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Travelling around Amsterdam

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Exploring Amsterdam is an overwhelming task – which sites to see first? Which museums to visit, which restaurants to try, which stores to shop at? But getting around in Amsterdam, fortunately, is easy and pleasant.

Bicycle

The bicycle is the most popular mean of transportation in the Netherlands in general, and in Amsterdam, it is especially advantageous, as the streets can be narrow and automobile traffic is heavily restricted.  As with the rest of the Netherlands, cyclists have priority over drivers – and in Amsterdam, they are not afraid to take advantage of it. Amsterdam has a reputation for pushy, even aggressive cyclists, so exercise some caution if you are not used to cycling.  

Bicycles can be rented from numerous shops in the city. A list, and map, of shops that rent bikes can be found here. Be advised that you will most likely be asked for a substantial deposit, which will be returned when you return the bike.  An OV fiets can also be borrowed if you have a personal OV Chip card.

Light rail and bus

Amsterdam has an extensive network of trams and buses that service most neighbourhoods. As a general rule, trams and buses run frequently with significant overlap on more popular routes, so there is often little more than a five-minute wait before you are on your way.  The GVB website is an easy way to find out which line takes you where you want to go.  The 9292ov website and app are also a great way to find out how to use public transit to get around.

The metro system in Amsterdam is not as extensive as in some cities, but it is quick and timely, especially for travelling greater distances.

Boat

The hop-on-hop-off boat tours of Amsterdam’s canals aren’t technically considered a means of public transportation, but it is one way to get around the city if you don’t feel up to manning your own watercraft.  Boats are more often used during festivals and the like, but they can be a great way to explore Amsterdam.  Renting a boat may require that you have some experience in watercraft, depending on the kind of boat you rent.  

Car

Of all the ways to get around in Amsterdam, the automobile is probably the most difficult for tourists and newcomers to the Netherlands.  In addition to the plethora of bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles, many streets are one-way only or closed to car traffic entirely, and drivers are looked upon with a certain level of disdain for the air pollution they generate.

However, the city has recently added 602 charging stations for electric cars throughout the city, which get priority parking, and the car share program makes it easy to borrow an electric car for the day.  Driving within Amsterdam may never be easy, but at least it can be cleaner.

There are transferiums in the outer neighborhoods of Amsterdam, which are parking structures where you can leave your car in a guarded facility, and take public transit into the city centre.  This makes it much easier to drive to Amsterdam without having to drive in Amsterdam. 

 Useful links:

TaxiCentrale Amsterdam
Rent a bike

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