Most could summon up half a dozen adjectives about Amsterdam’s culture or people without ever mentioning the cycling. It might even come as a surprise that on a city break to Amsterdam, you’re truly in a cyclist’s city. A hardy breed of cyclist, come rain or ice, snowy or slush Amsterdammers are out on their bikes.
If you’re a bit wobbly on your bike, it’s probably best to stick to the summer months (when there’s less chance of you falling into the canal). There are plenty of bike rental shops around town; Orange bikes are one such company, based near to Amsterdam’s centre in Singel.
Everywhere you look
Readily available everywhere within the city, and something of a cultural emblem, there are an astonishing estimated six hundred thousand bikes in Amsterdam. Between 6,000 and 10,000 of these bikes are dredged out of the city’s famous canals every year by the city’s municipal service. Many a local will stress the importance of locking up one’s bike wherever you are in the city!
The fastest way to get around
Compared to cyclists and motorists in the UK, who live in uneasy coexistence, as many as 40% of Amsterdam’s city dwellers cycle on a daily basis. A visit to the ‘Venice of the north’ will show any motorist that getting about in the city’s charming historic infrastructure is in fact made far easier (not to mention quicker) with the use of a bike.
Make a statement
All year long around this city you will likely see cyclists whizzing by, not a cycling pant or (regrettable in some cases) a helmet in sight. An international fashion capital since 2004, the locals take being seen on bike very seriously, so get into fashion mode when you’re cycling around. A bold statement colour or patterned winter coat will ensure pedestrians see you coming, and decorating one’s bike accordingly is a must too. In Amsterdam the style is casual, but still eye catching – no lycra here. Save that for the clubs.
See it all
Renting a bike in this wonderful city you’ll find you get around see more of it. Within the inner city area (centrum) Amsterdam is dominated by her beautiful UNESCO-listed canals, meaning cars are not afforded much room at all. In fact getting around by car takes twice as long on average as it would do by bike, and parking a car in this city of hardy cyclists doesn’t even bear thinking about.
The Okura Hotel Amsterdam, with its panoramic views from their Michelin star restaurant, you’ll get an eyeful of the city herself with easy access to both the museum quarter and Vondelpark. 3 nights from £231pp.
Top tips for cyclists:
Because the city of Amsterdam is a relatively small, you might be able to circle the entire canal ring in an afternoon – failing that, both gorgeous Vondelpark and Hortus Botanicus (botanical gardens) will give you a taste of the great Dutch outdoors.
Booking with easyJet holidays the flights and hotel are both included in the price – so you can spend your cash on something cool in one of the city’s fantastic markets.