There's more to Amsterdam than coffee shops, tulips, Heineken and the red-light district. "Really?" you say. Well of course those bits are hilarious and must be done, but having seen Amsterdam from both a tourist and resident's point of view I can definitely say that all visitors should try and get out to the Waterland on a hire bike if they can. What better way to clear a hangover from hell than jumping on a bike and peddling full pelt to a seaside town for fish & chips and a cheeky pint to clear the head?
The Netherlands, as you can imagine, is fully geared up for cycling and it couldn't be easier to get your wheels and head out into the quiet of the Waterland area and onward seaside towns. Amsterdam's biggest cycle hire company, Mac Bike, have an outlet at Central Station and you can hire the classic Dutch-style cycle for reasonable cost and be on the ferry across to the north within an hour.
Our recommended route map is linked on the right of the page. The basic circuit is about 18 miles and takes in the pretty towns of Broek-in-Waterland and Monnickendam. If you're feeling energetic you can extend it to see the northern towns of Volendam and Edam (good for those wanting cafes, bars and restaurants) or if you prefer a more natural setting then head east for the 7 mile extension to the island of Marken which has a very picturesque lighthouse and quaint little town having an almost Nordic feel to it.
It sounds like a lot of miles but the terrain is flat as a pancake and it consists mostly of segregated cycle paths and quiet country lanes. Highly recommended!
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