Wondering how to travel around Amsterdam? Find an overview of the Dutch capital city's transport network.
If you are moving to Amsterdam, whether for a long or short stay, you can explore the city through various means of transport. The city hosts a wide transport network, including various means of transport. Hence, you can choose from public transport such as the bus, tram, subway, ferry, hire a taxi, or rent a car or a bike. It will all depend on your travel itinerary and your budget.
Amsterdam inhabitants are very conscious about environment issues. Hence, they are more likely to ride a bike to work or to travel across the capital city rather than taking out their car. In fact, biking is very popular in Amsterdam as in many Dutch cities.
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Bikers in Amsterdam have the priority over motorists. Bike paths along canals are well laid out and traffic is severely restricted due to the large number of bikers.
Note that you can rent a bike per hour or per day. Rates vary according to the rental period.
Public transport in Amsterdam is managed by the GVB company. The tram is deemed to be the most practical means of public transport in the capital city. Tickets can be purchased on board from the driver or tram controller. But you can also opt for the OV chip card which is valid for one or more days as from 7.50 euros. This travel card is rechargeable.
Buses generally operate outside the major canals area and the city center. A night service is also available for nightlife lovers. These are available from 1 to 5.30 am from Monday to Friday and till 6.30 am during weekends. However, night bus rates are higher. You can as well opt for the “nachtbuskaart” which costs 25 euros. This card will allow you to travel by bus for 12 nights.
As regards the subway, it is available between 6am and midnight. Amsterdam is served by four subway lines which are mainly used by local and tourists wishing to reach the city outskirts.
Driving can be quite difficult in Amsterdam, but not impossible. Patience is what you will need above all due to traffic jam and lack of parking spaces. Local authorities have set up a series of measures for pedestrians and bikers. Hence, many roads are closed to vehicles or marked as one way traffic lanes.
However, the Park and Ride concept has been designed to ease traffic, as well as Amsterdam inhabitants budget. In fact, you can park your vehicle in the city's outskirts and travel by public transport. Once you have reached the parking lot, which is guarded 24/7, you will receive a ticket which you will have to produce to the warden. The latter will then give you free travel and return tickets for the city center.
Upon your return, you will have to return the tickets to the warden. You will pay some 8 euros per day if you meet all these conditions. However, this concept is available for 96 hours only, that is during four days. Rates can go quite high if you intend to park your car for a longer period.
Amsterdam taxis are equipped with a blue registration plate. You can rely on these only if the rates are displayed inside and outside, and if the driver's card is sticked to the windshield. Note that recent laws now authorize taxi drivers to fix their rates themselves, provided these do not exceed the recommended maximum rate.
The boat is one of the most uncommon, yet popular means of transport in Amsterdam, especially with tourists. These will allow you to cross the canals to discover the capital city's marvelous architecture. You are likely to find these boats along the Damrak and Rokin in Stadhouderskade, opposite the Central Station and near the Rijksmuseum.
The boat network is served by a dozen companies which often offer special cruise packages along Amsterdam's canals.