Hands down the best way to see Amsterdam is by bike. You can cover a lot of ground while still having time to look around. As a bonus, cycling is likely one of the most authentic experiences a tourist can have in Amsterdam. So what’s stopping you?
Amsterdam traffic can be rather daunting. Trams, cars, busses, taxis and cyclists all share the rather narrow roads and streets. It looks overwhelming, but here’s a couple of tips to make it easier:
- Rent a recognizable bike: Amsterdammers know people on Yellow bikes or the red MacBikes are likely to be tourists with limited cycling experience and take care around them.
- Don’t cycle during rush hour, it makes a tremendous difference if you don’t have deal with droves of cyclists rushing to or from work.
- Keep up a decent speed: Going very slowly is more dangerous than going fast. It’s easier to balance when you have a bit of speed, you blend into traffic better and those bridges are a lot easier to scale if you have momentum.
- Use the dark red bicycle lanes and you’re separate from all other traffic.
- Realise that bikes rule the road. Drivers are very aware of cyclists and their rather ‘unpredictable’ behaviour. They are constantly on the look out for bikes. Cycling in Amsterdam is not like cycling in New York or London where cyclists have to fight for their place on the road.
- This should go without saying, but I’ve seen this too often to leave this out: Don’t stop in the middle of road to take photos. Signal with your hand and stop on the sidewalk.
- If you don’t want to go out by yourself, take a guided tour. Most tours are designed to take you through relatively easy to navigate streets and the guides keep an eye out for you. You can also take a tour through the countrys ide just north of the city and avoid most city traffic.
- Finally, be realistic about your cycling skills. If you’ve only cycled once in your life, accept this may not be for you.