Cycling Amsterdam: One day in the city

Published on 1 April 2024 at 18:56

This one-day itinerary will take you on a journey through Amsterdam's most iconic sights, starting from the NEMO Science Museum, and taking you through picturesque canals, vibrant neighbourhoods, museums, palaces, and even a historic (if slightly out of place) windmill.


So hop on your bike, and let's explore Amsterdam!

Resting along the waterfront, The NEMO museum is a great starting point to any exploration of the city. The imposing building is the largest science museum in The Netherlands, and is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the world of science and technology. This interactive museum offers a variety of hands-on exhibits and activities, so take your time to wander through the galleries and engage with the displays. 

Of course museums are not everyone's cup of tea, so if this is you, why not instead head to the upper deck to take in the 360 views of the city. The stairs leading up to the rooftop may look daunting, but the climb is worth doing before you wear your legs out on the cycle. 

Once you've had your fill, grab your bikes, and loop around the front of the museum, following the port-side to your next destination!

From NEMO, pedal your way towards the Anne Frank Museum, a somber yet essential stop on this itinerary. On the way, you will pass through the red light district, infamous for it's night life and it's distinctive red-lit windows and eclectic atmosphere. On your ride through this district, you will have the opportunity to stop by the stop by the quirky sexmuseum, where you can explore the history of human sexuality through a collection of art and artifacts.

Continuing on, the net stop along your route is the Royal Palace, standing as a grand symbol of Dutch royalty and architectural splendour. The palace is usually open to visitors, but be warned that you will need to buy tickets whether on the website, or on the day in order to go inside. If you do choose to visit, you can expect a rather unique experience, as the palace still plays a major role today. The palace often hosts royal occasions and state visits, allowing you to follow in the footsteps of the dignitaries, who grace the halls.

This museum stands as a tribute to the courage and unwavering spirit of Anne Frank and her family, during their time spend hiding in the secret annex during WW11. See the world painted in her diary, through your own eyes as you experience the the world through her eyes. You can discover the personal artefacts, photographs, and exhibits offering a glimpse into the daily life of the family. It's a moving experience that will stay with you long after you leave.

Delve into the poignant story of Anne Frank and her family as you walk through the hidden annex where they lived during World War II. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the Holocaust and the resilience of the human spirit.

This is the highlight of your day's itinerary, so make sure to park up your bike and explore De 9 Straatjes neighbourhood on foot. Here's where you'll find the world famous canals and picturesque streets Amsterdam is known for. This charming district embodies the personality and charm of the city, filled to the brim with secrets to discover. Our personal favourite spot we discovered here (despite one of us being lactose intolerant) is the cheese museum. Disguised as a cheese shop, complete with small baskets of cheese scattered throughout the produce for you to sample, the small building fools you at first, seemingly to just be a shop. However, down a small set of stairs set right at the back of the shop, is the... cheese museum! 

Of course, don't just stick to the main streets, it's well worth stepping away from the crowds and further into the neighbourhood. Here, you can still walk along tree-lined canals and barge boats, yet feel secluded from the city at large. As an introvert, travelling can feel quite overwhelming so the emptiness and quiet of these streets, are a welcome relief. Grab a coffee, have a bite to eat, read a book, listen to music, even take a nap- whatever you find your peace in!

Museum Square is your final spot before your cycle back to NEMO, where you will find some of Amsterdam's most renowned museums, including:

  • The Rijksmuseum, housing an extensive collection of Dutch art and history, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. 
  • The Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the legendary Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. The museum holds Van Gogh's paintings, drawings, personal letters and his collection of Japanese prints, allowing visitors to gain insight into his artistic genius and tumultuous life journey.
  • And lastly the Stedelijk Museum, located just a short walk from the Van Gogh Museum, showcasing a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art, containing artwork by renowned artists such as Mondrian, Warhol, and Koons.

To wrap up your day, visit Vondelpark, a tranquil park offering a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a leisurely stroll, or sit down in the shade of a tree and have a moment of relaxation to recharge your batteries before making your way back to where you began your day.

Recommendation for lodging

Hostel Amsterdam Oost- Cheap, comfortable and located close to the  centre.

Top Tip when visiting Amsterdam


I can't stress how essential this is! We made the mistake of attempting to book museum tickets less than a month in advance and were unable to get tickets to any of the museums on our list. Instead, we had to stare forlornly at the outside walls.

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