AMSTERDAM - GETTING AROUND
Half the fun of Amsterdam is walking along the canals. Central Amsterdam is very small and its concentrically circular layout makes it easy to navigate (or get lost in). We strongly advise you to do your exploring with map in hand as it is quite common to find yourself walking in the opposite direction from the one you thought you were heading. For safety sake, always watch out for bikes and trams. Keep off the bike paths, which are well paved and often mistaken for sidewalks. Bikers have the right-of-way, so if you hear a bell, move quickly. Trams function in the same manner, and will ring their bell before they move. Always look both ways before crossing streets.
And use common sense when going out at night as muggings do occasionally occur. There are some risky areas, especially in and around the Red Light District and Vondelpark so keep to well lit areas and the main thoroughfares and take a taxi if you are going a long distance.By Metro
There is a five line metro, including a short underground section in the city center that serves the neighborhoods of the South East. (Visitors will generally find trams and buses more convenient for getting around, as most metro stops are geared for city residents traveling to the outer suburbs.) It takes 15-20min from Centraal Station or Waterlooplein to the Bijlmer (Amsterdam Arena stadium, Heineken Music Hall and Pathe Arena cinema and IMAX). You`ll need an OV-chipkaart (public transport chip card), used the same way as for the other public transport. The best bet for short-term visitors who plan to use public transportation a lot is a 1-day or a multi-day card: 24 hours (€7.50), 48 hours (€12.50), 72 hours (€17), 96 hours (€22) (these prices current in Jan 2019). Note that the cards are valid for use throughout the Netherlands, no matter where you purchase them. There is a fine for riding without a valid card that is payable on the spot!
The fifth metro line, the north/south line (opened in 2018). This big project started in 2003 to build a new underground metro line to connect the north of Amsterdam with the south. Something to note when traveling the metro is the ongoing roadwork. Underground metro stations are still being built or finished often causing parts of roads to be blocked off to cars, buses and trams for an extended time.
Amsterdam offers an extensive network of trams and buses that operate from about 6:00am to midnight daily. There are 16 tram routes, 10 of which (lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 13, 16, 17, 24, and 26) begin and end at Centraal Station, so you know you can always get back to that central point if you get lost and have to start over. The city's other tramlines are 3, 7, 10, 12, and 14. Lines 3, 5, 12, and 24 are useful for visiting the sights south of the city around Museumplein, while 4, 9, 14, 16, and 24 serve the city center.
The ubiquitous blue-and-gray trams have one access door that opens automatically, normally toward the rear; arrow indicators point the way to the door. To board a tram that has no arrow indicators, push the button beside the door on the outside of any car. To get off, you may need to push a button with an 'open-door' graphic or the words deur open. Tram doors close automatically and quite quickly, so don't linger.
Note: Always remember to hold your card against the reader as you get on and off the tram. If you don't 'check out' as you get off, your card will continue to be charged and you will run out of credit.By Bus
Just like the tram and metro, local buses are operated by the GVB. There are also suburban buses to nearby towns such as Haarlem and Uithoorn; these are operated by Connexxion or EBS (the company name and house style is prominent on the bus side) and can be used within Amsterdam if you travel with an OV-chipkaart. Disposable cards are only valid on the GVB buses.
The bus offers many routes beginning and ending at Centraal Station, but it`s generally much faster to go by tram. Some areas of the city are served only by bus. Night buses operate a limited service, usually on an hourly schedule. The newer fleets of buses are clean and nice; and bus lanes (shared only with taxis) are not congested, ensuring that you travel more quickly than the rest of traffic during rush hour. To avoid rush hour, don`t travel between 7:30 and 9 in the morning or between 4 and 6 in the afternoon. As with all public transportation systems, keep an eye out for pickpockets!
Most tram and bus stops and all Metro stations display maps showing the entire urban transit network. All stops have signs listing the main stops yet to be made by trams or buses at that location. Detailed maps of the network are available free from the GVB Tickets & Info office. The central information and ticket sales point for GVB Amsterdam, the city's public transportation company, is Stationsplein (tel. 0900/9292 for timetable and fare information, tel. 0900/8011 for other customer services), in front of Centraal Station, open Monday to Friday from 7:00am to 9:00pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am to 9:00pm.
A pleasant way to get around is to rent a bicycle. The city is very, very bike-friendly, and there are separate bike lanes on most major streets. Bikes even have their own traffic lights. In the city center, however, there is often not enough space for a bike lane, so cars and cyclists share narrow streets. It can take a while to learn to move smoothly and safely through the mass of trams, cars, buses, fellow bikers and pedestrians, but some common rules to remember are: always yield to trans, cyclist do not have the right away, cross tram tracks perpendicularly so that your wheels don`t get caught in the grooves (it`s a nasty fall) and never crash into pedestrians! Let none of the above deter you from doing it the Amsterdam way, but if you don`t feel entirely comfortable on a bike, it may be a stressful affair and you may just want to walk. Amsterdam is so small and the entire center can be navigated on foot within half an hour.
Bicycles can be taken on all metros and tram 26 using the bike supplement fee (€1.70 in 2016, valid 1d) on the OV chipcard. Use the special bike racks, locations indicated by a bicycle sign on the outside of the carriage.
Bicycles (and scooters) can be taken for free on all ferries across the IJ.
If you are as good a cyclist as the locals, rent a bike! There are bike rental shops at stations, and several others in and around the city center. Bikes cost about €9 to €20 per day and a deposit is typically required.
oBike is a bike sharing platform. After downloading their smartphone app and paying a returnable deposit (€49 as of 2017), you can use any of the hundreds of yellow bikes spread across the city for a decent price (around €0.30 for each 15 minutes) and `return` it nearly anywhere just by locking it up.
The bicycle is ideal for exploring the surrounding countryside. Within half an hour you`re out of town. Go North, take the ferry across the IJ to Waterland. Or go South, into the Amsterdamse Bos (a giant park), or follow the river Amstel where Rembrandt worked. You can also take your bike on the metro to the end of the line at Gaasperplas, and cycle along rivers and windmills to old fortified towns like Weesp , Muiden and Naarden.
Warning: Because bicycle theft is common, always lock both the bike frame and one of the wheels to something fixed and solid.
Bike taxis are the perfect way to get around Amsterdam. No air pollution and no hassle. They`re clean, relatively comfortable, and capable of zipping along the cobbled city streets along local cyclists. Bike taxis are three-wheeled post-modern style rickshaws with open windows and carry up to two passengers. They are pedal-powered and come with two small batteries to enable the driver to steer over Amsterdam`s infamous bridges or to carry extra heavy passengers. These rickshaws are fully insured and easy to spot all over the city, but especially around Centraal Station, Leidsplein, Museumplein, and Waterlooplein, or you can order your eco-taxi in advance.
Taxis in Amsterdam have rooftop signs and blue license tags and are metered. It is possible to hail a taxi in the street, but can be difficult; the better option is to find one of the taxi stands located throughout the city, usually near luxury hotels, most tourist hubs or at major squares. Cab service is generally prompt if you call ahead.
Regular taxi price have the following rates: Start at about: €2.95 per km: €2.17 per min: €0.36 all taxis have a meter which will calculate the price. You can also go for a fixed rate but it`s recommended to follow the meter if the right route has been taken by the driver you will pay as it should be.
Free GVB ferries for passengers and two-wheel transportation connect the city center with Amsterdam-Noord (North), across the IJ waterway. The short crossings are free, which makes them ideal mini cruises since they offer beautiful views of the harbor. Ferries depart from Waterplein West behind Centraal Station. One route goes to Buiksloterweg on the north shore, with ferries every 6 to 12 minutes around the clock. A second route goes to IJplein, a more easterly point on the north shore, with ferries every 8 to 15 minutes from 6:30am to around midnight. A third ferry goes west to NDSM-Werf, a 14 minute trip. A fourth ferry runs between theAzartplein on Java/KNSM Island to the east of Centraal Station and Zamenhofstraat on Noord; and three others from Houthavenveer, west of the city, across to Noord.By Car
Our best advice on driving in Amsterdam would be: don`t. The city is a maze of one-way streets, narrow bridges, and no-parking zones; and you`ll find the ease and efficiency of public transportation too good to pass up. If you are renting a car we suggest you pick it up as you depart the city to avoid excessive rental/parking expenses. Car parking is very expensive in Amsterdam and it`s often hard to find a place to park. However, if you must have a car while you are in the city then there are parking garages throughout town. You can choose to pay by the hour or for the whole day. The largest lots are at Centraal Station, Damrak, Marnixstraat, under Waterlooplein and adjacent to Leidseplein. Additionally your hotel may offer a car park (for a fee). Driving and parking in the city may be worth for those who have chosen to travel through the Netherlands by car and don`t want to change modes of transportation.
Warning: Don`t leave anything in a parked car! Luggage, cameras and laptops are commonly stolen from parked cars and are easy money for drug addicts.