Our second day in Amsterdam was dedicated to experiencing Amsterdam’s bike culture. Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam. Looking around the city, I often wondered if there were actually more bikes than people! Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, so it’s no wonder that bikes are the mode of transportation preferred by both locals and tourists.
It is very easy to rent bikes in Amsterdam, and I would argue that you haven’t truly experienced the city until you do. We rented from our hotel. Most hotels offer this and there are a plethora of rental agencies around the city. It will cost you about 15 euros for the day plus a deposit (and don’t worry they come with locks).
Despite Amsterdam being so bike-friendly, I was still intimated at first. Throughout the city, bikes have their own lanes, traffic lights, and rules. I wasn’t sure when to yield or when to go. To gain a bit of familiarity, we started our bike tour of Amsterdam in the park near our hotel (Vondelpark) and then biked part of the city’s perimeter before venturing into the heavier traffic and tourist areas.
With a bike you can basically see every inch of Amsterdam and I am pretty sure we did! We road and explored the city for more than 7 hours. Let’s just say we were sore when we finally stopped. As I mentioned before, we started in the Vondelpark before heading to Museumplein. We then headed back towards the center of town, stopping for a Starbucks and the flower market of course, before heading north towards the train station, a part of town we had yet to explore. We continued northeast stopping to see the historic ships docked in the harbor, random patches of wild tulips, and the only windmill we found in the city (it’s the little things). We turned back west towards the center again and stopped for photos in the gorgeous 17th century canal ring.
By this point we were hungry, so we decided to continue southwest to have lunch in our favorite part of town - The Nine Little Streets (De Negen Straatjes). This area has the cutest cafes, restaurants, and shopping. We parked our bikes by one of the (9, go figure) bridges and found an amazing restaurant for lunch, Ree 7. My cousin and I both had the goat cheese with rhubarb compote (yes, I cheated and ate cheese in Amsterdam… because culture… right?) – it was delicious! After refueling we strolled and shopped a bit before departing to find what we were told was the most beautiful canal view in Amsterdam. Groenburgwal did not disappoint. It is a picturesque little canal complete with a church on the end and a bridge full of locks on the other.
After my cousin did her lock on the bridge we set off once again, but this time we just decided to ride. We ended up on the west end of town in the Jordaan neighborhood. At this point we were about 6 hours into our biking extravaganza and we were starting to fatigue, so we decided to head back to the park where we started to lounge a bit on the grass and relax. It was Sunday so the park was full and there was a lot of amazing people watching.
We left Monday, but before departing we managed to see the Botanical Garden, Rembrandtplein, and do some serious souvenir shopping (I bought a lot of stroopwafles)! I would have loved to have more time, but I think we made the most of the time we did have and I can’t wait to return!
PS - You can read about day 1 here.