Blue Water Rides: Amsterdam
Amsterdam could easily be considered the bicycle capital of the world. With more bicycles located within the city limits than people, the title couldn’t be more fitting. Not only are there innumerable bicycles everywhere you look, the city is also extraordinarily bicycle friendly. Immediately upon immersion in the city center it is obvious how vital bicycles are as a primary mode of transportation for the majority of residents within this beautiful European destination. It seems that the bicycle is so ingrained within the culture that they are preferred over walking or automobiles and maintain right-of-way throughout the streets. Dedicated bike lanes, lights, and routes all translate into bicycling being the most efficient means of getting around.
Not only are bikes an efficient means of transportation, they also can be a most exciting way of seeing the city as a visitor. One can easily rent a bike for a set amount of time from any of seemingly countless bicycle shops and wander about the city soaking in all of the canals and distinct architecture the heart desires. In fact, if I were to recommend just one activity during a short visit to this city, a meandering about the city on a classic city bike would most definitely top the list. The unexpected sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of this experience are unparalleled.
If meandering about the city on a bicycle on your own seems a bit too much, then a guided bicycle tour could be an excellent alternative with some clear advantages. A guided tour may actually be preferable for many travelers as the guides are generally local Dutch people with a deeply connected knowledge of the city. They provide guidance for the route to ensure no one gets too lost in addition to making sure to include stops for select highlights within the city. During such stops, guides usually provide some background and interesting facts highlighting fascinating information or historical importance of the attractions. A couple examples of common stopping points in Amsterdam could be the Anne Frank House and Vondelpark. In addition to common tourist highlights, the guides be sure to include less common and off the beaten path experiences as well. These can be very special providing insight to the city travelers may not encounter on their own.
There are many companies and individuals leading city tours via bicycle. One I chose was Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam. They had excellent guides, shining reviews, and easy to find location. They provide a wide variety of options including group city tours, private city tours, countryside tours, and more. Overall, I would easily recommend one of their tours to any of my friends for an upcoming visit. Our guide went well out of his way to provide a unique and fun experience for our whole group!
So, if you’re looking for a fun and active way of seeing a new city, perhaps a bike tour could be considered next time. Most larger cities have similar companies such as Mike’s in Amsterdam or even entrepreneurial individuals doing the same. Other locations I’ve had excellent bike tour adventures include Bogota, Colombia and Barcelona, Spain. These experiences are likely to provide irreplaceable insight, unforgettable experiences, and local perspective for anyone arriving to a new place and looking to explore. As always, enjoy the ride!