Explore Amsterdam With These 5 Bike Routes and Maps

Amsterdam is known for a lot of things, but cycling makes the top three for sure. It is the cheapest, healthiest, greenest, and most authentic way to get around the city.

What can be better than to get to know one of Europe’s prettiest capitals by bike?

So once the college semester is over, all the assignments are handed in, and no more helping with math homework is necessary, head straight to Amsterdam.

Writing countless essays is exhausting, so every student deserves a vacation of a lifetime once school is done. Spending a week or two exploring Amsterdam by bike is a perfect choice.

1. For Getting to Know All the Basics About the City—the Route Past the Main Sights

First-time visitors want to see all the famous tourist sights, which is perfectly understandable. After all, who has not heard of the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, or Amsterdam’s unique flower market?

This short yet efficient cycle route covers quite a lot in just about 40 minutes, so it is a good option for everyone who came underprepared. It goes like this:

  • The Anne Frank House
  • The Jordaan neighborhood with its trendy shops and awesome pubs
  • The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum
  • The Heineken Experience
  • The legendary Albert Cuyp Market
  • The Oosterpark (to take a break from Amsterdam’s heavy traffic and have a picnic)
  • The Amstel river embankment

The route not only covers some of the top sights but also offers a great view of a bunch of Amsterdam’s trademark canals. It is a perfect way to really feel the city in just under an hour.

The only downside is that bike traffic can be unbelievably heavy, particularly during the tourist season. So cycling in the city’s busiest areas can get challenging. Pick the right time and stay safe.

2. For Reconnecting With Nature Without Leaving the City—Amsterdamse Bos

Amsterdam is a cool and upbeat city, and it can hardly bore someone who is visiting for only a week or so. But it can also get overwhelming, especially during the peak season or for a person who is not used to city life.

A perfect choice for anyone who wants to reconnect with nature while in Amsterdam is to cycle around one of Amsterdam’s major parks.


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    Amsterdamse Bos is picturesque and bike-friendly (but only for those who do not mind off-road cycling). It is also enormous and really does live up to the title.

    “Bos” means “forest” in Dutch, and even though Amsterdamse Bos is not actually a full-on forest, it is indeed on a wilder side for a city park. Mornings are the best time to visit it for a cycle.

    3. For Seeing the Sea—From the Rokin Station to the Town of Bloemendaal

    By no means is Amsterdam a seaside resort. But a trip to the North Sea takes no more than an hour from the city center, so it is almost a crime not to go there at least once in the summertime.

    In fact, there are great beaches just outside Amsterdam, such as Zandvoort and Bloemendaal. The waters of the North Sea are not very warm, even in summer, but the views are still worth a day trip.

    Most locals and tourists reach the seaside by train or car, yet cycling is way more fun. For a lovely, off-the-beaten-track journey, head to Bloemendaal Loop. Start from the Rokin metro station (Line 52).

    Then head in the direction of Haarlem past Zijkanaal, Woonboten, and Molen de Veer. All of these are great photo spots.

    Then cycle past the town of Overveen and straight to the seaside. The ride is about three and a half hours long but so worth it.

    4. For the Indie Vibes—Westerpark

    Now back to the city. Unfortunately for them, tourists do not frequent Westerpark, but wrongly so. It is not that far from the city center, and the ride to it is via de Jordaan, yet another place in Amsterdam that deserves more attention.

    Westerpark is a lovely neighborhood with a massive park in the middle. The park itself has a very different vibe compared to Amsterdamse Bos. It is very neat and well-kept, with a lot of space and a perfect view of the sunset.

    But while the park is an exceptional place to finish the ride and enjoy a romantic picnic, it is not the only thing the neighborhood has to offer.

    Westerpark also has great indie nightlife (very different from the clubs in the city center), a lot of cozy markets, and regular art exhibitions. Just cycling all over the neighborhood is a great ride; no specific itinerary is necessary.

    5. For Understanding Today’s Amsterdam Better—Overhoeks with NDSM Wharf

    Many foreigners have a very peculiar idea of Amsterdam before they come to visit. Among other things, they associate the city with the traditional canal houses.

    While it is true that they make up the majority of the city center, Amsterdam’s architecture is so much more than these seventeenth-century gingerbread house lookalikes.

    Modern and repurposed buildings outside the city center are just as cool, albeit in a different way.

    To see what the hip northern shore of the city is all about, head to Overhoeks and NDSM Wharf. Most major European cities have their version of Overhoeks – a former industrial area turned into a massive artistic hub.

    Cycle around it going in the direction of NDSM Wharf. Make sure to ride past the Eye Film Museum—it is a true masterpiece of contemporary architecture. End the journey at the NDSM Wharf, the neighborhood’s soul.

    Final Thoughts

    Amsterdam is a global capital of cycling, so it makes perfect sense to explore it by bike.

    The city has tons to offer, and almost everything is accessible to cyclists, from the major tourist sights akin to the Rijksmuseum to the seaside and beyond.

    Because of the heavy traffic, the first day on a bike in Amsterdam may be stressful, but it does not take much time to get used to it.


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    Explore Amsterdam With These 5 Bike Routes and Maps — Bike Hacks