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Getting around Amsterdam

Public transport

The best way to get around Amsterdam is either by bike or by using the extensive tram, metro, bus and ferry networks, all run by GVB (tel: 0900 8011, in the Netherlands; www.gvb.nl), which has an information office at Amsterdam Centraal Station. You can find a useful point-to-point route planner at 9292.nl/. Trams are a great way of getting around Amsterdam, with routes heading out from the centre in all directions.

The best option is to purchase single or multi-day cards, allowing unlimited travel on public transport during a specified period. You can buy these at the GVB ticket outlets or vending machines. OV-chipkaarts are smartcards which you can use for travel throughout the Netherlands; you can load these up with any GVB travel products. It's also possible to purchase a one-hour paper ticket when you get on a bus or tram.

The Amsterdam tourism board also offers an Iamsterdam City Card, which gives you free travel on buses, trams and metros for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours. As well as this, it entitles you to a free cruise, gives you free entrance to museums including the Hermitage, NEMO Science Museum, Rembrandt House and ARTIS Royal Zoo, and provides excellent discounts to further attractions and restaurants. You can purchase an Iamsterdam City Card online ( https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card/order-your-card), or from a number of different locations throughout the city.

 

Taxis

Rather than hailing a taxi in the street, it is more common to phone for one (TCA; tel: +31 20 777 7777) or pick one up at an official taxi rank, including ones at Centraal Station, Waterlooplein and Museumplein and Nieuwmarkt. Taxis are metered and have standard rates. It’s customary to tip your driver a euro or two. Bicycle taxis are also available at Pedicab Sander Amsterdam (tel: +31 6 2422 7753).

Driving

Driving in Amsterdam is not recommended: motorists need to watch out for cyclists and trams, while parking regulations are strict. It makes more sense to park at a P+R (park and ride) car park and use bus, tram and subway lines into the city centre from there. Locations of these are listed at www.parkeerlijn.nl/pr/amsterdam. For on-street parking, meters can be recognised by a blue sign with the letter ‘P' and charges are split into several zones. Fees are by zone, with the highest charges in the city centre. You need to enter your car registration number into the meter and pay with a Dutch bank card or international credit card; cash is not accepted.

Car hire

Conditions vary but in most cases, the driver will have to be at least 21 and have held a valid national licence for one year to hire a car. Check that the rates include the minimum insurance cover required in Amsterdam. Car hire companies with branches in the city centre include Avis (tel: +31 88 284 7620;www.avis.nl) and Sixt (www.sixt.nl).

Bicycle hire

You can hire bicycles from Bike City (tel: +31 20 626 3721; bikecity.nl) on Bloemgracht 68-70 and Macbike (tel: +31 20 620 0985; www.macbike.nl) at Stationsplein 5. A deposit or a credit card imprint is usually required, along with an additional form of identification. Bicycles should always be securely locked.

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Featured Hotels

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The Hoxton

The Hoxton flung its decorative doors open in 2015, shaking up the city’s mid-range hotel scene in the process. Occupying a former mayoral residence on Herengracht, the hip and handsome Hoxton is an establishment of effortless cool. Rooms retain a 17th century charm (embroidered rugs, paneled walls, wooden floors, etc.), but with mod cons (digital radios, power showers and the like). There’s a fine bar and restaurant downstairs and checkout is a hangover-friendly 1200.

Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

As a former shipping house, this five-star hotel still showcases its maritime heritage with its nautical themed stained-glass windows, original ship lanterns, and statues depicting Poseidon and Fortuna overlooking the hotel entrance. With 165 plush rooms, a wellness centre boasting two saunas, a steam room, heated swimming pool and fitness room, plus a stunningly decorated bar overlooking the charming Amsterdam canals, the Amrâth offers its guests a luxurious stay in historical surroundings.

ClinkNOORD

When Amsterdam’s shipbuilding industry went to the wall, the Noord district became a ghost of past glories. Happily, the area is in the process of regeneration, which ClinkNOORD is helping pioneer. The hostel opened to much fanfare in 2015, taking over a former Royal Dutch Shell testing lab. Rooms are a bit bland, but the hostel is good value, affable and only a short (and free) ferry ride from Central Station.

Hotel Prinsenhof

About the finest budget option available, the Prinsenhof is a homey establishment in an 18th-century canal house. Overlooking a picture-postcard section of the Prinsengracht, it stands in the pleasant southern canal belt, a quick bike ride from the nightlife centre of Rembrandtplein. Simply furnished with painted ceiling beams, the 11 guest rooms are quite cosy, though only nine are equipped with bathrooms. At these prices, they're booked far in advance.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms combined with an intimate courtyard garden spectacular canal views efficient staff and an excellent restaurant ensures a luxurious stay.

Hotel de l'Europe

Standing majestically on the banks of the River Amstel, this grand old dame is still the address in town for lavish Old World luxury. From the 19th-century paintings adorning the public areas to the plush appointed guest rooms, this modern hotel maintains an old-fashioned charm. Hotel de l'Europe features the restaurant Bord'Eau which was awarded two Michelin stars, two bars, a brasserie, a café, meeting rooms and a spa.