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Amsterdam is the archetype of the cycling city, and one of the few places in the world that’s completely owned by bike riders. They make the rules, break the rules and basically leave you no choice but to rent a bike when in Amsterdam.
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Bicycle in Amsterdam
Straddling the IJ river (or lake, the Dutch can’t seem to decide), the city of Amsterdam is as picturesque for its waterfronts as it is for its cyclists. For those of you who still find it hard to believe that bikes rule in Amsterdam, take this simple fact: there’s an estimated number of 800,000 bikes in Amsterdam against only 263,000 cars. Also, Amsterdam has around 400 km of bike paths and, put together, people cycle 2 million km every day in the city. Therefore, whatever you do while visiting Amsterdam, you’re likely to end up on a rental bike. 

Now, if you want to plan the perfect cycling holiday in Amsterdam, you’ve come to the right place. We are here to provide you with information about how to get around the city by bike, the best places to cycle to in Amsterdam, as well as tips and tricks to ensure you’ll stay both entertained and alive. By reading this page you’ll be able to design your own bike tour of Amsterdam, because that’s the best way to visit any city - at your own pace, freely, discovering it step by step, ride by ride. After you get inspired - you’re welcome! - make sure you get your bicycle from our bike rental hub in Amsterdam:


Cycling in the Red Light District

Cycling in Red Light District at night
OK, let’s assume there’s no need for any introduction to this part of Amsterdam, its famous Red Light District. Let’s also assume you’ll want to do more around here than stare at racy dance numbers in red-lit windows or idle inside equally famous coffeeshops. In this case, you can ride your rental bike on Zeedijk, the popular street in what’s known as Amsterdam’s Chinatown, from Centraal Station down to Nieuwmarkt. Nieuwmarkt is a large town square that hosts an open-air farmers market on Saturdays - totally worth a visit. It’s also a perfect place to park your rental bike and indulge in some people-watching and picture-taking, as there are plenty of cafés, bars, restaurants, and a nice scenery with the backdrop of the popular building of the Waag (Amsterdam Weigh House)

Ironically enough, the Red Light District is also where Amsterdam’s oldest and most famous church lies, namely De Oude Kerk (The Old Church). And since we’re on the topic of gaining some cultural insight while in the Red Light District, your rental bike can take you to quite a few notable museums in the area: the Hash, Marihuana, and Hemp Museum, the Erotic Museum, and Condomerie - which is a shop/museum for all things condoms. They’re all within cycling distance and definitely some pretty unique experiences of historical and educational value.

Check out a some convenient bike rental locations close to the Red Light District:

Cycling in Amsterdam Centrum

Cyclist in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s central area is marked by its most famous landscape feature - the Canal Ring. You could definitely spend a whole day just riding your rental bike along the city’s emblematic canals and be a happy tourist. But in case you want to make a few stops, consider these unmissable attractions: the floating Bloemenmarkt flower market, the Amsterdam Dungeon, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, the NEMO Science Museum, and looots of Amsterdam’s typical browncafes. 

Don’t leave the area without a visit to Anne Frank’s house, the one where she wrote her famous Diary of a Young Girl while hiding from the Nazis at the beginning of the 40’s. On your way there, look around: you’re riding your rental bike along one of Amsterdam’s most popular canals - Prinsengracht.

Here are some convenient location to pick up your rental bike in Amsterdam Centrum:

Cycling in the Jordaan & Westerpark

Bicycle in Jordaan, Amsterdam
Image credits: In View Of
Visiting the district of Jordaan on a bike is the smartest idea you’ll ever have. This very popular area has developed as a heaven of mazy streets, groovy cafés with terraces on scenic waterfronts, art studios, and the best flea and farmers markets in town. While on your rental bike, you might stumble upon either Lindenmarkt (Saturdays), Noordermarkt’s famous biological food market (Saturdays) or flea market (Mondays). All of them are really cool and very popular among Amsterdammers, with even the occasional local celebrity strolling through. 

If you visit Amsterdam at the end of the summer, you might be lucky enough to happen upon the Jordaanfestival. This is Amsterdam’s most famous street party, with great local artists playing their music, games, cabaret and sing-alongs - here’s how it usually looks like

To see the bustling, touristy city centre fade into laid-back, residential neighbourhoods spotted with green pockets of nature, let your rental bike take you towards the west. Westerpark is both how the area edging on Jordaan and a beautiful park are called. Take your time around here, park your rental bike and enjoy a picnic in the park or a day at the beach near Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam’s coolest new cultural hotspot and creative complex. There are tons of pop-up events or full-blown festivals going on here all the time, as well as high-end restaurants (Raïnaraï), chic cafes (Espressofabriek), cinemas (Het Ketelhuis), concert venues (North Sea Jazz Club) - you name it. See, that’s why bike rental in Amsterdam is a no-brainer - because there’s really so much to discover here that only a bike can help you cover everything in a limited amount of time. Plus, cycling is so damn fun!

So rent your bike in the Jordaan area from one our many locations available. Here are a few:

Cycling in Amsterdam-Noord

Bicycle on ferry in Amsterdam
Image credits: Maxence
Even though you’ll need to take your rental bike on the ferry to reach this part of the city, Amsterdam-Noord is such a cool area it has its own website! Located north of the IJ lake (yeah, quirky lake name, right?), this is the home of state-of-the-art architecture and gorgeous waterfronts, with plenty of green space and hip hangout spots. 

Take Tolhuistuin ('Tollhouse Garden'), for example. Right on the banks of the IJ, this multi-venue complex has developed from former Shell laboratory buildings into a cultural hotspot with a nice garden in the middle. They organise the coolest events all year round, have an awesome, low-key restaurant where you share food tapas-style, great views of Amsterdam’s city centre over the water, and did I mention the garden? Also, very close by there’s the eye-catching building of the EYE Filmmuseum, which holds an impressive national archive of film and screens new independent movies as well as classics. What’s more, if you’re willing to give your rental bike a break and hang around, they let you get into tiny digital booths and pick iconic movies to watch to your heart’s desire. 

Also a heritage of the Big Oil, the neighbouring A’DAM Tower was transformed from boring Royal Dutch Shell offices into a revolving restaurant, a jaw-dropping lookout, Amsterdam’s most expensive hotel rooms, startup working spaces, entertainment companies’ offices, a nightclub, more bars and restaurants. It’s really an urban development masterpiece, and will give you something to do and see at any hour of the day. Even their website is totally worth the visit! 

Another cool place in the north is NDSM-Werf, a former shipyard turned second home to Amsterdam’s hippest artists and cool kids. There is a popular skate park here, art studios and galleries, a floating cruise-ship hotel, festivals and dance parties, the IJ Kantine, this gorgeous greenhouse cafe called Noordelicht and tons of graffiti art.

If you want to rent your bike in Amsterdam-Noord directly, here are the bike rental locations we have for you:

Cycling around the Van Gogh Museum

Vondelpark in Amsterdam
You can’t leave Amsterdam without visiting the Van Gogh Museum, can you? Well, since you’re already in the area, you might as well check out other cool attractions. After all, you have your loyal rental bike with you, so you can easily discover the surroundings. There is another must-see museum nearby, Rijkmuseum, and you can actually cycle through it! And, to close the cultural circle and return to contemporaneity, visit the Stedelijk Museum next. After all that history and art, you’ll need some fresh air. Hop on your rental bike and take a ride through neighbouring Vondelpark, the biggest park in central Amsterdam.

If you’re still not tired, let your rental bike take you to the De Pijp neighbourhood, to explore the Albert Cuyp Market - Amsterdam’s largest and most famous outdoor market. Then, if you’re interested in the history of beer - who isn’t?! - head to the famous Heineken Experience. Our advice is to walk your rental bike home afterwards, or better sober up with a cup of coffee at the hip CT Coffee & Coconuts.

Sold on renting a bike to explore the area? Get yours from our bike rental hub in Amsterdam’s Museum Square:


Do's and don'ts on your rental bike in Amsterdam

Cycling in the city can be hectic, especially if you're not used to Amsterdam-style traffic! Here are a few things to keep in mind after you hire a bicycle:

  • Stay in your lane: use the bicycle lane on the right-hand side of the road, marked out by white lines and bike symbols.
  • Follow the rules of the road: adhere to all traffic lights and signs; don’t cycle on footpaths, shopping streets, pavements and motorways.
  • Give a sign: always signal before turning by putting your hand out.
  • Light at night: it’s required by law to use front and back lights on your bicycle after dark.
  • Keep an eye on other traffic: scooters zip down the bike lanes, taxis speed down the tram rails, and large delivery vans might have trouble seeing you if you’re biking in their blind spot.
  • Watch out for tram rails: it’s easy to get your tires stuck in the rails – cross them at a sharp angle.
  • Lock it right: always lock your bike up to something secure and immovable. An official bike rack is always advised. Do not park in the middle of squares or shopping streets.
  • Make room for fellow cyclists: don’t bike more than two people across, keep pace with the other cyclists, and pull over to answer your phone or check the map.
  • Don’t imitate the Dutch: Amsterdammers are notorious for breaking the rules: cycling through red lights or biking at night without lights. Do not follow their example!
  • Never cycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Hand signals for cycling in Amsterdam

Cyclist in Amsterdam
When cycling, you must always use hand signals to communicate your intent to other drivers/riders:

STOPPING | Extend either arm upwards.

TURNING RIGHT | Extend the right arm perpendicular to the body.

TURNING LEFT | Extend the right arm perpendicular to the body.

Bike requirements in Amsterdam

LIGHTS | Your rental bike should ahve both a white headlight and a red taillight. Start using them as soon as the sun sets.

BELL | You must have a functioning bike bell mounted on the handlebar. 

BRAKES | Make sure you have functioning brakes on both wheels of your rental bike - either two handbrakes or one handbrake and one back pedal brake.

BIKE HELMET | Not mandatory, not many people wear it. You can rent one if you want extra protection for your brain. Our rental bikes don't come with a bike helmet, though.