists, too, and some have no mercy…

Amsterdam Bike Routes

Before you know it, you’ll have fallen in love with the hustle and bustle of the Amsterdam bikes whizzing all around you. Should you wish to be a bit more adventurous than just sticking to the streets and canals within a two-mile radius of the centre, there are six routes to take you off the beaten track.

The route, Rustic North, showcases the quaint urban landscape of the waterland in the north part of the city and takes you from the shores of the IJ along dykes, passing through Nieuwendam and Durgerdam to Ransdorp, looping back to the city through Holysloot and then Zunderdorp.

The Oost and IJburg route starts off from the Gooyer windmill and heads east into the newly developed district where you can admire the modern architecture of this part of the city, surrounded by water.

Nieuw-West, New West, route is the largest loop of them all taking cyclists through the New West area, past well-known spots and upcoming areas such as the Westerfabriek a new cultural centre based out of the old gas factory, passing Sloterplas beach, Sloten windmill and village, finally passing through Rembrandtpark and Vondelpark to relax in this beautiful urban oasis to end your self-guided Amsterdam bike tour.

Zuid & Amsterdamse Bos is a beautiful green city route ending in the Amsterdamse Bos, the largest forest and park in the city. The route takes you to Plan Berlage, Amstelpark, the architecturally interesting buildings of the Zuidas and ending in this urban Bos. Not to be missed.

The Amstel River route is one of the most popular on Amsterdam bikes. Amstel River, where the city Amsterdam gets its name, and where of course the eponymous beer comes from, is the heartbeat of the city and this tour will take you around picturesque neighbourhoods, famous Dutch cheese farms and through Ouderkerk aan de Amstel village, never veering far from this famous waterway. 

Finally, Zuidoost route, will take you along Amsterdam’s south east neighbourhood, showcasing the best of the area from the Gaasperplas ‘lake’ to the Gaasp river, the World of Food, the monument in tribute to the Bijlmer Disaster and the ArenA area.

Tip: some routes may be closed, or altered, due to road works and should the route pass through a pedestrian area you must get off and walk your bike.

Amsterdam Bike Tours

If you’re a visitor who wants to learn about the city’s culture from those in the know, an Amsterdam bike tour is a must. Lead by a Dutch guide, these experiences will really give you an insight into local life, history that you don’t read about in books, and many more street-side secrets.

Mikes Bikes offers some of the best Amsterdam bike tours you can find. Their popular City Bike Tour is a great way to get your bearings once you arrive in the capital and your guide will take you through all the most important neighbourhoods and share all the juicy tales along the way. If you’re pushed for time, there’s also a 2-hour Mini City Bike Tour instead. If you have time on your hands, however, you’re encouraged to take the Countryside Bike Tour which follows a route out of the centre, along the iconic Amstel River, and into the neighbouring countryside with its historic windmill and quirky cheese and clog factory.

A-Bike Tours run a few different tours to choose from; again, a speed-tour of one hour visiting the top sites including Dam Square, Bloemenmark (Flower Market) and, of course, the maze of UNESCO Heritage canals, or another one-hour guided tour to Vondelpark. These are the shortest and most inexpensive of their tours and worth it if you want to get a quick feel for the city.

Amsterbike is another highly rated tour company with a three-hour tour around the New Market, Red Light District, Old Church, Jordaan district, and not forgetting the canals. The guide is well versed in the capital’s unique and rich culture and you’ll leave knowing the true history of the city. Tours available in English, German, French, Spanish and Dutch.