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Getting Around Amsterdam

As you might well expect from the Dutch, Amsterdam has a highly efficient and very reasonably priced public transport system with a wide range of available options for getting to and from most of destinations. Trams are of course synonymous with Amsterdam but they are just one option along with trains, buses, the metro, canal boats, bikes (the Dutch love their bikes!) and of course the trusty car.

Getting from the airport

Probably the best way of getting from the airport at Schiphol is to take a train directly from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal (Central) railway station. Trains run every few minutes throughout the day and take between 15 and 20 minutes to get into town. Tickets cost just €3.90 for a single although returns are cheaper. You can buy tickets from a machine at the airport railway station or from one of the ticket offices.

An alternative to the train is getting a taxi. Private or shared taxis run from just outside the departures hall and can be booked in advance or you can simply walk up on arrival. A private taxi is likely to cost around €40 although shared taxis are generally cheaper.

Public transport in Amsterdam

Although Amsterdam is a very compact and walkable city, you will probably find that unless you are staying right in the centre, you will need to use public transport at some point during your stay.

Much like with the Oyster card used for transport in London, the OV Chipkaart is a smart card that will enable you to travel on all of Amsterdam's public transport network. These can be purchased for different durations depending upon your specific travel plans. The shortest duration is the one hour card but you can also buy multi-day cards and refillable cards that you can top up as required. Cards can be bought from the GVB (public transport network) ticket offices or from information offices, some newsstands and tobacconists as well as from some supermarkets.

As well as purchasing cards just for travel, there are several options available to combine travel with sightseeing. For example, the iamsterdam city card is available in 24, 48 or 72 hour versions (at €42, €52 and €62 respectively) and not only gives you unlimited public transport but also entrance to many of the top museums and attractions and discounts at various outlets throughout the city.

Types of public transport

As we mentioned above, there are many ways to get from A to B in Amsterdam but here is a short run-down on the most common.

Trams are one of the easiest and quickest ways of completing short journeys around the city centre. Easy to identify and with a frequent service, there are numerous tram lines which cover most of the tourist sites and attractions. Trains tend to be used when travelling to another town or city from Amsterdam but they can also be a useful means of travelling between two districts of the city when the distance is greater – for example from Amsterdam Central to the southern district of Amsterdam (Zuid).

The Metro system is smaller than in some major cities largely due to the abundance of other available options. All lines start from the Centraal Station and head out. Whilst it may not appear as immediately useful as the trams, the metro can be good for getting to some of the outlying districts such as Amstelveen.

Buses in Amsterdam cover most of the city and like the tram they are easy to identify and hop on.

For all the available public transport in Amsterdam we recommend that you check out the map on the iamsterdam.com website by clicking here.

Taxis in Amsterdam are well regulated and relatively inexpensive. They offer a very good alternative to public transport at night time or when legs begin to tire.

Walking around Amsterdam is very straightforward given the nature of the city's layout with all canals radiating out in concentric circles from the city centre. It is also a very beautiful city to walk around due to the plethora of canals not to mention a very interesting city architecturally speaking.

Cycling around Amsterdam, like walking, is also very straight forward. With plenty of cycle lanes and no hint of a hill cycling is reasonably safe and you will certainly not stand out from the crowd, Cycling is a favourite with the locals in this the city of bikes.