Countryside cycling & Bike rental
Nice bicycle day trips are possible all over the Netherlands. Once you decided where to go, getting there is generally pretty easy. Distances are short in this country, and the public transportation network is dense and frequent. Check the "Public Transport" links section in Resources.
For a bike trip in a more or less rural Dutch countryside, best start in a small town with a train station. Often, there's a bike rental at or near the station.
Check the station facilities on the railroad website. In the journey planner click on the name of the station. Specifics are in Dutch. Bicycle = Fiets. Bike rental = Fietsverhuur.
All public transportation in the Netherlands works with a prepaid chip card, the so-called OV-chip card. OV stands for Openbaar Vervoer = public transportation.
Provided there's enough credit on your card you can use it for virtually all trains, trams and buses in the country.
If you want to take your bike with you on the train, you need to buy a separate Bicycle Ticket, a "dagkaart fiets". There are however limitations, so do check conditions on "NS.nl"
When you plan to rent a bike best get in touch with the rental shop in advance.
Most rentals have a limited number of rental bicycles.
All rentals ask for an ID, and require a refundable deposit. With smaller rentals that often has to be in cash.
Bicycles come in different sizes. Check whether they match your body height.
With a guided bike trip, everything is of course arranged for you.
Keep in mind that in Holland adults rarely wear bike helmets for normal tour cycling, only common for racers, fast electric bikes and for small children. Although some rentals in Amsterdam provide helmets with their bikes, don't expect helmets at countryside rentals.
As most people coming to the Netherlands will visit Amsterdam, I focus on two normally not too crowded possibilities in the direct surroundings of this city.
(For the full picture :
- west of Amsterdam is mainly industrial & port, you could take the train to Haarlem or the seaside,
- to the south, some lovely countryside - from the center considerable urban cycling first is unavoidable.
There are bike friendly routes to cycle out of the city, for example to Ouderkerk a/d Amstel, but prepare!)
To the north : Waterland, classic Holland.
The open Dutch landscape with dikes and canals. Indeed very open, so with planning your route, take the wind into account!
Best rent a bike in the centre of Amsterdam, and take the ferry across the IJ behind Central Station. You'll first have to cycle through some urban parts before entering rural areas. By the way, the name " Waterland " dates from medieval times, so it's not invented for tourists!
Official tourist information : laagholland.com
To the southeast : a varied landscape.
Over the millennia the natural landscape here was formed not only by rivers and the sea, like in most parts of Holland, but also by Ice Age glaciers and wind. Resulting in the objective fact that nowhere else in the Netherlands will you find such a variation in scenery within this short distance.
(click on images for more landscape pictures)
Along the rivers the classic Dutch pastures with cows, lakes and wetlands. Merging into higher sandy grounds covered with woods and heather plains.
And all over, an overwhelming amount of historical points of interest. Relics from prehistoric man, through Middle Ages to modern times.
To visit this region you can cycle out of Amsterdam, but this adds considerable urban mileage to your trip. See How to get there, section "cycling all the way".
Or take a train to get out of the city, and rent a bicycle there.
All stations provide the so-called "OV-fiets" ("public transport bikes" - very basic bikes, no speeds, back-pedal brake). Because of the success of OV-fiets less and less classic Dutch tour bikes (3-speeds, hand brakes) are available for rent. And there's an increase in electric bike rental. Always check things in advance!
On the railroad website you can find info on the OV-fiets system : ns.nl
for guided bicycle day trips in this countryside : click here
Bicycle trips are not a summer thing only.
For an example of an autumn bike ride (photo and video), click here
For an example of an early spring bike ride, click here
Check out reviews and comments
on guided bike tours at feedback
to top of page