When I first visited Amsterdam back in 2011, a friend of mine told me: “Beware of the bikes! They are everywhere!”. A few minutes after I landed on Amsterdam Centraal, I realised what a good advice that was. Oh, gosh, so many bikes! During my regular stays in Amsterdam, I understood how practical and convenient they are and when I moved here I bought one immediately.
Amsterdam – the bicycle capital of the world.
Since bikes are so important and inevitable part of the everyday life in the Netherlands and the Dutch culture, I think that riding a bike is the best way to see Amsterdam and the areas around it.
Some days ago, I’ve joined a bike tour with We Bike Amsterdam. I was really excited and curious because the tour description stated it will be off the beaten paths. In fact, we were about to visit some hidden places in Amsterdam. The tour also included a ride through the beautiful Jordaan neighbourhood.
We Bike Amsterdam offers city tours every day at 10 o’clock. The tour lasts around 3 hours and the meeting point is Dam Square (for private tours – check out their website). After we met with Thijs – our guide – and took the bikes, we headed to explore Amsterdam.
On our first stop, Thijs shared with us some facts about the history of Amsterdam and he also spoke about the typical architecture of the city and the famous city symbols.
We visited Prinseneiland where I’ve never been before (shame on me!). It’s a tiny little island situated west of Amsterdam Centraal Station. In the 17th century, the houses in the area were used as warehouses to store various goods arriving at the harbour. The houses are really attractive because of the wooden red (or black) shutters which cover the windows and the doors.
During the tour, we also heard stories about the Dutch colonization of America, Asia and Africa. By the way, New York initially was called New Amsterdam and Haarlem is actually a beautiful city west of Amsterdam. Did you know that?
We rode through Jordaan – the most picturesque neighborhood of Amsterdam. Besides the beautiful houses and the charming tiny streets, some of the houses in Jordaan hide lovely courtyards. We had the chance to sneak in one of them and to admire the beauty and the calmness around us.
We’ve made a short stop at Prinsengracht just to hear some intriguing details about the Anne Frank House and Westerkerk.
Thijs took as into a nice cafe in Amsterdam Oud-West where we rested for around 30 minutes and after that, we headed to Vondelpark – the largest city park in Amsterdam. It’s a real pleasure to spend a sunny afternoon there. We rode through the park and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
After we passed through the most expensive street in Amsterdam we found ourselves at Museumplein where we heard some interesting facts about the area and the museums.
Our next stop was at the famous Magere Brug (The Skinny Bridge). Why skinny, you may ask? Because originally the bridge was so narrow that only one person could walk on it. It’s not that skinny anymore but still, the name stayed the same.
At the semi-end of our bike tour, we visited another courtyard called Begijnhof. There we found one of the secret churches of Amsterdam – The Begijnhof Chapel.
To be honest, despite that I’ve crossed Amsterdam with a bike or by foot numerous times, the tour with We Bike Amsterdam surprised me with some new and interesting spots. Furthermore, I’ve had lots of fun and I’ve learned so many things about Amsterdam.