Although affected by mass tourism, Amsterdam remains a great place to visit, ideal for a weekend getaway.
Rich in history, a melting pot of cultures, the Dutch Venice is not limited to its pedestrian zones, coffee shops, or red-light district.
To prove it, here are four activities to visit Amsterdam in an eco-friendly way.
Cycle the city
The best way to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a city is undoubtedly to mingle with its inhabitants.
If there’s one thing that’s part of the culture here, it surely is bikes.
Ranked among the cities where there are more bicycles than cars, Amsterdam, is a bicycle paradise.
So why not adopt the local’s iconic mode of transport?
To rent a bike in Amsterdam, here are your options:
- You will find many shops offering bicycle hire throughout the city.
- You should also check with your accommodation. Most of them allow you to rent a bike during your stay.
- If you are even luckier, in some of the city’s eco-friendly hotels, bikes are free to borrow.
Typical Dutch black bike, tandem or electric, whatever your ride, it will guarantee you an authentic Amsterdam experience.
Get a first glimpse of the Dutch capital on a stroll along the canals, along with its museums, Dutch-style houses and typical cafés.
Need someone to guide you?
Discover Amsterdam by bike with a local guide who will take you to the city’s emblematic sites from Anne Frank’s house to the Van Gogh Museum and more unusual places like the secret garden of the Beguinage.
Alternatively, get away from the city, to enjoy the Dutch countryside, amidst tulip fields. Cycle along the Zaan River to admire the most beautiful mills in the Netherlands, a source of inspiration for painter Claude Monet. A moment punctuated by anecdotes and explanations of the city’s past.
Cruise the canals
Discovering Dutch Venice through its waterways is a must.
There are greener options than the overcrowded cruise boats of the city center, where you will have the freedom to move away from the most visited channels.
- If you feel like a captain’s soul: opt for an electric boat rental. Recharged by the sun, these small unlicensed boats are ideal for spending a day in a small group or with the family and sailing to the surrounding countryside.
- The sportier can rent a pedal boat and cross the canals with the strength of their legs.
- The eco-warriors will embark on a plastic-fishing cruise. Equipped with a net, you will enjoy a city tour while cleaning the city’s canals — a fun way to visit the city with an impact.
Reconnect with nature
In addition to its museums, Amsterdam is very popular for its vast green spaces where it is good to recharge your batteries.
A stone’s throw from the Van Gogh Museum is the Vondelpark, the city’s largest urban park.
This 45-hectare site is ideal for all kinds of activities. It houses several playgrounds for children, but also a landscaped area with garden and stage where you can listen to a free concert.
Music, theatre or dance, these festivities take place from May to September.
For plant lovers, a visit to the famous botanical garden of Amsterdam is a must. Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.
Located in the Plantage district, and easily accessible by tram, it counts more than 4,000 species of tropical and indigenous trees and plants.
Well documented and family friendly, Hortus Botanicus offers a fun way to learn about nature, and the icing on the cake is its locavore restaurant, worth a visit.
Head to the market
Very popular with tourists, the flower market remains a must during a stay in Amsterdam. Colorful, it runs along the canals, making it a pleasant walk.
You will find tulips, available in various colors and shapes. Some visitors make it an opportunity to bring back some organic bulbs for their gardens.
Less known, the vintage markets in the Pijp district are worth a visit.
This area is very well known as the upcycling paradise. Waterlooplein hosts a big flea market every day. You will also find several second-hand shops on Haarlemmerdijk.
If by chance you have scheduled your getaway to Amsterdam on the first weekend of the month. Take a ferry north to discover the largest flea market in this part of Europe: the Ij-Hallen.
Ever tried one of these eco-friendly activities in Amsterdam? Come share your experience in the comments.