Amsterdam rental bikes

Tram vs. Rental Bike, The Ultimate Showdown

Sorry guys, I’m not fully objective on this one. I’ve lived in Amsterdam for seven years now. Although public transport is not too bad, cycling is my first choice. For me, it saves time and money. And I simply love my bike. But when you’re on a short trip in Amsterdam, it’s hard to decide: Rental bike or tram? Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of both.

Trams at the Amsterdam Central Station.

Trams at the Amsterdam Central Station.

Trams and bikes belong to Amsterdam like canals and coffee shops. In my experience, public transport is well-organised, cheap and pretty quick. A single journey (GVB trams) sets you back 2,90. Not the best value if you’re travelling short distances. For longer trips, it’s alright. Unlimited GVB Tickets cost 7,50 a day. Which gives you green light to take tram, metro and bus for 24 hours – day and night. Get a ticket in the tram or GVB Tickets & Info, in front of Central Station. Trams take you anywhere you want to go from around 6 am till midnight. Check out the timetable

Amsterdam is small compared to other European capitals like London, Paris and Berlin. Thanks to over 400 kilometre of bike lanes, cycling is a perfect way to discover the city. Consequently, Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. As you will notice, there are more bikes than people.

Tram, the pros and cons:

+ In Amsterdam city centre, a tram is never far away.

+ From drizzle to downpour? When it rains, you stay dry.

+ You don’t have to walk! So, you’ll save energy.

+ Travel relatively long distances in a short period of time.

+ If you want to travel on the cheap, the tram is the way to go.

– When it rains, trams are filled to the brim.

– If you’re lucky, trams arrive on time – make sure you’re not in a hurry.

– Focus on standing on your forefeet; seats are scarce, locals impatient.

– Thieves are active in Amsterdam public transport. Watch out for purse-snatching and pickpocketing.  Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket.

– Trams stop operating shortly after midnight. When the lines are not longer available, take a night bus – probably full of boozed up youngsters. Or take a taxi, which is the most expensive option.       

Amsterdam Bikes

There are so many bikes; it’s hard to park.

Bike, the pros and cons:

+ Riding a bike offers many health and planet benefits.

+ You can take advantage of a sunny day.

+ Cheaper than public transport.

+ Commuting by bike in Amsterdam takes less time than public transport

+ No delay, no timetable. When you’re ready, hop-on your bike and go for it.

+ Your flexibility is unequivocal; you’ll save time to see more.

– If you don’t know the rules, cycling in Amsterdam can be dangerous. Keep an eye on other traffic.

– When you’re stoned or drunk, go to bed!   

– If it rains, you will get wet. On a bike, it’s almost impossible to manage an umbrella.

– You will get a flat tire at some stage.

– There are so many bikes; it’s hard to park

– If you rent a bike, it costs money.

Lock your bike. If you don’t, it will be gone – that’s a no-brainer.  

– In rush hours, bicycle lanes are chaotic and inconvenient like in a warzone. So, be cautious.

It’s easy to get your tires stuck in the tram rails.

– On your bike, it’s hard to take pictures.

– Bikes are not allowed in the tram 😉

If you ask me, rent a bike would be my first choice. It’s faster and cheaper than public transport. Besides that, discovering Amsterdam on a bike lets you see more in a day.


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