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Amsterdam Travel Tips

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Amsterdam’s city centre is deceptively large; loud but fairly small to navigate. It is also flat land, meaning you can get to many of the city’s tourist destinations on foot. The train station can also take you to various locations, and usually in half an hour. Public transit remains a common means of getting around, especially with the introduction of an OV-public transport chip card, which allowed easy check ins at various locations. Three types of cards are sold: personal cards with yearly subscriptions, anonymous cards with prepaid money, and disposable cards, which are temporary. The GVB tram system is the main form of transport, not to mention night buses that operate in late night hours. There is a four-line metro system, as well as an underground part of the city-centre, and along with the buses, are all operated by the GVB. Additional buses travel to nearby towns and are operated by different companies like Connexxion or EBS.

Boat travelling is sure to be on your itinerary and with several ferry services, many of which are free, you won’t have a problem finding transportation. Ferry services leave from a jetty near the Central Station. Pancake boats are also available from NDSM Werf. There are a number of rental boat companies in the city and you can carry up to six people in a rental boat. You are not on your own—you get personal instructions on how to operate the vessel as well as a map so you can easily find your way around. Rent A Boat Amsterdam is one commonly used boat rental service.

Scooter rentals are also common by way of Gilex, AmsterBike and Boka Scooter Rentals. Bicycles are also frequently used to get around town and the city, with its flat land, is bike friendly. There are also separate bike lines on major roads. The only problematic area is the city centre, where there is no bike lane. You simply share the same roads as motorists. Cyclists do not have the right of way, but caution is still required when driving around them, or if you are on a bicycle, manoeuvring around others. Cyclists here are experienced riders and have been doing so all their lives. Therefore, they are more adept at avoiding problem areas. If you are in heavy city traffic, as opposed to the countryside, it may be more stressful than simply taking the tram or even a tour bus. Companies providing rentals for bicycles include Rent a Bike, Green Budget Bikes and Star Bikes Rental. You can select between traditional bicycles, tandems, bikes for kids, and even bikes for the disabled.

Taxi services have been going through a period of readjustment since 2013, as new guidelines were put in place to eliminate poor quality cab drivers. It is recommended that you avoid using taxi stands near Central Station or even Leidseplein, since they will either over charge you for short trips or refuse short trips altogether. Booking in advance, using a trusted company like Deluxe Taxi Amsterdam is a better idea and will charge you fair rates.

Renting your own car is practical, provided you are driving outside of the historic centre. In fact,inside the centre, public transportation is the most logical solution. Streets tend to be narrow and traffic signs can be confusing to tourists. There is also a large number of cyclists and pedestrians to work around.Parking is expensive and difficult to find. Therefore, a car is practical only if you plan on driving quite a ways and are planning to park away from city centre. Eight Euros generally gets you 24 hours of parking in selected areas. On the other hand, in Amsterdamn-Noord, parking is free. Taking the bus from a place like Mosplein to the city centre may be the most practical option.

Despite some areas known to be un-touristy and not recommended for sightseeing, the truth is that this is one of the safest cities worldwide. In fact, many websites and publications have listed the city as a female-friendly and consistently safe place where even lone women can be comfortable travelling alone. What should be remembered is that there are differences in the various neighbourhoods; for example, the Red Light District is considered safer than the parks, while even some neighbourhoods formerly known for petty crime have improved drastically over the last ten years.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.