The Dutch learn to bike at a young age, though for longer trips you’ll see the kids sitting in bike seats on their parent’s bikes or in specially designed bakfietsen (cargo bikes). Around a quarter of the Dutch population bikes every single day and there are more bikes then there are people in the country. This all isn’t very surprising considering that the country is very flat.

Cycling is one of the best ways to explore Amsterdam and it is a must do for any visitor as it is the way to see the city the way the locals do. Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world with over 400 kilometres of official bicycle paths plus the many small streets and canals which are unsuitable for car traffic. Here are our top tips for the best cycling in Amsterdam experience you can have.

Know the rules

The best way to have a good time and stay safe is by knowing the rules of the game. There are a couple of do’s and don’ts you should be aware of before stepping on a bike in Amsterdam. Keeping these rules in mind will help you to avoid both annoying the locals and hefty fines.

To start, stay in your lane; locals can get a little annoyed (to say the least) if you are riding a bicycle outside the bike lanes. So be sure to stay on the bike paths on the right-hand side of the road, marked out by white lines and bike symbols. Make sure you’re not biking on walkways, shopping streets, sidewalks, and motorways.

Other rules to keep in mind include keeping to the right-hand side of the road, this will allow other cyclists to overtake you safely; paying attention to the road signs, especially those specifically for bikes (including traffic lights); know when you do and don’t have the right of way; and indicate where you are going with hand signals. Doing all of this will make sure that you can ride amongst the locals without getting on their experienced nerves.

You’ll also want to make sure you figure out where you’re going and how to get there before you step on your bike, because you cannot hold your phone while cycling (or risk a €140,- fine!). And do not get on your bike when you are under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, even if other people do (the minimum fine is €200,-). Finally be sure that people can see you, with a light on your bike at night and during wintertime and by staying at least 3 meters behind trucks so the driver can spot you in their mirrors.

Top tips for biking in Amsterdam

The best ways to explore Amsterdam by bike

Really there are two ways to explore Amsterdam by bike for tourists. You can join a guided bike tour or you can rent a bike and head out on your own. Whichever you choose, you are certain to be in for an unforgettable experience in the Dutch capital.

Our favourite is definitely the Fatbike Tours, with which you can tour the city in style on a uniquely designed e-bike. Its fat tyres will help you to make sure you don’t get stuck in tram tracks and the battery means you won’t break a sweat either. There is no safer and cooler way to explore Amsterdam.

For a bike tour on a more traditional Dutch bike, the City Bike Tour from Yellow Bike is what you are looking for. They offer both 2- and 3-hour tours in the city for you to choose between, so you can decide which fits better in your plans during your visit to Amsterdam. Yellow Bike even offers a 4-hour bike tour that will take you outside the city to the countryside.

Finally there is the option to rent a bike and head out into the city on your own. You can rent a bike for a few hours or a full day, with it you are sure to travel through the city at a faster pace then if you took public transport. Just make sure to lock your bike properly when you park the bike somewhere (two locks at least), cause theft is an issue for bikes in Amsterdam.