Amsterdam is your destination if you believe “getting there is half the fun.” Amsterdam is also your destination if you’re inclined toward Robert Townsend’s improvement on that sentiment, “Getting there isn’t half the fun, it’s all the fun.”
Bike Riding Rules
Amsterdam is known as the cycling capital of Europe with good reason. Its 743,000 residents own 600,000 bikes and used them for 38 percent of their vehicle trips in 2009.
In the city center, more than half of the trips are by bike, in part due to restrictive auto policies and parking difficulties. With off-road bike lanes, bike bridges and bike short-cuts, as well as a population acclimated to bikes in the roadway, Amsterdam provides safe bicycling opportunities to its tourists.
Amsterdam even has a bike hotel where travelers can rent bikes on site ( Bicycle Hotel, Van Ostaadestraat 123, Tel. 31 20 679 34 52.)
Canal Bikes Take to the Water
Amsterdam is a city on water, with canals criss-crossing through it. You can’t ride a bike on water, but you can hop on board a “canal bike” and pedal your way from one tourist attraction to the next. Canal bikes, also known as pedal boats, are ubiquitous in Amsterdam. Canal Bike (Weteringschans 26 1 hg, Tel. 310 626 55 74) allows renters to rent and drop off at any location, and strategically located its booths by major tourist attractions including the Anne Frank House and Rijksmuseum.
Pedaling the canals is fun in its own right. The canal belt is itself a UNESCO heritage site.
Delegate the Pedaling
If you aren’t up to all that pedaling yourself, there’s always the pedal taxi option. Pedal taxis, alternately called bike taxis, are three-wheeled vehicles pedaled by the taxi operator with an occasional battery power assist. While the driver pedals, up to two tourists sit back and take in the views.
Ferries for You and Your Bike, Too
Enough pedaling, already? Ferry transport is another common means of getting around this canal city. There are multiple ferry companies serving various destinations. If you’re looking for a free ride, plop yourself and your bike on one of five free ferries that cross Ijsslemeer Lake.
Canal Bus Tours Offer More Than Talk
If you’re planning to pay for a tour anyway, the canal buses are tour boats that make stops by the major tourist attractions. Canal boats are pricey if viewed merely as a transportation option, but they do allow on and off privileges. You can enjoy part of the tour, get off and visit a museum, then rejoin a later tour, as you make your way through the city’s attractions.
Trams and Metro Fill the Gap
For quick and simple trips, Amsterdam has 16 tram lines as well as an underground metro. The trams are user- friendly with tickets sold on board. For discounted tram tickets buy directly from Stationsplein in from of Centraal Station.
When it comes to transportation, it’s hard to find a European city more eclectic than Amsterdam.
Cycling to Sustainability in AmsterdamBicycle Hotel
Canal Bike Puzzletour
Ferries in Amsterdam