Amsterdam is a wonderfully walkable city with most major sites located in or near the city center. Public transportation is excellent and driving is strongly discouraged within the canal ring. Of course biking is the preferred Dutch way to travel and some would say the only way to truly experience the city.
* GVB is the public transport company of Amsterdam providing integrated metro, tram and bus service throughout Amsterdam and its surrounding areas. 24-, 48- and 72-hour GVB passes allow for unlimited travel on all trams, buses, metros and night buses for the duration of the pass and provide the most economical way for visitors to explore the city. Passes can be purchased at one of the GVB Tickets & Info Offices located at all major train stations. In addition, 24-hour passes may be purchased from GVB drivers and conductors, as well as the tourist office. Another travel option is to buy a strippenkaart, valid year round, which charges riders per trip according to the number of zones passed through to reach their destination. Strippenkaarts can be purchased at all GVB Tickets & Information Offices, newspaper shops, post offices and most major supermarkets. Single trip tickets can be bought onboard from GVB drivers and conductors, however this is not recommended due the premium charged for a single ticket.
* Trams provide the best way to get around Amsterdam and run regularly until 12:15am.
* City Buses are primarily used to reach outlying suburbs and after the trams have stopped running. Night buses run from midnight until 7am with routes connecting to Central Station, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein. Stop/Go Bus is blue mini-bus which rides through the Old City centre along the Prinsengracht back and forth. It has no stops - it will stop on your request at any place of its route.
* The Metro (tube) is fast but is only useful if you need to travel far outside the city center or to the Amsterdam Arena (metro map).
Tourist bus Amsterdam
City tours around Amsterdam in a traditional American school bus painted red and converted to serve the tourists called Touristbus. Almost 2 hrs long guided tour through the city centre.
* The Canal Bus (www.canal.nl) runs every 40 minutes from 9:50 until 7:25 with 14 stops along three different routes throughout the city. Day passes cost €16 and are valid until 12:00 the next day. All of Amsterdam’s major attractions are on the route and historical commentary is provided along the way.
* The Museumboot (Museum Boat) is a similar concept for €14.25 per day with stops at Central Station, Prinsengracht, Leidseplein, Herengracht, Muziektheater and the East Dock. Tickets includes half-price entry to most city museums.
Bicycling in Amsterdam is a way of life for most Dutch and still the best way to get around. There are dedicated bike paths throughout the city and few hills to conquer. A number of companies offer bicycle rentals for around €8 per day with discounts for longer rentals.
Taxi stands are available at most tourist hubs including Leidseplein, Dam Square and Central Station. Hailing a taxi is quite difficult and virtually impossible on weekends, but cab service is generally prompt if you call ahead (city cab: 0900.677.7777). Rides cost €1.80 per km regardless of the time of day and a 5%-10% tip is expected.
For a truly Dutch taxi twist, catch one of the many bicycle taxis around the city. The pedal powered taxis can carry up to two people and are actually cheaper than conventional taxi.
Rent a car
Although driving in Amsterdam is not recommended, car rental services are readily available at Schiphol Airport and in the city center along Overtoom Straat near Vondelpark. All major agencies are represented including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Alamo. Driving and parking in the city can be a nightmare, but may be worth the hassle for those wishing to explore the countryside by car. Here is the list of car parks.
- Organized groups of travelers between 10 and 25 persons can take advantage of a group transport ticket.
- Head to the tourist office and pick up a one, two or three-day Amsterdam Card (Amsterdam Pass) for free unlimited travel on all public transport and including free entrance to most museums and attractions.