5 Best Cycle Routes in and Around Amsterdam

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5 Best Cycle Routes in and Around Amsterdam

If you’re going to cycle in any city, make it Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is a cyclist’s playground where bikes outnumber people by far. Amsterdam has some awesome places for scenic bike rides whether you’re after a day trip out of the city, a lush forest ride or an urban city cycle. We’ve carefully picked out 5 of our favourite cycle routes in Amsterdam so that you know where to explore on two wheels. Plus, it’s great exercise! Whether you’re an advanced cyclist, or just looking for an easy ride, there’s something for everyone in our list. You can hire a bike for the cheapest rate from Black Bikes.

We have started and ended all of our cycle routes from St Christopher’s Inns at The Winston. Ready, set, go...


1) Green Route: Forest ride

Amsterdam has plenty of lush green spaces and beautiful scenic routes to take your bike. If you’re looking for a peaceful ride in Amsterdam, get closer to nature with this refreshing cycle route for outdoor lovers. Big forests and vast parks lend themselves well to cycling so get yourself to Amsterdamse Bos on the edge of the city. Bos means ‘forest’ in Dutch, and this urban forest is simply stunning. Glistening lakes, long narrow cycle paths and plenty of tall evergreens form your backdrop, so hop on two wheels and get lost beneath the trees. Stop for a picnic, relax by the lake during sunset and then cycle back to the hostel in time for Happy Hour.

Cycle time there and back: 1 hour 25 minutes

How to get there from St Christopher’s Inns hostel by bike

  • Cycle South-west passed the Van Gogh museum
  • Cycle through Vondelpark and continue on the route
  • In 25 minutes reach Amsterdam Bos and you’re ready to explore the forest’s beauty
  • Stop for a picnic, cycle around the lake, and then make your way back to the hostel when you’re ready

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2) Purple Route: Urban tour of Sights and Canals

Tour the city of Amsterdam by bike on this urban route past some of Amsterdam’s most famous sights and canals in the heart of the city. Get a true feel of the city, cycle alongside the canals and make stops on the way. Explore Amsterdam’s most famous district Jordaan and cycle through the Nine Streets (a trendy shopping area), go past the Anne Frank House - and stop for lunch and stroopwafels at the city’s coolest market Albert Cuypmarkt. This route is full of fun and a pretty cool tour of Amsterdam’s sights.

Cycle time there and back: 40 Minutes

How to get there from St Christopher’s Inns hostel by bike

  • Cycle past Anne Frank House and then explore
  • Jordaan, Nine Streets and cycle along the canals
  • Cycle south towards the Rijksmuseum and I Amsterdam sign
  • Go past the Heineken Experience (stop for a beer)
  • Lunch stop at Albert Cuypmarkt
  • Then explore one of Amsterdam’s parks, at Oosterpark
  • Make your way back to the hostel cycling along the Amstel River


3) Blue Route: Short city cycle for beginners

Even though Amsterdam is one of the safest places to cycle in the world, some still might not feel 100% confident on two wheels in a foreign city. This short and sweet route ticks all the boxes, taking just over 20 minutes to complete if you’re not going to stop and explore the sights en route. Take your time gliding along the canals on this simple to follow circuit of the most central part of Amsterdam, stopping to wander around the Botanical Gardens, the Science Museum or the Hermitage Amsterdam gallery.

Cycle time there and back: 23 Minutes

How to get there from St Christopher’s Inns hostel by bike

  • Cycle from the hostel and over a number of bridges
  • Stop to have a look inside the Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Cycle for a few minutes longer to get to the Botanical Gardens
  • Next head to the NEMO Science Museum and enjoy the views over the water
  • Complete the route by heading back to St Christopher’s

4) Orange Route: Get off the beaten track and into the countryside

This halfday route is perfect for those who love to get off-the-beaten-track and explore more of what the Netherlands has to offer (without venturing too far). Cycle to Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam and enjoy the quaint and colourful charm of this city. On this route you’ll pass Zaandam windmills, the famous Zaan river and the Zaanse Schans. You’ll also pass through lush Dutch countryside for most of the journey there. The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of Zaandam full of authentic wooden houses, windmills, sheds and workshops. Cycle around and pop into the little shops, enjoy the view of the river and admire the colourful architectural masterpiece that is the Inntel Hotel. This hostel is formed by stacked Dutch buildings on top of one another, resembling buildings you’d see in a cartoon. Stop for lunch at the lovely Cafe Brasserie Het Heerenhuis because it’s en route and you can sit outside and watch the world go by.

Cycle time there and back: 2 hours 10 minutes

How to get there from St Christopher’s Inns hostel by bike

  • Cycle to Centraal Station and cross over the water on the free ferry
  • Make your way up to Zaandam - this is about an hour long cycle so stop for breaks when necessary. It’s a scenic ride up where you’ll be cycling through countryside and alongside rivers
  • When you get to Zaandam, get off your bike at De Kat and admire the famous windmills. A truly beautiful place Relax here and grab lunch at a local cafe around The Zaanse Schans, a quaint little village. We recommend Cafe Brasserie Het Heerenhuis.
  • Cycle down to the fascinating Inntel Hotel architecture and take photos
  • Now you’re ready for the ride back down to Amsterdam. Once you get to Amsterdam Centraal station, catch the ferry back across the water and cycle to the hostel

5) Yellow Route: Advanced Day trip out of the city 

If you’re looking to go for a full day trip on two wheels, then this is the perfect cycle route for you and your mates. Recommended especially for those who want to explore further than just Amsterdam, on this route you will cycle through some small, quaint villages which are SO worth the visit. If you come to Amsterdam and don’t visit the surrounding villages, you’ll regret it. These include Edam (the birthplace of Edam cheese), Volendam and Marken. Together, these three villages are known as Waterland boasting beautiful canals and quaint narrow Dutch houses. On the way here from Amsterdam, you’ll cycle through incredible deep Dutch countryside. You need a whole day to do this route because you’ll want to stop and explore each place - but we promise you it’s one of our favourites. If you’re not accustomed to long cycles, we don’t recommend this route.

Cycle time there and back: 3 hours

How to get there from St Christopher’s Inns hostel by bike

  • Cycle to Edam in just over an hour. Sounds long, but you’ll pass beautiful Dutch countryside and plenty of farmland on the way. (Then stuff yourself with cheese at Edam and visit the Edam Cheese Weigh House to learn more about the art of cheesemaking)
  • From Edam you can cycle to Volendam in 10 minutes
  • To get to Marken from Volendam you can catch the ferry (The Volendam-Marken Express), take your bike on board and in 30 minutes you’ll arrive in Marken.
  • Marken is typically Dutch with small cute houses
  • Get the ferry from Marken across Uitdam, and cycle to Amsterdam. Then make your way back to the hostel

Need a hostel in Amsterdam?

Check out St Christopher's Inns at The Winston

Article by Shereen Sagoo

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