Ranked as the most bike-friendly city in the world, cycling is a unique aspect of Dutch culture and a great way to see the sights. As soon as you arrive in Amsterdam, one of the first things you’ll notice is a flash of multi-coloured omafiets – the iconic granny bikes that whizz past you on the bike paths that criss-cross the capital. With its well-developed infrastructure, you won’t find anywhere in Europe more suited to the two wheel lifestyle. Join the masses and hop on a bike for the ultimate tour of Amsterdam.
There’s no shortage of bike shops in Amsterdam and you’ll find them scattered all around the city’s main areas and tourist destinations. Prices vary from €5-12, so look out for multi-day rates and group deals. Most rental companies also offer city tours so book in if you’d prefer to discover the sights from a local.
1. Yellow Bike – Nieuwezijds Kolk 29
Painted bright yellow, you can’t miss these bikes as they fly through the city centre. Offering guided tours and located near Central Station, this company is a great one to go with for daily rentals.
2. Black Bikes – 14 city-wide locations
As one of the biggest rental shops in town, this company gives you the chance to ride around on a traditional black bike. The only hop on drop off system in the city, this is the best choice if you’re looking to cycle for an afternoon or short period of time.
3. Crew 22 – Cruquiusweg 86
Working with vintage folding bikes, Crew 22 offer you a unique way to see Amsterdam. They also operate guided tours of the Noord.
4. MacBike – 5 city-centre locations
One of the more popular rental places in the city, you’ll notice the red branded bikes everywhere. This company is great for families as they offer a wide variety of bike styles including child seats and tandems.
1. The Nieuwmarkt
Peek into the multicultural lifestyle of the Dutch capital’s residents and cycle along the streets of one of the oldest regions in the city. Dotted with fascinating buildings and historical attractions, the bustling market place is a great location to kick off your bike tour. Plan your route around the De Waag building, a 15th century medieval Dutch site home to a café and restaurant, China Town and Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple (Zeedijk), Europe’s biggest Buddhist temple. With the Red Light District next door take the chance to realise the pretty canals and gable houses of the area usually disregarded as a strictly ‘adult’ zone.
2. The Vondelpark
The largest park in the city, Vondelpark has a cycling trail all the way through it making it the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. As part of the borough of Amsterdam- Zuid, the park features quirky street performers, a big rose garden and seven children’s play areas. Famous throughout the Netherlands for its historical edge and vast flora collection, Vondelpark is a must see when visiting the city. The restaurant Vertigo in the historic Pavilion is a great place to stop for a well-deserved break, after all that cycling!
Running through the centre of the city, is one of the largest bodies of water in Amsterdam, the river Amstel. Cycling along the banks of this river is a cultural treat as they are lined with historical buildings and important landmarks. Ride past the Jewish Quarter, Hermitage Museum, Magere Brug and the Stopera which houses City Hall and the Dutch National Opera and Ballet. After building up an appetite, stop off at one of the many restaurants and cafes that sit on the edge of the river and finish the day with a trip to Amstelpark’s petting zoo.
Take a break from city life and head north towards the Waterland. Grab your bike, jump on a ferry from behind Central Station and start your tour of the eight picturesque working villages. With bike paths connecting the entire region, it couldn’t be easier to see the marshy wetland home to Broek’s wooden houses and Yacht harbour at Monnickendam.
5. Overhoeks and NDSM-werf
Amsterdam’s revitalised northern shore is now seen by locals as the trendiest area in the city with its cultural hotspots and plethora of pubs, clubs and bars. Cycle to Overhoeks to marvel at the A’DAM Toren, an icon of the city skyline, and the Eye Film Institute. The more industrial area of NDSM-werf is the social hub of the city with an abundance of social spaces built into repurposed shipping warehouses. This is a great place to cycle to in the afternoon and is especially beautiful on a sunny, summer’s evening.
Visiting Amsterdam soon? Make sure to tag us in photos of your ultimate bike tour of Amsterdam, using the hashtag #ryanairstories for a chance to be featured on Ryanair’s Instagram feed.
Flights to Amsterdam
- Lucy Norris