Many visitors to Amsterdam rent a bicycle to explore the city but very few venture beyond the city centre and make it out into the picturesque Dutch countryside. With such flat terrain, it is quite easy to plan a day trip to nearby towns or tourist attractions from Amsterdam.
When planning a day trip on the bike from Amsterdam, some things to consider bringing include:
You should also be in reasonably good physical condition. The routes are quite flat and generally the only challenge is the wind resistance, which can be quite strong if you have to bike into the wind.
The follow are 3 recommended bike day trips that start near Amsterdam Central train station and return to that point. You can begin the routes from other points along the route that are most convenient for you.
The windmills at Zaanse Schans are one of the most popular tourist destinations in The Netherlands. Situated along the Zaan River, the bike route requires riding outside of the Amsterdam city area, taking a free ferry across the IJ (pronounced “eye”), and riding through the town of Zaandam. The direct route from central Amsterdam is about 30km roundtrip by bike. A longer route of 45km to Zaanse Schans can be down that loops through the polders, land reclaimed from the sea, before reaching Zaanse Schans, then passing through the small towns of Westzaan and Nauerra before heading back to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam’s castle, known as Muiderslot, is located at the mouth of the Vecht River, southeast of the city centre in the town of Muiden. The 40km bike route from the Central Station area can be done in about 5 hours roundtrip, not including stops at the castle or any other attractions. The route follows the scenic Amsterdam-Rhine Canal before heading into the countryside and reaching the town of Muiden. After visiting the castle, the route continues south along the east side of the Vecht River to the town of Weesp before returning to Amsterdam through the scenic Diemerbos, a forested area built in the 1990’s.
One of Amsterdam’s most iconic rivers, the Amstel River (not the beer) flows through Holland, into the centre of the city. The 40km bike route known as the Amstel Ronde Hoeproute takes about 5 hours to ride and follows the Amstel out of Amsterdam, passing through Middelpolder park before crossing into the town of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. The Rondehoep is a protected grassland area that is home to many different species of birds. The biking route loops around the Rondehoep before reaching the Amstel River and following it north, back into the city.