One of the most important things when coming to Amsterdam is to know how to move from A to B. Your time here is precious, so knowing your options for each mode of transportation would help you to make the right choice and get peace of mind on how to get around in Amsterdam.
Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place. My name is Alexandra. I’m the founder of Who Is Amsterdam and I’ve been living in this incredible city for 14 years. I’ve walked, biked, cruised, driven, and used public transport countless times. So here are all the ins and outs on how to get around in Amsterdam.
#1 - Rent a Bike
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein
Welcome to bike city! If you want the most authentic way to get around in Amsterdam, rent a bike, hop on and enjoy the ride. Biking is the number one mode of transportation here. I and 70% of my fellow Amsterdammers use it to get around daily. In fact, we have more bikes than people! You’d be blown away by the mindboggling number of bikes here. It’s no surprise that bicycles rule Amsterdam’s streets and cars are guests.
WHY BIKING IS OUR PREFERRED CHOICE
- It’s the fastest way to move from A to B! Amsterdam is a very compact city. Compared to London or Berlin, it’s like a village. We have narrow streets and there’s very little room for cars.
- Amsterdam has an amazing bike infrastructure and a seamless network of bike lanes. It’s clear and organised to a tee.
- Next to keeping fit, I can take in my surroundings at my own pace and some fresh air. Perfect for waking up in the morning!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BIKING
- If you’re not experienced, I’d recommend not biking during peak hours (8 am – 10 am and 4 pm – 6 pm). It can get crazy busy then and people are in a hurry. But if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, then hop on and join the crowd!
- Don’t bike next to each other and chat. Especially if you’re biking as a group.
- You can rent a bike in almost every corner of the city. The price is approximately 15 EUR per person per day. We recommend Black Bikes. They have 16 locations in Amsterdam and their “hop on and drop off” concept gives you tons of flexibility to pick up your bike at one place and drop it off at another. Use promo code “whoisamsterdam” and get 10% off your bike rental when you rent your bike at any of their stores.
#2 - Take a Walk
Amsterdam’s city centre is perfect for walking. It’s flat, compact, and the scenery is simply stunning. Narrow streets, beautiful canals, 17th-century houses, traditional and trendy cafés, bars, restaurants and shops, it’s a global village. I love to take walks because it allows me to slow down, relax and truly appreciate what this great city has to offer.
TO WALK OR NOT TO WALK?
- On your first day, I recommend exploring Amsterdam’s city centre on foot. You can easily fill your day with three to four great activities or sightseeing as you’ll soon find out that our city is tiny. Just to give you an idea, it’s a 30-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station to Rijksmuseum. Easy peasy.
- If you have a tight schedule, then I recommend biking or a combination of walking and public transport.
- If you’re into slow travel and you want to take your time to take in the city, then walking is the way to go! Or walk with us during our Who Is Amsterdam private walking tour where we journey through Amsterdam’s hidden gems and experience our city in an immersive and personal way — through real stories of real locals.
#3 - Use Our Public
If you don’t like biking and you’d like to explore more than just the canal belt (which I definitely recommend), public transport is the way to go. It’s one of the most efficient networks in Europe. You can easily hop on a tram, metro, bus or ferry all operated by the city’s primary travel provider, GVB. A day ticket costs €8.50 and you can purchase it using ticket machines at all public transport stations. If you’re planning to go by bus or tram, simply purchase your ticket with the tram or bus driver. It’s important to know that it’s cashless. Payment by credit card or bank card only.
WHY I LOVE USING AMSTERDAM’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- It’s easy. Just get your day ticket and hop on a tram, bus, ferry or metro. Don’t forget to check in and check out during every ride.
- It’s fast and well-thought-out. No matter where you are in Amsterdam, a tram, bus or metro stop is always nearby. What I really appreciate about it is that I hardly need to wait more than 10 minutes for it to arrive. The average waiting time is 3 minutes.
- Amsterdam’s tram and bus drivers have a good sense of humour. Sometimes you’ll hear them sing or banter with their passengers. Plus they’re helpful and ready to answer any questions you might have on how to get around in Amsterdam. Feeling lost? Feel free to ask the locals near you. Most people would be happy to point you in the right direction.
#4 - Take a Taxi or Uber
Feeling “luxe” or missed the last night bus? Take a taxi! And yes, we have Uber here. You know by now that cars are not great to get around Amsterdam, but one can’t deny the convenience of cabbing to and from Schiphol airport. You can recognize our taxis and Uber by their blue license plates. I recommend “Taxicentrale Amsterdam” or go digital and get an Uber. Most of our taxi drivers speak English and would be happy to help you if you need to get your bearings.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- You can’t hail a taxi just about anywhere. They’re not allowed to stop where they fancy. Here’s a map with Amsterdam’s designated taxi locations.
- Taxi drivers must always accept short trips and they’re obliged to bring you safely to your destination in the quickest way possible.
- No need to fear being ripped off, we have fixed rates here. Boarding rate is € 3,19, Mileage rate: € 2.35 and Time rate (per minute): €0,39. Waiting rate € 43,94 per hour
#5 - Drive a Car
Very often I see visitors from neighbouring countries driving into the Amsterdam’s city centre and immediately regretting it as soon as they find out… that parking here costs a whopping € 7,50 per hour! One thing’s for sure. Amsterdam is not made for cars. We simply don’t have the space for so many cars which is why we bike everywhere. Besides, it can be stressful to drive here, thanks to our narrow streets and bikers and pedestrians popping out of every corner.
MY PARKING TIP FOR DRIVERS
If you’re coming by car, I recommend immediately parking at one of our Park & Rides (P&R), then hopping on to public transport or riding a bike. We have various P+R locations outside the city centre where you can park your car for a maximum of 96 hours. For more information, check out this resource page from our city’s website.
So here are all the ways you can get around in Amsterdam. I hope that this overview helped you to understand how best to navigate my beautiful city. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, have fun, be safe and enjoy the ride.
Let us know when you come over. Mail us for our Award-Winning Private Walking Tour, sit down at the Gay monument with our Goodie food Box or take the DIY Food tour. Or simply browse through our selection of Finest Original Experiences.