An excellent one-day escape to Volendam.
Distance: less then 20 km each way
Things to see: two windmills, rural canals, houseboats, villages, Volendam, dams.
See pictures for the route map.
Start from the Central Station in Amsterdam (find bike rental there), pass underneath the station, and take ferry across the bay (each 10-15 mins). Here the ride begins. Continue along the left bank of the canal. Go through the park and cross bridge to the right. Immediately take left and continue along the right bank. Mind a windmill on the left bank. Approach N235/247 crossing and continue left without crossing. Cross N235 under the bridge ride along the Landsmeer-Broek road to approach N247 again. Take left and go along the highway till the Volendam traffic lights. Take right to Volendam (mind another windmill museum). Volendam is the end of the route with that a tourist village can offer.
Return path is mostly the same way (well, nobody is perfect) but you can leave Volendam along the dam. One can even climb the dam and take look down the valley – easy to figure out that it is below the sea level.
Vondelpark is a great place to start out when renting a bicycle for the first time in Amsterdam. The park dates from the 1800's and it's paved trails wind through meadows and around ponds without the added distraction of street traffic. Dutch residents and families come here to enjoy outdoor activities if the weather permits - roller skating, jogging, dog walking, biking, picnics, sunbathing or just sitting on a bench reading or people watching. There are numerous entrances and exits but you can't get lost. You can also rent skates at Snoephuisje (near the Amstelveenseweg entrance) preceded by a pancake breakfast.
I discovered that hiring a push bike is the best way to see a lot of Amsterdam quickly and with ease. There are many designated paths for cyclists, even with their very own traffic signals. It's safe and riding around the city is a breeze due to being flat.
You are also provided a lock with your bike so it may not get stolen.
There are many places to hire one. Best to find one closest to your hotel. Concierge may assist you with the closest locations.
Note that I found it very comfortable riding in the cold winter days. Remember to wear some gloves and a beanie (hat) to keep you warm from the cold air.
Both times I've been to Amsterdam I've taken this bike tour which is a lot of fun. It takes you to the outskirts of the city where you can see windmills and a cheese and clog factory. The tour takes about 4 hours and at the end they take you to drink beer at the local pubs. We had a great time, I recommend it.
There are plenty of places to rent bikes in the city. It's a great way to see around and there are even trips you can take by barge to locations in the country and then they drop you off with your bike and pick you up at another location at a predetermined time or date. With bike paths everywhere literally, there is no worry about car and truck traffic.
Wildly entertaining, guided bike tour around Amsterdam led by English speaking guides. The tour lasts around 4 hours and one of the stops is a cheese/clog factory. The bikes are comfortable and well maintained. Not as good as Mike's Bike Tours in Munich-still a definate must do for Amsterdam.
Get a bicycle from the first day you arrive. You won't regret it. It will be much easier to go downtown and go sightseeing, and you will feel more like an inhabitant of Amsterdam.
No need to afraid of the cars. -)
P.S. Use the tram also. If you are lucky you will bump into some ticket sellers that use the Holland humor when they announce the stops. Dam square! Dam dam dam!! -)))
A great activity to do in Amsterdam is to rent a bike, its the best, quickest and easiest way to see it all. As a cyclist you are the boss, pedestrians must look out for cyclists and bike lanes are everywhere. Just watch for those people too stoned to see you coming. Bike rental from Macbikes at central station is only about 15 euros for most of the day. A good ride to take is along Haarlemerstraat towards the West. This street is the very first right as you go from Central Station down Niewzides Voorbugwal. Haarlemerstraat is a cool street filled with shops, bars and coffeeshops and leads to Haarlem, a smaller town about 45 minute ride away. The whole country is flat so the ride is easy and you are on bike lanes the whole way. The ride takes you by streets and canals and is a good way to get away from the tourist traps and see how the Dutch live.
This was one of the most fun things from my trip. It was great to see the town the way the locals do - on two wheels. Can't say we were quite as adept at riding as the locals; as evidenced by a few near misses with car doors ...
Stuart was our guide for the 4 hour tour. He was very laid back, made sure everyone stayed together and was great for giving history on the sites we were visiting.
I highly recommend this tour - especially at the beginning of your trip to get your bearings of the city.
Amsterdam is a gorgeous city and is filled with canals and side alleyways. The best way to see the city and in the fastest way is to rent a bicycle. Renting a bike is cheap and if you hack the traffic and survive the canals it is well worth the effort and 10 euros. My best memories of my past trips to Amsterdam are remembered by cycling trips and I think everyone should rent a bike at least once in Amsterdam. They are just sooo much fun not to mention you can hook up with a city cycling tour.
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